How to set realistic professional goals

Woman at board

Having professional goals - no matter how lofty - is a vital part of moving forward in life. However, a key aspect of growth is learning to aim high while setting small achievable targets.   

If you have a list of goals that seem totally out of reach, don't give up. Below, we show you how to set realistic professional goals to get you back on track.  

Be specific 

It is vital to remain specific on your professional goals. If you want a promotion, what position do you want? Do you want a corner office? What are your salary expectations? Being specific will allow you to create a clearer plan going forward.  

Determine the how 

Break down your main goal into smaller tasks to plot a course forward. This includes planning for possible studies, courses or additional training and the costs involved. Once you have identified your milestones, set a realistic deadline to help you stay on track. 

Adapt, readjust, overcome 

Remember - your goals are not set in stone, and you should adjust your plan as needed. If you find that you are consistently surpassing your milestones, challenge yourself by setting higher ones. And if the reality is not living up to what you envisioned, don't be afraid to chart a new course. 

Don’t lose motivation 

Whether you're aiming for a better salary, more responsibility, or are feeling overwhelmed by a challenging project, don't be afraid to ask for help. Whether it's moral support from friends and family or advice from a mentor, a little guidance may be just the boost you need to keep going. 

Celebrate the small successes 

While you should keep your eye on the big prize, celebrating small victories along the way can help to keep you motivated and maintain a positive outlook. Taking a moment to celebrate a small win will help you build the momentum needed to keep going to achieve your long-term goal. 

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