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Is anyone else barely able to walk thanks to some crazy New Year’s “resolution” or goal to exercise more? I’m a few days in and barely able to sit down. At the end of each year, I reflect back – but then I move my behind FORWARD. I used to lament and moan about all of the goals I didn’t accomplish – and use it as an excuse to stop trying. Or compare myself to others’ achievements – “she read 50 books! I only got in 45 – I’m a total loser”). And then a few years ago, I starting doing things differently and my entire mindset shifted (coincidence, I think not!).

If you’re on my newsletter list, you already got my handy dandy FREE Career Planning Template – but if not, here it is broken down with some of my own personal examples throughout.

This planning guide is all about your career – and if “Getting Promoted” is on your list, be sure to check out this resource.

Here are a few of my other favorite planning guides:

Ready to get your CAREER in order, let’s go!

2013 Career Planning Template


A Brief Look Back – 2012 Your Career at a Glance

Which goals did I make ANY progress on?

I don’t even focus on or worry about, the goals that I ignored, otherwise I’d start making excuses and go back down the rabbit hole of “not accomplishing” things. So instead, I write down a list of things that I even barely started, and forget the rest.

  • Wrote two books, quit my job, earned income on the side, started some (meager) passive income streams, connected with new people in the blogosphere, kept to my blog-posting schedule, interacted more on twitter, launched a freaking business.

What about those goals made me feel compelled/jazzed/energized/guilted, etc. into focusing on them?

No matter how many times I write down, “exercise more,” I just can’t seem to “convince” myself to do it consistently. I thought about that long and hard and realized it’s because I just don’t feel compelled to do it. It’s not an activity that I generally love, so instead, I easily put it on the back-burner. But looking at the list above, there is always a reason why you made progress on them. Sometimes it’s guilt – “I have to do this or else,” and other times it’s because we love the way we feel when we’re working on. Whatever it is, reflect on the reason behind your achievements for each goal.

  • Books: I felt energized, truly in my element. Excited about bringing info to more people.
  • Quit my job: Exhilarated – enough said.
  • Twitter: It’s still uncomfortable, and this was definitely a “should” goal to start with that turned into a fun thing to do – especially with the new friends I made.

Which goals did I create that felt more like obligations? Do you still feel like you “should” focus on them?

If you’re like me, you have a goal or two that you add on every year because you think you “should” focus on it – ahem, my weight example above. It feels more like an obligation than an achievement. I’m not saying that these goals should be forgotten, but understanding “the why” behind the “should” will be important if you ever want to make progress on them.

OK… Moving on! Seriously – stop over-analyzing it, move the heck on to 2013!

2013 Overview – Point of Departure for Your Career

You can’t plan for what’s ahead without knowing where you’re coming from (Point of Departure) to where you are going (Point of Arrival). Yes, they are very business-y terms, but it’s super fun to think about and absolutely will shape what you focus on in the coming year.

What’s your current story? Write down how you feel about different aspects of your career – are you content with your job, your title, your pay, what you do every day? What are your strengths and development areas? Are you feeling the spark… in anything at work? Write your story for today.

From your story above… What do you want to:

  • STOP (litmus test – I don’t want this thing to be a part of my story in 2013)
  • START (I really want to include this as part of my story in 2013)
  • CONTINUE (These things make me sing and feel alive/sparked, etc.)

No, there isn’t an “other” column – everything needs to be placed in a category above. And keep whittling it down until you have reasonable “start” and “continue” actions. Things will need to fall off of your radar in order to move forward and achieve bigger.

For example: If I want to Start an e-course and Continue writing books, I will need to Stop something to fit it all in.

December 2013 – Point of Arrival

When I do this again in December 2013, here’s what I want my story to be. Write down how you feel about different aspects of your career – are you content with your job, your title, your pay, what you do every day? What are your strengths and development areas? Are you feeling the spark… in anything at work? Did you get a promotion? Are you managing people? What do you want us to say about your career when we look back in December?

And now, let the brainstorming begin!

I find the best way for me to hammer down goals that I actually want to work towards, is to get out all of my ideas (grandiose and tiny), in ONE place. Set aside 30 minutes (at least), to just get it all down on paper. I used a flip chart and post-it notes this year for the first time (it was so fun!), but a piece of paper works as well. Here are the rules:

  1. You write down everything that pops into your mind
  2. You do not limit yourself to “realistic” ideas
  3. You think BIG and small

Setting the Goals

Essentially, start backwards from what you want your story to be at the end of 2013, and link each one to your missing gaps right now.

Here’s a personal example from when I wanted to quit my corporate job.

  • POD 2011: Unhappy at work, want to leverage my creativity and writing more, have more freedom in work/schedule and location, want to be my own boss.
  • POA 2012: My own business, clients, blog.
  • Brainstorm: (it was ugly, I promise)
  • Working backwards to set the goals: quit job when I have at least four paying clients; have increased website traffic (consistent) for one month; making at least $1000 a month; have business milestones created as SMART goals

Now it’s your turn – start with the big TOPIC, and then write down some action items or milestones that will help you get there. Use my example above as a reference (quit job is a BIG goal – my milestones were measurable that helped me get there).

  • TOPIC 1:
  • TOPIC 2:
  • TOPIC 3:…


This whole process should take you about 1 – 2 hours, depending on how deep you want to go. But at the end of the day, what’s important is that you are CONSCIOUSLY focusing on your career direction and start creating your own story. Have a fun goal or topic from this exercise – please share it below. Happy New Year!



 BONUS: Get your free career planning template to make this year your best yet!