Why you should set long-term career goals

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Friday, April 22, 2022

The pandemic has not only transformed the way we work, but also how we want to work. For many, this new approach includes an increased desire for a sense of purpose and meaning beyond financial gain and practical concerns.

Greater expectations for work flexibility, strong social connections, and a sense of wellbeing, have been coupled with a heightened awareness that current jobs aren’t fulfilling these expectations. This has contributed to the ‘Great Resignation’ as individuals pursue more meaningful careers.

How do we effectively pursue and achieve more meaningful careers? The answer is simple, to set long-term career goals.

Why set long-term goals?

Long-term goals help us effectively focus our short-term goals. As well as helping us ‘to see the wood for the trees’ when the pressure of achieving our short-term goals, blinds us to the bigger picture of what we truly want.

Setting long-term goals also motivates us, leads to greater growth and self-development, and ultimately allows us to reach our full potential and creativity.

Strategies for setting long-term goals

Set clear and specific goals

Make sure your long-term goals are as clear and specific as possible. This helps avoid getting side tracked by pursuits that don’t fit with your overall scheme of development. The clearer the goal, the clearer the result.

With your ultimate end goal in mind, work backwards to the present day to plan and then execute your shorter-term goals.

Decide what you don’t want

Knowing what you don’t want is just as crucial as knowing what you do want. It helps avoid repeating actions that have proven to be unhelpful in the past. It also helps you to feel like an active agent of your life rather than a passive bystander to which things happen.

Focus your career interests

It’s tempting to pursue every interesting career possibility and opportunity that comes your way, but doing so may prove ineffective. It’s best to focus your interests on the areas that are most likely to bring you closer to your long-term goals.

A methodical way to do this involves scoring the characteristics of each career interest according to your values. This leaves you with the most promising and feasible choices.

Choose one direction to experiment with and see how it turns out; remember you can always reassess and choose another direction.

Hone your fundamental skills

Basic, fundamental skills such as leadership, oral and written communication, critical-thinking, problem-solving, and time-management never go out of style. They can be successfully applied to any career in any industry.

Assess your emotional and mental energy

Like physical energy, emotional and mental energy are in constant flux. Despite your ambitious goals, it’s normal and can even be beneficial in the long run to take a break when you need it. This may be a long sabbatical or a short pause on your journey.

Perhaps you missed our article on the 5 Things to Do For Your Career Before 2022? Although we’re four months in, the information is still very relevant—have a read to discover more valuable tips for driving a successful career.