The time during the holidays and right before the new year is a great time for self-reflection — reflecting on the past year, your current career, goals you have accomplished, and thinking about where you want to be this time next year. If you find yourself thinking about what you didn’t accomplish in the past year, consider setting more realistic goals going into the new year.
Below are a few ways to use the time during the holiday season to reconfigure your CPA career goals and to best accomplish them over the new year.
- Be realistic about your short-term and long-term goals. Every person has goals they would like to achieve. Some of them are small and some very grand. However, it’s important to be realistic about the goals you set for yourself. When you set achievable goals, you’re more likely to achieve them which will help build your confidence, sense of well-being, and overall happiness. When you accomplish goals – large or small – you are also getting things done for your career. Remember, realistic goals are motivating because they are achievable, so be sure your goals are important to your career growth and attainable.
- Map out your career plan and keep it in front of you. One of the most important steps to reaching your goals is to map out your career plan. Figure out what you want to accomplish and how long it will take you to complete what you want to accomplish. If you’re stuck on this step, consider what makes you happy, where you want to be in one year, 3 years, or 5 years, and what a fulfilling career looks like for you. Even creating short-term goals at this point is important. Try to create some long-term goals too, but most importantly, write everything down.
- Envision your future career as a CPA. Sometimes the best way to get inspired is to envision yourself at the end of your career goals. Imagine yourself as a CPA and how finishing all of the CPA requirements will make you feel. How will the extra income change your current financial situation? How will the CPA credential advance your career? What career paths will you now consider as a CPA? Think about all the benefits of becoming a CPA. Practice envisioning yourself as a CPA any time you start losing motivation or begin questioning why you’re working so hard for the CPA credential.
- Take small steps every day to accomplish your goals. Just like studying for the CPA Exam, working towards the CPA credential is a marathon, not a sprint. So, any small steps that you can complete each day will eventually get you to your end goal of becoming a CPA. Small steps keep you moving forward and making progress to your overall goals. Start each morning by writing down your top three goals that you want to accomplish that day. Work towards just those goals for the day. There is power in small victories that lead to greater results. Your daily work will eventually pay off and help you to obtain CPA licensure.
- Plan for setbacks and learn how to pivot when something doesn’t go as planned. There are going to be setbacks, especially when your best intentions do not go as planned. It’s therefore important for you to be prepared and have a plan to pivot through the challenge so that you can stay on track. What we value most in life is often the most challenging, so continue to move towards your goals, even if you are out of your comfort zone. If you become overwhelmed, go back to your career plan, adjust the plan to move slower, reevaluate your career goals, and then just keep moving. Focus on what you can do at the moment to keep the momentum moving towards your career goals by breaking down goals into smaller, more manageable tasks that are easier to complete. Do not let life’s challenges and setbacks take you off track or take away your motivation to finish your goals.
- Keep track of your weekly or monthly progress towards your goals. It is important to keep track of the progress you are making towards your goals. Take one day out of the week to review your goals, what you have accomplished during the week, where you need to pivot and reflect upon where you need to make changes. Analyze what is or isn’t working, then rework your plans or career map to set yourself up for success. Staying on top of your progress each week keeps your overall objectives top of mind and helps your goals remain meaningful to you. In the long run, tracking your progress will also inspire you to achieve more on the weeks where you are struggling the most. Without progress tracking, you have no real accountability to yourself or your goals.
- Get a jumpstart on the CPA Exam. As you work towards the requirements of becoming a CPA, remember the importance of getting the support you need to accomplish your goals sooner. One of the key ways to successfully obtain your CPA credential is to pass the CPA Exam quickly and efficiently. One of the best ways to do this is by enrolling in a reputable CPA Review course as soon as possible. Now is the time to get a jumpstart on your CPA Exam studies. As you work towards your career goals, spend the holidays getting the bulk of your studying done, and then schedule your first exam in January. If you want to become a CPA as soon as possible, and you’re willing to work as hard as you need to accomplish your goal, then let a CPA Review course help you get to the finish line much quicker!
- Reward yourself for accomplishing any of your goals. Finally, as you complete goals, even the small, daily ones, be sure to reward yourself. Be sure to reward yourself for both little wins and the more important milestones. Why? Because rewards can help you stay motivated and on track to complete a task or objective. If you know that once you’ve completed the daily tasks that you can then go out for a nice walk with a family member or a friend, you’ll start having a more positive emotion towards reaching each goal. Connecting rewards with effort will help your brain start linking pleasure to accomplishments and help you move towards the future at a steadier pace.
Finding ways to set yourself up for career success will not only help you advance and achieve your goals but will also help you overcome any obstacles you might encounter over the course of the next year.