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From little things, big things grow: setting bite-sized goals in ecology

In last week’s post we talked about Goal setting in ecology. Super important stuff, especially when working within a competitive industry with no career path. Setting goals helps you map out your direction and progress towards your desires, and when you use our 3-step process, it can help you establish work-life balance, avoid burnout and increase self-worth.

Something we highlighted when goal setting was to only set goals where you can control the outcome. I wanted to elaborate on this, in an ecological context.

Because it is tempting to set more aspirational goals like “I want to work as an ecologist by next year”, we have come up with several stepping stone goals you could focus on which might be more within your control and don’t rest on whether or not someone else is having a good day.

From little things, big things grow: setting bite-sized goals in ecology | #itsawildlife
Instead of “receive a job as an ecologist”, try:
  • Get clear on what you want
  • Think about steps you can take today to step into your dream job
  • Up-skill with a qualification i.e. four-wheel drive training, snake handling, first aid, etc.
  • Expand your knowledge with a course or read a book
  • Learn to identify your local flora and fauna
  • Publish a scientific paper
  • Speak at a conference
  • Take opportunities where they present themselves i.e. participate on a recovery team
  • Sign up to a volunteer programs
  • Find a mentor
  • Attend more networking events (i.e. conferences, volunteer days, talks) and commit to making __ new contacts in your field this year.
Instead of “get a promotion or pay raise”, try:
  • Agree to take on new responsibilities at work
  • Up-skill with a course or workshop to expand your knowledge
    • What about a leadership course?
  • Ask for feedback on a regular basis
  • Build supportive relationships with your colleagues and clients
  • Find ways to demonstrate leadership in your current role
  • Become a mentor
  • Improve your communication skills
Instead of “ace a job interview”, try:
  • Anticipate common questions by writing and practicing your responses
  • Think of examples where you have solved problems and demonstrated skills
  • Research the organization
  • Think about why you would like that job
  • Think about what you can bring to that role – why they need you
  • Pick out a professional outfit
  • Get a good night sleep the night before
  • Arrive 10 minutes early (or make sure you’re all set up, if interviewing remotely)
  • Test your webcam, microphone, background and lighting before a remote interview
  • Ask for feedback following the decision
Instead of “don’t burn out”, try cultivating stronger work-life balance by:
  • Be strict with your start and stop times (this might also increase your productivity during designated work time)
  • Learn to say no when you are asked to take on too much
  • Cultivate your self-worth with regular self-care
  • Create a schedule for time management
  • Set goals and priorities – you’ll never get “everything done” and that’s ok
  • Plan and take a vacation this year
  • Spend time on other hobbies and passions each week i.e. join a social sport club
  • Build meaningful relationships both inside and outside of work
  • Delegate tasks and reach out for support when you need it
other ‘actionable steps’ you can take:

Some other great “actionable steps” to take that didn’t fit into any one of these ideas:

  • Write a financial plan
  • Map out your ideal career pathway
  • Organise aspects of your life i.e. declutter your house, use a planner, clear out your email inbox
  • Try out minimalism
  • Restrict spending to things you need and sell things you don’t use anymore on Marketplace to save/make some money

Hope this helps you connect your dreams to your life right now.

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