Career Growth, Confidence

Align Your Daily Goals to Your Long-term Vision

Procrastination occurs for several reasons and one of the main ones is that people don’t really know what they’re working for. They haven’t written down their ultimate vision for themselves, & they haven’t articulated what living up to their fullest potential means.

You need to write down (go and get some paper, I’ll wait) and write down your vision for your life.

For instance: “I want to be a successful jewelry designer and sustain myself financially off my jewelry sales.”

“I want to be a Professor working in an interdisciplinary department that values my gender research.”

“I want to be the President of a non-profit organization that’s dedicated to helping raise more confident girls.”


Write it down and say it aloud!  OK, now that you have your vision written down, say it aloud. Say it to others, Read it over each morning and each night! You must do this. Don’t just think about doing this, don’t just read it in your mind. Wake up each morning and write down your vision, and say it aloud. Go to bed each night and write down your vision and say it aloud.

Align your daily goals to coincide with your long-term vision.

Let’s say you want to be a Professor. I’m sure you know that the academic market sucks right now, and there’s less than a 20% chance that PhD’s will get an academic job. Meaning 80% of PhDs will NOT work in academia.  (Psst, that’s totally ok…you  should just know this going into the program.)

According to HEQCO (The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario) there’s also a HIGH attrition rate (dropout rate) for graduate students.  50% of humanities, 40% of social sciences, and 25% of physical and life science doctoral students NEVER complete their degree!! Read that last sentence again.

Now that you know this how will you align your daily goals so that you: (1) get into the PhD program; and (2) complete it; and MOST IMPORTANTLY (3) GET A JOB?

Diversify your daily goals. Getting into graduate school isn’t just about grades. You need a diverse and multi-strength portfolio. How can you improve your public speaking? Your writing skills? Your presentation skills? Your critical thinking skills? How can you network better (or actually learn how to network)? How can you strengthen your on-line social media presence?

Your daily goals should be to:

  1. Attend one new social event a week to expand your contacts and networking.
  2. Develop your elevator pitch so that when an unexpected opportunity arises, you’re prepared.
  3. Practice, practice, practice your public speaking skills.
  4. Read every single day. Read about your chosen topic, read what the critics have to say and figure out where you stand on the issue.
  5. Get some experience and work, volunteer, become an RA or TA or just get on someone’s research team even if it means working for free. I know many people say you should never work for free (but I reserve that for later on in life….at the beginning, you’re new and green and you need all the experience and exposure you can get. Don’t be prideful and think you’re above it all, you’re not).
  6. Update and modify your goals as needed. Your goals will change as you progress, and you need to update them so that you’re constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

For more information on PhDs and the job market see the HEQCO document below: