Each year, we try to write an all-new story for ourselves with a specific conclusion in mind, especially career-wise. Sometimes, it turns out pretty close to what we envisioned; then there are years that couldn’t be any farther from what we were aiming for.

A large part of why these results vary from year to year is because most of us don’t have a solid, dynamic process for executing our plans for the year. That’s exactly what we have in mind to show you here: a simple but reliable way to fine-tune your professional growth and development goals.

This process applies to personal life goals as well, so if you’re a bit lost on how to consistently achieve them every year, then take note!

Specify your goals.

Improvement isn’t just about how much you’ll change. It’s also about what you’ll change into. Will it be a better or a worse version of yourself? The worst way to handle growth and development is to be doubtful of what results you want. Picture the changes you desire for your professional life. Make sure they are clear and well-defined.

Write things down.

Once your goals are clear, keep them on record. Don’t rely only on memory to remind you of what you aim to accomplish for yourself this year. You don’t even have to literally write them down! Depending on what most helps you remember things, you can make a list of your goals with pen and paper, type them into your phone or laptop, or even make an audio or video recording of them. That personalisation is also important to help you feel that those are your own targets, not targets that someone else forced on you.

Categorise your goals.

Your list of goals will need some organisation to remain clear and manageable. Split them up into categories according to what works best for you. Do you want to group them by timeline, priority or resources involved? You sure can! In fact, you can classify your goals in any way you want, as long as it’ll help you accomplish them.

Split your actions into steps.

It can be exciting to start doing something to achieve your goals. But before diving into that list, group your planned actions into concrete steps. Doing this will help you pace yourself, conserving time, energy, and resources while maximizing results. It’s also good for your overall sanity, since an overloaded attitude of accomplishment can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Avoid trying to hit too many birds with half a stone.

Measure your progress.

Suppose you’ve recently finished one or two steps in your plans for the year. The first thing you should do is to find out if that changed anything. Are you closer to your goals after taking those actions? Take note of any developments in your plans, and compare them with what you want to achieve.

Adjust your plans.

Of course, don’t just compare your progress with your targets. Using what you observed after finishing each step of your plan, adjust your strategy for the remaining steps. Did some of your recent actions open up other opportunities apart from those that you originally had? Are some of your options no longer valid after a few unexpected developments? Keep your end goals constant, but maintain flexibility in your plans.

As we said, this is a simple process with clear guidelines to follow. But being complex doesn’t always equate to being comprehensive. Even a simple plan, if thought-out well, can cover all your bases and ensure you don’t miss anything.

Try incorporating these guidelines into your plan for 2019, and don’t forget to share with us your success stories!

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