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Achieving Career Goals in 2021

Happy New Year!

I’m sure you will agree that 2020 is a great year to put behind us, finally!  Yet, there are things that 2020 taught us, and it’s useful to go back and look at how much you really did accomplish in the year, as well as thinking about what lessons were learned, despite the challenges.  It’s been a great opportunity to demonstrate personal resilience and grit for sure! 

Maybe you had to pivot to a new career or job this past year.  And/or had to toggle between school children at home while you worked from home.  This is truly adaptation at its best and deserving of acknowledgement.

It really is a worthwhile exercise to look at the positive outcomes of the past year.

A client who was recently laid off after 17 years from her job found the silver lining of exiting a role that she realized she truly disliked.  After taking time for a great holiday with her family, she’s rested and ready to move forward in her career.

And there are jobs available despite and sometimes because of the pandemic!  I’ve seen clients successfully get those jobs out there!

Now we move forward in 2021 and perhaps you are looking for a different impact in your career this year.  You may have set goals or resolutions for the new year, anxious to see how these will turn out.   Or perhaps you saw the unpredictability of last year impacting your goals and wonder if it’s worth setting any now.

Yes, it is! 

I love this quote by Stephen Covey from one of his Habits of Highly Successful People, “People are working harder than ever, but because they lack clarity and vision, they aren’t getting very far.  They, in essence, are pushing a rope with all of their might.”

Clarity and vision are essential precursors to action and success.

This speaks to Covey’s Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind (franklincovey.com). When you look at 2021, where do you see yourself in your career at the end of December 2021?

Vision is definitely an important first step to consider.  In my article, Creating a Vision: A Guide to Amazing Career Achievement, I write about looking out over the next 5 years to create a robust vision for your career.  I now find that for myself, given the volatile and ever shifting world we live in, it can be helpful to break down the vision into one year, and then break out into quarters.

I have an overall vision for the year, but my focus is on the first three months only, and what I can accomplish there.
The quarterly perspective is great because it helps you to time box your strategies, actions, and goals into a three-month slice.  It helps you to stay focused on the bigger picture by what you can accomplish now.

When I look at my quarterly goals, I also look at what the barriers are to accomplishing these.  There are studies that show you can increase motivation and success in your goals by picturing your obstacles and coming up with solutions to those obstacles in advance…really strategizing your way through the obstacles.  I recommend a great book on this by Gabriele Oettinger, Rethinking Positive Thinking.  She has a methodology for being able to do this on a daily basis.

Studies have shown that if you come up with a plan in advance to handle your common barriers and obstacles to achieving something, you have a greater likelihood of achievement.

Another key success factor is to build some accountability into your goals. 

I work with a fellow coach colleague and we have been sending weekly goals to each other with the intention of holding ourselves accountable.  It’s a method that can help you to achieve and you don’t feel so all alone.

Consider choosing a theme for the quarter.  My theme for first quarter is “Consistent and Confident.”  I find that confidence is very important to my goal setting and achievement.

There are different ways to look at achieving goals.  Consider trying something new to get to what you want for your career this year.  I hope I’ve inspired you to think of your goals/resolutions in a different way.  I wish you a very Happy New Year!

ACTION CHALLENGE:

Try some of the techniques above to energize your goal setting and achievement this year:

Think about 2020…acknowledge all that you did to thrive in a year like no other.

Start with a vision for where you want your career to be at the end of 2021.

Consider breaking your career goals into quarterly goals.

Take time to consider the barriers and obstacles to achieving your goals and iterate through solutions.

Build accountability into your goals.

Choose a theme for the quarter.

I would love to hear some of your ideas.

One goal for this year could be to learn how to utilize LinkedIn to it’s fullest.  Join me in my workshop Harness the Power of LinkedIn for Your Career – Up Coaching LLC. (upcoached.com) coming soon.

Lupe Wood
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