18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

If you want to shimmy up the ladder of success when it comes to your career, you may be wondering what exactly you need to do. Well, the climb to the top is a lot simpler than you might think. 

People who plan their careers are on their way to achieving their career goals. However, not all do that.

Determination and commitment are needed to reach your career goals. To make it easier for you to see your career goals achieved, here are steps you should follow.

In fact, with just these strategies below, you can achieve your career goals fast.

Read on to find out more. 

18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

1. Assess yourself

The very first step to reaching your career goals is assessing yourself. When a goal shows you where you want to be, the assessment shows you where you currently are. You’ve got to be completely honest with yourself when doing the assessment.

Even when you are taking an assessment test by others, ensure the tool or person isn’t biased in his judgment. Self-assessment questions should be similar to these:

  • What is the current status of your career? Entry-level, experienced, professional?
  • What words can you use to describe yourself? (Self-perception)
  • How assertive are you in your skills and abilities?
  • What are the next skills you want to acquire?
  • What and how do you get motivated?
  • Are you comfortable working within a team or just by yourself?
  • How do you feel about your choice of career?
  • If you have a reset button or have the chance to do it again, will you choose the same career?
  • What other careers would you choose?

Have you sincerely taken this assessment test? How do you feel about the result?

2. Understand your strengths and weaknesses

You must have heard about SWOT Analysis at least once. Let me just refresh your memory. It is a tool simply used to check your strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat.

I will only deal with the personal aspect i.e. strengths and weaknesses. You cannot talk about your strength and not mention your weakness too. 

List out the things you know you do best. Those are your strengths. It doesn’t matter if they are just a few or you are not the best in them. Once you’ve done this you can now go on to do the same thing for your weak spots.

As you progress in your career and focus on being a better person, you will notice your strengths will increase and some weaknesses will reduce.

Now that you have your strengths and weaknesses written down, you can proceed to set a plan on how you can use your strengths to accomplish your career goal. There are two ways to go now. First, “What career fits your strengths” or “what strengths fit your career.” This allows you to know where you are, where you want to be, and how you get there.

3. Just Plan!

18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

You know this saying “if you have failed to plan, you have planned to fail. I know it will take a lot of your resources- time, finance, and energy, but you still have to plan. Your plans are the backbone that your achievement hangs on.

You can’t reach your goal without a solid plan.

I will take you through two different planning types. The most common and conventional one is forward-planning. This is when you plan from the beginning to the end of the goal. Your plan starts from the foundation up to the roof.

Another way is backward planning. This type of planning starts from the goal or the end product back to the present day or state. In other words, backward planning plans from the full house through the roof down the foundation. 

Either one can be used, it just depends on how effectively you plan and how efficiently you execute them.

4. Manage Your Time Effectively

Manage your time well for you to reach your goal. Some plans fail just because the timing is wrong. Time waits for no man. When you plan, put into consideration some downtime, time to rest and refresh your self and time to learn while focusing on your goal.

Set time aside to work as you set time to do other things. Start one thing and ensure you finish it before you move entirely to other things.

Time is a resource that once it is lost, cannot be gained back. You should put a timeline for your goals. For example, this goal is for the long term while this is for the short term. When you add time, you can measure your progress and readjust if you are lagging.

Specifying the date of completing a goal or project helps you to focus on it and increases the chances of achieving that goal.

What that means is that, instead of saying that you want to be ‘successful’ or earn a lot of money, you need specific targets to work towards. 

5. Have specific goals 

18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

One thing you need to execute when it comes to achieving your career goals is knowing what those career goals are, specifically.

I wanted to name this point “list out your goal” but for you to have found yourself on this page, you must have set your career goal already even if it is just a rough sketch. However, if you haven’t set your career goal, Pause here and do so now. 

Write out the goal you want to achieve. As it is rightly said “…write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”(Habakkuk 2:2KJV).

You should have noticed that all organizations have their goals, vision, and mission published where it will be seen in the organization to ensure it is not forgotten. 

In your quest to achieve your career goal, you need to fine-tune your goal using the SMART Tool. Your goal must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed. This is what I mean:

Specific: people fail to achieve their goals because they set general goals. An example of a general goal is “I want to succeed” or “I will have a startup soon”. Even though these statements are good and desirable, it is vague. For the first statement, this would be more appropriate “I want to succeed at typing by taking courses and practicing twice a day.

The second should look like this “I will have a startup in mobile phone software in location ABC by July 2020”. You increase your chances of achieving your goal when you are specific about what you want. 

6. Let Your goals be Measurable

Measurement is not what people take into consideration sometimes. The terms you use to set your goals should not be something you cannot measure. Measurable goals help you to know how far you have gone and how far you still need to go to reach your target.

You can’t measure a goal like “be a good typist”. The term good is subjective and random. A better way is to have a goal like “get twenty percent faster on a keyboard.” Now you can measure your progress!

7. Let Your goals be Attainable

How attainable is your goal? You have to set a reasonable goal, not something too low or too high. Something to challenge you but not scare you off.

For instance, setting a goal of reading a hundred business book pages per day is realistic for someone that usually read seventy pages, but setting one thousand pages isn’t.

Read: 13 steps to start a new career with absolutely no experience or degree

8. Ensure your goals are relevant

18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

What’s the importance of your goal to you, your career, and the concerned parties (business, organization, and the general public)? The level of relevance your goal has will determine how much help you get in achieving it.

Come to think of it, you want to be a photographer, what are you doing with a goal like “know how to drill for crude oil”.

9. Act on those goals

Action: once all your goal is SMART and you have considered your strengths and weaknesses, you should now define the steps you want to take to achieve them. A good plan is only good if it is executed.

For instance, someone that wants to build his body, has plans to go to the gym, he even paid for it but did not visit the gym. The whole plan to build the body is frustrating. The same thing goes for all goals, plan and then take action.

When defining your actions steps, take these into account:

  • What are the resources you need to achieve your goal?
  • Any plans to implement your goal?
  • What are the limitation and foreseeable issues that could arise?
  • How can you best reach your goals?

Let me give another example, taking the startup stated above as a case study, your action steps would look like this: apply and get funds AB amount, get a space in location XYZ, employ a secretary, software and hardware engineers, reach out to the potential customer and acquire CD number and break-even at the end of EF months.

Along with the goals you have written down, you should append the specific action plans to each goal and tick them off as soon as you have successfully finished the action or goal. The goal and plan will be useless until action is taken.

Read: 9 interview preparation tips that will get you the job

10. Be Diligent

Ranchoddas Shamaldas Chanchad said in 3 idiots movie – “…Follow behind excellence, success will come all way behind…

Achieving a goal is closely related to excellence. The Bible says “seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29 KJV). You have to be diligent to excel in your career.

So, determine what matters to you and make them your priority.

11. Manage Challenges

18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

You probably have a list of things to do to achieve your goal but you need a plan for handling challenges. Check your list again and think of any challenges that might come up. The challenges need not be something that will stop your progress, it might just be something that will delay the achievement. So you should know that challenge is anything that reduces your chances of reaching your goal at the appointed time

To manage challenges, you have to check the trend.

  • Did I have this challenge in the past?
  • How did I handle it and what was the outcome.
  • What can I do now or what plans can I put in place to manage the challenges should they arise in the future?

It might not be easy for you to spot your challenges, manage them, or ask for help from others. 

12. Get a favorable party

“A problem shared is a problem half solved”.

It is not until you encounter difficulties that you can share them  with other parties. When you inform good parties like friends, family, and other interested parties, they will be a source of encouragement to you.

They will even help you achieve your goals faster and give advice and counsel when needed. You can share updates regularly on your progress with them so you don’t lose focus. 

Favourable parties should be the trusted members of your network. Leveraging your network is an imperative task in your pursuit to achieve your goals. No one is an island, you have a network either you know it or not

13. Be Committed to your goals

18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

It is easier said than done is a saying that is in line with staying committed to a course. It is easy to plan, even easier to set a goal but following it through is harder than you think.

Sometimes, the going gets tough and you must be tougher. Another popular saying, – “no problem wants itself solved or task wants itself completed”. It is your job to ensure you see it through.

14. Have a career priority list

You need to set your priorities right. This is what I mean – you’ve got to know what matters to you the most in your career. “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”

If you do not clear out the unnecessaries and face the necessaries, you may not get anything done. 

You may want to be a graphics designer and still want to be a typist. I know you can do all but not all at once. Highlight what you should do now and what you can do later. One way to do this properly is to list them out, you can now list them according to importance or urgency.

Care goes with priority. You give priority to the thing you care about and care about the thing you prioritize. You and I both know that if you do not care about what you do, it will affect your performances and hence, your result. What you can do is list out and order the things you like to do.

For example, you need to write down a series of job roles in your chosen industry that you love. Rather than just stating you want to be successful, which is a very nebulous term at the best of times.

Additionally, you need to decide precisely how much money you want to earn. Then you can set incremental pay targets along the way. This is something that will help you track your progress. It will also give you the joy of celebrating the smaller victories, motivating you to achieve the next one. 

15. Show up physically and mentally

Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals
18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

Next, if you want to achieve your career goals as quickly as possible, it’s crucial that you show up, both physically and mentally. What do I mean by showing up physically? Well, it’s about getting into work even if you have a sniffle, or you had a bad day yesterday.

That’s right unless you are genuinely sick, you need to show up and get on with what is in front of you. In fact, by doing this, you will demonstrate your reliability to your superiors, and so will put yourself in a much better position to be trusted with responsibility and promotion later on. 

Of course, just showing up as a zombie and being there in mind, but not in spirit isn’t much good! In fact, it’s vital that you don’t just show up physically, but you are there mentally and emotionally as well.

This means that you are focused on the work, engaged and motivated to do it. After all, when it comes to appraisals, those in power are likely to pick the people that are not just reliable but have a real passion for what they are doing as well.

16. Be open to learning new things 

A lady on a job alternative
18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

Learning is always useful for advancing your career. In fact, when it comes to expanding your knowledge and experience-base, two paths can be taken here. One is to focus on learning everything you can from people around you while you are on the job.

Something that involves finding a person or group who you see being successful. Then, being receptive to their way of doing things.

The second path is to pursue formal education. This option helps your resume to stand out from the crowd and also provide you with valuable experience applicable to your career. In fact, studying at well-respected college can also provide you with an excellent network of peers who can be very useful in your career progression. 

Of course, traditionally, both paths could not be walked at the same time. However, that has all changed with the availability of flexible courses.

The reason being that it’s now possible to comfortably fit your studies around your work responsibilities. Something that means you can advance your career twice as fast. 

17. Get a mentor 

When you are new to a particular role or career path, it’s easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm and novelty of what you’re doing. In fact, you can become so immersed that you often forget others in your fields are much more expert in what they are doing. 

Of course, if you want to advance your career, these are the people that you need to seek out. The reason being that they are the best people to guide and mentor you. This is not only applicable in the infancy of your career but throughout the entire duration as well. 

The great thing about looking for a mentor in the 21st century is that we are all so connected online. This means even if your current place of work cannot provide you will a suitable mentor, you can easily find someone else online.  In fact, they can be from pretty much any location around the world! 

Do remember, however, it is more than just experience that makes a good mentor. In fact, you will also need to check that you are compatible personality-wise as well. After all, if they are a fan of harsh criticism, but you need positive encouragement to succeed, such a partnership isn’t going to work. 🙄 

18. Take vacations to rejuvenate

Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals
18 Simple Steps You Should Take To Achieve Your Career Goals

Lastly, you may think that success in your career and taking regular vacations are entirely unrelated. But that is not the case. In fact, it is vital to take regular vacations, as well as breaks from work, if you want to succeed.

The reasons for this are multiple, but they all boil down to one essential thing, and that is not burning out to the point that you cannot follow any of the advice above. After all, you need breaks to rest your mind and body, this being essential if you are to achieve your career goals in the fastest way possible.

In fact, it’s by giving yourself a personal time that you can reflect on your career performance, checking how far you have come.


If you want to achieve your career goals fast, there are several tactics you can use. One is to define your goals clearly, and the stages you will go through in getting there. The second is to show reliability and enthusiasm. Next, you also need to have knowledge and understanding of your field, and getting a mentor can help you do this.

Finally, if you are to continue to progress at a reasonable speed, regular breaks are necessary to prevent burnout. In fact, it is through such breaks that you will regain the energy to continue to forge ahead.

Now that you know the steps, it is high time you started achieving your career goals.

Let me know your thoughts! 😉 

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Post Author: Opeyemi Sowade

Sowade Opeyemi is a systematic, cooperative and collaborative thinker, oriented to follow procedures. He is patient and listens to others carefully, genuinely interested in their ideas, opinions and information.

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