By Suzanne Breistol

It is proven through many research studies that few people set goals and a high percentage of those that set goals rarely keep them. It is proven that just by setting the goals, even if you don’t stick to achieving them, you are typically more successful than someone who has not voiced or written a specific goal.  Abraham Lincoln realized that when he coined the phrase “A goal properly set is halfway reached”.

So, what is a goal and how do you set one? 

A goal is something you want to accomplish. It needs to be achievable, measurable, realistic and timely and the more specific you are the more likely you are to achieve it.  Part of the realistic side of setting a goal is to recognize the people and circumstances surrounding you and be cognizant to how your goals can affect them. A Project Manager cannot set a goal of completing a project six months ahead of schedule for his own personal goal without taking into consideration what tolls this will take on the team including both mental/physical strain, and strain on their families.  However, this goal may be achievable if requested by the owner and if resources are put in place to keep everything else in balance. Part of the achievable aspect of a goal is making sure it is not done at all costs to others, taking away from the value of truly reaching that goal.

 What types of goals are there? 

Goals can be career or work oriented, or more to do with your life outside of work. Goals can be mental/spiritual, educational, financial/security, health/fitness, or a myriad of other specifics like travel/vacation or philanthropic.

Let’s talk a little about goals if you are unemployed.  You may not be able to set a goal with a specific date to be back to work, but you can set goals to increase your chances of getting back to work sooner than later.

Some suggestions:

1. Set a goal to prepare your best presentation.  Make sure your resume, any profiles or applications you complete etc., are done professionally, grammar and spelling is correct and you go the extra mile to accentuate your positives.

2. Set a goal to stay positive.  Listening to the news on the unemployment numbers, another day of job hunting, another day without a paycheck can truly wear on you.  Don’t watch television that may depress you and take time to read motivational materials, meet with others that can uplift you and focus on what you do have and what you want to achieve, versus what you don’t have.

3. Set a goal to meet a specific number of people face to face each week, to telephone a set number of people each week and to research and reach out to a set number of companies each week that may be potential employers for you.  When you meet with people or call people don’t ask them if they are hiring or if they know of a job for you.  Have open ended business conversations with them to gather information on possible opportunities for you.  Then you reach out to the companies and people they mention directly.  If they offer to do it, than take full advantage of the help, but you need to take initiative.

Mary Kay Ash founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics once said:

“There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. We all have a choice. You can decide which type of person you want to be. I have always chosen to be in the first group.”

Take times to set goals.  You will put yourself in the first group for sure!

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