We spend so much time and energy at work, that it would be a waste if we didn’t at least make the effort to set out achieving career goals. You must take complete control over every part of your life and create your own future. You must leave nothing to chance.

Luck or hard work? When some people achieve great success faster than others, they are immediately accused of having “good luck” and rarely get credit for their hard work. When people make a mess of their lives, largely due to their own shortcomings, it’s often dismissed as “bad luck.”

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At each step in your career, you need to ask yourself: What can I do next that will maximize my options in the future? 

To achieve your career goals, let’s start with these basic and essential steps.


 Set SMART Goals. 

Use the acronym SMART to think about your goals:


SPECIFIC – state your goal clearly. The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. A specific goal answers the “W” questions – Who, What, Where, When, Which (requirements, obstacles) and Why.

MEASURABLE – how will you know when you reach your goal? Are there interim stages? Long-term goals usually have short-term phases. What will you do to keep yourself on track?

ATTAINABLE – understanding yourself is the first step in setting attainable goals. Acknowledging both your strengths and weaknesses helps you decide upon a plan to address gaps in knowledge or resources. Are you willing and able to put the effort, time, and/or money into this goal? Most goals can be attained if you carefully understand what is required and commit yourself to putting in the required time and effort.

REALISTIC – a realistic goal is one that you believe can be accomplished. You need to be both willing and able to work towards this goal. Ask yourself – is your goal within your reach or your control?

TIMELY – achievable goals have timeframes. Establishing dates and deadlines helps you work toward achieving your goals.


 Dream Big. 

The great Michelangelo once said: The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it”. You can become and accomplish anything – but in order to achieve that ‘anything’ you have to not only dream big, but also ensure your goals are big so that you can become and accomplish big things.


Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don’t believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you.


 STOP! Start by setting aside just one hour to stop and reflect on the events of the past year. 

Write a list of the year’s Wins, Losses, Successes, Failures and Breakthroughs.  Get them out of your head and on to paper! Once you have this list, you can use this to formulate your action plan and your next steps towards achieving your goal.


 Figure Out What You Want in a Career. 

Write down what you enjoy doing, your strengths and weaknesses.


 Categorize Goals as Long – and Short -Term. 

Another tip for reaching your goals is to categorize them as long- and short-term. Set reasonable and realistic goals and timelines for achieving them.


 Network face-to-face with up to 3 people each month outside the company to stay connected to your industry and to develop your networking skills.

Identify 10 people who you have lost touch with and would like to re-connect. Reach out to them indicating one of your 2014 goals is to keep your network active. When you meet with your network, have a purpose and always be willing to ask them to connect you to others they know.


 Challenge yourself. 

If you set your sights too low, you will inevitably accomplish your goals, but the process won’t be very inspiring. If you set them too high, you are liable to be frustrated by failure. By setting your goals slightly above your level of comfort, you will feel challenged and will get a greater sense of fulfillment from completing them.


 Stay Focused. 

If you want to be successful in achieving your career goals, then you need to stay focused. After the initial stages of career planning, there is a tendency to lose focus midway. You must train yourself to concentrate on your goals and stay motivated at all times. Constantly review your career plans.


 Understand yourself. 

To appropriately practice goal setting and take better advantage of life’s opportunities, first look within yourself and focus on qualities you want to improve.


 Understand others. 

Developing the ability to understand others is important for a successful life and for achieving dreams. Gain insights by taking time to observe others with an open heart and mind.


 Uncover your motivations. 

Sometimes we forget the real reasons we want a promotion or a new client. If those are the means to a beautiful honeymoon or a way to pay for your kid brother’s college costs, make that emotional connection clear to yourself again.


 Right Attitude. 

To achieve your career goals, maintaining right attitude is essential. Right attitude can mean many things, the most important being commitment, action, pride, passion and belief. Commitment – you keep your promises to others and yourself. Act – you act upon things and not just talk. Do while others talk and idle time away. Pride – do your best each time you work on something knowing it has your name on it. Passion – you do it because you love what you do. Belief – believe in the work that you do and how it can contribute to your company and society. Know that whatever you want to achieve, you can get it.


 Create the context for success. 

Surround yourself with people you need to do your work well. People have to recognize common values and goals before they’re likely to share what they know, so invest in these relationships.


 Surround Yourself With the Right People.

Speaking of friends and family, we’ve all got people in our lives that can hold us back. They claim to have ambition, but all they do is sit around and complain and waste time. Take a step back and recognize who these people are, then limit your time with them.


 Be precise. 

If you set goals that are too broad, it can be difficult to meet them. Strive for precise and measurable goals so that you can track your progress and pinpoint any potential problems.


 Accept failures and move ahead. 

One should be open enough that mistakes could happen and should not get bogged down by failures but instead learn from those mistakes and forge ahead to the planned outcome.


 Stay Positive. 

Staying positive is the key to achieving career goals. It allows you to get up after every fall and endears you to others. Positivity is an admirable quality and a key asset of every professional.


 Set up “Lunch Time Conversations”

or Skype conversations for career advice with the shakers and movers and the person everyone seems to know within your organization to develop mutual relationships.



The final goal of human effort is man’s self-transformation. – Lewis Mumford



 Never stop being loving and lovable to everyone around you. 

Your charm and delight and fun are crucial to getting what you want. Don’t let yourself be a downer. Always know when you’re complaining and stop it! Never stop being loving and lovable to everyone around you. Your charm and delight and fun are crucial to getting what you want. Don’t let yourself be a downer. Always know when you’re complaining and stop it! Your attitude is important.


 Try to gather as much information from the right people as possible.

Prioritize your activities, and manage your time based on your goals. Also, develop a system to reward yourself that will help you maintain your enthusiasm, commitment and motivation.


Have some approaches worked better than others for you? Let us know in the comments below.


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Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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