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Why You're Not Reaching Your Goals

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NYC skylineI want to move to New York City. I said this back in 2008 after my first visit to the Big Apple. Five years later and I’m still in London. Why? There are several reasons:

Unrealistic.I’ve convinced myself that it’s unrealistic for a company to hire someone from outside of the U.S. let alone outside New York City. This is irrational thinking. I’m just not playing the game properly.

Too comfortable.I really enjoy my current role. I have a great line manager and team. I’m on a steep learning curve that is providing me with fantastic opportunities to test my abilities, not only as a writer of corporate communications, but also as a change management consultant. I have a lot of friends in London and I’m only a two-hour train ride from my family. Having spent a year abroad in Germany I’m all too familiar with isolation. It’s easier to stay in Londonbut I don’t feel challenged enough. I’m stagnating. I want a new adventure.

No end date.I’ve always said something along the lines of, “In a couple of years, I’ll do X.” We’re all familiar with this statement. It’s non-committal and vague. Without a deadline I’m doomed.

*Lack of strategy. *I’ve been applying for roles since March 2013. Some of the roles are after experience I don’t yet have. Even when I’m the perfect match on paper, I’m stillnot getting called for interview.

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My Five Point Plan

Having recognised that I’ve made no ‘real’ progress, it’s time to act and make this dream become a reality. So, after a brief discussion with my closest friendsI have come up with the following strategy to inject some much-needed energy into my pursuit:

*1. Get my CV and cover letter reviewed by an expert. *Having been back and forth to New York through work and personal travel, I’ve built up a small network of expats and New Yorkers who know what an American and perhaps even a New York City CV and cover letter should look like. I’ll ask them to be my reviewers and ask if they have a friend who works in recruitment that can provide much needed criticism.

*2. Set a time limit. *I’m going to continue to apply whilst in my current role in London but this time I only have until April 2014 to apply. If I have no job offers or I’m not already moving to New York with a role then I will book my flight for departure at the end of June 2014. As a British citizen, I can spend a maximum of 90 days in the U.S. on a visitor’s visa and find a job whilst living there. Why am I planning to leave London within the next nine months? I’ve witnessed how female friends have had their lives flipped upside down after nine months by the patter of tiny feet…if it takes just nine months to create a human being I’m sure I can uproot my life and move 4000 miles across the Atlantic.

3. Boost my savings. If I’m going to be successful at living in New York City without a job then I will need savings. New York City is one of the most expensive cities to live in when you’re employed but significantly more so when you’re unemployed. I aim to save between £6000 and £8000 to cover my flights and living costs for three months in New York.

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4. Create a three-month action plan. Having enough money is one part of the equation. I can survive, but if I really want to live and work over there for at least one year then I will need to have a strategy. This must also include a contingency plan i.e. how to take on temporary positions in bar, general administration or retail.

5. Declutter. I want to be as mobile as possible. I have lived abroad before with just one suitcase which held 30kg. Four years after I moved back to London from Germany, I’ve managed to accumulate more, especially since I graduated from university. Moving every year has helped me keep it in check but there’s always room for improvement. The more I throw out, the more I’ll prioritise any future purchases. It’s also a useful psychological exercise as over the next nine months I’ll get used to living with less and gradually say goodbye to my life and home in London. On a more practical note, I’ll thank myself when I’m sweating and cursing with the burden of lugging just one 30kg suitcase on the subway.**

The worst case scenario is that I don’t make it. I move back to London jobless and with £8000 less in savings. What I will also come back with is a bag of experiences that, although brutal, will mean I avoid ever having regrets about staying within the comforts of London. Are you making little to no progress reaching your goals? Start by taking a long, hard look at what you’ve been doing to date. Don’t stay in denial.

*Image courtesy of Damian Brandon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net