With just days left in 2017, and as the Christmas break fast approaches, our thoughts slowly turn to time off and a much-needed break. With this comes contemplations of the new year and the opportunities it presents for a fresh start in 2018. Yet this is frequently coupled with a feeling of ‘what’s the point?’ Year after year we set goals, make a resolution to change, improve or develop, but 12 months later it often feels like little has been achieved.
Typically, there is a fundamental reason for this! The goals we set are usually superficial. They tend to be based on an idea of what we want to achieve rather than a true understanding of the what, why and how of our plans. So, with that in mind, here at A Career to Love HQ we have put together one question per day for the next 12 days to ask yourself. It will help you refine your thought process and lay the groundwork for setting achievable goals that move you from thought to action. The intention is to get you thinking about the year that has gone and help you plan more effectively for 2018.
Buy yourself a notebook that makes you smile when you look at it. One with a nice cover or a motivational quote usually works really well. Carry it with you and use it to jot down your answers and thoughts to the 14 questions.
Make time to take time
Commit 60 seconds per day over the next few days to answer one question per day. You might do it on your commute to work, before you have lunch, having a coffee, or just before you go to bed at night. Choose your time and set a reminder as your trigger for action.
Engage with the BIG Questions
Some of the questions are BIG and will feel uncomfortable to answer but they are the important questions. Achieving clarity is one of the most important factors in setting great goals. Understanding your priorities and breaking your priorities into small bite-sized achievable chunks comes next. Once you have this done you are ready to move from thought to action and achieve. Here are the 14 questions to ask yourself before the end of the year:
- What are the first thoughts about your career that come into your head about the year that has passed? Are they mostly positive, negative or neutral?
- What is the one part of this year that you will remember for the rest of your life? Why?
- If you could change one career-related thing that happened during the past year what would it be? Why?
- What is your proudest professional moment? Describe your role in this moment and your specific contribution to it. Why it is your proudest moment?
- Did you take control of your professional development this year? If so, what did you do? E.g. a course, read more, network etc.?
- What frustration came up time and again? Describe a little bit about it and why you found it frustrating.
- How well did you mind yourself this year? Did you take time off? Did you use all your holidays? Did you make time for your hobbies, interests, friends and family?
- Are you happy with the amount of time you are spending with the people you love and care about? Or does your role prevent you from striking a balance?
- Do you feel professionally satisfied? If so why and if not, why?
- What was your most challenging professional moment of 2017? Why was it challenging? What did you learn from it?
- What was your biggest career-related learning curve and why?
- What or who held you back professionally and why?
- How did you lead yourself and others in your workplace during 2017? It doesn’t matter if you are a leader or manager, the real question is what positive contribution did you specifically make to your workplace?
- If you could wave a magic wand, what would you wish for in your career and why?
Instead of thinking and doing in the abstract, by answering these questions you provide yourself with the information you need to create goals based on what you actually want, not what you think you want. In doing so you build a sense of congruency between where you are and where you want to be.
Setting attainable goals, and putting a plan in place to achieve them, is an important part of designing a career you love. If you don’t do it, no-one will do it for you.
Use your answers to these 14 questions to get your 2018 off to a productive start.