“Because a goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
So you've had a think about your career values, maybe thrown an ideas party for a few friends... and finally settled on a few concrete goals. That's great! But how do you actually go about making them happen...? Here are a few pointers (extracted from the Dream CV Planner) on how to make action plans that actually work.
- Setting deadlines is a crucial part of making your goals happen. Do: avoid subjecting yourself to unnecessary pressure by setting realistic deadlines. Don’t: make your deadlines so relaxed as to be open-ended.
- Vague goals are failed goals, so make your action plan as specific as possible by setting quantifiable targets, and identifying the specific actions that you’re going to take towards them. For every goal you identify, you should ask yourself “how am I going to make this happen?”. Write that down as well.
- Tell someone about them. Whether that’s your friends, family, or the guy who runs your local corner shop – having people checking in is important, both as a source of support and as a way of keeping you accountable.
- Try to select a good mix of short term and long term actions – create at least one action you’ll carry out in the next week, one in the next month, one in the next quarter, and one in the next year.
- Bear in mind that you may need to break down certain actions into ‘sub- actions’ that involve researching larger steps. If a lack of information is stopping you from doing something, factor that in to your overall plan. Getting informed can be a huge achievement in itself!
- Once you’ve filled out the action plan on the following page, why not pin it up somewhere you’ll see it on a regular basis to help you stay on track?
If you found this article useful, there’s plenty more where that came from in The Dream CV Planner, a resource I’ve developed to help you identify what a successful and fulfilling career looks like for you.