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Top 13 Tips for Staying Accountable to Your Career Goals

Rachel Serwetz
Rachel Serwetz
February 17, 2022
Top 13 Tips for Staying Accountable to your Career Goals

Here is our quick list to help you stay accountable and on track for your career goals

  1. Get Deep: Why Is This Important To You? How Will You Remind Yourself Of That And When? Your mindset is the biggest driver of the time you put in or don’t. It’s possible you’re not allowing yourself to realize how ready you are for change, but work on surfacing your thoughts and feelings first, readying your mindset for change, getting the support you need to pursue your career goals, and then being sure that everyday somehow you will see or hear a reminder of why your goals are meaningful to you.
  2. Get Guidance — Without the clarity on what you should be doing and how to effectively approach your efforts, you’ll likely be stunted in your progress without even realizing it. To spend your time wisely and efficiently achieve your goals, figure out what support system you need to be strategic and effective.
  3. Break Things Down — If things ever feel too “big” of a task or too overwhelming, break it down. Any and every step that feels too big absolutely can be broken down into multiple sub-steps, it’s just a matter of thinking through it. Ask yourself how you can make this smaller, into bite sized pieces. Even if the first step may be organizing your to do list or learning about your approach before diving in to execute.
  4. Be Honest & Realistic With Yourself — Don’t be a hero. If you’re not a morning person and never will be, don’t try to become one now. If you can be productive for one evening per week, or one afternoon on a weekend, or one lunch break during the weekdays, come up with a routine that is realistic given what you know about yourself and your schedule.
  5. Leverage Routines And Goal-Setting — Routines can help you protect a certain time each week and work around it. For example, if every week on Monday nights you know you want to put in 1–2 hours towards your career goals, that means your family will be aware and you will more clearly know to say no to other plans. Another approach is goal-setting if that’s more your style, so create a timeline where you denote which steps you have to take and by when to continue to check off and follow that timeline of goals.
  6. Start Small — When setting a routine, try for 30 minutes per week at first. Then, you can always slowly start to increase that to either longer work sessions or more frequent sessions. If you’re looking at a daily goal, start with 5–10 minutes per day, and notice how it becomes easier to increase it once you start to dive in.
  7. Create a pre-work motivational process — If you need to do a meditation or other mindset activity before you dive into more practical work, go for it. Or, try to engage with content that is tied to what motivates you (i.e. your target roles, people, companies, or industries of interest) as a way to get you inspired, jazzed, and ready to create progress for yourself.
  8. Don’t Ignore Your Physical Environment — Could you go to a vibey coffee shop to inspire and energize you? Or, could you take an hour to clean up your workspace at home so that it’s just as energizing and inspiring? Our physical environment is an undoubtedly important driver of productivity and progress.
  9. Leverage A Peer, Coach, Or Another Human To Hold You Accountable — Either find a peer who you can co-work with (virtually or in person) and/or find someone you can “report to” on your progress. Ask a coach, partner, or friend to ask you how things are going on a regular basis to drive your sense of accountability and progress.
  10. Use a Timer — Using a timer can help you feel like you can set a manageable, small goal and achieve it. It makes things feel finishable in a way that you may even find yourself continuing to put in time and effort well beyond your timer, but it will help the initial step feel small enough to dive in.
  11. Create Rewards — What’s something small but enjoyable you can give yourself if you achieve your weekly goal? What would you look forward to? What do you not often allow yourself to do that might entice accountability?
  12. Use Tools — Tools like focusmate (virtual coworking), project management tools, a career coach, coworking spaces (in person or virtually — with strangers or with peers) are all great options. Explore and experiment with tools that you think will help you stay on track.
  13. Reflect & Iterate — Try a few things that you think will work for you, and then once per week ask yourself how it went. Did your system, routine, tools help you or not? What went well and what didn’t? What can you tweak or improve next week that you think will help even more?
Top 13 Tips for Staying Accountable to Your Career Goals

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Rachel Serwetz’ early professional experience was at Goldman Sachs in Operations and at Bridgewater Associates in HR. From there, she was trained as a coach at NYU and became a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. After this, she worked in HR Research at Aon Hewitt and attained her Technology MBA at NYU Stern. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of professionals with career exploration and for the past 4.5+ years she has been building her company, WOKEN, which is an online career exploration platform to coach professionals through the process of clarifying their ideal job and career path. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Binghamton University and has served as a Career Coach through the Flatiron School, Columbia University, WeWork, and Project Activate.

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