How to Set Ambitious (Yet Attainable) Long-Term Career Goals


Goal-setting is critical for your success. By having specific objectives in mind, you can make choices that get you closer to your ideal career outcome. You have an opportunity to create plans and monitor your progress, both of which are beneficial. 

While it’s true that you may change your targets over time, knowing how to set ambitious yet attainable career goals is essential. If you want to create objectives that will propel you forward professionally, here’s what you need to know. 

Make Your Goals Specific 

When a goal is too vague, it isn’t going to provide you with much benefit. For example, a generic objective like wanting to “be successful professionally” is ambiguous and subjective. It doesn’t define what “success” is for you, and that’s a problem. 

In comparison, wanting to achieve a certain job title, hit a particular salary mark, gain access to a coveted perk, or similar clearly defined goals have specificity. You know precisely what you want, and can, therefore, create a clear path to get there. 

Be Relatively Reasonable 

There’s nothing wrong with having a lofty goal as long as it is reasonably attainable. For example, wanting to become a CEO in 15 years may be ambitious but achievable. In some cases, doing it in less time is potentially plausible, depending on your industry, current experience, existing education level, and certain other factors. 

However, trying to become a CEO in three years in a sector where 15 years is the norm isn’t particularly reasonable, especially if you have no intention of starting your own company. It’s a target that may not be possible to hit, even if you really give it your all. 

By choosing an objective that could be on the table, you are increasing the odds that you’ll stick with it. Plus, you aren’t incidentally setting yourself up for failure, something that could damage your morale or confidence throughout the remainder of your career. 

Create a Timeline 

A goal without a timeframe for completion isn’t always particularly motivating. You may not end up with a sense of urgency because you haven’t identified a deadline, and that could work against you. 

Ideally, you want to decide when you’d like to accomplish your broader goal as a starting point. Then, reflect on the steps it takes to get to where you want to be and give each of those mini-goals its own deadline. 

By using that approach, you make your progress trackable and your goal actionable. Plus, the deadlines make your targets clearer, motivating you to keep moving forward. 

Stay Flexible 

Even if you have a clear timeline for your goal, resist the urge to be overly rigid. You can’t predict every aspect of your future, and events may occur that you didn’t expect. If you aren’t willing to reevaluate your goal or plan, you may resign yourself to failure instead, assuming that since your progress doesn’t match your original timetable, you’ve lost. 

Ideally, you want to embrace a degree of flexibility. Understand that certain things are out of your control. That way, if you need to take a step back and adjust your course, you can do so without any undue negative feelings.

Call Bayside Solutions Today 

Ultimately, goal-setting is smart if you want to have an amazing career. By following the tips above, you can make sure that your long-term objectives are ambitious, yet attainable, allowing them to propel you toward greater success. If you’d like to learn more, the staff at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us today.