Long term career goals – the path to success

Setting long term career goals is by far the best way to guide your career into the future that you want.

By setting your sights on where you want to be five, ten and even twenty years from now, you can assure yourself that you will be walking down the path that you want to walk down versus being pushed or blown down a path that ultimately doesn’t lead you where you want to be. Long term career goals are crucial, if you want to be in control of your career.

Do you want to control the path of your career?

In the UK, it is estimated that less than 5% of employed people have even short term career goals, let alone goals that reach twenty years ahead. If you want to be in control of your career and ultimately create the path that it takes, here are a few things to keep in mind when setting our long term career goals.

1) Remember that goals are goals. Regardless if you are setting goals for this afternoon, goals for this year or goals for twenty years from now, every goal you write needs to be specific. You must be able to define with clarity, what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it by and how you plan to achieve it. Otherwise the goals are too vague and you can’t focus on attaining them.

2) Share your goals. If you write your goals in such a way that you are embarrassed to share them with others then you need to look at whether they are realistic. You must believe in the goals you set or else they are likely to just become dreams. You need to be able to confidently say, here’s my plan…and believe wholeheartedly that you can achieve it.

3) Be flexible. Although your goals must be specific, you must also remain flexible, especially with your longer term goals. This is not to say that you should just change what you are shooting for week after week but if you set a goal for 15 years from now, there is a good chance that things will happen in your life that you simply cannot plan for today. When those things happen, adjust accordingly.

4) Be realistic but think big. When setting long term career goals, it is important to think big. Realising that “big” is different for each of us, you need to define what big means to you. If you are reading this I am going to assume that you are human and humans simply do their best work when they are challenged. When we are able to sit around and not really even have to think, we do not accomplish things at the same level as we do when challenged. Think big and be challenged.

5) Remember why you made goals. Long term career goals are for your benefit. You create them so that you know where you are trying to go. You then work to get there. The goals are not cast in stone and they can be changed, you own them, they don’t own you. After you have written your goals, look at them as if they were a guiding light, not as a ball and chain that will keep you from freedom.

Setting long term career goals will allow you to set a direction for your career. You will no longer just be waiting for your boss or organization to tell where to be and what to do. Long term career goals put you in charge.