Setting goals

Short-term may be said to involve processes that show results within a year; medium-term plans aim for results that take several years to achieve and long-term plans include overall goals set four or five years in the future and may be dependent on reaching the medium-term targets.

Short-term goals should relate to long-term goals and align with your career plan and commitments; so, short-term goals should lead naturally to your long-term goals. You need to be reasonable, realistic and flexible in designing your career plan. Things change, circumstances change and, above all, you change and grow.

It’s a good idea to have a timeline, chunk down your career plan into sensible goals and ensure you have enough time to realistically complete each step, write yourself a checklist for what you need to finish at each stage.

Think ahead

  • How is will the short-term plan help to achieve your end goal?
  • What elements of the plan are within your control? Which are outside of it?
  • What will you do if you can’t accomplish part of your plan?

If you can identify this information early it will help you keep your short-term planning up to date.

Assess your career and what you want to achieve this year; evaluate your situation and measure yourself against the goals you set yourself at New Year; then plan to close any gap between where you are and where you want be. Reflect on what you have done and learned and achieved.

Plan for the future

  • Is each element of the short-term plan directly relevant to your medium-term goals?
  • Do you have a back-up plan if something doesn’t work out?
  • Can you foresee personal or professional challenges that may complicate your plan?

Adjust your timeline using annual blocks for one year, two year and five years from now, as putting your long-term goals into perspective will help you understand the steps you need to take immediately.

When you have built your career plan, remember to revisit and revise it regularly to ensure it continues to align with your goals and commitments, incorporate changes as needed to ensure that you’re following the timelines you set for yourself. You need to be able to adapt to challenges as they arise and take advantage of new opportunities as cross your path, without losing sight of what’s important to you in the long run.

Why it matters

The better your planning and preparation the more you will benefit. Don’t limit yourself, if you have a good understanding of what interests you, what motivates you and what you value in your career then the world is your oyster. You will need to invest in yourself to fulfil your potential so think about how your strengths can best be deployed in your current role and your future career plan.

Michael Moran

Michael is CEO and Founder of 10Eighty. He is passionate about helping people maximise their potential and believes everyone should have job satisfaction and a successful career. He helps organisations design jobs and career paths that maximise employee engagement. As an avid reader/commentator on the world of work and sport, he regularly draws parallels between the two. You could describe Michael as a budding author with “The Guide to Everlasting Employability” already under his belt, and technophile who’s created 2 career management apps to help people manage their careers.

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