All great achievements start with lofty goals. That goes for fitness, finance, and all the things in life that matter most.
But what’s the best way to map out personal goals for your career? How do you put your plan into action? We asked successful business professionals how it’s done – let’s get started.
It all starts in the mind’s eye. Find what inspires you most and set goals based on your own dreams, rather than someone else’s expectations.
“Without that fire in the belly, it will be hard to set goals in the first place. You need to cultivate that desire for greatness, then you’ll figure out a way to get it done. The key is to never get too comfortable in your current situation and tell yourself that you deserve more.” – Ramin Oskoui, Director of Growth Marketing at Nurosene
“There is no shortage of inspiration in this world if you keep exploring and expanding your perspectives. If you’re feeling stuck in life and need goals, take a trip or shake things up in your social life. Turn your stale routine inside out and freestyle it. Career goals will appear before your eyes when you see things from new angles.” – Dylan Arthur Garber, Co-Founder of Audien Hearing
“I am constantly self-analyzing and seeing where I can improve in my career, whether that’s learning new skills, making new connections, starting new projects, or anything else. That’s how you set achievable goals and stay on that positive upward spiral instead of getting bored or burnt out.” – Seb Evans, Co-Founder of Banquist
“People are actually not lazy. Instead, they usually just have impotent goals. These are flimsy, weak goals that do not inspire them.” – Motivational Speaker and Author Tony Robbins
“Possibilities – that’s what inspires me. I’m always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and not accepting the limits that others place on me. That’s advice that applies to everything in life, including career.” – Tyler Hayden Read, Founder of PT Pioneer
Plan of Action
What use is a set of goals without a solid action plan to back them up? Map out your strategy and get to work, because the clock is ticking.
“The hardest part is getting started, that’s just a universal truth about goals. It’s the same principle that applies to jumping into a cold lake or lacing up your shoes for a 5K run. It takes some willpower at first, but things get easier almost immediately.” – Ryan Rockefeller, CEO and Co-Founder of Cleared
“Be logical and reasonable with your action plan, especially at the beginning. We aren’t superheroes and we can only handle so much extra work on top of our daily responsibilities. A half-hour of study or work on a side project each day adds up fast. Before long, your momentum will carry you through any obstacles that pop up. That’s how a lot of entrepreneurs get started” – James Ville, Chief Product Officer at GunSkins
“There’s no need to overcomplicate your game plan when pursuing career goals. Turn it into bite-sized chunks if you’re overwhelmed. Make five calls a day. Send five emails a day. Dedicate 20 minutes to a coding course in the evening. Polish up your LinkedIn or your resumé if they need work. Crossing things off your list feels great, even if they’re small achievements.” – Matthew Mundt, CEO and Founder of Hug Sleep
“It’s all about consistency of action in your career, so I like to think in terms of daily accomplishments rather than long-term goals. When you crush your to-do list every day of the week, big-picture goals will start taking form and you can navigate life with way more control and acuity.” – Mike Pasley, Founder of Allegiant Goods
Track and Measure Progress
There’s no better feeling than making progress on your goals. Keep an eye on key metrics as you work and accomplish feats along the way.
“Habit tracking apps are great to keep you on point each day with your goals – they’ve helped me a lot in my journey. I can look back on the day, the week, or the month, and see where I’m succeeding or slacking. You want to keep your streaks going strong and not give up.” – John Wu, CEO and Co-Founder of Gryphon Connect
“If you’re in sales or marketing, you know how important it is to track data like traffic, conversions, etc. View your own career goals in the same way. Am I making progress in efficiency and productivity? Am I staying balanced? Am I thinking ahead to the next level? Keep asking these questions and hold yourself to high standards no matter where you’re at.” – Katie Kiernan, Co-Founder of Nue Life
“I always urge people to record dreams and goals on paper. By doing so, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you’re meant to be. That way, you put the future in good hands – your own.” – Author and Consultant Mark Victor Hansen
Onto the Next
Congrats if you’ve accomplished your goals – time to start from scratch again! Always look forward to the next challenge and never be without new ambitions.
“Don’t get me wrong, we all deserve to celebrate when we hit a big career milestone or outperform. You’ve got to live life – that’s why we work. But when the party’s over, it’s time to get back to the grind and attack that next set of goals with ferocity.” – Dylan Trussell, CMO of Culprit Underwear
“Once you’ve completed a goal, it can be a bit of a letdown honestly, because you expect some massive mental shift to happen or finally feel a certain way. The truth is that life just goes on as normal, for the most part, and you need to keep on improving.” – Aidan Cole, CEO of HIDE
“Remember that not all career goals are about more, more, more. It’s totally reasonable to hit a certain level of income then focus more on balance and personal freedom. Reframe your career goals in terms of what you want, instead of what we’re told to desire by the media and society. You’ll be way happier in the long run.” – Hector Gutierrez, CEO of JOI
Setting career goals will keep you focused, motivated, and excited for the next chapter. Follow this framework and apply it to all areas of your life to maximize your potential.