There are no statistics on how many people make the resolution to change their career in January of each year but I bet it’s a lot! Research carried out by job site CareerBuilder found that 21% of people wanted to leave their job in 2016. Plus Standard Life and Research Now found 54% of British people want to change career, with a rise to 73% for workers aged between 24 and 34 years old. Futurists are predicting that we could have up to 5 careers in our lifetime so career change should be something to embrace and look forward to. Why then do so many people get stuck, feel blocked or just plain scared when they contemplate career change?
Many clients I work with have fallen into careers in their twenties and then found that career doesn’t fit them very well any more and why should it? We change and evolve over time as our interests, values and skills develop so how can we expect the career we chose at 22 to necessarily be right for us at 32,42 or 52. Plus there are so many opportunities to work differently or in professions that may not have existed when we made our original career choice. The opportunities are there you just need to be able to turn this desire for change into reality?
How to make your resolution to change career a reality
First of all you need to turn that resolution into a goal. Use the chance to review last year and plan for this year – get some tips in my 5 minute Midwinter Review.
Develop the right kind of goal
You might think it’s ok to have a simple goal of changing your career in 2018 but actually its a bit more complex than that because there are many different kind of goals and it about combining the right ones to motivate you. Check out the list below and decide which are helpful to you:
- Distal and Proximal Goals
A distal goal is one that is longer term and visionary. Often aspirational, it may be how you see your career developing further down the line and include the level of happiness, meaning and well being it will give you.
A proximal goal is shorter term and more detailed with specific actions you are going to take to move closer to your longer term goal.
A combination of both goals is often very effective.
- Abstract and Concrete Goals
Abstract goals are often vague and therefore less threatening. Use this if trying to name what you are going to do as a new career feels unclear – just add in what you do know you want from a new career.
Concrete goals are specific and have lots of detail but can come later in the goal setting process. Be ready to use this once your longer term vision is clearer.
- Avoidance and Approach Goals
Avoidance goals are where you’re moving away from something, for example I am going to change career because I hate my job and I want to be less stressed.
Approach goals are where you’re moving towards something, for example I am going to change my career to have more enjoyment in my life and to stretch myself and develop my potential. Approach goals are more motivating and tend to increase our well being.
If you realise you’ve set yourself an avoidance goal make sure you turn it into an approach goal as you’ll be more likely to achieve it
Goals are most effective when they are aligned with your values so check that the ones you have set yourself feel comfortable with who you are and what’s important to you.
Hope is an important part of the equation of achieving your goals. The academic Rob Snyder developed Hope Theory. He said achievement comes from focusing on three factors: having a goal, having pathways and methods of achieving that goal, and believing in one’s ability to reach that goal. Have you got all three things in place?
Measure your readiness for change
You can set yourself some amazing goals but if you’re not ready for change then they are unlikely to be successful. Readiness for change is a key ingredient in preparing for career change. Consider how committed you are to making the change happen – are you just talking and thinking about it or have you started taking some steps towards researching options, talking to a coach or getting new experiences? For more tips on increasing your readiness for change read my blog on How to increase your motivation to change career.
Get your goal setting hat on, create some goals that align with your values, increase your motivation to change and make 2018 the year you SMASH that resolution to change your career!
Need some help with your career review, planning or goal setting I’m here to help so just get in touch.
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