2023 is wrapping up, and it’s important to take time to reflect on the progress you made this year. But what should you focus on, and how do you know if you were a success? And, importantly, how can you set future goals to work on in 2024? Here are some tips on evaluating your career progress.
Consider the Big Picture
Start by taking a big-picture view of the past year. Where were you professionally when you started the year? Where are you now? Take a moment to analyze your overall top-level progress over the course of 2023.
Zoom in on the Details
Now, it’s time to start getting specific. Exactly which career moves did you make throughout the year? Don’t focus just on promotions or changing jobs, though those are important. Also, look at steps you took that could help your career in the future. Did you complete a certification class? Learn a new skill – especially soft skills – on your own? Grow your professional network or build relationships with colleagues or your boss? And don’t forget about things you did at work that could pay off later on. Maybe you found a way to streamline operations or, volunteered for a big project, or filled in for a coworker who was out on leave.
All of these things and more count as career progress, even if they didn’t directly lead to a new role in 2023.
It can be hard to see your own accomplishments, especially if you are the type of person who generally downplays your success. So, gather feedback from a variety of sources. Talk to your boss, your coworkers, and even your family and friends. What did your year look like from their point of view? Also, refer to any documentation you have, from congratulatory emails to your annual review.
Of course, no one is perfect, and you likely had some setbacks throughout the year. Don’t give them more importance than they deserve, but do take the opportunity to learn from them. Thoughtfully consider what went wrong in each instance and what you could do to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Make sure you stay up on your education. Read articles and blogs that can help you with your career.
Set SMART Goals
Now that you know where you’ve been in 2023, it’s time to focus on your goals for 2024. Decide where you want to be at the end of next year and create an action plan to make it happen. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Start with easy goals… like showing up for work on time. Set a few of them for 2024, along with smaller milestones, to keep yourself moving in the right direction.
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