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Planning and Goal Setting for Your Career

4th October 2016

We’re all in an incredibly competitive environment when it comes to our careers and the horseracing industry is no exception. So how can you help yourself get ahead?

Simply…knowing what you want.

If you know what you want, you have a clear direction and you’re able to take action to get there. This is why setting goals will help you enormously, and whilst this may sound like common sense, many people just don’t do it.

Setting Your Goal

In our previous blog ‘Which way Should you go? Tips for Choosing Your Career Path’ we set-out how to choose your path – but now you need to set yourself a specific goal. What do you really want to do? Such as, a particular job in a specific company, or to become the expert in a certain area. Whatever you chose, your goal should challenge you, help you grow and help you advance your career – if that’s what you want! You’ll feel a far greater level of satisfaction from achieving a goal that stretched you, than one that was not really much effort at all. As well as setting a specific goal, you should set a date by which you want to achieve it.

Achieving Your Goal

Once you have your challenging goal, you need to develop a plan so that you stay on track to achieve it. Without a plan you can lose direction and focus as goals are often a number of years in the future and involve many actions to achieve.

What Does a Plan Look Like?

Your plan can be in any format – whatever makes best sense to you. You could…

  • Just list it out – with dates.
  • If you’re more visual, you could set it out on a mind-map – either hand-drawn or with software.
  • You could put it into a spreadsheet – which makes it really easy to move actions around.
  • Or an online project tool – Asana, Trello and Freedcamp all offer great free versions.

Whichever format you chose, make sure that:

  1. It’s easily accessible – it should be stored somewhere physically or digitally that you can easily find it to assess your progress.
  2. There’s a calendar element to it, so you can work out the dates for each step.

Once you make a plan you need to look at it, so that you can see how you’re getting on and keep your actions on track.

Creating Your Plan

The best plan is a simple plan.

Before you start, you’ll need to know…

  1. Your end goal – know where you’re headed and what you want to achieve.
  2. What basic steps needs to be achieved to get there, such as qualifications or experience needed.

Also…

There’s more to life than working! Think about other life goals, big and small and include those too, such as:

  • Where do you want to live, a particular part of the country, or a certain kind of house?
  • Where would you like to travel to?
  • Are there any interests you want to learn or take up?

Take your goals and start to create your plan by…

  1. Inserting your main goal under the date you want to achieve it by.
  2. Working back from this date, add in any other milestones needed to achieve your main goal. These can be people to contact, qualifications to gain, experience to attain etc, add them in with achievable deadlines.
  3. Then one-by-one, within each milestone, record each step you need to take in order to achieve it.
  4. Continue to break-down all your goals in this way and further break-down the steps within it if necessary, until you’re confident you have the level of detail needed.
  5. Then looking at all the actions, add them into your plan with a deadline. Make sure you take into consideration your commitments and that you’ll need a little downtime and try to create something that feels achievable.

Planning in this way will give you all the steps and when to take them, in a format that makes sense to you.

Plan to the level of detail and over the time period that makes sense to you. Even if you’ve got a main goal that’ll take three years, you don’t have to put in three years worth of detail if that doesn’t seem right to you. You could create a plan every 6 months or every year.

Reviewing Your Plan

Keep reviewing your plan to see how you’re progressing and also to see if the plan itself needs amending. Plans change as aspirations and circumstances change, therefore your plan needs to change with it. Review it as and when you feel necessary by working through these steps.

We hope this helps you get a plan in place for your next big goal and wish you the very best in achieving it.