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Goal Setting

Written by Emma Burbidge Posted in Career Planning, Careers

Goal Setting

When it comes to choices about what career to follow, this can often be a difficult thing to do. The decisions we make when we are 16 and 17 years old can affect the rest of our lives, so it is important to think long and hard about the type of work you might enjoy and what steps you are going to take to get there.

One way of establishing what you are going to do with your life is to set goals. This is a powerful tool for thinking about your ideal future. Sometimes before we take action we just need to take a bit of time to stop and think.

It pays to be prepared, literally or figuratively. Setting goals is important for managing your time and organising your resources in the best possible way, so that you can get the most out of life.

How to set goals

  1. Set your big life goals about what to achieve from your life. This is not just about your career, but the wider picture. Perhaps you want to have a family, or write a book. Identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.
  2. Break these goals down into smaller goals, to make the bigger goals more obtainable.
  3. Now start working on your plan to achieve these goals.

Lifetime goals

Lifetime goals should reflect the things that are important to you. 

  • Professional – What career do you most see yourself being in? What level of that career do you aspire to achieve? How are you going to get there?
  • Financial – How much money do you want to earn and at what stage in your career do you want to be earning this much?
  • Education – What knowledge do you wish to acquire in life? What education and qualifications are required to achieve other goals?
  • Family – Do you want to be a parent one day? How will you combine being a parent with earning money and having a successful career?
  • Pleasure – How do you intend to spend your spare time.
  • Public service – do you want to change the world? If so, how do you want to do this?

It’s important to think long and hard about your ambitions and how you hope to achieve them. These goals should be things that you set for yourselves, not goals that are influenced by your friends and family. They may be well-meaning, but if you don’t want to do it, then you are not going to be able to work towards these goals with the same enthusiasm and get the same fulfilment when these goals are achieved.

Smaller goals

Once you have set your lifetime goals you need to set smaller goals within each goal. This is like a to-do list; it is a plan of action for how you are going to obtain these goals.

So for each lifetime goal you could have:

  • A ten-year goal – Perhaps you will be a manager of a company.
  • A five-year goal – where do you hope you will be in five years time? Perhaps you hope you will be earning £30,000 a year.
  • A three-year goal – Perhaps you hope that you will be in a fulfilling career or be able to buy a car.
  • A one-year goal – Perhaps you hope to be studying towards a professional qualification or to have completed an apprenticeship.
  • A one-month goal – To have gained a place on an apprenticeship or a relevant temporary job.
  • A one-week goal – To have applied for at least ten apprenticeships, or signed up with a temping agency.

These are just examples of the possible plan of action you could have. It is important that these are your goals, so adapt it in the way that you want.

Good luck! 

About the Author

Emma Burbidge

Emma Burbidge

Emma Burbidge is the marketing assistant at TCHC. She helps to manage the website and promote the Youth Contract. She enjoys writing for the blog and sharing advice and tips with young people on a range of topics, from finding a job to battling with depression.

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