Setting (Realistic) Goals

Back in early November, I wrote an article about career planning tips (link here) which included a suggestion that you set goals for yourself. At Career Solutions Group, one of our focuses is on helping clients’ career plan and come up with realistic goals. Talking with a friend about it the next day, I mentioned the way I phrased that suggestion:

Set (realistic) goals. You might want to become a multi-million dollar business tycoon, but your career plan should NOT be ‘Step one: become multi-million dollar business tycoon, end of plan.’”

My friend looked at me and said, very seriously, “That’s what all my goals look like.”

This sentiment struck me very powerfully, and has been on my mind ever since. I bring it up today because goal setting is one of those ambiguous topics like career planning that everyone suggests you do, but there is no one, perfect way to set goals for yourself. Goal setting is a personal experience, but I have noticed a trend in which many people set ambitious goals without thinking to break them down into manageable chunks.

We are often driven to achieve an end result. In school, projects are done to produce a final product in the form of a diorama or paper. Research is undertaken to produce a plan or analysis. The end goal is often what we have in mind. Because of its ubiquity in other parts of our lives, we transfer this “final product” thinking into our personal and career goal setting processes. This thought process ignores a very important part of goal setting; the journey.

In her article “The Science of Setting Goals” (link here), Nadia Goodman interviews Kelly McGonigal on scientifically supported tips on setting achievable goals. One of those tips is “Focus on the process, not the outcome.” In this section, McGonigal states “‘People often get lost thinking they have to change everything all at once…But small changes can pave the way for bigger changes.’” This is an enormously important sentiment, especially at this time of year when many people are contemplating their New Year’s Resolutions. Goal setting is not just about picking a new ambitious project; it’s about taking meaningful steps towards completing the project. The journey is just as important, perhaps even more so, than the final product.

As we begin meandering towards the New Year, keep Career Solutions Group in mind for your professional journey. We offer free initial consultations, and we have helped hundreds of career changers and job seekers find meaningful new paths. Email us at for more information, or call us at 970-224-4042 to set up an appointment.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group