One of the essential workplace skills that we focus on here at the Center for Work Ethic Development is ambition. Having ambition means taking initiative, adding value, and doing more than the minimum. One way you can be ambitious in your career is by setting goals for yourself and doing everything in your power to achieve those goals. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment – but that doesn’t mean you should avoid creating career goals. Creating an achievable goal and an action plan will help you move forward in your career.

How to Set a Career Goal:

1. Be Specific 

As you decide which goal you are going to set for yourself, be as specific as possible. Do not focus your goal on “Being Successful.” Your definition of success may vary and develop over time. Instead, identify a more specific target, such as “Become Shift Manager.”

2. Create a Measurable Goal

Consider setting a timeframe to achieve your goal. Perhaps you would like to become a shift manager within the next two years. As you reach these short-term goals, you will be able to create new goals throughout your career.

3. Be Realistic 

While creating your career goals, find a balance between being realistic and reaching out of your comfort zone. Achieving your goals will take work and may be uncomfortable, but your hard work will pay off if you stick with it.

4. Decide What Actions Need To Be Taken

Specific steps will need to be taken to achieve your goal. List out the different actions you will take to reach your target.

How to Achieve a Career Goal:

1. Write It Down

It may seem simple, but write your goal down on paper. According to Mark Murphy of, “People who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t.” Consider hanging your written goal in a place you will see it frequently – on the fridge, bathroom mirror – as a reminder of what you are wishing to accomplish. 

2. Share Your Plan

Discuss your goals and action plan with those around you, like your family, friends, colleagues, or even your manager. You may feel more accountable to follow through with your plan, and these peers can help to be a support system for you along the way.

3. Visualize Yourself Succeeding 

Close your eyes and picture yourself achieving your goals. Envision yourself crossing the finish line and how proud you will be of yourself.

You are capable of great things! Believe in yourself and be willing to put in the effort and hard work in accomplishing the goals you set for yourself.