How to set goals that are aligned personally and professionally

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

When was the last time you sat down and wrote some personal and professional goals for yourself, and really thought about how to action these?

We all know the importance of goal setting for our future success. We know in an ideal world we should have some personal goals, a career goal or two, a financial one, and some bucket list items to tick off.

But how often are you really thinking about the process of achieving your personal and business goals, and whether this is working for you?

· How often are you actually achieving your goals?

· Who are you accountable to?

· Are your personal and professional goals aligned?

The truth is – many of us have hopes and dreams for our future. We want to rise to the top in our careers, take a year off to go travelling, buy that luxury car, fly first class, purchase that holiday or investment home, or climb that mountain.

Which is why, this time of year (new financial year and Annual Review time), it’s a good opportunity to think about the goals we have – personally and professionally- and set these together.

After all, we spend a large portion of our life at work. Our personal lives are very much intertwined with our business lives. And that’s how our goals should be set too...

One of the reasons I started my business was to provide a platform where I could achieve my professional and personal goals.

One of the goals on my list had always been to complete an Ironman triathlon before I turn 50 years old.

In order to achieve some of my personal goals, such as this, I needed more freedom and autonomy in my day - so I started a business that would fit in with my lifestyle and enable me to a) achieve these personal pursuits while b) fulfilling my dream of starting a recruiting business.

Pending state borders, lockdowns and restrictions, I will be competing at my first Ironman event in Busselton, WA in December, just months before I reach the deadline I set. #Staytuned for updates to see how I go....

Step 1: Set your goals

As mentioned, this time of year around annual reviews, is a great time to get started.

In the coming weeks, dedicate some time – however long you need – to write down your personal AND professional goals on a piece of paper with a pen. The act of writing these down is an important part of the process.

A good way of doing this is dividing your page into rows or columns so you can start the process of mapping out the timeframe of when you want to achieve your goals – 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years +.

Visualise you achieving this goal and what this looks like. You may even want to read these out loud often. Even if you’re a non-believer in manifestation – reading your goals aloud will do no harm, will it?

Step 2: Write your action plan

So, you’ve set your goals. Now, it’s time to dig deeper into the who, what, where, when, and how of each goal.

Attach dates and times to each goal because if you don’t have a detailed plan, you stay stagnate; a week turns into a month and year, and nothing ever really changes.

Now, think about how your personal and professional goals are aligned, and whether your goals are achievable together.

When personal and professional goals don’t align – this is when you need to reassess them or be open to a compromise and flexibility with timelines so you can ultimately achieve both.

Step 3: Be accountable

Now, you need to do what many might tell you not to do – and that’s share your goals with others.

Did you know, studies have proven you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you tell someone about it?

According to a study conducted in 2019 by The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, “in most cases you get more benefit from sharing your goal than if you don’t – as long as you share it with someone whose opinion you value.”

These can be people in your personal life – family and friends, as well as trusted colleagues (if appropriate to share, that is). But it is suggested you share these with individuals that you look up to, a manager, boss, or mentor for example.

In fact, I encourage to share your goals with your colleagues and managers.

If it’s a professional goal, it’s good for your superiors to know where you want to be so they can provide the level of support and mentorship to get you there (if you don’t ask, you don’t receive, right?).

And if it’s a personal goal, sharing some of your passions and interests outside of work helps build that three-dimensionality to your work persona and a higher level of rapport.

Interestingly, many managers are using Annual Review time as an opportunity to open up the discussion around goals.

Some workplaces are also offering incentives to employees to help make their goals comes true if they hit a certain sales target or ceiling of measurable performance. A win-win for everyone involved.

Step 4: Find your support network

The next step is surrounding yourself with people who support your goal in a more active way.

You want to be around people that help you, people that inspire you, educate you, or provide any other level of support needed.

Before launching my business, I was fortunate to be surrounded by some really inspiring individuals, who instilled great confidence in me, helped me select my brand name based on my personal and professional values, spread the word about my new venture with their networks etc.

Positive energy is only going to have a positive impact on you achieving your goals.

It’s time to start brainstorming who you need around you to help you get there.

Step 5: Put in the work

Now the hard part. And this needs no long-winded explanation.

It’s time to put in the hard work, stick to your action plan and do whatever you need to do to make it happen.

If you regularly check in on your action plan and write notes on your progress, split up your goal into stages, and adjust when needed– this is going to help you get to the finish line.

Over to you

Happy goal setting! I always welcome a self-development chat, so I encourage you to send me a message on LinkedIn or email and share a personal or professional goal so I can help keep you accountable.

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