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15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

It’s easy to get bogged down with the daily grind of work, but it’s important to stay positive when you’re on the clock. Even if your boss isn’t the type to pat you on the back, there are ways to keep from being bummed out every morning when your alarm goes off. These fifteen easy tips will help you stay positive at work.

1. Keep learning.

Just because you’re not in school anymore and you have a job, you don’t have to stop learning. On-the-job education is the best way to build up your resume. Learn as much as you can from every work experience you have, from presenting during a meeting to giving a tour of your workplace to outsiders. If you don’t have a chance to learn from new things, ask your coworkers or bosses if you can accompany them when they do their duties, and learn about what they do.

2. Teach others what you know.

You want to accompany others when they do their jobs, so offer that opportunity to your coworkers. Instead of helping them out only when they ask, offer to teach them what you know so they won’t have to call you all of the time. It might feel good to be needed (talk about job security!), but when you have your own list of tasks to do, being called to help someone else can be inconvenient. You know what they say: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

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3. Give yourself a break.

You’re on the clock for eight hours a day, and you’re expected to work that entire time, but you can’t really do that. Trying to work nonstop means you’re wearing yourself out, and each subsequent task you do will get a little sloppier as you lose focus and motivation. Take a short break every hour or two. Step away from your desk and stretch, get some fresh air. You might spend five to fifteen minutes not working, but you’ll feel so refreshed by the time you come back to your office that you’ll be ready to get to work immediately.

4. Leave work at work.

It’s important to have time to yourself, your family, and your hobbies. If you work for eight hours, clock out, and then come home to do more work, you’re not going to be excited to go back to work the next day. Make a rule where you have to leave your work at the office. If you don’t complete a task while you’re clocked in, make it a priority for the next morning, but leave it at work. It’s hard not to even think about work while you’re at home because it’s such a large portion of your life, but give it a try. The more you put it out of your mind, the more rejuvenated you’ll feel each morning when it’s time to go back to the office.

5. Build relationships with coworkers.

Your work environment will be more comfortable and fun if you’re friendly with your coworkers. You don’t have to know every detail of their personal lives, or even the names of their children, but having a good back and forth with coworkers, bosses, and associates will make your workplace more inviting. Having a friendly community at work will also make you feel more supported in your work duties, which can help cut stress levels.

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6. Participate in after-work activities.

When the clock strikes five, you’re more than ready to go home, but don’t let this attitude take over and leave you out of work events. If some of the crew are going out for dinner or drinks, tag along every once in awhile. This helps build a community in the workplace, and you’ll feel more connected to your coworkers. After all, you might still be with work people, but you won’t be at work, so you’ll still feel like you’re having time outside of the office for yourself.

7. Make your workplace nice.

Whether you have an office, a cubicle, a classroom, or a desk in the middle of a crowded room, make your workplace nice! Check with your boss to see what kind of decorations are allowed, and then bring in some posters that motivate you, or family pictures that make you smile. Even something as small as bringing in your own coffee mug instead of using a Styrofoam cup can make your desk seem more homey. Sitting in an environment that looks nice and makes you feel good will do wonders for your motivation.

8. Volunteer to spearhead a project.

Instead of waiting to be assigned a project and getting stuck with something you might not like, why not volunteer to take on a project? This way you’ll have more control over your tasks and you’ll look great to your bosses. They’ll be thrilled that you’ve willingly taken on more work, and will be more likely to consider you for the best of future projects and maybe even promotions.

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9. Concentrate on one thing at a time.

You have a lot of things on your To Do list, but concentrating on one thing at a time will help you be more motivated and focused. If you stay on task until it’s finished, you won’t lose time by multitasking or changing course from one topic to another. By concentrating on one thing at a time, you also are more likely to complete more tasks fully, instead of doing bits and pieces of a bunch of different projects but not finishing any.

10. Set attainable goals.

Instead of setting your sights on the moon, set attainable work goals. It’s good to have dreams, but if you dream too big and don’t make it, you might be discouraged when it comes to accomplishing other goals. If you set attainable goals and meet them, you’ll be more inspired to set more goals you can reach.

11. Use your imagination.

Don’t restrict yourself to straightforward business practices – use your imagination! Take a creative approach to your projects and presentations, and brainstorm any task you’re given to see how you can blow your bosses out of the water.

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12. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes.

If you make a mistake, whether it’s a verbal slip-up in a meeting or a typo in an email, let it go. You can’t beat yourself up over something like that, because everyone makes mistakes. Don’t forget what you’ve done wrong, but learn from it and move on. Take comfort in the fact that people won’t remember it for long, and use it to push yourself to do better next time, so instead of remembering your blunder, they’ll remember your success!

13. Reward yourself for your accomplishments.

Every time you finish a task, pat yourself on the back. When you finish a major project, treat yourself to dinner out or a new movie. It’s just as important to reward yourself for your accomplishments as it is to not beat yourself up over mistakes. Marking something off your To Do list feels good enough as it is, but if you reward yourself, even with something small, you’ll be proud of yourself and want to accomplish more.

14. Surround yourself with positive people.

Stay away from coworkers who bring their negative energy into your life and your workspace. It might be difficult to avoid people if you work in close quarters with them, but you can at least make all of your interactions with them positive by keeping upbeat. Your positive attitude might help them change their tune!

15. Smile more.

Smile when you greet your coworkers and clients. Smile when you walk down the hall. Smile even when you don’t want to smile, and see how much it improves your days! Smiling even if you don’t feel happy will make you feel better, and seeing a smile on your face will make others feel better, too!

Featured photo credit: Micah Elizabeth Scott via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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