personal professional goals

Treating Personal Goals like Professional Goals

If you are struggling to achieve outside of the workplace or would like to be more personally successful, then try transferring the business principles over to your personal objectives.

Setting Annual Objectives

Setting annual objectives does not have to happen just in January as everyone should be looking at their personal goals on a regular basis. Setting goals that you want to achieve in 12 months is a good mid-length range to work towards.

Annual objectives are set in the workplace to encourage employees to work on their professional development. Why would we not also want to invest in continued personal development in the same way?

The way in which we set professional goals is proven to be successful. Therefore, the same approach for setting personal goals should be taken. Write them down, be specific, make sure they are achievable and that you have set a timescale for when you intend to achieve them.

Accountability partners are great for helping you to stay on track. In a professional environment, this is often a role automatically taken on by your line manager, however, with personal goals you can choose someone to help you stay on track. Consider someone you know who would be a good accountability partner. Someone who you can communicate honestly with and someone who is going to take your goals and progress seriously and drive you forward.

Quarterly Reviews

Once you have set your annual goal, you need to start breaking it down, also known as ‘chunking’.

Start off with breaking it down into four quarters. This will help you focus only on the first set of activities to work on. The remaining quarters can stay on the back burner. This will not only prevent being overwhelmed but also the flexibility to review the activities should things change over time, which is often the case.

Most employers ask employees to review their progress quarterly but how many of us do this for our own personal development and growth? Reviewing our progress on a regular basis helps us keep track of where we are and how we are progressing to what or where we want to be.

Have you accomplished what you wanted to achieve so far? Would regular reviews of your progress have helped you achieve more? Do you know what you want to do differently so that you can be even more successful?

Monthly Tasks and Activities

Once the goal has been ‘chunked’ into quarters, you can focus on breaking them down even further into individual tasks and activities. The smaller the chunk, the higher the chance of success.

Set tasks and activities to achieve each week. Prioritise certain tasks and where possible diarise the time to complete them rather than just having a ‘to do’ list. Be specific about what you will need to do, and when. Keep it recorded and in a place where you won’t forget about it!

Use your accountability partner, friend or family member to help you stay on track.

Resources and Training

When setting goals, you also need to consider what resources and training you need to be able to achieve success. In a business environment, you would look to bring in a subject matter expert or use a mentor to help you achieve the task ahead. You would look at what resources are needed to meet the deadline and ensure that tasks are completed on time to keep everything else on track.

The same approach should be applied to personal goals. What resources do you need to support you? Using coaches and mentors as well as support groups are often key factors to success. Do you know the smartest way to achieve your goal or do you need to bring in an expert to help you achieve success?

What internal resources do you need? Resilience, determination, perseverance?

Do you need some help to achieve your goal? If the answer is ‘yes’, then you need to consider coaching which is a crucial element to attaining personal growth.

All of this will require an investment of time, energy and finances. Does this impact whether or not the goal is achievable or do you need to review the time frame set or maybe even the goal itself.

Project Manage Your Goals

Approach personal goals like a project. Goals are very much in the future and something you work towards whereas projects are in the present and being worked upon. This will help you stay action focussed rather than focussing on a result in the future.

As with project management you can also consider the following points.

  • Benefits – What will be the benefits when you achieve the goal?
  • Risks – What risks are likely to arise? How can you remove, manage and mitigate them?
  • Milestones – What will be your milestones and key milestones to keep you on track?
  • Stakeholder management – Who do you need to support, who may you need to manage to get them on board?
  • Interdependencies – Are your goals dependent on anything else that you need to consider?

Mission, Vision and Values

Most businesses require it’s objectives to be set in line with the organisation mission, vision and values. You may want to consider these questions to achieve this on a personal level;-

  • Do you know what yours are personally?
  • Do you check if your goals and activities are in line with them?
  • Are your objectives the goals you want to achieve or are they goals that you have set because you feel you ‘should’ or they are someone else’s goals?
  • Are they goals you are willing to work for? Are you willing to make the sacrifices and changes to achieve success?

If you are experiencing procrastination, or you are setting the same goals year after year without making any real progress towards them, then it may be worthwhile checking them against your personal mission, vision and values.

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