When we break down the science of setting goals, a few things are clear: Goals should be measurable, relevant to how you want to progress in the short and long term, attainable and bound to a period of time. And periodically setting new personal development goals will help you grow at work, whether you’re an intern, a C-level executive or anyone in between.
And if you go just a little beyond setting goals—either by getting feedback or making those goals public—it’s even more likely you’ll achieve them. We can grow our own success, even with something as simple as taking more steps each day, if we simply set a goal and make our progress public.
Personal development goals for work
Here are four personal development goals you should set (stick to) at work to level up your career.
1. Determine what “crushing it” means to you.
Once you know what your top priorities should be, it is easier to stay focused throughout the day. Consider asking your supervisor or a peer to collaborate on your goals and provide feedback on your progress.
2. Meet new colleagues.
Today’s workplaces stress the importance of collaboration, so it’s a rarity if you’re not at least occasionally colliding with folks outside your department. Get a jump start on your personal development goals at work by grabbing a cup of coffee with a peer you rarely interact with. Take time asking them about their role. Learn what makes other people successful. Ask questions like, “What would you do if you were in my job?” to understand how they thrive. You’d be surprised how much you can learn and feel inspired over a cup of coffee.
3. Learn your company’s goals.
Only 55 percent of middle managers can name any of their company’s top-five priorities, and their direct reports know even less. Regardless of how transparent your company is with its short- and long-term goals, you can always ask. Try conversing with your supervisor about what their long-term goals are, or make it your goal to participate in conversations about the future of your industry. The more you know about your company goals, the easier it is to understand how your work and contributions matter.
4. Share your personal development goals with a friend.
Personal development doesn’t only have to happen at work and should never happen alone. Sharing your personal development goals with a peer will get you further than going solo. Try setting a three-month goal with a friend and hold each other accountable. Whatever goal you set, tell someone about it.
Take your personal development goals to the next level by signing up for James Whittaker’s Win the Day Accelerator. It’s an 8-part personal development program designed to help you transform your life and achieve extraordinary results.
This article was updated September 2023. Photo by Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.com
Kris Duggan is the CEO and co-founder of BetterWorks, an enterprise goals platform trusted by high-performing companies to engage, empower and cross-functionally align their workforces. BetterWorks drives companies to become operationally excellent and provides powerful insights about how work gets done.