We’re officially in the second half of 2023. Wow.
Did you have some career goals in mind for this year? Whether it’s snagging that promotion, learning a new skill, or exploring new opportunities, it’s important to take a breather and reflect on your progress so far. That’s where a mid-year career goal reset comes in. We’re halfway through the year, and it’s the perfect time to ask: How are things going? Are your goals still motivating you?
Let’s dive in and figure it out!
What is a mid-year reset?
Over 14 million Australians set a New Year’s resolution for 2023, and yours may have included some career goals. Maybe you resolved to get a promotion, learn a new skill, or find a new opportunity. Whatever your goal was, it’s important to take a mid-year breather to reflect. How are things going? Are your goals still relevant? Do they still motivate and inspire you?
The idea is to make sure your goals align to what’s happening in your life right now. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for what you’ve achieved, figure out where you can do better, and decide on new targets or tweak the ones you already had.
In terms of how you do it, that’s up to you. Maybe you just want to jot something down in the notes of your phone, or you could get all fancy and make a goal tracker in a spreadsheet. Whatever floats your boat.
Why should you regularly re-evaluate your career goals?
Life is dynamic, and circumstances can change over time. When you take the time to sit down and reflect on your career goals, it can go three ways:
- You find you’re right on track. You’re still passionate and motivated with your goals, they work for you and your circumstances, and you feel you have adequate support and resources to keep things going. In this case, that’s great! Make note of what’s working, be honest about areas of improvement, and keep carrying on with increased confidence and motivation.
- You realise it’s time for a change. This could be for many reasons. Sometimes, even when we’re trying our best, we realise that our current career path just isn’t doing it for us. But this is the fun part. You can explore new opportunities, switch gears to a different path, or seek out additional training to get your career back on track. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where your goals match up with your desired outcomes.
- You sit down to think about your goals and realise… you don’t have any. Not everyone has taken the time to really sit and think about what they want. Maybe you’re still in school, or you just haven’t found something that interests you yet. That’s fine! That’s a reset in itself. There’s no time like the present to start setting some goals for your future.
No matter where you’re at, it’s important to sit and think about your future. Then, you can go off and build a successful career that aligns with who you are and where you want to go.
Are you on the right path to achieve your professional ambitions?
Just sitting down and having a think isn’t quite enough. We’re inherently biased creatures so we may see ourselves differently than we are. We may think we’re terrible at our jobs, when in fact our manager is planning to give us a raise. We may tell ourselves we’re happy where we are because the thought of growing is too intimidating.
Here are 10 objective questions you can ask yourself to cut through the self-doubt:
- Am I genuinely excited about the work I do (or plan to do) on a daily basis?
- Do my professional goals align with my personal values and interests?
- Am I making consistent progress towards my career objectives?
- Do I feel a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction from my work?
- Do I have a clear understanding of the steps needed to achieve my professional ambitions?
- Does my career path allow for personal growth and advancement?
- Am I building a network and establishing connections within my industry?
- Does my career path allow for personal growth and advancement?
- Can I envision myself continuing on this path in the long term?
- Have I received recognition or positive feedback for my contributions?
This last question is particularly important —it’s always a good idea to get feedback from others. You don’t have to think about this on your own, and in fact, it can be better if you don’t.
Mentors, managers, networks —they all have experience and knowledge about your chosen career path that you don’t. They can give you a wider perspective and notice wins and areas for improvement that you might not have noticed yet.
How can you set realistic professional goals?
Sometimes we can get over-excited and set ourselves big goals. And big goals are great! Maybe you want to become Prime Minister, or champion the next big tech breakthrough, and that’s awesome. But in terms of being realistic – those big goals might not be, from where you are right now. Goals are more attainable when they’re broken down into smaller pieces.
Focus on having a mix of short-term and long-term goals. This means you can hit the quick-wins on the way to your end goal. Striking this balance will keep you motivated and on track with a sense of purpose.
Swag Tip: Want to achieve your professional goals? Start small and keep yourself accountable. You can set and track your goal progression in the Work section of the Swag app, under ‘Goals’. Here, you can set personal, professional and team goals, and measure your progress against each in one easy dashboard. Keeping your goals visible and accountable helps you get 1% closer to achieving them each day.
Examples of short-term goals
- “I will refresh my resume so I have it ready when my dream internal role becomes available.”
- “I will attend the 2023 Australian Tourism Conference to stay up to date with my industry and expand professional connections.”
- “I will take my driver’s licence test, so I can take on more travel responsibility.”
- “I will start setting monthly S.M.A.R.T goals to become more organised.”
- “I will volunteer to lead this week’s team meeting to improve my leadership skills.”
Examples of long-term goals
- “I will earn a Masters degree to increase my expertise and qualifications.”
- “I will reach my desired salary of $100,000 per year by 2025.”
- “I will transfer from hospitality to a career in administration.”
- “I will win the Young Professional of the Year award.”
- “I will become department head for my department.”
Overcoming obstacles and achieving your goals
Remember, setbacks and obstacles are a normal part of the journey. Even J.K. Rowling was initially rejected by 12 publishers. If you reach an obstacle and feel stuck, try to reframe it. See obstacles as opportunities for growth. Break them down into smaller steps, take those one at a time, and celebrate each victory along the way.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. Talk to mentors, colleagues, or friends who can offer advice or lend a hand. Sometimes a fresh perspective or someone’s experience can make a big difference. If your initial approach doesn’t work, be flexible and try different strategies. Think outside the box and be open to new ideas.
It’s important to keep learning and developing your skills, too. Look for opportunities to expand your knowledge and improve yourself. Stay persistent, keep pushing forward, and don’t let them discourage you.
Don’t forget to celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and use it as motivation to keep going. With the right mindset and perseverance, you can overcome any obstacle that stands in your way to achieving your career goals.
Swag Tip: Don’t just celebrate your personal goals: celebrate your team as well! The Swag app allows you to give peer shoutouts when your teammates go above and beyond at work. Simply head to the Work tab and navigate to the Company Feed. Here, you’ll have the option to give a Shout Out. Celebrating your coworkers boosts everyone’s morale and helps solidify great working relationships —overcoming obstacles is always easier as a team!
More tips for growing and developing your professional life
1. Adopt a growth mindset
We’ve all felt down and turned to procrastination (hello, doom scrolling!) when we’ve experienced a setback. But rather than viewing failure as a reflection of your abilities, see it as an opportunity to learn, adapt, and try again. Embrace a growth mindset by understanding that setbacks are not permanent and that with effort, perseverance, and a willingness to learn, you can overcome challenges and achieve your career goals.
2. Network and build relationships in your industry
To effectively network and build relationships in your industry, take initiative and seek out opportunities to connect. Attend industry events and join relevant professional associations or online communities. Show genuine interest in others and be yourself. Remember, networking is about mutual trust and support.
Not sure what to talk about? Focus on both giving and receiving value. For example, if you’re at a seminar and want to communicate with an industry professional you admire but have never met, you could approach them and ask a question about their work or recent news. In return, you could offer a relevant insight or resource they may be interested in. Voila! A memorable conversation with someone you admire!
3. Reflect on feedback and performance evaluations
Feedback and performance evaluations are a great opportunity to assess your wins and identify areas for improvement. It’s important to assess the wins because you may be aiming for a goal you’ve already achieved.
For example, if you want to be more experienced with Microsoft Excel, but then receive feedback that you are the go-to for any formula-related issues, you may be able to tick that off as done.
Swag Tip: You can capture and review all your 1:1s with managers in the Swag app. Head to the ‘Work’ tab and click on 1:1s in the top navigation bar. Here, you’ll find a record of your conversations, wins, roadblocks and feedback. Review them from time to time to see how far you’ve come –tick off wins and identify any unaddressed areas for improvement.
Our tip for reflecting on feedback is to find a quiet space where you can read the feedback without distractions. It could be a private meeting room, a local café, or a peaceful outdoor spot. Take a deep breath, and then read or listen to the feedback a few times. It’s normal to feel defensive, disappointed, or even grateful. Stay open-minded, focusing on the specific points and examples given to understand areas for improvement or praise.
4. Balance work and personal life
You can’t be working towards your goals 24/7, no matter how many “hustle and grind” TikTokers tell you to. Making small, consistent steps every week is better than trying to smash out your progress too quickly. Especially as we get closer to the end of the year, you want to be able to enjoy the festivities without feeling guilty.
Add some structure to your goals to make sure you have time for both career-planning activities and personal commitments. Set aside dedicated time (maybe 20 minutes a day, or 1 hour a week) for tasks like researching, networking, and skill development, as well as for leisure activities, family time, hobbies, and self care.
Swag Tip: Relax and recharge with Swag’s Benefit marketplace. Here, you can find up to 20% cashback deals from retailers like Booking.Com, HelloFresh, Adore Beauty and Headspace. These deals are available to help you get more out of life outside of work, so you can show up refreshed and ready to kick goals every day.
5. Explore new career opportunities
Sometimes you need a big change. Ready to take a step in your career and move on to a new role? We’re here to help you land the job (from your couch!). You might even be interested in a fully remote role, where you can work from anywhere in the world. Whatever kind of role you’re looking for, Swag Jobs has the opportunities.
Swag Tip: Ready for a change, but don’t want to leave your organisation? You can find open internal opportunities in the ‘Career’ tab of your Swag app. Here, you’ll find any open roles your organisation has posted –take a look and see if there’s an opportunity to upskill or make your next career move internally!
How can you measure progress towards your career goals?
There are many ways to measure progress, but our favourite is turning your goals into quantitative metrics. Particularly when you’re doing a mid-year reset, it’s important to start tracking if you haven’t found a process that works for you yet.
What does this mean? Where to even begin? Well, here’s the ‘how to’ in four steps:
- Identify relevant KPIs: Choose specific metrics aligned with your career goals, such as revenue generated, projects completed, clients acquired, certifications earned, or skills learned. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue as a sales professional, a relevant KPI could be the total revenue generated.
- Track and record: Use Swag Work features like Goal tracking to consistently monitor your progress over time.
- Analyse progress: Periodically review and analyse your metrics to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. This analysis will help you identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth.
- Adjust actions: Based on your analysis, modify your strategies and actions to improve performance in areas that need attention. For example, if you notice a decline in revenue generated, you might explore new sales techniques or target different markets.
Regularly repeating these steps will enable you to measure progress, make necessary adjustments, and optimise your career trajectory. By using quantitative metrics effectively, you can gain valuable insights, track your advancement, and make informed decisions to propel your career forward with confidence.
Stay on track with your goals for the next six months
Remember, life is constantly changing, and so are your circumstances.
Regularly re-evaluating your career goals is essential to staying on track and finding that sweet spot where your ambitions align with your desired outcomes. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments, seek feedback, and embrace new opportunities.
Setbacks are just stepping stones to success, so keep pushing forward and celebrate each victory along the way. With the right mindset and a little bit of reflection, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your career goals and building a future that truly aligns with who you are.
Now go out there and make it happen!
The information in this article is current as at July 2023, and has been prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd (ABN 11 160 047 709) and its related bodies corporate (Employment Hero) for its Swag brand. The views expressed in this article are general information provided in good faith to assist job seekers in the current market, and should not be relied on as professional advice. Some Information is based on data supplied by third parties and whilst such data is believed to be accurate, it has not been independently verified and no warranties are given that it is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for the purpose for which it is required. Employment Hero does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such data and is not liable for any loss or damages arising directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on, use of or inability to use any information provided in this article. You should undertake your own research and seek professional advice before making any important career decisions or solely relying on the information in this article.