It’s come to that time of year again, where everyone finds themselves making resolutions and asking themselves, ‘How can I improve myself?’
In addition to eating healthier and exercising more, to ensure a healthy mind and body, few people also consider the health of their career. This, all too often overlooked, aspect of life requires just as much care, attention, and maintenance that your body does, in the hopes that it, too will thrive.
So, how do you make sure that your career is as healthy as you are? Ask yourself, do you have any goals? Are they clear and specific? Studies have shown that by setting clear and effective goals, you can not only bring about improved performance and positive change, but you’re also more likely to succeed in fulfilling them. So if you found yourself answering no to any of those previous questions, consider these steps.
Clarify your strengths and skills
It’s always important to know, before fixing a car or building a house, what tools you have to work with. Similarly, career management is all about knowing what tools you have at your disposal.
Taking some time to regroup, review, and reassess ones skill set, delivers the key advantage of self-awareness.
Be honest about your proficiency, you shouldn’t be a foreigner to yourself.
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve done something, and you’ve forgotten a few things. Take this time to go back and brush up on it.
Knowing what you can do, and having a clear view of your strengths and non-strengths can be the difference between success and failure.
Evaluate and analyze your current situation
Where are you right now? Are there any opportunities coming up, of which you feel could further your career? It’s important to know what you want, and where you stand right now, before knowing where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there.
Set realistic goals
Ok, so maybe becoming the CEO tomorrow afternoon isn’t feasible, but a promotion to be a team manager in the next 6-8 months might be.
This is the time where you establish your milestones. Where do you want to be in a month, in 6 months, in 5 years? Establish SMART goals on the short and long terms.
Do your research. What does your company have to offer you that fits in-line with your goals? Maybe you would like to travel. See if your company has any international opportunities, which will let you take your career abroad. If you’ve already moved out of the country, research what’s there to offer for expatriates.
So we have the Who, What, Where, and Why. Now is the time to focus on the how. Now that you have your goals, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to achieve them, and put it into action. Writing down, or drawing a diagram/flowchart of the key steps that need to be taken, allows you to visualize, amend, and organize your plan in an effective manner. Create an effective action plan and go into action.
Now is time to put it into action. Why wait for the New Year to start, when you can start working toward your goals now?
Adapt your plans
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Things aren’t always going to go according to plan, so you have to be ready to change and adapt your plan for whatever circumstances that might arise.
Developing several contingency action plans provides the flexibility to ensure that, no matter what happens, you’ll still be able to achieve your goals.
Just like you wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, you shouldn’t just “wing-it” when it comes to one of the most important aspects of your life.
Using these steps to create goals for you to achieve, will have you well on your way to planning the path that you want your career to take.
There’s no better time to start planning your goals and your future, than now. There’s still time to change that new year’s resolution.