Whether you have just entered the workforce or have been working for years, it is important to set career goals to enrich your work life and ensure you achieve satisfaction in what you do.

But why set goals? Why not just have a mental plan of what to achieve?

Setting goals helps you to break down your long-term aspirations into smaller, attainable steps. Just like a GPS, goals can help you see how far you come, how far you need to go, and what you need to do to get there. Without goals or a GPS, you may find yourself stagnant or just going around in circles.

A crucial step of setting goals is ensuring that they are in a written format. A psychologist who conducted a study on effectiveness of writing goals in 2015 discovered that people who wrote their goals were 42% more likely in achieving them.

Use the S.M.A.R.T goal checklist to make your goals as effective as possible

Your goals must be specific. This way you know what to do and how to do it.

They must be measurable for you to track your progress and to determine if you have achieved it.

Your goals have to be achievable. Of course, you can always dream big. But oftentimes to dream big, you have to start small and you can do this by writing down smaller, simplistic goals to achieve that BIG dream.

Goals must be relevant. Your goals may vary depending on your circumstances. Think about whether you are equipped to achieve the goal at this point in your career. Will achieving this goal take away from other important activities?

Lastly, your goals must be time-bound. Set times for when you will start and complete working on this goal. This way you can be resourceful by working on a particular goal at a particular time.

But, what if you don’t have a large-scale career goal?

You don’t need to have big ambitions. If you seek a small change in your career – you can set short term goals. Ultimately, your goals should be tailored towards what you want whether that is in the long run or at present.

Remember, personal goals can change and it is okay for goals to not work out the way you wanted it to. No matter what your circumstances are, if you have set goals for your career- you’re already one step ahead!