27 Nov 2019

Career Development

Setting yourself up for a successful 2020

Written by Dennis Stanley

As the end of the year draws near many people begin to think about what they would like from the coming year. This could include what they’d like to achieve or change, how they would like to live their life and what they would like to get from it.

The problem is, no matter how good the intention behind them, New Year’s resolutions are rarely kept for longer than a couple of months. This is often due to a number of common reasons, which I’m going to look at in this article, to help you prepare for 2020.

Your goals aren’t your own

How often have you set out to achieve something because you believe it’s expected of you, or you know it would please someone else? This could be a loved one, a family member perhaps, but it’s also often due to social constraints or norms.

Work hard, rise through the ranks, earn loads of money. Sound familiar? But what if you’ve become disillusioned with the industry you’ve ended up working in – regardless of the opportunities for promotion? Or, you don’t want to work every waking hour, but would rather carve out a work-life balance that enables you to spend more time with your family?

Setting goals that don’t represent your own desires, values and aspirations will over time create a barrier to achieving success. They aren’t your own goals and the motivation and drive required to achieve them will dissipate rapidly.

The goals aren’t achievable

Sometimes the goals we set aren’t achievable from the outset because they are out of our control, and sometimes our best laid plans don’t work as we wish and we have to give up on a dream part-way there.

To help my clients set themselves viable goals I use the GROW model as it helps you to assess each step of your objective and consider the setbacks and challenges you may encounter before embarking on your mission.

You don’t have a clear vision

Having a vague idea of what you want (or don’t want!) doesn’t constitute a goal. Wanting “to be rich”, “acquire more responsibility at work” or “have more spare time” isn’t a goal. In order to achieve what you would like to; you need to have a clear idea of what it is you’re after and how you’re going to get there.

Being able to visualise and quantify the benefits of achieving your goal will help keep you motivated, you can define what you want to achieve and how you intend to by using the SMART goal technique. That means your goals will be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

And, then write them down. Research has shown that people who write their goals down in detail are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. Writing them down helps you to stay focused on what you would like to achieve through both the process of getting your thoughts onto paper and when you display your goals somewhere you can easily access or see on a regular basis.

Visualisation of your goals is a key factor in helping maintain motivation. The creation and use of a mood board in your study (or a place that you access on a regular basis) containing pictures and or articles that support your goal can act as a powerful (and motivating) reminder of where your heading. Pinterest is a great mobile app that can be used on the move and provide a quick way of adding material in support of your goal.

The support isn’t there

When using the term support, I’m referring to both the mental support you will need from your social networks, as well as the physical resources, you’ll need to achieve your goals.

When setting your goals, try to envisage the types of support you will need and put plans in place to gain it (or contingency plans if that support isn’t readily available).

If you’re wishing to retrain and change careers this could include money for courses and time away from work or your family to complete them. It may mean support from your manager in the form of a recommendation or time off for interviews. You may need to purchase new equipment or rely on your contacts to make introductions. And, it’s probably going to require the encouragement and support only your family and friends can give you.

To help get your support network on board from the outset it can be helpful to discuss your goals with them, explaining what you want to achieve and why.

It can also be helpful to engage the services of an impartial professional to help you set and stick to your goals. If you’d like that person to be me then email me at dennis.stanley@marriage-stanley.com