January is a great time of the year to review your career goals and set up strategies to achieve them in the next 12 months. But don’t worry if don’t fancy spending a lot of time thinking about this stuff: this step-by-step career planning guide will give you clarity, confidence and motivation to move your career forward.
1: Spend time in the Unknown
When too many thoughts blow through your mind endlessly, you may end up stuck in a thought storm. On the other hand, if you have no idea about your career goals you may well get frustrated. However, I personally believe that not being sure about your next steps and letting your thoughts getting away from your mind might result in a new and fresh perspective. So stop for a moment, take some time off and breathe!
2: Get creative, think in pictures
As you may know, our brain is divided into two distinct hemispheres with distinct functions: the right brain and the left brain. Your right is connected with your feelings and your heart and also thinks in pictures. Pictures have a big impact on your subconscious mind, so try to put some creativity into your career goal setting, create a vision board, draw a picture of your 2018 or close your eyes and imagine your 2018. Once you are done with your picture of the upcoming project, find a quiet place and let your right brain help you in writing down your vision. Just go and have fun!
3: Identify your main career goal and your 5 top career goals.
Based on your vision, identify your 5 top career goals for 2018; these might be quitting your job and start working for yourself, making a career change, signing a new partnership or anything else you may want. Write down your 5 top career goals, then pick your main career goal for 2018. This is the particular career goal that, once achieved, will help you accomplish your other 5 goals. When you are done with your career goal setting, rewrite everything using the present tense, for example: I travel the world by the end of 2018. Don’t forget to assign a deadline to each of your goals: as famous investor Robert Herjavec once said: “A goal without a deadline is just a dream”.
4: Find or reconnect with your Why
Why do you want to achieve your career goals? What is the why behind it? What are your reasons for wanting this to happen? Your thoughts are all neutral until you assign them some emotions; emotions will act like a fuel to act. Think about the emotion-based motivations behind each of your goals.
5: Set up your career plan
To map your action plan out, you’ll need to identify all the actions to take in order to achieve your career goals. When planning, don’t forget to ask yourself the following questions:
What actions can take me closer to my vision?
What actions will feel right for me?
What is the most important action I can take?
When will I do this?
How will I do this?
What kind of support will I need?
How enthusiastic do I feel about taking such actions?
Write down 10 actions that you are going to take this month to help you achieve your career goals.
6: Keep your priorities in mind
A quick exercise you should do every day to boost your clarity about your next step is to ask yourself: What are the 3 important steps I can take today which will take me closer to my goals? – then to focus on such crucial actions until you are done with them.
7: Commit to your vision and your career goals
If you want your dreams to come true, you should be 100% committed to them. I know life can be challenging and it can sometimes be a bit tricky to stay true to yourself and your goals, but just start by making a genuine commitment to yourself. Keep your word to yourself, then take action; keeping the word to yourself is an important part of building your self-esteem, self-belief, confidence, trust and respect. If you first fail, think about what you can improve, what your learning points are, then recommit to your vision and get back on track.
Allow yourself a moment to celebrate your achievements and create a new, fantastic vision for the next 12 months. To your success!