You've Gotta Get Started
Write it down. Write it down. Add a date. Add a date. Write it down. Everywhere you look you are being instructed to take your goal, write it down, add a date and then set a plan in place. I agree with all of that. The part you're missing is, some of the plan is already written for you. Pull out a copy of your last performance review, salary review, end of quarter review or whatever it's called in your organization.
Now that you have a copy in front of you, either grab a highlighter or turn on your highlighter function in word and let's get to it. As you twist up your face looking at your "full of it" review, as much as most of it is standard blurb there is some pieces that can be used to start a plan to reach your personal career goal. Read through it and find the section that talks about things to work on or goals for the next review. As you read through these items, assuming there are some items there, highlight them. Now looking at the list of items, which of those items are in line with your personal career goals. You see, in most company reviews the items they want you to work on are what will benefit them - the department, an upcoming project, the region. However, not all of the areas they want you to work on are areas which will move you closer to your personal career goals.
Once you identify the items on the list which are in line with your personal goals, now start looking for training or mentors within the company to get you that knowledge. If it's in line with your review, then the company will pay for the training and ensure you have the time to get it. As for mentorship, same thing, the company will ensure you have a schedule of time to meet with and shadow that person. Maybe part of the skills you need to work on will include membership to an association, which will add to your career network. Possibly, the person you find to mentor you at work will then include you in circles you didn't have access to before. Successful people leverage the opportunities in front of them for the goal down the road.
Yes, there are steps outside of your day to day job that you will have to do, but at least while you're at work it will also be moving you toward where it is you want to go; no time wasted. You now have one part of the plan in place. You're a step closer to reaching your goal. The plan is in action.
NOTE: Picture is from my Instagram page @NichelleRaeStyle