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Careers Insight: Resolve doesn’t start in January

Do not allow your career goals to slip off the agenda because the day job is keeping you occupied — keep them in mind at all times

So, how many of you are still going strong with your new year’s resolutions? Did you have a realistic plan to sustain your resolve?

The arrival of a new year typically sees a lot of people want to make improvements to their life in some way. While the intentions and enthusiasm are great, however, most who start off working towards new goals and dreams end up living the rest of the year in the same way they have always done.

The age-old internal battle between doing what we want to do and doing what we should do confirms we are humans and not robots.

So, while the end of a year may seem like a good time to look ahead at the need to change, waiting until the midnight bells chime before making those changes is a mistake. Let’s face it, Auld Lang Syne does not have magic powers.

Tracking progress

Everyone should have their own career plan that comes with a set of actions and goals they can work towards. A goal should be a specific statement of what they want to achieve by a certain date and be reinforced with milestones throughout the year to keep them focused.

Certainly, those who have lost weight or reached sporting targets can vouch for the fact that success is much more achievable if you monitor progress and record outcomes. Likewise, career-focused individuals should ensure they deliver the outcomes expected while simultaneously building their profile and taking greater responsibility.

Planning for promotion

For example, those with a new year’s resolution to be promoted in the year ahead should be starting to think harder about what is required in this respect. Evaluate your profile and the exposure you have in your current situation, and bring people into your life who will reinforce that resolution.

Most important is the need to understand the dynamics of the role you are aspiring towards, and identify the gaps between what you are doing now and what would be required in that enhanced role. Then consider the actions you can take to get exposure in these areas.

Anticipate hurdles

Of course, no matter how well you plan, some aspects of change are very difficult. In effect, you could be trying to reprogramme your brain. As part of planning, it is worth considering the hurdles likely to get in your way, and forming an idea of how you will jump over them.

Everyone should have their own career plan that comes with actions and goals

If you keep slipping up, instead of blaming yourself try to look at your behaviour to figure out where the process is breaking down. By analysing why something has not worked, you can consider how you will manage next time.

One of the tactics that can help you on your way to achieving your life goals or career plans is to have an added consequence. By this I mean sharing your goals with people who know you well. This provides an accountability to that target that goes beyond self-fulfilment into the realms of not being willing to fail in front of others.

Do not allow your career goals to slip off the agenda because the new year is already under way and the day job is keeping you occupied. Your aspirations deserve more.

Peter Gwilliam is owner of Virtus Search

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