Dream BIG and seize every opportunity.

Have you thought about your career goals for this year and beyond and how you will take advantage of every opportunity? Studies from Harvard Business School have shown that people who set goals are 10 times more likely to be successful! It can seem challenging to stick to your goals throughout a busy year, however, there are some simple steps and tools you can put in place to help yourself achieve these….

Set SMART Goals

In order to achieve your goals, you may need to make a shift to your thinking around them. As a rule, you should always make your goals SMART. Though you have probably long heard of this popular goal setting acronym (illustrated below) you cannot argue with its clear-cut methodology. If you are setting a goal, you need to make it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). By fitting your goals within the SMART framework, you will become more likely to follow through on them.

The BIG picture

Studies have shown that if you train your brain to think about what you want in life and then take actions to achieve it, this will form part of your identity. As explained by Positive Psychology, effective goals are based on values and ethics, because if you are not aligned with your goals and they do not resonate with your core principles you are likely not to achieve them.

It is about understanding your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and core values, and working with them. If knowing yourself is the first step in reaching your goals, then the next step is thinking on the macro level and setting yourself a goal around the type of person you want to be. If your goal this year for example, is to become a team leader or manager then you need to step back and consider why do you want this? What is the goal behind the goal? For some this might be linked to the goal of being able to inspire people, for others it might be that they want to be the kind of person who others approach for knowledge.

Once you can identify your macro goal you will find it much easier to see where your other goals fit within this and to create a plan moving forward to achieve these.

The power of sharing your goals

Aside from actually being able to identify your goals (both big and small) you NEED to give priority to your goals – and for some of us this can be challenging. It is one thing to say in your head that you will become a team leader by this time next year, but another entirely to actually take the steps to achieve it – this requires accountability, both to yourself and ideally, to someone else. That’s right, your goals do not need to be a secret, be proud and passionate about what you want to achieve and let someone you know and trust in on them. Not only will this help you determine if your goals are achievable, but you will also have someone else who you are accountable to for your progress (or lack of progress) on meeting your goals – not to mention someone to cheer you on. If you do not have anyone who you can share with, you can also give yourself a sense of accountability by writing down your goals and keeping them in a place that you see frequently (a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, a daily calendar reminder…).

Remember, a person who is goal orientated is more likely to have a “positive approach towards life and perceive failures as temporary setbacks, rather than personal shortcomings” and in today’s world isn’t that something we all need?

Top Tips

  1. Follow your Passion and Dream BIG
    Set goals you are passionate about – this will make sure you have the commitment to push through when you encounter obstacles in your goal journey. Set some BIG goals this year and break your big goals down into smaller steps by developing a detailed plan on how you intend to accomplish that goal. While you are creating your plan, envision obstacles you may face along the way and that way, that way you will already have a solution ready to go. Do not forget to celebrate each win along the way.
  2. Develop your skills in line with Your GOALS
    Invest time in yourself, your well-being, and your personal and professional growth. Think about your professional goals and how you might attain them. What new skills and competencies do you need to acquire? What strengths do you want to enhance? You can start by making dedicated learning time in your weekly work schedule. Let colleagues know how important learning is to you and agree on a proportion of your work week devoted to professional development. Then calendarise it and stick to it. Identify your skill gaps and locate the professional development or qualifications to fill these. Whether you want to move into a manager role or take the next step in becoming a director or board member, there are always opportunities to develop your skills.
  3. Grow your Networks
    Opportunities do not always come knocking and we often open new doors through our networks of colleagues, mentors, and friends. Your career goals for this year might call on you to get networking. Look for opportunities to attend events and conferences on the topics that are close to your passions.

Ready to take your goal setting a step further?

Becoming a Personal Member of IPAA SA will support you at every stage of your career journey. We are currently offering our new Goal Setting Starter Pack for free to all our Personal Members. This digital guide and workbook is a vital tool you can use to explore, plan and track your goals this year and beyond.

To become a member or explore the full range of membership benefits please visit here.


Schrader, J 2018, ‘Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail’, Psychology Today, viewed 12 January 2022, <https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/modern-mentality/201812/why-new-years-resolutions-fail>.

Chowdhury, MR 2021, ‘The Science & Psychology Of Goal-Setting 101’, Positive Psychology, viewed 12 January 2022, <https://positivepsychology.com/goal-setting-psychology/>.

Peterson, J 2018 ’12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos’. Available here: https://www.amazon.com.au/12-Rules-Life-Antidote-Chaos/dp/0345816021

New Tech Northwest, 2019, The Psychology of Writing Down Goals. Available here: https://www.newtechnorthwest.com/the-psychology-of-writing-down-goals/#:~:text=How%20about%20because%20a%20Harvard,than%20those%20without%20any%20goals.


Image Credit: Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

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