How to set career and training goals: Tips from Career Coaches

A new year means new goals for 2020. While exciting, goal setting often brings feelings of anxiety.

We asked our experts. FastForward Career Coaches across Virginia share their top tips to set – and achieve – career and training goals.

Start small.

Going back to school or changing careers can be daunting at first. One of the most common tips from FastForward Career Coaches is to start small

“Sometimes a goal can be as simple as completing one form,” says Southside Virginia Community College coach, Pam Taylor. Pam suggests taking your journey one piece of paper, one form, one task at a time.

“Goals are achieved by completing a grand collection of tiny steps,” she says.

Be “SMART” and celebrate wins.

Hold yourself accountable and celebrate small victories along the way. Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals will help keep you on track and knowing when you’ve made progress.

Alyssa Hawley at Patrick Henry and Alejandra Diaz-Rangel at Tidewater both suggest setting SMART goals. Alyssa also says, “Setting small goals for each large goal helps with a sense of accomplishment and keeps the motivation alive.”

Set a reminder.

It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture given all our daily responsibilities.

Virginia Highlands Community College coach Meghan Copenhaver suggests writing long- and short-term goals, along with concrete steps for achieving both. “Write them down somewhere that you will see every day,” she says.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Most importantly, ask for help. Creating a plan to enroll in courses or switch careers is life changing – in the best way possible. If you’re not sure what the right path is for you, there are experts who are trained in this type of work and are excited to help you along your path.

“Oftentimes a [person] has a specific goal in mind when they enter my office,” says Brooke Shehan, a FastForward Career Coach at Dabney, “And my job is to help them create a solid plan to accomplish that goal.”

Every day our FastForward Career Coaches help students enroll in training and find the best sources of funding to keep costs low and returns high. Not sure where to start? Get help creating a plan to achieve your 2020 career and training goals by talking to a local Career Coach in your area.

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