Where would you like to be by the end of 2019? What about in five years? What experiences will help you achieve that? What interests and skills would you like to enhance in your career?

Setting a career goal is about deciding where you want to head in your career, and noting the steps needed to reach that point.

Career goals commonly fall into the categories of enhancing skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, and technology. Ideally, these goals also interest you personally and benefit in your contribution to the company you work for.

A popular way to start setting goals is using the SMART acronym:

Specific – Specifically define what you plan to deliver using action verbs. For example, “make five new LinkedIn connections daily” vs. “make some new networking connections.”

Measurable – Identify how you will measure your success and stay on track. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as: how much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

Achievable – Make sure your goal is realistic and possible for you to reach. Think about how you intend to accomplish your goal? Is the goal realistic given where you’re starting from? It should be a challenge, but also achievable.

Relevant – Goals should be relevant to your career mission/progression. A relevant goal is one that matters to you. Does your goal relate to or affects other efforts or timelines? Is this the right time?

Time-Based - Establish a realistic time frame for achieving your goal. A goal should be grounded within a defined time period, both for clarity and to give your action urgency. When do you want to begin? When do you want to complete each step?

One common problem about setting goals is not having them written down and placed at an obvious location which serves as a constant reminder. Another issue will be the lack of rewards to oneself for making progressions along the way. One good trick is to have an accountability partner with whom you will share your goals with and have them hold you accountable and celebrate your successes whenever you achieve them.

So, start setting those goals today!