Sparkler fireworks to celebrate new Career Goals

New Year, New Career Goals

Welcome to 2023! The past few years have happened in a blur, and I’ve heard a lot of hope that 2023 will be the year things finally return to normal. This year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my personal and professional goals, and I am excited for what is to come!

January is a big month for setting career goals, personal goals, and New Year’s Resolutions.  As we move towards new beginnings, people are inspired to set new goals for the year, personally and professionally.  Unfortunately, a lot of times, these resolutions don’t last.  Take the gym; in the “before times,” January was the busiest month at the gyms. Waiting 20 minutes to get a treadmill, lots of new faces, long lines, and the best of intentions.  Come March, the buzz has gone, classes have shrunk, and you can take your time without feeling rushed.

We have some tricks to help you stick to your goals so they don’t get ignored come March.  You probably already have a career goal in mind; it could be a completely new role, changing industries, a horizontal move in a company, or maybe a promotion.   While you might not know how exactly to get there,  you probably have some idea of what you want to do.

Dream Big

For some people, it helps to start with your big-picture goal. Especially now, it can help lift your head above the clouds and look long-term.  Picture the job you want to retire from and imagine what that looks like and where you’d like to be.  Are you running your own business? A C-Level executive?  Maybe you are a technical expert.  It could be that your goal is to be in a comfortable position that allows you the flexibility to focus on other life priorities.  Whatever that goal is, envision your future self in that role.  It’s okay if it seems far away or ambitious and if this goal changes over time.

The big picture method allows you to set long, mid, and short-term goals to help you achieve that ultimate goal.  By working backward, you’re able to identify more and more tangible things that you can do to move toward that outcome.  The long-term goals you set should look at what you need to accomplish in the next ten years to progress toward the big goal.  From there, you can place 2-5-year mid-term goals and dive deeper to set up goals for the next six months to a year.  Ask yourself what three to five things you can achieve in the next year to help you accomplish those mid-term goals.

Still Deciding What You Want to Be?

If trying to picture yourself at the end of your career terrifies you, that’s fine too.  It’s not uncommon for people to change jobs, industries, or career paths multiple times in their life.  Instead, focus on the next two to five years for your career.  Are you a recent graduate looking to break into a field?  Maybe you feel stuck where you’re at and want to move forward.  Imagine what that looks like and set some mid-range goals around those ideas.  Then build some more tangible shorter-term goals to help you get there.

Short Term Goals

Your short-term career goals are where you want to focus most of your attention.  You can accomplish these things this year to move your career forward.  One way to help develop these goals is to use the SMART goal methodology.  SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.  When your goals encompass these components, they become much more actionable.  Phrasing your goals in this way gives you a solid plan on how to approach and move forward to accomplish them.

Think of your goals as living documents.  Goals are flexible, and you get to make updates as your priorities change.  If you want to change directions mid-way through, revisit your career goals to adjust or replace them with your new targets.

Write Your Career Goals Down

Write down your career goals

It’s not enough to develop career goals at a major transition point.  After you’ve gone through all the work of coming up with SMART goals, don’t hide them away in the corner of your mind or desk drawer.  By writing the goals down, you’re more likely to achieve them.  A psychology study by Dr. Gail Matthews out of the Dominican University of California found that students who wrote down their goals and provided weekly status updates to accountability buddies were much more likely to achieve them. While only 43% of the students who wrote down their goals had accomplished or were halfway to meeting them, 76% of the students providing the updates had accomplished or had made significant progress toward completion.

Need Some Help?

If you need some help with making progress toward your career goals, we can help.  Sound Interview Professionals can help you polish your resume and develop your brand.  We offer custom coaching to help you accelerate your career.  To learn more, visit our career services page, or send us a note at

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