5 Steps to Goal Setting for Self Development at Work

Whether you want to improve communication to prepare for a new promotion, or develop resilience to deal with challenging work environments, we all have room for self development at work

The problem is it's not always clear how to progress. 

Goal setting for self development at work can give you the structure and guidance you need to make a real change in your work life. 

The Basics: How to Use a Planner for Goal Setting

One of the first steps to goal setting for self development at work is to write down your goals. If you keep them in your head, it only creates opportunities to forget. Goal setting on paper provides extra clarity, and more opportunity to analyse how to reach your goals.

Once you have written your goals, you can use the monthly and weekly reviews to track your progress, and set down deadlines. You can log your daily, weekly and monthly goals to ensure you keep up-to-date with your short-term and long-term goals. 

What are Self Development Goals? - And How Can They Boost Productivity? 

Self development goals propel you forward in your life and career by developing your skills in areas of weakness. Is something holding you back from that promotion? Want to maximise productivity in your current role? That’s where self development goals come in.

Let's say your goal is 'improve my time management skills'. You should then use SMART goals to help you plot in the specifics.

SMART is a series of guidelines to follow when setting goals. It stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Sensitive

Specific: What goal do I want to achieve? 

e.g, 'I will improve my time management skills, so I can finish my workload earlier.’ 

Measurable: How will I know I have achieved my goal? 

e.g, 'I will have achieved this goal when I finish my daily workload 1hr early.'

Achievable: What do I need to do to achieve my goal? 

e.g, 'I will achieve this goal by reading 3 articles on time management, cutting out unnecessary tasks, and trying the Pomodoro technique.'

Relevant: How will this goal help my overall aims? 

e.g, 'I want to achieve this goal because I want more time to spend on other projects, and improve my general wellbeing.'

Time-Sensitive: When do I need to complete this goal? 

e.g, 'I will aim to reach my goal in one month. I will check my progress each week, and analyse my time management abilities daily.'

Self Development Activities 

So, once you've completed the goal setting for self development at work - where do you go next? The answer lies in the 'Achievable' section of your SMART goals. 

The activities you undertake for self development will vary based on your goal. If your goal is to boost your confidence at work, there are any number of options. 

Confidence-building courses, books, and articles could give you the information to get started. Putting this information into practice is where you really start making headway towards your goals, though.

You might set a goal to speak up and make a suggestion in a meeting. Or perhaps you might brush up your CV, and send it to that amazing job you saw online. 

Get feedback from other colleagues about your strengths and weaknesses. Look inwards. Does your outlook need to change? Is fear, low self-esteem, or anxiety holding you back for reaching out to career opportunities?

Self Development for Business - Guide to Goal Setting

At your own business, goal setting for self development works on the same principle, but with different steps. When you own your own business, responsibility lies with you, and goal setting can help you keep track of your business' development. 

Ask yourself: ‘what do I want to achieve for my business?’ Your goal might be to 'boost social media awareness to gain more online clients'. Taking a social media course, posting on Twitter and Instagram once a day, and researching trends on Google Analytics are possible ‘achievable’ tasks for this goal. 

Receiving feedback may not be as simple as in a corporate company, so building connections with other business owners is another important goal.

Remember: you are the backbone of your business. When you develop yourself, you develop your business.

How Self Development Can Improve Communication

Communication is one of the most important ‘soft-skills’ in the workplace. A surprisingly high number of professionals struggle with communication. Many talented professionals miss out on opportunities for career progression, because they struggle to convey their expertise in conversation. 

You can improve your communication skills by goal setting for self development at work. Reading books and watching YouTube videos to improve communication skills can really help, but practice makes perfect

Start small with micro-goals. Active listening can immediately improve your communication skills. Often, when we talk, we say what we want, and don't truly hear what the other person is saying. 

Listen closely to your conversations, take in the information, and form a genuine response. Incorporating active listening into your goal setting routine will help you to have more valuable conversations, and build trust and rapport with colleagues. 

Goal setting for self development at work can be a daunting process, but if you follow the SMART formula and set yourself attainable goals, you will reach your aims and build your confidence with ease.

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