Make plans, not resolutions

January 05, 2019

HAVE you noticed how we make New Year’s Resolutions on December 31, only to break them by January 3 and totally abandon them before the month is over? We need more than resolutions. We need a plan. The adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is especially important when it comes to your career and in light of hard times nowadays. Don’t leave your job to chance or even to your boss. Take responsibility in steering your career to where you want to go.

Sit down and think. Find a quiet nook away from distractions. Then with paper and pen, jot down items such as: What have I accomplished in Year 2018? What tasks or projects did I leave unfinished or hanging? What did I discover about my strengths and weaknesses? What improvements or changes do I wish to see in my career in Year 2019? Where do I want to be in five years? In ten?

Write down your goals. The notes from the above reflection should drive you to write down your career goals for the following year. I have heard one say that if you don’t put your goals on paper, you are just day-dreaming. Your goals should fit with the well-known acronym SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable and time-bound.

Let’s say that your goal in 2019 is to get promoted as supervisor. You have a specific rank to pursue. It is measurable in the sense of “Yes/No” -- either you got the promotion or didn’t. Some even measure their career goals by the salaries they wish to earn at certain dates. As to being achievable and reasonable, I am assuming that your corporate culture makes it possible for one to be promoted within a year, which is the time-bound element. If not, then you must re-think your goals, otherwise they will only be recipes for frustration. Another option is to maintain your goals but have a more aggressive strategy, such as getting a new job where you enter as a supervisor.

Plan your strategy. But goals are not enough. You need to think next on how to pull them off. Make broad, high-impact strokes that propel you to your goals. Going back to our example, your strategy may look like this:

•Start with a thorough self-assessment in leadership skills.

•Attend seminars on supervisory management.

•Volunteer in projects or committees where you can show leadership material.

•Gather enough accomplishments so that by so-and-so date, you can approach your boss and ask for the promotion.

Don’t forget some basic career strategies such as networking, upgrading your communication skills and having a mentor. The last is very important because you will have the advantage of someone else’s experience without making costly mistakes of your own. A wise mentor should see your potential and help you refine your strategies.

I wish you all a prosperous year ahead!

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