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How to Plan Goals that Work

6 min. readbyVexxit StaffonJune 10, 2021
A goal without a plan is just a wish. In this article, learn how you can plan smarter goals that actually work.

As a newly-minted professional (lawyer, accountant, financial advisor, engineer ++), you probably set goals for your academic accomplishments. You understand how they helped you sustain momentum through those long hours of study. Now that you’re on your professional journey, applying the same goal-setting principles towards your career can bring your success to new heights. Studies indicate that goal setting is linked to higher achievement and people who create goals for themselves tend to be more successful. That’s proof enough to commit to setting goals for your career. When you set goals from the onset of your career, you give yourself an actionable plan to propel you forward. To quote Antoine De Saint-Exupery: A goal without a plan is just a wish”.

Experts agree that when setting goals, you need to create both short and long-term goals that connect. As an example, a short-term goal for a new lawyer or financial advisor could be to get hired by a specific company or increase your client-base by a specific percentage, while a long-term goal might be to enhance professional designations, lead a team or start your own company. The best types of goals are personalized or customized to your unique situation and what’s important to you. Goals need to consider a variety of factors, including your profession, practice area or expertise, the size of the company you work for, as well as your own personal and family goals.

How to set a goal

One of the most popular types of goal setting currently used is S.M.A.R.T. This technique originated with George Doran (1981) and was later modified by management experts to S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals to include opportunity for evaluation and reassessment of goals.

Here’s your guide to creating S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals:

  • S = Specific – get as specific as you can about your goals, state each one clearly and ensure each has an identifiable purpose. Whether a goal is related to monetary gain, career advancement or owning your own company, write it down and keep your goals visible. Written goals help your subconscious mind focus.

  • M = Measurable – you need to have a tangible way to measure progress and success of each goal set. Tracking results helps you identify when specific milestones have been achieved. Measurements are usually numerically based. As an example, if your goal is to earn a specific income or acquire a specific number of clients within a certain timeframe – this is easily measured.

  • A = Action-based – action-based goals need to be realistic and achievable otherwise no amount of action is going to net the results you were seeking. Spend time developing a solid plan of action that is thorough enough to give you direction.

  • R = Relevant – each goal should align with your overall objective – it needs to fit in with the “big picture”.

  • T = Time-based – goals need to be time-bound – each goal must have a definite date set for achieving it.

  • E = Evaluate – goals need to be evaluated often to determine your progress and to look at whether your goals are still relevant. Things change quickly, so a goal set last month might not align with your current situation.

  • R = Reassess and readjust – much like daily evaluation, regular reassessment allows you to adapt and adjust your strategy to be as successful as possible.

While setting goals is imperative for establishing your path to success, every successful person knows that success is rarely achieved alone. It’s important that you dedicate time to cultivate a network of professionals who can serve as mentors, hold you accountable, support your efforts and help you grow. When you are ready, Vexxit can help emphasize your expertise and highlight your unique brand.

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