How to set strong career goals for 2022 – and actions to help you achieve them

The time between Christmas and new year can be an incredibly reflective period.

Often, we look back at the past 12 months at the things we achieved and the areas we fell short on. And, as a result, we set more positive resolutions for the year ahead. 

Work is a key area that many of us plan to shake up when the new year hits – even though setting career goals can feel a little daunting. 

Career coach Natalie Trice tells ‘As we head towards 2022 many people may be feeling somewhat fatigued and tired – after nearly two years of pandemic working.

‘Setting resolutions and goals might feel pointless given the ongoing uncertainty, but this could actually kick start action and put you on track for a successful year.’

So, how do you go about setting these goals? And how can we make sure we actually achieve them in 2022?

Experts have shared some top tips to keep in mind.

Think ahead and work backwards

‘To get started, look at where you are now and where you’d like to be this time next year,’ explains Natalie. 

It could be you want more managerial responsibilities, or maybe you want to go freelance, or even retrain completely.

In other words, it’s a good idea to think ahead and work backwards with an action plan.

Natalie adds: ‘Find what it is and then put steps in place to make those things happen.

‘Sprucing up your CV, putting yourself forward for more senior projects, scoping out networking opportunities or reading up on that teaching course are all starting points you can build on each day. 

‘That resolution then becomes a reality that you can achieve over time, rather than a milestone that feels too far away and could get left behind come mid-January.’

Do a career health assessment 

‘Just like your mental and physical health, your career health can have a dramatic impact on your life and your relationships – so it’s important to invest time to do this assessment properly,’ explains career and leadership coach Suzy Sallam.

According to Suzy, a career assessment looks at four areas: your level of job satisfaction, strength of your career progression strategy, the perception of your professional brand, and your work/life balance.

Some online tools are available to help you do this – Suzy has even created one herself that’s free to download that might help you get started.

Establish specific areas to focus on

Thinking about our careers and where we want to go can be incredibly overwhelming.

So break it down – and get specific.

Suzy says: ‘Based on your reflections and career health assessment, you may perceive the actual work that you do to be meaningful and enjoyable, but don’t like the way you are being managed, for example.

‘You might be very satisfied with the opportunities for promotion within your current company, but realise you receive far less recognition than you feel is appropriate for the level of your contribution.’

Once you’ve got to specifics of what you want to improve, you can go about forming a plan to achieve it.

Be realistic 

‘Be honest with yourself and make a distinction between your goal and your dream. A dream is something you can aspire to reach, whereas a goal requires ownership, hard work, self-discipline and sacrifice to achieve it,’ adds Suzy.

Also, don’t put yourself under too much pressure.

For example, if you want to change careers completely, rather than making that a goal, instead focus on the things you might need to do to retrain or gain new skills to help make this possible.

Don’t go it alone

‘A real goal will be a real challenge, otherwise it’s just a boring task. If you think you don’t have the willpower to achieve your challenge, ask for support from an accountability buddy,’ says Suzy.

It can be much easier when we have someone we can share a journey with.

Maybe you have a common goal so you can work on that together and offer each other some peer-support as required?

Or perhaps a friend can simply have that supportive and encouraging role to help you boost your motivation.

Either way, it’s a win-win.

Look to past experience 

‘Be mindful of the lessons you have learned to date and what you could be doing differently to achieve your new goals,’ adds Suzy.

With the new year fast-approaching there’s never been a better time for self-reflection – and coming to terms with home truths could really help you move forward and break cycles of behaviour from the past.

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