Did you meet your January goals?
You achieved all your goals! Great! That’s super awesome and should be celebrated! Congratulations!
I did not meet all of mine. But I decided I wasn’t going to beat myself up over it. I’m just going to keep trying…and “keep swimming” as one of my coaches says.
If you missed the mark, there’s nothing super special or different about January when it comes to goal setting. Perhaps your life circumstances changed, or you realized the goals you set weren’t realistic. Maybe the goal was too vague and not measurable. Maybe your priorities changed.
Regardless, you have two options if you missed an important goal that lost traction:
- Give up.
- Try again.
NOW is always the best time to set new goals. Maybe you learned something about your goal along the way that will help you set your next goal. Why wait to course correct? What is that going to buy you?
When it comes to goals, I love this saying, “I never lose. I either win, or I learn.” –Nelson Mandela
If you learned, that counts!
One thing I’ve learned is goals don’t have to be annual goals. There are some goals that might be easier to achieve in a few weeks or a few months. Sometimes when you set a shorter timeline, you have more of an incentive to achieve the goal.
Perhaps breaking down the goal into baby steps is a better way to achieve the goal.
Losing weight comes to mind. It’s the easiest analogy, right?
We might have set a goal to lose 50 pounds, but do we wait until we reach 50 before we celebrate any loss?
What if we set out to lose 5 pounds instead?
Then 5 more pounds.
What did we learn when we lost 5 pounds?
How did we do it? How did we feel? What worked?
Clearly, you made time to do it, right?
Therein lies one of the keys to achieving our goals.
Allowing the time for it.
We won’t achieve the goal if we aren’t going to make time for the process.
One thing I’ve learned is that I overschedule myself. I like to cram as much in a day as I possibly can. (Yes, there’s a story behind that mindset, but I’ll save that for another day.)
In the past, when I’ve set goals—especially in January—I’ve made a list. A long list. But I wasn’t too great at getting into the nitty gritty of detailing out the goal and breaking it down into tasks…and I wasn’t creating SMART goals.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant (this part is key)
T – Timely
Get specific with your goals…
When you set a specific goal, it shouldn’t be vague pie-in-the-sky. Let’s say you want a new job or promotion, so you set a goal: new job or promotion this year.
If having a new job or promotion is your goal, you can make that more specific by analyzing your current situation and executing the steps needed to make that happen:
1. Research the agency or company—the mission and values. Get a sense of the culture.
2. Study the job announcement. Do you qualify at the highest level to be selected to interview? Pre-qualify yourself to ensure that you do.
3. Take the time to craft your single most-important career document—your résumé. Make sure it is high quality, customized to each job announcement, and conveys your true value. Don’t wait until the last minute and throw together a low-quality submission. That will only waste your time—and theirs.
4. Follow the directions in the job announcement. Give them what they want.
5. Apply with confidence because you know your résumé will speak to each of the six gatekeepers/audiences.
6. STRATEGIZE your interview process. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me: “just get me in front of the hiring manager and I can wing it from there”… only to blow it.
I’ll never forget reading a post on Reddit where someone had submitted 282 federal applications and set a goal of submitting 500 by August. Clearly, his strategy was misinformed. It’s never quantity over quality. You can read about why it’s never about quantity over quality here.
Yes, that’s an example of measuring, but a super poor “measured” strategy and honestly, a complete waste of time.
Instead, I recommend measuring the quality of the application—how many interviews have you landed? Go back to step 3 above if you aren’t landing interviews.
Is it achievable?
When it comes to a job search, “achievable” can be a bit difficult because there are parts of the process out of our control. With that aside, if you set a realistic goal with a realistic timeline, achievable is reachable.
Work on what IS controllable—the quality of your résumé, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, network, and most important, what you are applying for. Do you qualify at the highest level for the job?
Are you pre-qualifying yourself before you take all the time to write your résumé and apply?
Does your single-most important document—your résumé—convey your value…at the highest level?
Do you have the resources to achieve this goal? Do you need to partner with someone to make it happen?
Make it relevant.
It’s crucial to set goals that have meaning in your life. WHY are you applying for that job? Is it something you want to do for one to three years? Will it help you achieve your overarching goals? Why is this goal relevant in your life?
How will that impact your family? Your income? Your retirement? What is your why?
Are your goals timely?
Typically, when we set a goal, we have an end date in mind. Does the timeline of the goal align with your schedule? Do you need to adjust your schedule and make time for the baby steps?
Is it the right time to be working on this goal? Do you have the support of your family and friends? Do you need additional support?
I do. I have several great coaches and each one has instilled the importance of setting a timeline and breaking the goals into tasks and getting those tasks on the calendar.
Write your goals down!
“Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” —Fitzhugh Dodson
I truly believe that a goal without a real plan is just a wish…and a real plan without a blueprint is going to take much longer.
According to this article, 60% of people abandon their resolutions within six months and 25% of people abandon them within 7 days. Yowza!
I’m not a famous person who makes up quotes, but I can tell you this. In order to achieve your career goals, you will achieve them faster with a proven game plan that works—and accountability.
Remember your why…and your timeline?
Let that be your motivation.
Do you need a federal résumé game plan? Download yours today.