Professional Goal Setting

Have you ever set a goal for yourself only to somehow lose steam in your pursuit of achieving it? Of course you have! It’s even happened to the best of motivated and organized individuals. If you don’t have a plan to succeed, you have a plan to fail. This idea, known to be attributed to Ben Franklin, is critical to your ability to follow through and reach your goals.

So what should your goal setting plan look like?

Use the 5 point S.M.A.R.T goals format to keep you on track:


Your goals need to be as specific as possible. You need a clear goal that is not in any way vague, overly general or broad. Unclear goals will yield unclear results.


You need to be able to track your progress. If you’re writing a novel in your spare time, your goal, for example, should be to “write 10 pages a week” as opposed to “get some writing done each day.”


Know your limits and work within them. Pushing yourself too hard, for instance, setting a goal of writing 50 pages a week, will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Your goals should be manageable and attainable so that they keep you motivated to keep going.


The only goals that are achieved are the realistic ones. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to be able to accomplish something extraordinary, it just means that you have to be realistic about what it will take to get it done and your ability to make those things happen. Be sure to keep this in mind when goal setting.


It’s our most valuable commodity. If you don’t set a time limit for your goals then you could be writing that novel forever. But if you set your final date for when the goal should be completed, you can then work backwards. Break the larger goal up into smaller ones (like 10 pages a week) and you’ll have your plan set.

Once these things are in place, make sure you put your goals and deadlines into a calendar or your favorite time management app so you can refer to it often. Not to mention, the satisfaction of crossing off all your completed tasks will serve as extra motivation to keep you moving forward.