Career Development

Personal Goal Setting and How It Affects Your Work

Quick Navigation:

Setting personal goals is important for self-improvement for both your personal and professional life. Goals allow you to plan and track progress toward a certain objective. Personal goal setting can also affect your professional career. In this article, you can learn about personal goals, why they are important and also review examples of personal goal setting. 

What is personal goal setting?

Personal goal setting is the act of creating goals with the intention of improving yourself. These are goals that benefit the individual, rather than focusing on the team or the company. Many organizations have goals and objectives that the management team sets. Personal goal setting is an act that allows you to choose your own goals and work towards your own personal growth.

Why is it important to set personal goals for work? 

You can set personal goals for work to improve your performance and your overall satisfaction with your current position. When you set realistic and achievable personal goals, you can increase your motivation and your dedication to growing in your career. 

Setting personal goals can also provide you with direction, allowing you to better understand your job tasks and the role of your position in the company. You can use this information to work towards a career that meets your individual desires. Having independence in choosing your goals can ensure that they are relevant to you, which will likely result in higher personal and professional satisfaction.

How to set personal goals to improve your work

Setting personal goals with the intention of improving your career requires consideration of your plans and intentions. 

You can set your own personal goals with the following steps:

1. Firstly, learn about SMART goals

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that will help you choose goals that are achievable and measurable. 

Create personal goals that are:

  • Specific. Include details and as much as information as possible with each goal.
  • Measurable. Determine how you will evaluate the completion of a goal.
  • Attainable. Create goals that you can achieve in both short-term and long-term timeframes.
  • Realistic. Consider whether each goal is realistic before writing it down.
  • Time. Always set goals with an intended timeline. Your goals don’t have to be immediate, but be sure to include an intended timeline.

2. Next, evaluate your current life and job satisfaction

Write down the areas you are satisfied with and the areas you would like to improve. You might consider your academic, finance, career, relationship or fitness goals. Consider how each area of your life affects the other and specifically consider how each area relates to your ability to achieve your professional goals.

Example: Beatrice divides a piece of paper into different categories which include: financial, academic, career and personal goals. She then considers how satisfied she is in each area and fills in each category. Beatrice would like to complete a master’s degree in business and become an account manager at her current job. While she is satisfied with her group of friends, she would like to increase her number of work-related relationships.

3. Thirdly, imagine your dream future

Imagining your dream future is a great way to better understand your wants and desires. Consider where you would like to be in five years, 10 years, and at the age of retirement in your personal life and career. Try to be as descriptive as possible with each dream. This will assist you with the next step.

Example: Beatrice now fills in each category with where she would like to see herself in five years, 10 years and then at the age of retirement. She determines that she would like to be mid-way through her master’s degree within five years and graduated within 10 years. She imagines herself retiring as an account manager after putting in many years at her current company. After retirement, Beatrice dreams of traveling to Europe and Asia.

4. Fourthly, divide each goal area into time periods

It is important to have an intended timeline for your goals. Before you begin thinking about personal goals, divide a piece of paper into a few different sections. Label each one with a specified time. You might have one as short as six months or as long as 20 years.

Example: Beatrice divides her paper into each time period with sections for one, three and six months. She also lists one, five, 10 and 20 years, and then she begins to think about breaking down each of her personal goals.

5. Lastly, list your goals

This is the time to begin evaluating and listing your goals. Place each goal into its appropriate timeline. If you want to complete a college degree within five years, list that in the appropriate area. You can develop goals based on your short- and long-term objectives. If you want to become a sales manager within 10 years, carefully list each of the required steps into its corresponding timeline. By breaking down larger goals, you should find that it is easier to stay motivated as you work toward the completion of that goal. Remember to follow the SMART guideline when you create each goal.

Example: Beatrice now takes each of her goals and fills them into the corresponding time period. She determines that she will need to apply for a master’s program within six months. She also schedules upcoming networking events and writes down the goal of joining a networking group within one month. Shes uses her schedule to plan out each of the required steps to meet her personal goals.