How to Create Professional Development Goals

Posted on - in Work Productivity
How to Create Professional Development Goals

Whether you’ve been a working professional for years or are just starting out, there can come a time when you feel like you’re stuck.

If you’re not moving forward at the rate you had hoped, it’s easy to become frustrated, deflated and overwhelmed. Professional development goals, however, can help.

Creating professional development goals ensures you’re moving forward.

When you set new goals, and make a plan to achieve them, you’re creating a path to success. However, you need to be sure you’re taking the right steps when developing these goals.

You don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the goals you’re setting. With the right plan, you can accomplish your long- and short-term aspirations.

To help you create the best professional development goals for you, follow these three steps:

Step 1: Identify Your Work Values

To begin setting your goals, you want to think about yourself as a working professional and what you’d like to accomplish. This thought process should go beyond than just the companies you’d like to work for or the titles you’d like to hold.

Instead, you want to consider you. Remove titles and company names and think of yourself as a professional. How can your skills and experience help other people, for example, or benefit the local and global economy?

Start small and then work your way towards the big picture. These big pictures values help you identify the direction you’d like to take. Knowing what you value in the professional world will also help you make smarter decisions in the future.

Step 2: Create a Long-Term Goal

Based on the values you’ve established, create a long-term goal that you’d like to achieve.

This goal may be five years in the future, so it is adjustable as you grow and reach your short-term goals. However, determining what you’d like to accomplish in a few years from now gives you an end goal for motivation.

Although it may be difficult, try to make your long-term goal as detailed as possible. Include a month or year that you’d like to achieve this target by, for example, or list a company you’d like to work for or provide your services to. You can add additional details to narrow your focus.

Keep in mind that these details don’t need to be accurate and can evolve. They’re there to help you create a timeline for growing your professional skills to attain your career aspirations.

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Step 3: Break Your Goal Down into Smaller Goals

Look at the long-term goal you’ve established. Although it may be far in the future, you need to start working on it now to accomplish it. To help build up momentum, break down what you need to accomplish to get yourself to that long-term goal.

Again, you want to make your mini-goals as precise as possible. However, these should be tasks you can accomplish in the designated timeframe. Set due dates for yourself and include as much detail as possible.

Make sure your goals are measurable, attainable and realistic for the position you hold. Continue to break down each goal into steps until you have an action plan for reaching your long-term goal.

The professional goals you establish can be as small or as large as you need. Whether you want to become certified in a certain skill or you’re hoping to land a promotion, setting goals and plans for achieving them help you become a stronger, better professional.

Anytime you find yourself trapped in a career funk it may be a sign that you need to establish some new goals.

Follow these three steps for creating development goals, to ensure you’re creating a realistic career plan that helps you get from Point A to Point B.

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Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!

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