What is career planning?

Career planning incorporates short-term and long-term career goals,  personal goals and constraints. 

You don't always have control over outside factors such as health and family issues, but as far as possible, your planning process should incorporate the following stages:

Short-term planning
Assess your skills, knowledge, values, constraints and interests
Identify which new skills and knowledge you want to develop
 Research career opportunities
Formulate a careers action plan with contingencies
Up to 5 years ahead
Check the careers action plan for realism 
From 5 to 10 years ahead

These two cycles of short-term and long-term planning run in parallel and should be reviewed regularly.

Before you embark on a career change, make sure you see  Changing career direction - what factors do you need to consider?