Why the holidays are a good time to reassess your career goals
The end of the year is a perfect time to review what you’ve already achieved and what you hope to accomplish in the coming year. Work is such a big part of your life, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on what worked, what didn’t and how you plan to continue to grow.
Think of your job in terms of whether you still feel happy doing it and whether you want to continue. Most people want to advance in their careers and meet new challenges, so regularly evaluating if you’re on track is important to your future plans. You can build on what you learn every New Year as you focus on new responsibilities and skills.
The steps you take now will help you realize what skills you currently have that are transferable to other roles, identify areas you can improve and discover new resources to help you move ahead. Armed with this information, you can make a "Personal Development Plan" which you can re-visit each year to track your progress.
Craig Yarrow, the author of Time Management Ninja, suggests you can begin by asking yourself a series of questions and taking some time to think deeply about the answers.
- Am I happy in my current position?
- What do I need to do to find more satisfaction in my career?
- Do I need to get a certificate or more education?
- What are the 2 or 3 best things I accomplished this year?
- What kinds of recognition or praise did I receive and from whom?
- What do I wish went better at work this year?
- What did I learn at work this year?
- What was the weakest area of my career this year?
- What did I enjoy the most?
- What do I need to stop doing?
5 Steps you can take to create a "Personal Development Plan":
1. Envision: After you’ve gathered some information based on your reflections, you should have a clear idea of where you want to be in the coming year that will become your “personal vision.” It’s always easier to be motivated to improve when you have an idea where you’re going.
2. Plan: Then it’s time to make a plan. You know where you’re headed, now how do you get there? If you actually put a written plan together, it can make your progress seem more realistic and create a “map” for getting ahead.
3. Action: Now it’s time to start the process. Do you apply for a certificate program? Take a class to expand your skills? Enlist a mentor to help with your leadership progress? Offer to take on a new responsibility on your team?
4. Track: Keep a record of your development and track it against your plan for this coming year. Make it easy to do so you’ll have something concrete to work with at the end of the coming year when it’s time to re-evaluate.
5. Review: Then it’s time to review and revise your personal development plan. As you develop your skills and experience, you’ll be motivated to consider what you’ve learned from this process and build on it for the next year and the next.
As part of your own personal year-end review of the state of your career, don’t forget to acknowledge those who played a part in your success, personally and professionally, and be intentional in remembering the good things that happened. Humans tend to remember and focus on more of the negative things. Start the New Year with motivation, positivity, focus and drive.