How to Set Goals in Midlife or Middle Age

It’s no myth that we’re living longer, more productive lives past age 50 than at any time in history. What that also means is that the midlife crisis is often striking at a pivotal time in our career paths – around the ages 45 to 55, when we’re either nearing retirement or planning to work another 15 to 25 years.

Yet setting career goals is often considered something only much younger workers do, despite the fact that setting goals is not just important to midlife workers, but essential to finding meaning and continuing to advance in a career.

Last Things First

Before setting any kind of goals in midlife, whether they are career or personal goals, take a good hard look at your retirement strategy. How and when you’ll retire will affect your near-term future drastically, expanding or contracting your options according to how much longer you’ll need to work and what you’ll need to earn in order to secure your financial future.

Having a well-funded retirement account is often the dividing line between retiring midlife or working well into your 60s or 70s, staying in your current career or switching to something you’ve always dreamed of doing. Don’t wait to start thinking about life goals at 50.

Find Your Passion

Make your first goal finding your passion. You may find your goal lies with your current career, and you may also find that you need to pursue a different path entirely. “The midlife years … present an opportunity to reexamine one’s life and to ask the sometimes frightening, always liberating questions, “What do I want from my career?” “What do I feel about my job?” “What should I do now to feel better about my work?” “What are my dreams for myself and what fears have blocked me?”

Plan For Change

Plan for change whether you plan to stay in your current career or embrace a new one. Midlife career goals should include conscientious efforts to learn skills for a new career or enhance or add skills that will allow you to continue to advance in your current career. Decide on a skill set you’d like to learn more about, and seek out educational opportunities, whether it’s going back to school to pursue a new path, or just taking classes to add marketable skills that you can use in your current position.

It’s difficult to underestimate how important continuing to seek out educational opportunities is if your goal is to continue in your current career — continuing to advance during your later career years is often dependent upon being able to compete with younger employees with fresher learning experiences.

Keep an Eye On the Clock

Embrace time lines and deadlines. When setting any goal, whether it’s a career or a personal goal, a ticking clock and a date on a calendar are more likely to goad you into action than some nebulous idea of where you’d like to be sometime in the future.

Don’t just think about your next job or promotion – think about where you want to end up in your career. Use hard and fast deadlines for more concrete goals, such as attending a conference or a class, and create time lines for more abstract goals.

Create a reverse-chronological calendar to help you meet goals. For example, adding professional certification should be one of your mid-career goals, recommends career website, Ladders. If you want to get certified in some area of your work, decide when you want to get your certificate. Work backwards to schedule your exam, courses, registration, and other steps.

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This article was written by  Chron Contributor




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