Career Goal Setting Strategies For The New Year

2018 is upon us. We have made it through the first week and gotten used to writing the date as ‘18 rather than ‘17. So now is a good time to really crack on with the goals we are going to set for ourselves.

You’ve been wanting to change careers, or use your skills and expertise to make a difference? Or you’re just out of college and you want to make sure that you won’t get stuck on the corporate treadmill? You want to test out different career options and find a job that truly inspires you?

You are in need of a career goal strategies plan that won’t let you down. The following 5 step goal setting exercise should set you up for success:

Understand Your Passions and Values

Before diving into setting goals, you need to lay the groundworks. And when it comes to a fulfilling career, this groundwork is made up of your passions and values. You therefore need to figure out what really matters to you. Ask yourself the following questions to gain clarity on what your passions and values are:

  • What makes you happiest in life? What excites you?
  • When was the last time you over-delivered on something? What was it and why did you work so hard on it?
  • Imagine you have no financial worries. What kind of work would you be doing?
  • What would you do if failure wasn’t possible?
  • What topics do you enjoy talking about/discussing?
  • In what way do you enjoy supporting people? How can you use your skills, expertise, and ideas to help people?
  • Out of the activities you’re doing for work now – which ones would you do for free?
  • What are the 5 strongest values that you want to live your life by that will allow you to accelerate personally and professionally? (examples include: independence, generosity, financial stability, fun, excitement, stability, quiet etc.

Develop Your Lifetime Goals

Now that you have a better idea of what characteristics your dream career should have, you can start formulating your goals. And it’s best to start with big, lifetime goals. They give you a direction and perspective to keep you motivated from day to day. But let’s keep focusing on your career, even though there are many different areas for which you can set lifetime goals. Some good questions to ask yourself are:

What do you personally want to achieve in your career?

What do you want to do on a day-to-day basis?

What outcomes or impact do you want your work to have?

Focus On Your Most Important Goal

You might come up with a couple of different goals in this process. It is great that you are eager to get going and have loads of ideas about what you want to achieve. But when it comes to goal setting, less is often more. Because a range of goals means that you have to focus in many different areas, and divide the time between them. As a result, it is likely that you end up doing many things badly, rather than one thing well.

If you have one clear career goal, it will be easier for you to achieve it. Once you have found the goal you want to focus on, you can start working towards it. It doesn’t mean that the goals can’t change – often there are things you cannot control that affect your goal. You therefore might have to revise and adjust your goal. But having a direction is a good start.

Break It Down Into Smaller Goals

It is now time to set smaller goals that can guide your day to day activities. Make sure to formulate these short-term goals as positive statements, and make them realistic and achievable. Another great way to set achievable goals is by choosing performance goals rather than outcome goals. If you focus on your own performance, you are in charge of achieving the goal. But focusing on outcome goals means that outside factors could possibly affect you achieving your goal.

Here is an example of how you can work backwards from your big career goal, to smaller, more achievable chunks:

Overall Career Goal: I want to be a Diplomat

  • 1 Week Goal: Organise a meeting with someone in this line of work, and download all necessary resources that explain the application process and the skills you need.
  • 1 Month Goal: Talk to a person in this line of work, understand the skills required and how to succeed in becoming a Diplomat, start any formal qualifications required, find a tutor for any missing language requirements, get a head start on reading materials etc.
  • 6 Month Goal: Gain the necessary skills and qualifications through volunteering, completing an internship, getting necessary formal qualifications, and learning required languages
  • 1 Year Goal: Successfully complete the application process

Make sure that your smaller goals give you guidance on what actions you should take, and what you need to do on a day-to-day basis to achieve your goal.

Make Your Goal Visible

Write your goal down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere where you see it every single day. This works on the conscious and subconscious level, and is a ‘must-do’ if you want to achieve your career goal. Another great strategy is to write your goal in a journal or diary every single day, to remind yourself and get you in the winning mindset to tackle your day.

Do you want to learn a new skill this year? Or is it your goal to share your skills to make an impact in 2018? Did volunteering show up on your actionable goal setting plan?

Make your goal a reality by completing a skilled volunteer placement with Skilled Impact in 2018. Get in contact now.