SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
It’s that time of year again. And once again, the Grinch did not steal Christmas. The world often wishes that the Christmas spirit could be felt all year, that spirit that inspires us to do good, set goals, and change ourselves. So with all that inspiring magic still driving us, what do we do? We set resolutions for the New Year. Fast forward 3 weeks and these resolutions seem less resolute and more like melting ice.
So how do we stop our goals from dissolving?
1. Set SMART or CLEAR career goals
Setting a goal and achieving a goal are two very different things. Many of us can talk about all the things we want to do and live in an idealistic world talking about those things, but unless you sit down and actually do those things and figure out the best way to go about them, you won’t succeed. In order to be successful, you have to set SMART or CLEAR goals for yourself that can help you best manage your time and complete individual tasks without overwhelming yourself.
2. WRITE goals down.
Either type them up or use pen/paper. This helps you focus on the goal in mind. As you write each word, the meaning solidifies itself in your brain, helping you to not only remember them but truly understand them. A goal that is not written down is just an aimless wish. Writing resolutions makes them concrete, driven, and serious. It also serves as a contractual promise to yourself and makes you feel like you actually need to get it done. Visible reminders can help you stay organized and sane.
3. Be SPECIFIC.
Refrain from setting vague or "loaded" goals. Goals that are vague can include "Do well on project." While that may seem to be a good goal to have, it doesn’t tell you how you are going to complete them. Instead, make it a goal to meet with the teaching assistant for your calculus class bi-monthly unless you understand the lecture and can do the work without help. If you are in the office, set goals similarly so that you can organize your work and help you stay on task. An App like Asana is a very good tool that can help you to stay organized and able to meet deadlines. Vague goals are traps. They leave too much wiggle-room for excuses and won’t be hard to achieve. Specific goals provide an area of focus, which leads to success.
4. Make goals VISIBLE.
On top of writing goals down, print them out and hang them up in multiple places where you will see them ALL year long. Seeing is believing, and seeing your resolutions everywhere reinforces your mind to achieve them.So if you want to take a class on SEO this year or want to learn coding in your spare time to advance your skill set, be sure to make note of it somewhere you can see.
5. Make it a HABIT
They say that practice makes perfect - and that it takes 10,000 hours of that practice to become a professional. Michael Jordan would’ve never been the best basketball player ever if he didn’t practice and turned his goals into habits. Everything becomes a lot easier when you do it consistently every day and when you form good habits, your chances of success are much higher.
6. Have someone who will hold you ACCOUNTABLE.
We all know how easy it is to cheat ourselves out of our resolutions. However, if we have someone to answer to, we are more likely to accomplish our goals. Think of your job; because you have a supervisor, you actually do your work. Until you get to the point where you can hold yourself accountable, having a team member or friend hold you accountable is a motivating factor in keeping up with your goals, especially during more difficult times. Working on projects with other team members for hiring companies you can practice holding people accountable and giving positive encouragement - these are skills every successful leader has.
7. Use NUMBERS.
Make your goals QUANTIFIABLE. This means that they will be easily traceable and this will help you make them more concrete and help become habits. If you are trying to lose weight, you would typically use a scale to measure your success. If you are in college, grades and GPA’s quantify your efforts, and when you are at work, numbers still apply very much. If you are doing really well, you may want to negotiate a higher salary. If you are meeting your deadlines, calendar days can help you keep on track, and if you are trying to reach out to a certain number of people, Facebook likes, incoming sales and other analytics can help you to know how well you are doing.
8. Track PROGRESS.
Keep a journal of your progress. Write short entries daily that you can look back on. Write how it felt to progress towards your goal and your experiences with it. Then set checkpoints at which you will go back and read entries. (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) This will keep resolutions fresh on your mind and will strengthen your morale. Seeing your progress and reading the positive experiences you’ve had fighting for your goal will help get you through rough times. Practice these tips in 2016 and turn those great New Years wishes into life-changing resolutions. It starts with you!
Set some goals for yourself to gain new skills and register for an immersive training series (like growth hacking!) today