We’re winding down 2021 and looking ahead to 2022, a time for thought and reflection while also thinking ahead. It’s a great time to consider where you are in your life and where you’d like to go!
In that spirit, here are some goals to consider for the year ahead, ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, or SMART. Setting goals with these attributes in mind will make them easier to reach and will help focus your efforts.
1. Start small: updating your resume.
If you’re looking for a new job or a career change, start here. Using the SMART mindset, pick a date by which you will update your resume. Whether you chip away at it little by little or dedicate a big block of time to it, this is a specific goal that can be achieved in a set amount of time. It’s relevant to your job search. compared to other goals, it won’t take too much time, and you’ll know you’ve achieved it by having it completed.
2. Next step: Decide how many positions you want to apply for.
Looking for jobs can be exhausting and can feel overwhelming. A SMART goal can be really helpful here! For example, if you want to change jobs, determine how many jobs you want to apply to each week, or each month. Start a list and write down every resume you send out. Decide that, if you want to apply to 20 jobs in a month, you’ll apply to at least one job each weekday. This specific goal allows for both the occasional off day (if nothing new has been posted that strikes your interest) and gives you the chance to exceed your goal.
3. Keep going! Expand your horizons.
Suppose you’ve been thinking about adding to your skillset and knowledge base, either for personal enjoyment or professional advancement. In that case, you can set a goal of taking a certain number of courses in a year. If you want to take five classes in the year, decide that you’ll enroll in your first by March, your second by May, and so on.
Set aside time to look for courses that appeal to you — you’d be surprised how many free tutorials and instructional courses are available on YouTube or through LinkedIn, not to mention things offered by local colleges and adult education programs — and keep a list of what you’ve enrolled in or applied for. They don’t have to be college-level courses, it might be a six-week certification program, but this is a goal that can be easily accomplished, measured and will be relevant to your life.
4. Expand your circle.
Socializing of any kind has been kind of tricky the past year, which makes getting out more an excellent goal for 2022. How is this a SMART goal? Easy: Decide that you want to attend five networking events in a year, for example. Start looking for groups that interest you and sign up. Circle the dates on your calendar. That’s it! Keep a running list to make sure you’re meeting your targets — and keep those business cards and names of people you’ve met handy, you never know when you might be able to help each other out!
5. Think about your future.
Most interviews ask where you want to be in five years. But have you asked yourself where you want your life to be? Give it some thought and start setting your own goals for yourself. Would you like to save money? Start an automated savings account with a few dollars each week or month automatically deducted, with a goal of raising a certain amount by the end of the year. If you reach your goal earlier, so much the better! Decide what you’d like to use that money for and start daydreaming. If you want to move to a different house or a different city, take steps to make that happen, like looking at real estate listings or taking a trip to see if you’ll feel at home there.
Goals are great things to have, but making them measurable, and holding yourself accountable for achieving them, is a different story. Making incremental progress is, in itself, a victory! It will also help you stay on track to achieving whatever it is you’re working toward. Break big goals down into little steps, keep track of your actions and see how much more manageable it is. Good luck!