This is the time of the year we like to make New Year’s resolutions.
It doesn’t matter that studies report that 88 percent of these resolutions will never be achieved. Most of us seem optimistically bullish that we can resolve to improve our conditions in life.
Many of these resolutions involve our jobs or work lives, because those things are so important to the quality of life we want. Yet, the trouble with resolutions is that they disappear as easily as they are envisioned.
So maybe it’s time this year to replace “resolutions” with “goals.”
The difference is that goals have tangible measurements. You can look back at the end of the year and see whether you successfully achieved your goal or not. There is no gray area.
A typical work goal might be to find a new job.
In order to do that, you are going to need a plan. You first have to figure out the specific job you want, and then determine what skills are necessary to land that job. If you don’t have the skills required, you’ll have to come up with a development plan that enables you to learn the skills you need.
Then you’ll need to identify possible employers who have available jobs that match your desires. There likely will be several on your list, but to find them you’ll probably have to do considerable research. As part of this process, you’ll have to develop a sales pitch that will win you the job you want.
Last, you’ll need to commit to a deadline. This is going to be the true measure of your goal. If you don’t meet your deadline for achieving it, there is no way you can claim success. This is a defined finish line.
Maybe you don’t want to seek a job at another company, but find a better job in the company where you are now employed. The process could be a bit different, but it will encompass many of the same action items involved in looking for a new employer. Once again, you’ll establish a deadline, and that will be your definition of success.
The resolutions we make often lack specifics and rarely are attached to some sort of measurable end point. Goals don’t offer you wiggle room. Either you achieve them or you don’t.
If you don’t, you haven’t lost anything. You can take solace in the fact that you set a goal, developed a plan toward achieving it, and then tried to do that. Besides, having tried means you’re probably stronger and better-equipped to achieve your goal the next time.
You’re still ahead of the game, whether you’ve learned new skills or just refined the type of job you want.
There is no disgrace in setting a goal, trying to achieve it, and coming up a little short. Just because you didn’t achieve it in the time frame you established doesn’t mean you won’t be able to reach it.