How to plan for the future

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

The end of the year can leave you feeling a little uninspired, burnt out and well over it! But we think it's the perfect time to look back on the year that's been, shake off any negativity you may be feeling and let your imagination explore the possibilities that 2016 could bring. And create a plan of action.

The future is unpredictable; life throws up so many unexpected events that can throw you off course. You may not get the ATAR you expected, the career you thought you'd love could turn out to be unfulfilling or you could be made redundant tomorrow… It's all unforeseen. But having a plan of action that balances the "what if'' with the "could be" can give you back some of the elusive control over the future.

Set your inner compass

What's important to you? Knowing your personal values will help you to understand why you make the decisions you make, helping to guide you through future decisions. Psychological researchers conducted a self-knowledge study on 70 24-year-olds. They found that some participants were unable to reflect on themselves and lacked direction in life, while those who had a good grasp of their personal values (also known as ‘personal intelligence') appeared more driven and proactive.

Be a realist

Deciding on an ideal career is an amazing first step. Some people never make that realisation and float unsatisfied from job to job. But picking the job for you is only the start of what can sometimes be a long journey to an eventual payday. If you didn't get the marks you need to begin that degree, research what pathway courses you need to take. Set short-term achievable goals that will help to make you feel satisfied with your career choices.

Have a plan B

If things don't work out, creating an alternate plan you can pick up and run with can help reduce anxiety. It's the difference between planning and worrying… Worrying about getting a job at the end of your course isn't productive. But planning for life post-graduation by attending networking events or reaching out to your dream company for unpaid work experience will give you the edge over the competition.

Find a balance

Too much of anything is unhealthy – study included. Plan your year with fun rewards throughout! The secret to living a balanced life is to be organised and structured with your study routine and prepare for life after TAFE. That way you can cut loose and enjoy the present without feeling guilty about it.