With A New Year Comes New Professional Goals

January 02, 2017

With A New Year Comes New Professional Goals

Pushing Your LEO Career Forward

It may sound cliché but setting goals is an important part of your professional life and what better time is there to do it than at the start of the new year.  For the first article for the new year, we are going to examine the importance of goals and give you some tips to set professional goals to help move your career forward.

The Importance Of Goals

Professional Direction

When you set goals you are also building a road map for your year.  You know what you want to have completed by the end of the year.  With direction, you know where to spend your energy and what to avoid.


It is inevitable that at some point during 2017 you will need some motivation.  Especially with predictions that the year will be bad.  Your goals serve as motivation.  When you start to lose track think of what you can accomplish, what you want to accomplish.  By setting parts or steps to your goal, you help to give short term motivation that carries you through the year.

Show Accomplishment

Many businesses make you set goals because it shows whether or not you can accomplish what you want during the year.  Why not do the same in law enforcement?  It is a job after all.  When you set goals and accomplishment you show your command staff that you have achieved something during the year.

Promotes Accountability

Having goals helps to keep you accountable.  You know what you need to achieve and when you want to achieve it by.  It measures your commitment to your job and your motivation levels.  It also helps you to identify anything that may be distracting you from your goals.  In other words, it helps you to prioritize.

Setting The Right Goals

When it comes to setting goals, you need to set the right ones.  You won’t get far if you don’t set goals that will actually help you.  Here are some tips to help you set the right goals.

Keep it Realistic

Most importantly, you want your goals for 2017 to be realistic.  Don’t set goals that you could achieve.  This may mean that you have to sit down for a while to come up with the goals.  Don’t feel like you have to come up with them on the spot.  Unrealistic goals will take away motivation and hurt your growth.

Write Them Down

Goals aren’t necessarily real just because you come up with them.  You need to make them real and one way to do that is to write them down.  When you write down a goal you make a commitment and you may the goal real.

Tell Someone

For the same reason that you want to write your goals down, you want to tell someone about them.  And it never hurts to tell more than one person.  By telling people about your goals, you can get help with them during the year.  You don’t work alone so you shouldn’t have to accomplish your goals alone.

Set Sub-Goals

Sub-goals (or steps for your goals) helps to give you a way to track whether or not you have met your goal.  Each sub-goal pushes you closer to the next sub-goal and eventually the final goal.

Set More Than One

It never hurts to be prepared and you never know when something might come between you and your goals.  By setting more than one goal, you are giving yourself multiple things to accomplish during the year.  Just make sure that you don’t set goals that are too hard to complete because you have too much to do.  This tip is only optional and it may not be right for you personally to create more than one goal.

Be Flexible

Goals seem like set in stone achievements to many people but this isn't how you should view your goals.  While for the most part, you want your goal to stay the same because you don't want to get sidetracked or thrown off course, you should be ready to be flexible with it.  Situations change so be ready to change with the situations.

Setting goals helps you to push yourself to be the best you can be.  Take 2017 head on by setting goals.  If your department doesn’t have a plan for setting goals for the new year, talk to your corporal or sergeant so that they are aware you are aiming to achieve something.  They can also help you to better structure your goals.


About the author:

Ian graduated Seattle University with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice. He has held positions as an Auxiliary Department of Public Safety Officer, a Security Patrol Supervisor, and as an in-house security officer for a major medical center. Through all of this he has picked up a wealth of experience, training, and education that he is happy to pass on to others. Ian can be reached at ian@iandscofield.com.

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