Personal Goal Setting
When I was 12 years’ old I went and got a paper round. Rarely heard of these days the job of a paper boy or girl but for me it was a means to an end. I was the daughter of a post office worker and full time stay at home mum. With a humble family income, there was no extra to allow for pocket money and I wanted more. I was heading into teenage world, impressionable and I didn’t want the daggy Kmart clothes or hand me downs anymore. I looked in the local paper for jobs and there was one advertised for paper delivery. I cut it out and took it to mum saying I wanted to do it. I can’t remember the negotiation process but in two short weeks I was hired, working 5 days per week from 5am – 7am to receive a weekly, yes weekly wage of between $15 – $25. Most went straight into a Christmas Club account yet I was also able to buy things I wanted because of the money I received. Come November I cashed in. I remember with my first “big cheque” I bought what was a beautiful (expensive) dress and some patent shoes. While I still had a lot of “comfortable” get about clothes I could now afford little luxuries. Reflecting back this was one of my first commercial goal setting moments.
Since these formative years I can look back on where I have come from and where I am today and can pinpoint that it is personal goal setting that has played a huge part in achieving the successes I have gained to date.
Employers and managers and business owners are all encouraged to set goals on behalf of the organisation. However today I want to focus on you, the employee and why you should set your own personal goals. Here are my suggestions to getting going with some serious, successful goal setting.
What do you want? Personally? Where do you want to live? What type of house? Do you want to rent or buy? How big is your lifestyle? Do you want to travel? How do you want to impact the community? Do you have any passion projects?
Until you define what it is you want you will ebb and flow and months and years go by until you stop and prop and say “Why is my life like this?” When dreams, ambitions and pursuits (even if not conscious) remain unfulfilled there is a flatness, a disgruntlement with your lot or at worst anxiety and depression.
Take yourself away, write down what you specifically want personally and put some time-lines towards achievement. When are you going to get there? What will it look like when you have reached your goal? How will you know? How will you feel?
It’s important to determine if your goals can be fulfilled within your current employment scenario.
Many individuals may find they cannot afford, and won’t for many years, the lifestyle or career aspirations they dream of within the confines of their role, the team or their company.
If your work and prospect of goal attainment become incongruent, where the gap is too great, it will impact on your work. You will lose interest and become disengaged because your work is not helping you get to where you want to go.
Many individuals just keep going on and wonder why they make rash decisions about leaving which can see them in a worse situation particularly towards goal attainment than if they planned a course to work towards this, while employed.
I would recommend you speak to a Careers Specialist and get some career coaching on this. When your work, the organisation you work for, the salary and salary progression and career development is aligned with your personal direction it all makes sense. However, if something is out of kilter you will feel imbalanced and this causes stress.
Taking the Steps
Once you know what you need from your work-life to support your personal goals it’s time to make it happen.
Have a discussion with your manager around what you want to achieve both personally and professionally. While your employer cannot help you reach all of your personal goals, salary and career development should be on the table as they help you attain some key parts of your vision. Then professionally map out a process to get from where you are to where you want to go. Include timelines so you can see progress.
Don’t forget, it’s not a one-way street. Equally your manager and employer will want to see you achieving goals on their front so ensure this is part of the conversation. Equally to your own goal fulfilment, you will be needing to achieve outcomes within the organisation’s setting.
Ensure you take time out. A lot of people look at their goals annually. Hence why we have new year’s resolutions. However, you can have the review another time. Usually May is good, leading into your annual review. Here you can reflect and assess personally on your own achievements, where there are gaps and what you need to do to close the gap. Secondly you can address the business goals set for you and how you have been tracking. Both should come together to create a bigger picture towards your full goal achievement.
Once you are in the habit, goal setting can be a perpetual process. You achieve a goal, you set another, you achieve that but already have your eye on something else. From a serial goal setter learn from my mistakes. CELEBRATE achieving milestones. You have personally invested in achieving an outcome and you did it! Pat yourself on the back, go out for a dinner, have a splurge, treat yourself. It helps in the closing off of the goal and will spur you onto the next BIG thing.
As months turn into years you can look back, have a sense of pride in your development, achievements, contribution and success. Not only do you have an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, it’s great for the soul!
Article written by Maree Herath, Director, Harvest Recruitment and Harvest Human Resources