I usually write an article on resolutions at the beginning of the year but decided not to do so this year, until yesterday when I had two conversations on goals. The first conversation was a consult with a potential client and the second was a discussion I had with a friend later in the evening. The consult went well, we got to know each other a bit, discussed his background and issues at work that led this man to contact me, and then we started to discuss his goals and that is where things got sticky. He didn’t have any.

After much discussion we concluded that setting goals would be our first line of discussions before we went forward with preparing his resume, online presence and job search strategies. I often talk with professionals that are looking for a change and are not sure which direction to go to achieve their goals. But I don’t have many that simply say, “I don’t have any goals.”

Visiting that evening with a friend that always seemed very motivated and goal oriented, I asked her if she had always been that way. My friend (we’ll call her Sharon) shared with me that for years she didn’t have specific goals. After staying home for seven years when her kids were young, she had decided to go back to work full-time, but had no real plan for her future. She simply accepted the first position she had offered to her even though she had sent her resume to several types of positions. Sharon stayed with the job for more than three years before she realized she didn’t enjoy what she was doing and had no plans or goals to advance where she was.

Sharon said she became consumed with reading and learning about goal development, fulfillment and outcome. That is when she created goals and action plans for several areas in her life; and then got moving. To help her stay motivated she decided to give herself rewards for small goals she completed as she worked through her plans. During the next year she went through each room in her house and reorganized, got rid of things she didn’t use, and gave away outgrown kids clothes and toys. She also started eating healthier and committed to walking three days a week with her neighbor and after the first year had lost 23 pounds and felt great.

But her biggest change was in her professional life. After looking into many career areas and completing several assessments to determine what she was passionate about and how she could best utilize the skills she wanted to use, she decided to go into event planning. It was something she had done for six years as part of her early career, and it was the one part of her job that she loved and felt she was really good at. When I met Sharon three years ago, she was already the owner of a successful  boutique event planning firm which also owned two banquet facilities and three large boats, available to lease for special occasions.

She credits learning the true meaning and impact of setting and working toward goals can do, to many of the successes she’s had in her life. Sharon didn’t do anything special but she did do something different. She set goals and actually took action to see them through. Most people set goals or resolutions but never follow through because they don’t incorporate an action plan and hold themselves accountable to those plans; turning their dreams into tangible goals.

You can do the same thing. Whether you are happy in your job or in the throws of a job search, you can improve the quality of your performance and outcome by setting goals, creating a forward-moving plan and taking action. The success is in the action – if you only set goals but don’t do something to make them happen, they will remain a dream.

Shine On Job Seekers!


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