Culture July 6, 2015

Ready, set, goal.

Ready, set, goal.

It’s inevitable. At some point, in your professional or personal life, you will be asked about your goals. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Most likely, you’ll be asked these questions multiple times by many people throughout your life. I used to shutter at the thought of answering these questions because the truth is setting goals, both short-term and long-term can be daunting and tough to do. But, in the end, it helps you move forward. Research has shown that creating clear and measurable goals is important. But even more important to this process is writing those goals down.

A study was conducted in a 1979 Harvard MBA program where students were asked if they had set, clear, written goals for their future. The result was that only 3 per cent had written goals, 13 per cent had goals but they weren’t in writing and 84 per cent had no goals at all. The same group was interviewed ten years later. The 3 per cent who had written goals were earning about ten times more than the other 97 per cent of the whole class combined. Although, the study only looks at income to determine success, it still showcases the importance of setting goals and writing them down. So, there’s no time like the present to write out both your professional and personal goals on a piece of paper and the steps you need to take to achieve them.

At Citizen Relations, we remain on top of our career development with a career development program called Success Factors. This program ensures that we set out goals at the beginning of each year and work to achieve them while documenting our steps. This program helped me understand what I had achieved and what I needed to conquer next. It’s easy to forget how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished if you don’t write it down. In my personal life, writing out my goals continues to help me realize what I want to achieve and plan my steps to get there. I find that achieving goals in my personal life helps me excel in my professional life and vice versa.

Wanting to have goals is great and all, but how do you set ones that are right for you? Make sure to follow these five rules to lay out clear and measurable goals that will set you up for success in both your professional and personal life. PR professionals follow these SMART rules when setting goals for clients every day, so why not use them to make your own.

Start with ensuring your goals are Specific. You should always target areas that you know need improvement and growth. Next, your goals should be Measurable. Set a benchmark so that you’re aware of when you’re close to or have achieved your goal and know your next steps. Most importantly, make sure your goals are Attainable. Don’t set out to change the world in a month or solve world hunger in a year. Set short-term goals that are achievable and will help you move forward, but always challenge yourself. Finally, ensure they are both Relevant and Timely. Goals should be pertinent to your life and your bigger picture. Also, set a time period for when you’d like to accomplish them. This will help you map out a clear path to get to the finish line.

Writing out my goals has become a habit for me and I’ve seen myself grow every year as I work to conquer each goal on my list. Sometimes it may take longer to get there, but that’s part of the process. I’ve crossed destinations off my bucket list, overcome fears, improved my self-confidence and challenged myself to achieve new milestones in my career. Writing my goals down has done more than just keep me accountable, it’s kept me moving forward and it’s done the same for so many others. Now, do the same for yourself and grab a pen and paper and get planning!

Alyssa Katzikowski is an Account Executive at Citizen Relations.


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