New Year, new job? This is the time of year when many people decide to do something about their careers. It’s the perfect occasion to refocus, get things back on track or even look for a complete career change altogether.
Here are our top tips for getting it right:
Give yourself a head start and reflect on where you’ve been and, more importantly, where you want to go. The best way to do this is with a pen and paper.
You are either going to want to continue doing something, stop doing something or start doing something new. This is known as stop start goal setting and it’s a good idea to put these all down on one sheet. For example, you might want to stop staying so late at work and spend more time with the family. You may want to move into a managerial role in the company that you’re working for.
Make it highly specific and list a mission statement for each goal.
This is the area that many people find difficult. What you ideally want is a goal that moves you forward but which is achievable and realistic. The more you find a certain goal challenging the more you need to break it down into smaller chunks. Order your goals in a way that you think makes sense, whether it’s stretching across just a couple of months or over the entire year.
You have to actually implement everything and that can be the hardest step of all. Don’t wait. Get started immediately.
Keep a copy of your list of goals, and the timelines when you want to achieve them, on you at all times. That can be a paper copy but is more often nowadays on a device like a smartphone. Review your goals at the end of the day so that you can keep reminding yourself where you want to be and what still needs to be done.
No goal is achievable unless it is measurable. With measurement you can discover how easy or how hard your aims are. You can then modify and adapt your career plan accordingly. That doesn’t mean throwing plans out the window because they are difficult, it simply means adjusting your schedule so that you have more chance of success.
Finally, don’t wait for the end. Each time you achieve one of your goals, celebrate that success. Open a bottle of wine or treat yourself to something. It’s a great way to keep your motivation going, particularly if you have a long journey ahead of you.
Continuous goal setting and achievement are habit forming – the more you do it, the more you’re going to change things. As the saying goes: Each long journey begins with one small step. And it’s all as simple as that.