The New Year is usually a time of reflection and planning for the year ahead.
For many, that next career stage involves setting professional goals – and 2022 will be no different.
As we enter our third year of work, which has been changed so much by the pandemic, many employees may be considering how they can get the most out of their jobs, or changing things entirely. can.
“It’s an interesting time and the new year has plenty of opportunities for individuals looking to pursue new career goals,” Texas A&M University professor Anthony Klotz, who coined the phrase “The Great Resignation,” told CNBC Make Told it.
Often, though, defining goals and sticking to them is easier said than done. CNBC Make It spoke to psychologists specializing in workplace behavior to figure out their goals for the coming year and find out their top tips for staying on track.
define your goals
It may sound obvious, but the first step towards achieving your career goals is to find out what they really are.
“For many people, they are not really goals; they are vague ideas about career direction,” said Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.
Goals should be “concrete and specific,” because it makes them easy to identify and monitor, said Ariely, author of “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness.”
Such examples might include tangible goals such as taking on a new project, obtaining a raise or finding a mentor.
“Once you define concrete goals, you [can then] Trace the steps towards them,” Ariely said.
make them manageable
When you’ve set your goals, the next step is to make sure they’re achievable within a clear time frame—for example, a year.
Melissa Doman, an organizational psychologist, said, “The key is making sure they are achievable, realistic, getting what you really want — not what people tell you you want — and allowing for a margin of error.” Huh.”
Too often, people set lofty goals that usually take several career stages to achieve. Instead, Doman said, they should streamline their goals to make them achievable within a year.
“Micro-goals are important,” Doman said, “yes, you can talk about mental health at work (here’s why and how it’s really good).”
Next, take the necessary steps to reach those goals, whether they are related to your current company or elsewhere.
With many organizations trying to better accommodate their employees in the midst of great resignations, your manager may be more willing to help you work toward your goals, said organizational psychologist Klotz. In fact, many employers want to “reward” loyal employees, he said.
“It’s always good to talk [with your current employers] And say: ‘Can I change my job to the job I want?'” he said.
If, however, your career goals take you away from your current company, try talking with others in your chosen field to find out the steps you need to take to meet your goals.
be in charge of
Finally, find a way to hold yourself accountable, in order to keep your goals on top throughout the year.
This can mean finding accountability partners or networks to share your journey with – including both its successes and challenges. Alternatively, it could mean creating visual reminders to keep your goals in mind, Doman said.
Doman recommends scheduling regular check-ins with yourself or your accountability partner to track and reward your progress. This can be weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the cadence that works best for you.
“Personal accountability can be painful,” Doman said, “but it is an important way to stay on track. [There’s a] The balance of figuring out when it’s okay to be soft on yourself and when it’s not.”
Know when to say no
As well as defining your goals, it’s important to know when to say no, according to Vanessa Bohns, a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.
One thing that “stuns” many people from their goals is their reluctance to turn down external requests. But if such requests are “peripheral” to your main goals, they can eventually become a distraction, said Bohn, author of “You Have More Influence Than You Think.”
“Be more careful about the things you agree to,” she said. “Every time you agree to something, you’re definitely taking time off from something else, so you want to weigh your decision carefully.”
This does not mean saying no to all external requests. This is often neither possible nor appropriate, the professor said. Instead, you should think carefully about how such requests fit your goals and take the time to provide your feedback.
“Buy yourself the time and space to think about whether this is really something you’d like to agree to, or if it’s really something that could take a lot longer than your job. [and life] Priorities,” Bohns said.
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