Goal Setting for your Career

by Waller Jamison

Setting career goals is a difficult task and there are a number of factors to consider when you are first starting out or planning a career change.

What is Success?

When you are starting out in your career or contemplating entering a new one and begin goal setting to plan your future employment, you need to define exactly what success means.

That is, what success means to you, not your parents, friends or the rest of society.

Goal setting isn't part of the college curriculum and so when we leave school for our first job, we often focus on one goal - making money.

Not that there is anything wrong with that - a good salary is important when it comes to being able to afford a decent lifestyle, without having to worry about bills, but your pay packet is not the only thing to think about when deciding on your career - career success is about a lot more than financial security.

We usually think of a successful career as being one in which we have influence and wealth, one in which there are exams to pass, and a career ladder to scale. The the faster we reach the top of that ladder, the better we consider ourselves to be.

However, it's important to be clear about your long-term goals and priorities. Successful goal setting for your career also takes into account every aspect of your life including any emotional, spiritual and personal goals you might have.

Career success is not just about doing well or making money. For example, if you are currently single, you might want to have kids and therefore spending time with family would be important.

Or it could be that you already have a family and want to have to a different career so that you are in a better position to provide them with what they need.

Do you want to see the world, visit countries you've only dreamt of perhaps even work there for a while? Do you want to live abroad one day?

Perhaps you feel that a different country would offer a better lifestyle for your family, with a more pleasant climate, better education and more interesting job opportunities? Your career choice could look very different if you took all of these factors into consideration.

Or do you want to get involved in sports, follow an interest by studying a subject you love, cultivate a talent in writing, acting or music? You might want to downsize or retire early so that you can do something you've always wanted to do, like write a novel or study animals in the wild.

So don't forget that successful goal setting needs to include all your dreams. There are times, of course, when you may have to make sacrifices, especially in the early stages of a new career, when you are obliged to work extremely hard just to qualify.

However, you need to ensure that this work pattern doesn't go on for any longer than strictly necessary or you could find yourself really out of balance, a situation which could be stressful and even lead eventually to serious physical health problems or depression and associated illnesses.

A lot of us become trapped - get stuck in a job, which was only meant to be temporary, but somehow the right opportunity doesn't come up and we're still there years later and don't know how to move on.

If you fear this might be happening to you, or it has already happened, there is something you can do - you can take some time to yourself and start planning your escape route!

Write down exactly what type of lifestyle you'd like to achieve in 10 or 15 years and then start with the end goal and work back to today, figuring out what you must do or learn to get you to where you want to be.

Keep going until you find as step you can take right away - then take it. Goal setting can only help you achieve your aims if you are prepared to take action.

Discover the 3 steps to goal setting for your career.