Hopefully by now you’ve realised that there is no right or wrong way to find your feet during your career journey. Lisa and I both have different stories (you can read Lisa’s here and you can read mine here), so we decided that every now and then we would do a Lisa vs Saara article.
The first of these articles gives you our advice on goal setting … aka Lis and I decided to politely argue our points of view on goal setting.
1 // How do I choose goals that are realistic?
Saara Says: Have a seat friend. You’re about to have a serious #NoFilter conversation with yourself.
Think about where you’re at in your studies, career and life. What do you need to continue your ultimate growth?
Do you need to improve on your time management skills?
Do you need to be getting more than 5 hours of sleep a night to ensure you’re being productive at work?
Choose small but meaningful tasks or goals that are going to add to your growth; that way you won’t be overwhelmed by the goals you choose. It will also help to include a few action points under each goal of how you will be working towards it … then you can get to knocking them down one by one.
Lis Says: I think we often mistake setting realistic goals for setting realistic timelines.
I want to earn a million dollars! I want to score my dream job! I want a house on the beach in Byron Bay!
All of these goals are achievable. Yet, as soon as I add a date into the mix, eg. “By June 30, 2018” … well thats where the reality question comes in.
When it comes to goals, we all can (and should) have the long-term, big, hairy, audacious goals. But we also need the short-term achievable goals … eg. In 2018 a goal might be to complete an internship which will give you relevant industry experience and ultimately contribute to you scoring your dream job.
2 // How do you know what to prioritise?
Saara Says: This is a tricky one. For me, prioritisation is linear … AKA the first item shouldn’t hinder the second, the second shouldn’t hinder the third and so on.
Getting 7 hours of sleep is a priority for me, because it’s going to help me be more productive at work. So if I want to go to a specific gym class to get in my daily dose of exercise (another priority), I make sure it falls into a time that isn’t going to force me to compromise my sleep.
Lis Says: When it comes to goals, it’s easy to write ourselves a long shopping list of things we want to achieve. And that is fine – we’re all allowed to have the shopping list. However, to actively work on the shopping list is tough for anyone, so I recommend choosing 3 goals that you actively want to focus on and making these your priority.
3 // What can I do to make sure I stick to my goals?
Saara Says: I have a mood/inspo board at home that I’ve stuck my goals onto … I can see them when I wake up and they’re visible when I’m working at my desk! Having a visible reminder will definitely help you keep to your goals.
A journal or calendar that is kept specifically for your goal setting will also help. Write in what day of the week you sent out a job application – that way it’s a permanent reminder that you have one due the following week! If you’re working on your time management skills pencil in what days you arrived on time for work and which days you were running 5 minutes behind; that way you’ll have percentages to compare for your progress review!
Lis Says: I find the best way to stick to goals is to set a heap of micro goals that sit under the big goal. For example you might want to land your dream job in 2018 – which is a huge goal … but there are a ton of subgoals you can set yourself underneath this which can be milestones along the way. Eg. CV and Cover Letter updated, working out how to pitch yourself etc. So setting these up as subtasks helps you stay focused on the big goal with small achievements along the way.
4 // When should I review my progress?
Saara Says: Progress reviews are 100% important for your own sanity and goal success. Once you have written out your goals for the year, take a step back and draw a timeline.
Some goals will need to be reviewed month-to-month (my job application once a week goal), some will need to be reviewed every 3 months (I’d choose that for improving my time management goal) … review your ultimate growth progress halfway through the year. This will help you focus, reset and you might even have room for a few more.
Lis Says: Different people will have different takes on how often you should review your progress – but in my mind the answer is simple …
All. The. Time.
Whether it is a work goal or a personal goal, if you are working towards something, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of not just the results, but also your progress. Be one with the goal!!
This will allow you to not only measure the metrics, but also have a strong sense of what is going on around you that could be impacting results either positively or negatively. If you only review your goal say once a month, it’s very hard to remember exactly what happened throughout the month and what was the cause and effect on your goal … you end up focussing on just the final numbers.
5 // What do I do if I have not made any progress?
Saara Says: Don’t be disheartened! Goals take time to achieve and occasionally no matter how much time and effort we invest – sometimes it doesn’t work out. Are there any tweaks you can make to how you are working towards your goals?
Instead of “reading more time management skills articles” being one of my action points, I might choose to approach a tutor, parent or colleague and chat to them about any advice they may have for me.
If I was finding that there weren’t jobs I was passionate about being consistently listed week-to-week, I might instead tweak my goal to be ‘apply for a job once every 2 weeks’.
Remember, we’re aiming for our ultimate growth, it shouldn’t feel like a competition!
Lis Says: Firstly – sit down and ask yourself why? Sometimes life just gets in the way and our goals need to take a back seat. And that’s okay – if the goal is still important to you, you should be able to pick back up where you left off when you have the time and space for it.