How to be goal-happy

Posted by Jenni Armstrong on 01 August 2016

Let's play a game.

When you hear the words 'personal development plan' or 'mid-year review', how do you feel?

Full of verve? Primed for action? Bursting with anticipation at the thought of your high-flying, go-getting future self? 

Us neither. But there is something you can do that takes goal-setting from a mandatory form-filling, list-ticking exercise to a regular, inspiring activity that helps you grow and challenge yourself in both your career and personal life.

sandy-tsang.jpgSquared Online includes highly popular guest speakers at various points throughout the course, in addition to the regular weekly live classes. Our Commercial Director Sandy Tsang recently gave a Squared Online guest class on doing just this by sharing her top tips and own personal goal setting template.

Check out her five point plan for goal-setting success, then download the template and have a go filling it out for yourself!

It's time to get ready to control of your personal development plan and fill it with things that make you positive, focused and energised. Let's get goal-happy...

1. Make it personal


Start simple: your goals should make you happier.

By taking a step back and thinking about what really matters to you, and not just your company objectives, you'll be naturally more invested and pro-active in your own progression. What will make you feel genuinely proud and excited when you're looking back in the next quarter?

A good way to begin is to think about the different areas/themes that you want to work on.

2. Think out the process


By taking a look at the anatomy of a goal you can section out the elements to provide a framework for action. Here Sandy illustrates how you can go from what you want to do ('own the digital strategy for a product launch') to a concrete action plan for how you're going to do it.

This way we're taking the goal-setting process from something we just write down and then shut away in a drawer until review time, to a tangible concept with actions, timings and support.

Want another example? How about an email marketing manager who wants to make the move into a digital marketing manager role?


3. Do it for non-work goals too!

Want to run a half marathon? Before you lace up, make sure you've planned your route to the finish line...


4. Use a goal-setting template


These are some of Sandy's own goals from 2013. Neat!

At the end of this post you'll be able to download this template and use it to kick-start your planning. A few things to keep in mind as you go :

  • Make it actionable: note how everything that's made it onto the planner is action-based - it marks something you need to do to get where you want to go
  • Ask who can help you along the way: if you only spoke to one person who could help you get it done, who would it be? Don't be afraid to ask for help - the people around you might have experience to share, or be able to make that vital introduction
  • Be accountable: life happens, things slip - but diarising regular checkpoints you can review your own progress and re-adjust along the way

5. Get inspired!

Nick James, a Square from the May cohort, used Sandy's approach to goal-setting to land himself a new job before he'd even graduated from the course:

NickJames.jpg"I'd never really had a plan, which was in part how I found myself the marketing manager of a small company where I wasn’t engaged with the work I was doing and had very little chance of career progression. That’s why I signed up for Squared Online in the first place, but Sandy’s talk helped me beyond work by giving me a framework to hone in on what was really important to me and answer the big questions like 'what do I want', where am I going?'  and breaking them down into smaller, achievable, chunks of three or siz months.

It was clear to me when I downloaded her template and plotted the next five months to the end of 2015, that my job was the biggest area of my life that I needed to change. In many respects I knew this already, but I'd built up so many barriers to change: I was comfortable, well-paid and could work for home. However, it became clear that those things just weren’t enough.

So when I saw a job at a local marketing agency that was expanding, I sent in a speculative CV. Despite having no agency background, with my new -focus and a little stardust from Squared Online, I got an account manager job. For nearly two months now I have been working with the biggest automotive manufacturers in the world for a company I'm already growing to love.

I've also already put together my plan for the first half of 2016, which includes more personal goals like building fitness and wellbeing into my new routine, making more time for old friends and remembering to appreciate the limited time I get with my young family. On the work front I am moving toward promotion to senior account manager.

Having a reminder of these simple headline goals across your whole life helps you stay on track. It sounds obvious but we all get so caught up in the day to day so much we forget to look up occasionally, I’d recommend trying it to anyone."

Nick's story shows there's no better time to sit down and get goal-setting, so why not give Sandy's template a go for yourself? Download it here - and let us know how you get on!


Find out more about Squared Online: you can give us a ring on +44 (0) 20 7173 5938, or download the brochure to read about the course and the Squared experience.

Topics: Expert comment, Digital marketing