Setting a goal you can actually achieve

I have never been the type to set resolutions on New Year's Day, though if it is an effective motivator, I fully support all who do.

With everyone's talk of goals recently, I have been reminded of goal-setting at work (which we complete by October 1st). 

If any of you have done goal-setting in the corporate environment, you might be familiar with the SMART acronym. The guideline that prompts us to make our goals; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

I have underlying motivators all the time; complete a pet project at work, find interesting side-gigs, obtain a new job, pay off debt, save for retirement. 
Admittedly, I am a details person, I usually see the trees and not the forest. Baby steps are what have moved me along my journey to reach each milestone in my life. I do NOT usually make my goals time-bound, though, and could really stand to work on that.

So, I'd like to encourage you to think about any 'wishes', 'desires', 'dreams', you may have. 
Turn those wants into something actionable!

Want a new job?
Be specific about what that really means.
Obtain a role focused on "project management" for a "company with a good family atmosphere or work life balance" in "a city I would like to move to" paying at least "$67,000 a year with decent benefits" by "January 1st of 2016."

There are things you can do to increase your chances of receiving a job offer. Those can be measurable.
Attend at least five networking events.
Update my resume (and portfolio, if applicable).
Send my resume to three trusted friends for review and feedback.
Update my resume based on that feedback.
Visit all online accounts and ensure they are up to date, so potential employers can contact me (LinkedIn, AUGI, other professional organizations, social accounts... link them all to the same *personal* email account, so contacts from your network can be in touch consistently also update your job title/duties and headshots so they are current).
Write three articles for "industry publication and/or guest post on industry blog".
Practice public speaking.
Obtain a certification.

Now, some of these could actually be goals in their own right, but, I'm just attempting to get you to brainstorm for now. 
Maybe your goal for this year should really be to "raise my professional profile" and next year will be "to obtain a new role". 
If you feel your next dream job isn't attainable until you get more practice speaking or take additional training, then adjust your goals to focus on those steps first. Hosting lunch & learns, speaking at a LUG, recording a podcast, joining toastmasters, etc can help you be a better speaker and raise your profile.

Are your to-do list items relevant and realistic?
If you want to be a data analyst, you might want a Revit MEP certification, but, it isn't really relevant to your goal. And, while you might want an MCSE to help obtain a role as an IT Manager, if you don't have the time and money for a course and studying and testing, it might not be a realistic task for now.

And, of course, just like most writers and project managers, I am useless without a deadline. Your checkpoints need to be time-bound.
Organize the things that will move you toward getting that job offer, and set deadlines for yourself.
Don't wait until summer to begin attending networking events, because they're sparsely scheduled and attended while folks are doing family vacations, so, spring is probably a better starting point.

Goal setting

I use job searching as my example for goal-setting, because almost all of us have gone through the process more than once and can identify with it.
Maybe your goal is to change a major process at work, or switch software platforms, or start a personal hobby to take your mind off of work.

Whatever your goal may be, you can reach it, if you organize your thoughts and provide yourself some checkpoints to keep you motivated and moving forward.

Any goal-setting or goal-checking advice? I'd love to hear what works for you.

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