How to set career goals in 3 steps

Setting career goals can be complicated and daunting, especially when you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’ve tried, and they don’t ever seem to stick or go as planned.

All you need are 3 steps to set successful career goals, focusing on self-improvement, behaviours and aligning your desires with your actions.

Step 1 – Self-Analysis

The first step is to self-analyse, to go inward and ask yourself, “what do I want?”

Understanding your own needs is crucial so that you are intentional with your goals. Your goals need to align with your own values and desires.

To start, grab a notebook and sketch yourself.

Jot down, what do you like and don’t like about your career.  What inspires you? What excites you? What are you good at? How do you want to be better?

By asking ourselves these questions we can get a clearer idea of what we want.

To take it further, sketch your future self. Try to really visualise what you want your life to be like. What does your career look like? What tasks or projects are you doing? What company do you work for? Who do you work with?

By focusing on the present and the future, you can visualise where you are and where you want to be. Ultimately, the direction that you want to go in.

Step 2 – Direction

Now that you understand what direction you want to go in, the second step is asking, “How do I get there?”

Well, like any journey you need to create a plan.

You may have previously created a plan or career goal like, ‘I want to be promoted within the next 6 months’ or ‘I want a pay rise this year’.  Whatever it is, don’t set career goals like this.

Why? Goals like these are outside your control, they involve other individuals. You can’t control whether your boss promotes you or you get a pay rise, it is up to someone else. This is why you can fail to achieve your goals despite discipline and hard work. Because you aren’t 100% in control.

Instead, focus on your behaviours because they are in your control (Reggie Rivers).

What are you doing today, tomorrow, this month? What habits are you creating to drive you in the right direction. It is about the small steps and the small goals.

It is reframing your mind towards your daily routine. Our behaviours are the building blocks to achieving success.

Step 3 – Action

Now that you know where you are going and how you are getting there, the final step is action. So how do you implement this?

Start by connecting all the dots. Step one is finalising your future self, what is your end goal? Step two was to formulate what habits and behaviours you need to do to achieve your goal.  Write them down so you can take accountability for your daily behaviour and how that aligns with your end goal.

Now you put it all into play. Remember to have a clear picture of your strategy and end career goals. A powerful tool to use for success is visualisation. Top performers like Olympic athletes visualise themselves winning, this can increase your chance of reaching your goal.

Make your goals sharp and clear, don’t make them foggy. Psychology says we aim with our eyes, we are hunting creatures, so we need to specify our aims.

So be visual, clear and intentional. And remember to continually review your strategy so you stay in the right direction.

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