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8 Steps to Achieve Your Three Big Goals for 2017

8 Steps to Achieve Your Three Big Goals for 2017

We’re coming to the end of the year, and most would take this time to review and plan their year ahead with new year resolutions.

Do you set goals? Do you reset your new year resolutions year after year without really progressing or achieving them? Do your new goals get forgotten along the way? According to a University of Scranton study in 2014, only 8% of those who set out to achieve their New Year’s goals actually achieve them.

Let’s not just talk about new year resolutions but also the goals that we set. Why are we not achieving the goals we set? Don’t we want these goals? From both research and personal experiences, I can boldly highlight three reasons

1. We set too many goals all at once

When we set too many goals; e.g to travel more, to set up a business, to lose 10kg, to run a marathon, to be a great partner, parent or child, to get a promotion all at once, we are setting too many focus (and distractions) for ourselves and in turn, setting ourselves up for failure.

When that happens, we either tread water (no progress), take longer to reach where we want to go or we drop some of those goals that we could have achieved if we had spent more time and focus on that goal.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t have many goals. Over our lifetime, we’re bound to have goals and change goals at different stages of our lives. And the list may even grow longer over time, but what we need to focus now, is to pick one to three goals that really matter to us, that we really want to achieve and focus on right now.

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2. We don’t really want the goals we set

Have you ever set goals that you think it’d be nice to have? I have.

For many years, I had ‘practice meditation’ on my list, but I barely did it. In fact, over the last five years on my goals list, I have sat down and practised for less than five times. Each time I tried to meditate at home, I either fell asleep or hated the feeling. It just didn’t work for me. Meanwhile, I relish Yoga sessions so much that I would travel to get to the Yoga centre for that one hour of practice. Doing meditation is a means to practice consciousness and mindfulness which I can practice through other means.

As I looked back at my goals, I realised I didn’t really want some of the goals that I set for myself. We may have spent a lot of time and energy on these goals, but when we realise that we don’t really want them, these goals easily become a struggle. For instance, do you know why you want to chase that career goal, to climb up the corporate ladder, to travel more or to set up profitable businesses?

3. We set goals that are too vague or too difficult to achieve within a very short time frame

If you set mediocre goals, you will get mediocre results. If you set vague goals, you will get vague results. Be clear on what you want to achieve, with specific actions, non-negotiable schedule and set a due date that you cannot postpone.

Also, when we set goals, we want to cover as much action steps and timeline as we can and follow through. It’s great if what we complete goes accordingly to what we have planned. However, when we set goals that are too rigid, e.g to lose x kg every month without fail or to plot a progress so linear that it does not allow us to relax, take breaks or even change, sooner or later it will be a stressful burden to us.

8 Steps to Set Smart Goals and Achieve Them

With the ever-increasing uncertainties today, we all crave for certainties to some extent. Whether you set a goal to be healthy so that you won’t have to deal with hefty medical costs in future, or to set up a business so that you can live with more freedom and independence, setting and achieving our goals not only build us as individuals as we progress and grow but we also gain confidence and empowerment when we achieve our goals. When we achieve what we set out to be, we are more motivated to do more and be more, because we know we can.

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1. Write Your Goals Down

It seems simple and basic, but there are many who either sets no goals or those who set goals in their head. Over time, as we get busy and distracted, we tend to forget these goals that we set earlier on.

2. Pick 1 – 3 Goals that Really Matter to you

Pick goals that you really want to achieve, not what feels or looks nice to have, not what you should be achieving.

3. Know WHY you Want to Achieve these Goals

It should not be for anyone else but yourself. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want that promotion? What is your motivation in wanting to start that business?

4. Break these Few Important Goals down into Smaller Actions with a Specific Timeline

Have an action list for each goal with a set due date. And, break these actions further into really small baby steps. In fact, some coaches suggest that you break your goals into steps so simple that you can do it immediately.

5. Post your Goals and Actions Steps somewhere Visible

Making your goals, the whys and the actions steps visible not only reminds you of what you want to achieve, it also allows you to review and track your progress.

6. Act on Them

No actions = no progress. All the planning and brainstorming may feel like a productive and fulfilling exercise, but you won’t reach your goal with just planning. You have to take action.

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7. Track Your Progress

Make an appointment with yourself on a regular basis to review your progress. If you find weekly reviews too time-consuming, you can always do it monthly or quarterly.

Be conscious of how you set your due date. When we set goals for ourselves, we tend to be ambitious and want to achieve the most in the least amount of time. When we don’t see results, it is easy to give up. Set actions steps that are realistic, that you can do, pace yourself and do within your limits.

If you find yourself unable to progress because you lack some skills or experiences, go out there and get these knowledge, skills and experiences.

8. Get Feedback on Your Progress

Sometimes we may feel stuck even when we have taken a lot of actions. It helps to have support groups or people you trust who can provide you honest feedback, give you comments and motivate you to do better.

Be careful of who you share your motivation and feedback with, though. Stay way from naysayers or negative people who are always difficult. No amount of persuasion or justification will prove you right even if you are right.

Conclusion

The above steps are really what many would tell you to do on SMART goal setting. i,e, set Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-based. But this also incorporates the SMARTER Goal Setting method to include Evaluation and Review as well.

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While we may be anxious to achieve our goals, we have to learn to be patient and be willing to try. Also be willing to fail. When you fail, don’t be quick to give up and say you are not cut out for it or you won’t be successful.

The most successful people don’t only depend on skills or talents or experiences, they also persevere a lot. That’s what separates people who achieve their goals and people who don’t.

Meanwhile, enjoy the journey and don’t forget to celebrate your milestones.

Featured photo credit: Pablo via pablo.buffer.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2019

11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

1. Cloud Computing

“Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

3. Data Management

All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

4. Scheduling

Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

5. Financial Skills

These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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6. Research Skills

These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

7. Marketing Skills

While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

8. Network Security Specialist

Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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9. Communication Skills

At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

10. Computer Programming

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

11. Graphic Design

As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

The Bottom Line

We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
[2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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