Set a Goal to Start a New Career

by Tag Goulet

We hear from many people who want to start a new career but are having difficulty deciding what they should go into. Usually, they are attracted to several different careers, and feel they can’t choose among them.

Does that sound like you? Are you hoping to “keep your options open” and make a career decision “later”? In fact, feeling like you are unable to choose among several careers can be a way to procrastinate and avoid pursuing any of them. You might think you can wait until you know “for certain” which career is best for you to go after, but the reality is that you might never be absolutely certain.shutterstock_257886509

Some of the negative beliefs we discussed in another article (such as “I might choose the wrong career. I might not be good at it. It will probably turn out to be something I don’t like.”) could keep you from ever pursuing a new career, unless you take action in spite of your fears.

Steps to Start a New Career

So for now, just choose one career that you want to pursue — any one. Remember, you can change your mind later. The idea is to get in the habit of choosing, so you don’t get stuck in procrastination. Then follow the steps and answer the following questions from the “Goal-Setting Worksheet” in our book Dream Careers:

  1. Target date: When do you want to start working in the new career?
  2. Obstacles: What currently and potentially stands between you and this career? Include both tangible and intangible obstacles such as lack of money, time, support, or education, fear, etc.
  3. Solutions: How will you overcome the obstacles? Include both tangible and intangible resources you can use to help you pursue your goal to start a new career, such as self-confidence, support from other people, education, time, money, etc.
  4. Action steps to achieve it: Break your goal down into smaller tasks, such as reading a book about the career, talking to someone who works in the career, taking a training program, looking for job ads, etc. Remember to include steps for handling obstacles.
  5. Target date for each step: It may help to work backwards from your starting target goal date.
  6. Is it worth it to me? Are you really willing to do what it takes to achieve the goal of breaking into this career?

As you start identifying the steps you’ll need to take to break into that career, you will have an opportunity to decide whether this is the career you really want to go after right now.

What Does It Take to Start a New Career?

If you think that you’re not the type of person who can achieve a career goal, think again. You have set and achieved thousands of goals in your life. In fact, every day of your life you are setting and achieving goals. If you doubt this, just think about what you do during a typical day.

Do you sleep until sometime in the afternoon, then get up and wander around your home until it’s time to go back to sleep again? No, you have goals and you have plans. You decide what you’ll eat, where you’ll go, and what you’ll do — and you do it. All day long you make decisions and take actions. You envision a goal and you achieve it. If you change your mind, you are essentially setting a new goal to achieve.

Using the same basic techniques, you have probably also set and achieved some more important life goals as well such as completing a course or being hired for a job. Where you are right now in your life is a direct result of all the thousands of goals, both large and small, that you have set for yourself and achieved so far.

You know how to make things happen and achieve your goals. So if you are dreaming of a career change, set a goal to make it happen. Start a new career by researching certificate courses offered by the International Association of Professions Career College (IAP Career College). For more information, visit