Setting and Achieving Goals for Personal Success

Goal Setting

What does it take for a flower to fully bloom? It needs an ideal environment, extra special
attention, and the proper nutrients – without these things it will wilt and eventually die. The same is true for you and your career! What does it take for you to fully blossom in your job – first you need the right environment (including your workplace and the people in it), you need to pay extra special attention to your personal and professional development (self-improvement), you need to be healthy and have a good balance between work and life. This month at LTAW we will talk about how you can fully bloom in your career.

How much thought have you given to your personal career goals and objectives? An important part of your career journey is setting and achieving personal goals. Think about it, when you set out to do any journey (e.g. a road trip or vacation), you put some thought into it and map out a detailed plan of how you’re going to get there and what you will do while there. The same should hold true for your career – which is one of life’s major journeys.

Often times we go to work and do not get any real satisfaction out of what we are doing. The reason being is that we have not put much thought into what we what to get out of the work we are doing. What do you want to achieve in your career? Where do you want to be in 5 years, or 5 months, or even 5 days? When you have clarity around your career goals and objectives it will lead to increased job satisfaction. You should develop both long-term and short-term goals and track your progress. Sometimes you need to create short-term goals that lead you to your long-term goal.

What is a goal?
The dictionary definition of a goal is the end toward which effort is directed (Merriam Webster). The goals you set must be important to you. If your goal is not important to you, you are less likely to work to achieve it. Goals are a motivator to help you turn the vision of your future into a reality.

A helpful way to make goals more meaningful and attainable is to make them SMART goals. A SMART goal is:

An example of a goal that is not SMART would be: “Take steps to improve my public speaking skills.” This same goal as a SMART goal is: “Participate the next Toastmasters meeting on June 1st.”

Achieving Goals
Once you have achieved a goal, reward yourself. This will not only help to boost your self-confidence, it will also motivate you to continue working on your other goals. In addition to rewarding yourself it is also important to evaluate your achieved goal. How easy was it to attain? If it was too easy, make the next goal a little harder. If it took an unrealistic amount of time to achieve, make the next goal a little easier – try breaking it into several smaller goals.

Your goal for today is to start setting goals. Before the end of the day write down 3 short-term SMART goals and 3 long-term SMART goals related to your personal and professional development. Post them somewhere so they are visible and a constant reminder of what you have committed to achieving.

Here are some additional resources on setting and achieving goals:
SMART Goal Setting: A Surefire Way To Achieve Your Goals (Goal Setting Guide)
Planning for the Future: Setting Goals (
How Setting Career Goals Can Backfire (Forbes)
Golden Rules of Goal Setting (Mind Tools)

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  • Christopher A. Craft

    I think it’s key to attach actions to goals. I love for creating actions that lead to goal attainment.

  • Tom

    Another useful resorce:

  • Travis Dommert

    Through our work at irunurun, the greatness app, we’ve picked up some other best practices regarding goal achievement.

    1. Actions speak louder than goals.  Goals play a incredibly important role in defining direction and purpose, but they don’t actually get the work done…it is critical to develop a sustainable plan and work the plan.

    2. BHAGs and BHOWs.  Fewer goals are better than more; bigger goals are better than smaller; and, a mix of a big ‘do’ goal aligned with a big ‘be’ goal is powerful.  Think World Series and Hall of Fame.  What big amazing thing do you want to accomplish and what awesome greater version of yourself do you want to become (you can’t “win” the Hall of Fame, you can’t “win” your tombstone).

    3. First, hit off the tee.  Even with big goals, the actions must start with fundamentals appropriate for your level of “play” or tenure.  You don’t become a great hitter by learning to hit fast balls.  First, you hit off the tee. What are the fundamentals you need to master before you take steps toward the goals?  Another great analogy is martial arts.  If you want to become a black belt, start by mastering the white belt.  We often miss this with work.

    4. Learn to oscillate.  Performance psychologists teach the critical lesson of stress and recovery.  Charging head-long after your goals without rest will burn you out.  Learn to oscillate between stress (pushing yourself hard) and recovery (resting, restoring yourself, renewing your energy…think more sleep, more exercise, eating right, important time with family and faith).  Work in bursts (90-120 minutes).

    If the goals are big, the journey will be hard.  You must approach it thoughtfully!

    Thanks for Chris Craft mentioning irunurun here and brining this post to my attention!

    • Anonymous

       Thanks Travis for your comments and support!