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Creating an annual career plan for yourself is an excellent opportunity to figure out what you want to do with your working life in the coming year.

A good career plan will help you to use this year to move on towards your long-term objectives, to progress on the right track.

The following approach can be used no matter whether you are employed, seeking a job, or running your own business.

 

 

1.      Set up or revise your long-term objectives

What would you like to achieve in your working life?

The answer could for example be a particular position that you would like to have at the peak of your career or in 10 years. Or  it may describe a particular setting you would like to achieve concerning the topics or type of tasks you would like to work with. It could revolve around work conditions such as work pace, travel involved, employment vs entrepreneurship, etc.

In unstable economic and social times, your long-term objectives can be your personal anchor, giving you important stability.

 

2.      Evaluate the previous year

If you compare where you were with relation to your long term objectives one year ago with where you are now, how have you progressed?

Which of your actions have brought you closer to your objectives? What lessons can you learn from them for the next year?

Which of your actions have taken you further from your long-term objectives? What have you learnt from them?

 

3.      Think of the new year in the context of your long term objectives.

Where would you like to be in one year? To describe it, you can answer the following questions:

 

What would you like your typical day to look like in one year?

What would be changed and improved, compared to now?

What would you like to have more of or less of, and what should stay the same?

What else would you like to achieve during the year?

 

4.      Create a strategy.

What in particular will help you get there?

                

What will you need to decide about?

What information would help you?

What competences might you need to develop?

What sort of professional contacts might be useful?

What experience would it be good to gain?

How could your social support (e.g. from your partner and close friends) be improved?

What else might help you progress?


5.      Set up your SMART objectives

Based on your answers to the previous questions, it will now be easier to formulate your SMART objectives for the year: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely.

Keep in mind that they should be challenging, but realistic.


6.      Plan your action to achieve the objectives.

You can plan your activities in broader terms already now, and later use it for making detailed monthly plans. The action plan includes:

 

What will you do;

How;

By when;

What is your goal in the particular activity and how will you know you have achieved it;

What will be your reward when you achieve the goal?

 

7.      Revise your plan regularly

Circumstances in your life are changing constantly, and so are you. Long-term objectives usually do not change rapidly, but what you can change are the strategies and action to achieve them. You might learn useful information, develop skills, meet someone or get new ideas during the year, and these should be taken into consideration. That is why it is useful to revise your plan regularly (once per 1-3 months).

 

For professional help with setting up long-term goals, making your annual career plan or short-term action plans, you can use coaching. Learn about coaching or contact me.

 

Good luck!

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