Reflecting on what you did in the last year and what you want to do in the year ahead can be constructive and an encouragement.
Encouraging – identifying what goals you have met, challenges you have overcome and ultimately what you have achieved. It can be helpful, positive and build your self-confidence, as well as motivating you to press on with your goals.
Constructive – Identifying what hasn’t gone well or any gaps in what you need to do or want to achieve. This is the first step to putting plans in place to overcome or fill the gap for the year ahead. It can be helpful to get things clear in your mind and get motivated.
‘I met my goal to organise work experience over the summer with a local law firm, which has encouraged me to apply for a training contract next year’.
‘I need to improve my presentation skills as I have found it hard in my seminar groups this year and I may need good presentation skills when talking to clients’.
It is good to think about and review your expectations for what you did during the year. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you meet your expectations and achieve your goals in the last year?
- Did you have realistic expectations in how to achieve your goals?
- How could you learn from your experience in the last year? (Improve or repeat what you did in the year ahead)
- Is there anything you need to do to make your plans realistic to achieve for the next year?
- Do you need to alter your expectations of yourself or of other people or circumstances?
- Perhaps you had low expectations and need to believe in who you are and what you can do?
- Maybe you expected too much putting too much pressure on yourself in the process?
By being more self-aware about your own expectations and having time to reflect on what you have done, what you have learnt about yourself and what you want for your next year, then you can be positive about the year ahead and plan your goals and approach to take. Some examples could be:
- Achieving or continuing better grades in your studies
- Planning your time better to meet essay deadlines
- Gaining a part time jobs to support you financially
- Improving your skills to fit the role you want to do in the future
- Finding work experience or an internship
- Exploring ideas for what you want to do
- Researching an industry sector to find employers to apply to
- Tailoring your CV and covering letter
- Preparing for an interview or assessment centre
Create goals for yourself for the year ahead which is going to be achievable. Remember if you achieve them you can always set some more! One of the best ways to do this is by making goals that are SMART or are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. There is little point in deciding on a goal that you can’t tell when you have achieved it.
Examples of goals using SMART:
- Book an appointment with Careers to discuss my options by the end of January 2015
- Apply for a summer internship in the area of marketing by end of July 2015.
- Make a list of Finance graduate schemes that interest me by the end of August 2015.
What help is available?
Within the Careers Service we can help you explore your options and expectations, help you make plans for the year ahead and provide you with information and help to develop your skills. Contact us to find out more. We are back in the New Year on 5th January 2015. We also have further information on the Careers Service website which may be of help to you:
Which Career? Section of the website explores different industry sector areas. Click on the I don’t know what I want to do page and scroll down the page to the link My Future Profiler which is a questionnaire with some information that may be of help thinking about your future.
You can look for some ideas from my colleague Natasha’s blog 12 days of careers Christmas.