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Goal setting in 2020: 4 things you can do to prepare for the new year

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

With 2020 just around the corner, have you gotten your New Years’ resolutions in order?

Though often joked about for their fleeting nature, setting your goals for the coming year can help ensure progress for both your career and personal development. 

Harvard studies show that those who have goals are 10 times more successful than those who did not, with those who plan and write them down experiencing 3 times more success than those who simply kept them in mind.
The turn of the decade holds many possibilities, and with a little goal-setting, you can pave it with new personal and professional accomplishments.
With the right discipline and determination, these four tips will help create an eventful, opportune year ahead. 

What can you do to prepare for the new year?

  1. Examine trends in your industry and the global workforce.
  2. Invest in yourself and your relationships.
  3. Reflect on your finances.
  4. Be realistic, but positive.

1. Examine trends in your industry and the global workforce.

trends concept

Professional landscapes are constantly changing, spurred by emergence of new technologies and workplace values by the year. It’s therefore vital to keep updated on any new trends or skills taking place in your field, reflecting on your current competencies and any areas for improvement. Industry publications, conferences, and social media news are all sources of valuable information on the latest developments and demands of your industry; providing practical insight on the future of your field and how you can advance with it. 

Of course, it also helps to look at the bigger picture – and consider projections for the future of the global workforce. The latest report by the World Economic Forum has outlined the top ten employee skills required to succeed in 2020, with the big three being complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity

Staying on top and capable of relevant soft skills can future-proof your job in an era of increasing automation. In fact, according to economist Andrew Carlton, artificial intelligence is set to affect every job in Australia over the next 30 years; urging workers to embrace such developments and keep their skills updated as necessary. 

2. Invest in yourself and your relationships.

Once you’ve determined the future demands of your industry, be sure to carve out space in your 2020 plans for extra skills training. This will help you maintain employability for the coming year and onwards; and will effectively re-engage you in your current role, helping you learn, grow, and advance your career.

Plenty of education providers, such as Upskilled, offer such training online – this flexible delivery allows you to pursue a course while tending to other work and personal commitments. Additionally, you may even discover new areas of interest or undiscovered talents, further broadening your career paths and opportunities for the future. 

At the start of 2019, nearly two-thirds of Australians prioritised the need to upskill, highlighting the importance of staying relevant in an ever-changing workforce.

Along with personal investment, however, it’s also crucial to nurture your existing connections and relationships. Plenty of these may be of social or professional value (or both!) as 2020 rolls around, so make an effort to stay in touch. 

Use social media tools and platforms to your advantage; whether it’s trading messages on LinkedIn or leaving friendly Facebook comments on your colleagues’ posts. 

However, the key to a successful network is going the extra mile to show you care. Be open to helping your contacts when necessary – such as expanding their connections, recommending professional events, or offering your industry knowledge. These actions help them keep you in mind, and in turn, may offer their assistance down the road. 

3. Reflect on your finances.

young couple managing finances

On top of career goals, ensure you make time to manage your finances. They play a key role, after all, in achieving your goals and lifestyle choices for the coming year.

To start, examine your current financial situation and the goals you’ve set for yourself in the past year. Measure your progress in meeting them and any necessary areas for improvement, along with new financial factors that may have impacted your savings and expenses (such as a salary raise, educational investments, etc.). 

Once you’ve reflected on past goals, spending habits, and sources of income, it’s time to polish your budget plan for 2020. Split your expenses into two categories: sources of fixed spending – such as a mortgage, rent, and utilities; and variable expenses – these including groceries, leisure, and petrol. Since fixed expenditures are likely unchangeable, review your variable expenses and see what you can minimise or eliminate altogether

Then, set clear, specific, yet flexible goals for the coming year. These can include future investments, methods of saving, and strategies for tracking and keeping atop your financial plan. It’s best to start early before the new year; as you’ll give yourself enough time to contemplate and map out all your monetary needs.

If you own a business, now’s the time to review the year’s profits and losses. Take a look back on overall earnings and expenses for 2019, and forecast your profit for 2020 (be sure to hire an expert if necessary!). This can help you set goals for sales and expenses, and offers greater clarity in making new monetary decisions; ensuring your company has smooth financial road ahead.

4. Be realistic, but positive.

Finally, take the time to examine where you currently stand – both in your personal and career life. Assess how happy you are in your overall situation, and any major changes you wish to pursue.

Once you’ve identified your needs and wants for 2020, set realistic goals for yourself. While it helps to plan your way to success, overambition can lead to unsustainable methods, paving the road for stress and frustration. 
If it helps, you can even schedule a one-on-one meeting with your manager to discuss your career goals and how to achieve them alongside the business’ short and long-term plans. 

Throughout this, however, it’s important to adopt the proper drive and mindset. Avoid chasing perfection; rather, focus on your progression as you aim for your main objectives. Recognise the value of little achievements as you chase your goals, despite the ultimate outcomes.

Of course, it always helps to think positive. Be willing to take risks despite potential rejection, and look upon failures as learning experiences. Cliched as the advice may be, a healthy dose of optimism has proven to reduce one’s stress levels and contribute to better physical and psychological well-being. By maintaining a confident, growth-driven mindset, you’ll be well-equipped to take on the year ahead.

Ready for the new decade?

Though a new year may come with new challenges, the right planning and preparation will surely pave way for new accomplishments and opportunities. Putting some forethought in your career and personal development can help you hit the ground running as 2020 comes to the fore.

As mentioned, upskilling should play a vital part of your new years’ career plans – helping you “future-proof” your skills and employability, as well as advance in your current role.

Upskilled offers over 80 qualifications across a wide range of Australia’s industries, including information technology, community services, and management. Each subject offers exclusively online programs that allow you to study at your own pace and schedule, and in an environment that suits you best. 

Update your skills for 2020 and beyond – and enquire on a course today.
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