If you’re like countless others, you know how easy it is to get distracted by the daily grind and lose sight of your professional goals.
While getting through your day-to-day responsibilities is important, it’s also crucial that we plan for our futures and set ourselves up for long-term success.
That’s where motivation comes in: the spark that keeps us going when days get tough.
Here are five ways you can stay committed to your professional development no matter what:
1. Making a Plan for Development
The first step in developing a plan for professional development is to identify your goals. Next, you’ll want to determine what activities will help you reach those goals and how much time they require.
If a particular skill or knowledge base is important for your success at work, what are the best ways to learn about it?
Do some research on the internet or ask colleagues who have already taken this step. They may be able to offer advice based on their own experiences!
Once you’ve got an idea of what direction(s) would benefit from further exploration, create a list of actionable steps toward achieving those goals.
It’s important that these steps are specific enough so that if someone were asked about them later down the road, there wouldn’t be any confusion about whether or not something had been completed.
2. Creating a Vision for Your Career
Start by defining your strengths and weaknesses, values, goals, and steps to achieve these goals. This is important because it will help you identify where your passion lies regarding professional development opportunities.
Think about how your employer can benefit from the knowledge you have gained through training programs or certifications. How will this benefit them? How can they use this information to their advantage?
You also need to set up a backup plan for unexpected curve balls. A good example would be to purchase disability insurance from a reputable company.
This protection can help you feel more at peace, knowing that all your hard work won’t be wasted. Not sure where to start? Check out this review of Mass Mutual to begin getting a picture of what to look for.
3. Setting Goals You Can Reach
When setting your goals, you should ensure they are achievable and realistic. Set a timeframe for each goal, and be clear about what you want to achieve.
If possible, use a goal-setting template so that all of your professional development activities can be tracked and your progress can be visual. Sometimes that gives you the extra boost you need to keep going.
Goals should be specific: “I want to improve my writing skills” isn’t as useful as “I want my writing style to be more concise.”
Make sure there’s an action step at the end of each goal: “Improve my business writing skills by reading two books per month” versus just “Read more books this year.”
4. Build a Support System
When you’re working on a long-term project or learning new skills, you can easily lose motivation and get discouraged. A mentor can help you stay focused and make sure that you’re making progress toward your goals.
You should choose someone with experience with what you want to do, but don’t feel limited by this requirement. We all need mentors in our lives!
A good way to find mentors is through social media groups. LinkedIn has some great options for connecting with people who share similar interests as yours (or just happen to be in the same industry).
If there isn’t already an existing group, consider starting one!
Other networking sites like Facebook offer similar benefits; however, these platforms may allow users more anonymity than LinkedIn, making them less effective at finding suitable candidates.
5. Get Yourself on the Right Track with Self-Care
Self-care is an important part of staying motivated and committed to professional development.
Self-care can be anything from taking a break from your computer screen for a walk or it could mean going out for lunch with colleagues.
Here are some ideas for how you might take care of yourself:
- Take an Epsom salt bath
- Get enough sleep each night (7-8 hours)
- Sit outside on a quiet night and look at the stars
- Eat healthy meals at regular times during the day
When it comes to professional development, you must be your biggest advocate. If you’re not already doing these things, start today!
The more focused you are on growing yourself as an employee and a professional, the easier it will be for others to see your value.