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How to set your career goals for 2020

That’s a wrap for 2019, and I’m sure you’ve asked yourself what’s in store for the coming year in your professional life. If you’ve declared 2020 as ‘your year’ then you must have at least one thing you want to achieve.

Setting appropriate goals for yourself is the best way to make sure that, come next Christmas, you’re looking back on a fantastic year where you’ve achieved what you wanted. So whether you’re trying to get a new job, develop your skills to keep up with the competition or take a completely new direction, be sure to take a look at these tips to help you set your career goals for the coming year.

Evaluate the past.

The best place to start is to look back and reflect on how the previous 12 months have gone. Some things might have gone your way like a promotion, more responsibilities or even a new job. Some things might have gone south, like that marketing campaign you went all in on that went belly up or you might have even lost your job. Look at what steps lead to the highs and lows of last year and how you can replicate (or avoid!) them this year.

Following on from that, think about what your goal was last year. Did you achieve this and have your priorities changed at this time? Many of us formulate an idea of where we would like to be by a certain age. So, if you reach that age and are still nowhere near achieving some of the goals you had in mind, it’s probably a good time to take another look at them.

You might have stretched yourself out a bit too thin and reached a bit too far last year. Maybe you ran out of time to hit those last few targets or problems in your personal life might have derailed your progression. Finding out what stopped you from reaching your career goals in 2018 will help you further plan your path for 2019 and will help thrust you into the year with clarity on what you want to achieve.

Setting new goals doesn’t have to involve dramatic change, though. It could just be doing something that will help you to enjoy life more, such as joining a networking club or starting a new training course.


Look at ways that to improve yourself that can aid your professional life and career. If you’re usually a few minutes late to work, work on your punctuality. If you don’t have many connections in your industry, attend more networking events to grow your reach.

Even learning a new skill to keep up to date in your line of work can vastly improve your career trajectory with your current job or future endeavours. Invest a bit of time in your skills to qualify for higher paying positions and best of all add another notch onto your CV!

Don’t feel pressured into chasing a dream that isn’t yours. It’s easy to feel like you should be setting goals such as earning a certain amount or owning a better car, but there’s no point chasing other people’s dreams. So, don’t give time to any goals that are based on what other people expect of you, rather than what you want yourself.

Set your goals.

Note down what you want to achieve in your career by the end of 2019. Look at your overall goal and break it down so you know exactly what steps you’ll need to take to reach that target and when you need to reach them by. Breaking it down into smaller milestones will alleviate the pressure of having to constantly look at the bigger picture. Focusing on the actions and not the goals will help you to maintain focus so by working to these milestones and not deviating, you’re much more likely to reach the end goal.

If your goal is the same or similar to last years’, make sure you ask yourself the important questions:

- Has anything changed that might require me to revise my goals?
- What does my progress tell me about how achievable my targets are?

If you take these steps and you have the right motivation to achieve then you could be sitting back in December 2020 a very happy person! Why not let your support network know about your goals so they can encourage, remind and push you to achieve them. Take it one step at a time and eventually you’ll conquer your goals by year’s end!

An easy, low cost and useful thing you can do right now is get your free ticket to the Northern Business Expo 2020. It's held on 17th & 18th March at Manchester Central and it's the biggest event on the North's business calendar. You'll be able to network with thousands of business professionals, owners and entrepreneurs, attend skills masterclasses, get inspired by amazing keynote speakers and lots more! 
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