Goal Setting for Career Success

A pivotal key to career goal success is to set a big goal, then create small bite-size goals to actually accomplish it.  Setting goals is necessary to achieve career success because without them your career might be directionless, much like a boat being tossed around aimlessly on the ocean if the captain forgets to set a course for a destination.

Goal Setting Keys

Keys to setting dynamic small goals that can help propel your career forward include:

  1. Be specific and precise as to what you want to accomplish, so you know what you have to do in order to complete the goal.  Also set a time frame to complete it.
  2. Try not to make too many goals at once to avoid overload.  Set priorities.
  3. Make sure to phrase the goals in positive language and write them down, which gives the goals more power.
  4. Set action goals, not outcome goals, and make sure you have control over actually doing them.   i.e. base goals on your personal performance.
  5. Make sure your goals are realistic to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment, or even failure and that the goals are in line with your personal values and present skills.
    There is a simple mnemonic for SMART goals:
    S = specific (Ask yourself what you want to accomplish, why and how?)
    M = measurable (Ask yourself how can I measure the progress toward this goal?)
    A = attainable (Ask yourself do I have the abilities/skills, resources to attain it?)
    R = relevant (Ask yourself does this goal fit in with my larger end career goal?)
    T = time bound (Ask yourself when can I expect to complete this goal?)

While goal attainment is, of course, the desired result, remember even if you only attain part of a goal, you can also sometimes learn how to improve it.  I love the line:  “remember if you reach out for the stars, but only hit the moon, you are still way more successful than those who don’t reach out at all!”


Comment by Kenn
December 30, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

Thanks for sharing that Helen.

Some examples would be helpful. Examples of bad goals and examples of good goals.

Comment by Kenn
January 9, 2011 @ 8:36 am

I especially like #4.

I like knowing what I can control like:
> get to the gym on mon and thursday and do abs exercises
> jog on wed and saturday
> do not eat white breads and saturated fats

Unlike things I can’t control like:
> my stomach is flat
> I get more energy in the day
> I feel great

Your point about focusing on the actions is a good one.


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Comment

Comment Rules: I'd love to have your comments. I welcome criticism, ideas, and thoughts. Please do not be rude (will be deleted). Please do not put your URL in the comment text. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Thanks for sharing your comments!


If you’d like a picture to show up by your name, get a Gravatar.