Prioritizing Personal Goals Template

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This Prioritizing Personal Goals template allows you to define your own aspirations and helps you identify inter-dependencies between them.

Having a detailed set of personal goals is a great way to set your career on the right path. Without goals in place, you are more likely to simply wander through your professional life with no true sense of direction. You may succeed that way, but it will be more likely through luck than proper planning and execution. By taking the time to establish what your goals are for your career, you will have a much easier time staying the course in tough times and coming out on the other side exactly as you had hoped.

One of the bigger hurdles involved with setting goals is deciding which ones are most important and deserve your top priority, and which can be put on the back burner for the time being. Having an exact order, or ranking, of your personal goals is almost as important as creating the goals in the first place. While this might seem like a difficult task at first, you will be surprised at how easy it is once you spend some time thinking about it. Following are three simple steps to help you successfully rank your personal goals.

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Step One: Identify the Most-Important Professional Goal
This actually should be a very quick and easy process. Once you have made a list of all the goals that you have for your professional life, review the list and choose the one that is your ultimate goal. It might be achieving a specific position within your organization, landing a position in a different organization that you dream of working for, or even reaching a certain salary plateau. Whatever that one 'big' goal is, you will probably be able to point it out pretty quickly.

This goal should land at the top of your priority list and guide everything you do when making career decisions. In order to stay on path over a long period of time, you have to know what direction you are heading - so place this goal at the center of your sights and keep it there until it has become a reality.

Step Two: Separate Short and Long-Term Goals
On your list of professional goals, you likely have some that relate to the next few months on the job, while others relate to several years down the road. Make two columns and separate out the goals by which ones are less than one year in scope, and which ones are longer than a year. If you aren't exactly sure how long some of them will take, just make your best guess and pick a category.

The purpose that this step serves is to make sure that you have enough of both short and long-term goals. A goal list with only long term goals is easy to forget about because you won't be accomplishing any of them in the near future so you will simply forget to use the list at all and it will fade off into the past. Likewise, a list with only short term goals lacks the foresight to get you where you want to go. You might be able to check off some short term accomplishments but you may become frustrated at the lack of a clear plan to long term accomplishment.

Step Three: Short Term Gets Priority
Generally speaking, you want to put more priority on your short term goals because those are the ones you are working to achieve on a daily basis. You should have a more long term goal at the very top of your list (as discussed in step one), but there should then be several short term goals following in the ranking. This structure will help you to stay focused and work on checking as many of them off as you can. Later down the ranking, you can add back in more of your long term goals so they remain present.

If you can get into the habit of reviewing this ranking once a month, you will be able to consistently update the ranking so that it reflects your present thinking. Don't be afraid to make changes to your priorities, or even your overall goals, as time passes. Things change fast in the professional world, and your career goals should adapt to remain realistic and attainable.

Simply ranking the goals that you have for your professional career can have a profound impact on the success that you achieve as the years go by. Be accountable to your goals and work hard to see them through - you will be rewarded in the end by seeing the fruits of your labor pay off with the accomplishments that you have been dreaming of.

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