Planning with Purpose
In the midst of our busy day-to-day lives, it’s normal to feel unsure about exactly how much progress we are making towards our long-term goals. Engaging in thoughtful goal setting is important, helping you set benchmarks for yourself to stay on track for the career and life you want. Goal-setting is also an inherently motivating activity that empowers our mind to imagine our ideal future – which we can then translate into a realistic and actionable plan!
How to Set Effective Goals
We find it useful to follow the framework of SMART goals to guide us in setting effective goals. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Each of these describes characteristics you should consider for your goals:
Specific – The goals you set should be clear and concrete or else it may be too vague to feel motivating and actionable. Ask yourself questions like “what do I want to accomplish?” or “why is this important?” If there is a job or role you are aiming for, it can be helpful to start from the job description. For example, this program manager position at Microsoft lists “commitment to collaboration and teamwork and ability to deliver via influence” in its preferred qualifications. This can translate into one of your goals – to take a more active role in facilitating meetings, setting timelines, and requesting feedback from team members on your next project.
Measurable – Quantifiable benchmarks are key for helping you track progress and stay focused. This will also help you determine whether you have achieved your goals and give you a sense of accomplishment! Make your goals measurable by aiming towards a specific number of occurrences or breaking it up into stages or phases. For the above example, you could aim to break your project up into deliverable timelines for your project group or aim to facilitate a self-chosen number of meetings and feedback requests.
Achievable – It is key for the goals you set to be realistic and attainable to you. It should drive you to look for opportunities and resources that you may not have considered otherwise. These resources can be especially important for offsetting constraints such as time and finances. It’s normal for goals to be finetuned, as you may overstretch yourself or set too easy of a goal at first. Paying attention to how much you are stretching yourself and adjusting your goals accordingly is crucial for avoiding burnout.
Relevant – The goals you set should also be relevant to you and align with other important aspects of your life. Goals can stem from a diversity of interests, but not all goals are created equal. Some are more relevant and valuable to your current life circumstances. Questions you will want to ask yourself include “Is this worth my time?” and “How will this impact the people (family, co-workers) around me?” Goals you have assessed for personal and professional relevancy will be more rewarding in the long-run!
Time-bound – Setting deadlines will help spur you to prioritize your time effectively. Depending on the goal, you may need to set a series of short deadlines to accomplish something long-term. Consider utilizing three timeframes for your goals: immediate (e.g. daily or weekly), short-term (e.g. 1-3 months), and long-term (6-12 months). Don’t forget to add these to your calendar!
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Taken from CNBC M
We’ve all been in scenarios where our goals begin to lose steam, especially if the positive results are not immediate or work begins to stagnate. Here are some tips to help keep your goals fresh and motivating.
- We recommend sharing your goal with friends, mentors, or colleagues, and regularly asking for feedback. Taking the time to explain how important your goal is to you will prompt others to give you thoughtful genuine feedback and ideas!
- Give yourself enticing rewards for completing those deadlines (including those immediate deadlines!). Acknowledging your hard work in this way is a meaningful form of self-care.
- Remember that progress is progress! It is okay to take breaks on goals and return to them later when you are in a better place in time or circumstance to accomplish them.
Food for Thought
In this video, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck talks about shifting from a “Fixed Mindset” to a “Growth Mindset” to improve your learning. If someone has a Fixed Mindset, they may think their abilities are finite and static, or that they have less potential than they did at a younger age. But with a Growth Mindset, if you don’t meet a goal, failure is not evidence of inadequacy, but an opportunity to learn and gain new experiences.
Dweck writes in the Harvard Business Review, growth mindset is more than a buzzword. We all have a mixture of fixed and growth mindset responses. You may be excited to grow existing abilities, but feel nervous about totally new skills. You might love challenge in one area of your life, but avoid it in another.
To improve your Growth Mindset, practice thoughtfully setting goals and embrace not knowing all the answers. Seek employers and mentors that support your Growth Mindset. And if you find yourself reacting with a fixed mindset to your personal progress, try pivoting black and white statements (like, “I’m just not cut out for this”) into self-encouragements such as, “I can get better with practice,” or “I don’t feel confident in this skill yet.”
Check out this Next Steps Careers blog post on ways a growth mindset can energize your job search, and this Hays article on how to showcase your growth mindset to employers.
Snoopy Pic of the Week!
Snoopy would like to share this following quote by Warren Brown:
“Being passionate is about recognizing what makes you happy, focusing on and learning about it, and, ultimately, doing it in the name of your own satisfaction and pleasure.”
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View recordings from past events on the Recorded iCareers Sessions page.
Career & Internship Center
May 27th Resume Webinar; 1:30pm – 2:15pm
May 27th Cover Letter Webinar; 2:30pm – 3:15pm
May 28th LinkedIn Webinar; 1:30pm – 2:15pm
May 28th Job Search Strategy Webinar; 2:30pm – 3:15pm
May 22nd, 9AM – May 24th, 5PM – UW Blockchain Hacks Weekend 2020; hosted by Blockchain Society at UW and DubsTech. Participate in a two day virtual hackathon, plus an expo of educational workshops and industry speakers. Register here!
Positions for Consideration
Consumer App UI/UX Intern, TableFlash, Handshake
Student Trainee (Admin Support Assistant), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Handshake
Information Security Intern, LiveRamp, Handshake
Business Development Internship, Residential Energy and Water Intelligence Software, Handshake
Information Technology Management Student Intern (GS-7), U.S. Government Accountability Office, Handshake
Digital Marketing & Media Content Creator Summer Internship – Video & Data Visualization, Basil Labs, Handshake
Reading Partners AmeriCorps Member Washington, DC, Reading Partners, Handshake
Did you know? All students in the iSchool Class of 2020 will have access to Career Services for one year after graduation, until the end of Spring quarter 2021. This includes scheduling 1:1 appointments, attending online drop-ins, and participating in iSchool career workshops and events.
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