Long-term goals and step-by-step success

Achieving your long-term career goals is something that many people aspire to, but not everyone obtains. With a step-by-step approach, you can reach these sought-after goals, even if doing so is difficult.

What makes it so challenging to create and achieve long-term career goals? A myriad of things can come between you and your work goals.

Hindrances to setting and achieving long-term goals

With the many challenges we’ve faced in the last few years due to the pandemic, the structure and definition of the workplace have changed considerably. Many people had to transition to remote work. Others came up with hybrid arrangements, and some lost their jobs altogether because it wasn’t sustainable.

This upheaval has certainly contributed to people not setting and achieving long-term goals. It is difficult to make long-term plans for your job when the world is in such a state. Many people have been under a great deal of stress and just trying to “get by.”

Aside from the changes on the world stage, other things that can hinder people from making long-term career goals and sticking to them are as follows:

  • Procrastination. It’s so easy to simply put off making your long-term goals until time slips away and you haven’t done it.
  • Fear of not being able to achieve the goals. Some people let their worries and fears hold them back.
  • No clear plan. Instead of a clear path to achieving the goals, you will be playing “hit and miss.” Without a strategy to achieve the goals you have in mind, it will be difficult to attain them.

Difference between long-term and short-term goals

Long- and short-term goals are not the same. They serve different purposes. Long-term career goals have you look at the big picture of where you want to end up in your career. What do you envision yourself doing or achieving career-wise in ten or twenty years? This may have been something you thought about when you were in college, but it could have been vague, or it could have had a broader scope. Now, you want to focus on the specifics of the career goal.

Short-term goals have their place in the process, too. In fact, they can help you achieve your long-term goals. Creating short-term goals can serve as stepping stones to reaching your long-term goals.

How to set and achieve your long-term goals

Now, it’s time to get down to the details about setting and achieving your long-term career goals. Here are some steps you can take to reach these:

Process of elimination

As you think about your future and long-term career goals, you may be like many people and be unsure what that looks like. Maybe you aren’t 100% positive about what you want to do or where you want to end up in your career.

To help you get to a place of knowing where you want to be, you can implement a strategy called the process of elimination. During this process, you will write down everything you know you don’t want to do. Also, write down all your dealbreakers. For example, if you know that you never want to travel in your career, write that down. Some careers require a lot of traveling. So, it’s helpful to know that this is something you would not want to do.

Through this process, you can eliminate several careers right from the start.

Narrow things down

Once you have eliminated several careers, it’s time to narrow things down a bit further. Take a look at what careers you have left and begin researching them. You can read information about them. Go visit someone in that position. Watch documentaries. Find out whatever you can about the careers that are an option.

Move forward developing your skills

While you research and contemplate your long-term goals, you can work on your skills. However, don’t get too specific with your skill development. If you develop very niche skills and don’t go into that field, your time will be wasted. Instead, develop universally needed skills, whatever career goals you choose. Some of these might include the following:

  • Writing
  • Public speaking
  • SEO
  • Marketing
  • Networking
  • Communications

Match your mental energy with your goals

It’s important to focus your energy in the right direction. Some people are mentally drained after everything that has occurred in the last few years. Maybe you have spent the last few years pushing yourself to the max, trying to make the “new normal” work. If you were forced to do your work in a whole different way due to the pandemic, you might feel the need to “catch your breath.” That’s understandable.

Other people might be ready to jump back into work. They could feel more energized from being home so much. The pandemic affected people in different ways. The point is that you need to match your mental energy with your goals. Wherever you may be on your journey, go with it. Don’t put yourself in a bind to do things in any particular way.

Benefits of beginning the journey of long-term goals

The benefits of starting to work on your long-term goals are:

  • You will make progress; whether big or small, you won’t be stagnant.
  • You will be closer to achieving your career goals.
  • You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.
  • You’ll feel more confident in your work.
  • You might discover that you are not doing what you really want and can make a change sooner than later.

You can begin moving towards your long-term career goals by taking the first step. Review what you don’t want to do, and you’ll be well on your way to narrowing down where you want to go.