Tips on Setting Goals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 4, 2022

Published November 5, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Setting goals is important to achieve success in your career. Knowing how to set goals can help you establish challenging and rewarding objectives to assist in your growth, development and advancement in the workplace. In this article, we discuss why setting goals is important and provide you with tips on how to set goals.

Why setting goals is important

Setting goals can benefit you by:

  • Encouraging you with short-term inspiration

  • Giving you focus on your long-term vision

  • Better preparing you to anticipate setbacks and overcome them

  • Empowering you to identify and eliminate your distractions

  • Keeping you organized and moving forward

  • Helping you measure your progress

  • Building your confidence by making you aware of your abilities

  • Allowing you to celebrate your achievements

In the workplace, you can set goals to provide you with direction for completing assignments, meeting deadlines and working toward promotions.

Related: Setting Goals at Work: Benefits and Tips

Tips for goal setting

Here are some tips to set impactful goals that you can achieve:

Eliminate distractions

When setting goals, it's important to give your time and attention to things that support your planned achievements. This can be something as simple as spending less time browsing social media or engaging in workplace chatter so you have more time to dedicate to your professional success.

Take your time

To effectively challenge yourself and produce long-term results or benefits, take some time to reflect on what it is you want to get out of your goals. Evaluate where you are currently at and what it will take to get you to where you need to be. Consider your previous successes and how you might be able to apply those undertakings to future planning and achievements.

Determine your values

Your values are things that are important to you in work and life and guide your priorities. List your top priorities and decide how you can complement those priorities with your goals. If you determine your goals based on your values, it's more likely you will achieve them because they're more likely to be important to you.

Read more: 6 Steps To Discover Your Core Values

Dream big

Not every goal has to be a big one, but you can set goals that challenge you so you continue to learn and grow. Think of your last accomplishment, whether big or small, and seek to accomplish more than you did before.

Make your goals positive

The way you write out your goals can affect your mindset as you set out to conquer them. Instead of formulating your goals as negative statements (i.e., “Don't do this again…”) with no clear solution, try expressing your goals in a positive manner (i.e., “Strive to do this instead…”) with a sure answer to the problem.

Putting this into practice might look something like this:

  • Negative statement: “Don't stress about the weekly reports.”

  • Positive statement: “Strive to relieve stress by deep breathing right before completing the weekly reports."

Find yourself a mentor

Find someone who's accomplished similar goals before you and engage with them. Learn new ways to set and achieve goals by listening to ways in which they achieved success. Ultimately, stay focused on what matters to you most, but do learn from other trusted individuals as a guide.

Visualize the end result

Visualizing the end result can better help you see that you can achieve your goal. Try to spend a few minutes once or twice a day picturing your goals and what achieving each goal looks like. This helps reestablish in your mind exactly what it is that you want. Once you have a clear vision of what you want, you can transfer that picture in your mind to actionable results.

Download an app

You can download an app that helps you plan, focus, stay motivated, build better habits, track your results and complete your goals. Go to the app store on your device and type “goal setting” or “goal tracker” in the search box to find many different goal-related apps.

Review your goals often

Block out some time every day, week or month to re-evaluate your goals. You might find that your priorities have shifted or circumstances might point you in another direction altogether. A new job opportunity, personal event or relocation might make it necessary for you to move forward in a different way or toward a different end result. Be flexible, willing and ready to alter your path or revise your goals as needed.

Use SMART goals

SMART is an easy-to-remember acronym used for setting goals. Each letter stands for an important component of goal setting, including:

  • Specific: This means goals that have clear outcomes and actionable steps.

  • Measurable: Having measurable goals means knowing what accomplishing each step and the overall goal looks like. This can help you track your progress and see what steps you have left to take to accomplish your goal.

  • Attainable: Goals are meant to challenge you and still be possible to achieve. Make sure you can accomplish your goals with tools available to you and within the deadline you set for yourself.

  • Realistic: Your goals should be realistic for you to achieve given your individual circumstances, particular skill sets and resources.

  • Time-sensitive: Give your goal a timeline or deadline so you're encouraged to consistently take steps toward completing the goal. If your goal is going to take some time to achieve, set smaller goals along the way to track your progress and celebrate the little victories.

Read more: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

Find an accountability partner

Accountability means being held responsible for the standards, goals and deadlines you set for yourself. An accountability partner can help validate your goals and ability to achieve, keep you on task, improve your performance with tips and motivation, measure your progress and celebrate your success. This person should be interested or invested in your continued growth and success, like a colleague, friend, parent, mentor or sibling.

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