28 Personal Goals for Work to Accelerate Your Career

Since we spend most of our day at work, no list of yearly goals is complete without some specific personal goals for work. With a list of personal goals to strive for at the workplace, you’ll be more motivated, focused, and driven throughout the year.

But what are good personal goals? These 28 goal examples provide a template for you to use when determining your next professional and career goals.

two professionals writing, collaborating, and working on a laptop to pick personal goals for work and team

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Personal Goals for Work

What are good personal goals for work?

Goals for the workplace should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound). Having realistic and specific goals means you’re more likely to achieve them and won’t waste time on frivolous projects.

When deciding what makes a good personal goal, think about where you want to be five years from now? Given that, what should you work on now?

Lastly, focus on a few major goals. Otherwise, you won’t have enough time and energy to devote to each goal. Instead, pick out some personal development goals for work and other personal goals for the workplace that focus on interactions with colleagues.

Here are 28 examples of goals for work:

  1. Learn a new skill
  2. Take on new responsibilities
  3. Get promoted
  4. Start a new role
  5. Find a mentor
  6. Be a mentor
  7. Build Your Network
  8. Learn to Say No
  9. Learn to Ask for Help
  10. Go back to school
  11. Plan a career move
  12. Make a career move
  13. Take your vacation time
  14. Improve Work Life Balance
  15. Create a Morning Routine
  16. Refresh Your Work Wardrobe
  17. Create an At Home Office
  18. Refresh Your Resume
  19. Attend Networking Events
  20. Do an International Assignment
  21. Swap emails for phone calls
  22. Employ proper meeting etiquette
  23. Unwind after work daily
  24. Be intentional about relationship building
  25. Schedule team building monthly
  26. Do team improvement checks regularly
  27. Create work boundaries
  28. Establish no meeting Fridays

1 – Learn a New Skill

Pursuing development as a young professional makes you a more valuable asset to your team. As such, you should have some personal development goals for work to expand your skillset. Some examples in this area are learning how to code, taking a course on storytelling and presentation skills, or become versed in social media marketing.

By improving your skillset, you become a more valuable asset to your company and team.

2 – Take on new responsibilities

This year, add to your soft skills by taking on new responsibilities. Have a conversation with your boss about how you could assume more responsibilities. For example, these extra duties may be leading a team, communicating directly with the client, or giving presentations.

Together with your boss or mentor, find new responsibilities that will further develop your skills and give you more experience.

3 – Get promoted

If you like the team you’re currently working with but are looking for a new challenge, speak with your manager about the requirements to move to a more senior position. Typically, companies have a track or process that you must complete before being promoted. Be sure you understand the requirements necessary to be promoted and make the requirements work goals for the year.

4 – Move into a different role

One way to gain valuable work experience without leaving your team or project is to simply move into a different role. For example, after doing training development on a consulting project, I moved into a communications role.

While getting to work with the same team and client, I was able to develop a different set of skills. Maybe you’re bored of your current role, too. It could be time to talk to your manager about what else you can do to diversify your skills.

No matter what role you’re in, here are tips on how to make sure you’re challenging yourself.

5 – Find a mentor

A mentor offers advice and guidance to help you flourish in your career. He or she is a great person to bounce ideas off, too.

No matter if you’re a young professional or senior professional, finding mentors who can push and challenge you is important. Navigating different career paths is much easier with a suite of mentors to help.

6 – Be a mentor

On the flip side, you can try becoming a mentor as one of your personal goals for the workplace. This is a great way to help those whose shoes you were in not too long ago. Learning how to guide and help others is an important soft skill for becoming a manager later.

7 – Build and Improve Your Network

Learning networking skills and using them may be how you find your next role or your next passion. Make new connections with people in industries and roles you’re interested in. They’ll serve you well in the future when you may be ready for a change.

If networking is not your thing, use these easy tips for networking to improve your networking skills.

8 – Learn to Say No

You want to help your team and impress your boss, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a “Yes” person. Unless you learn how to say no professionally, you will get burned-out and start resenting work.

If you were burned-out last year, add this to your work goals. Say no so that you can say yes to something else.

9 – Learn to Ask for Help

Knowing when and how to ask for help is a hard lesson to learn. Our culture is all about achievement, and sometimes we fear we’ll work hard and get none of the credit.

However, refusing to ask for help could lead to lots of rework and burnout. Protect your health and well-being by being clear about expectations and learning how to ask for help.

10 – Go back to school

Consider graduate school programs or professional certifications that will add to your qualifications. You’ll need to research programs, decide which ones to apply to (if the timing is right), and see if your company offers tuition reimbursement options.

You should know what you want to study, what degree you want, and how it will impact your career before spending time and money on any graduate program.

11 – Plan a Career Move

If you have the itch that it’s time to change jobs, companies, or industries, then making a plan for your next career move is a vital personal goal for work. Do some research to figure out what positions might interest you and what the process is like to move internally in your company.

12 – Do a Career Move

Along similar lines as the previous one, this goal is about doing the actual career move. Is it time for a change or new challenge this year? Have you been feeling stuck or in a rut at work?

Stop waiting for the perfect job to land in your lap. Go out and find it. The only person who can change your career is you.

13- Set Aside time to Unwind after Work

To avoid future burnout and maintain work life balance, find ways to unwind after work. These can be activities you do at home, on the way back home from work, on your own, or with friends. Having dedicated time to rest and reflect on the day improves your productivity and makes time away from work more enjoyable.

14 – Take your vacation time

At my previous company, if you didn’t use your vacation days then you them. Whatever the policy is at your place of work, take advantage of all the time off you can.

Not only is vacation part of your compensation, but it’s important to take breaks from work, relax, and recharge. If you’re thinking you don’t have time to take time off, know you can still be productive while enjoying your day off.

15 – Find Work Life Balance

Whether work is a passion of yours or just something you do to pay bills, finding and maintaining work life balance protects you from burn-out. Burn-out is when you spend so much time working that the quality of your work suffers or negatively affects your personal life.

Life is not all about work.

If you’re raising your hand and saying yes, I had burn-out last year, then one of your personal development goals for work should be achieving better work life balance.

16 – Establish a Good Morning Routine for Success

Mornings are so important to getting your day started off right and getting to work on time. Setting up a good morning routine is key.

Personally, my routine in the morning helps me start my day positively and get ready to tackle whatever the workday brings.

a young woman and professional sitting on a desk and working on a tablet. personal goals for work

17 – Refresh Your Work Wardrobe

Every company has a different work dress code, so it’s important to have a stocked closet of versatile pieces. This year, you may need to refresh your wardrobe to match new standards or a new company’s dress code. For those just starting their career, you can build a professional wardrobe in just 5 steps.

18 – Create an At Home Office

With work from home becoming more normal, it’s about time you had a space to focus and get your work done. Some good personal work goals in this area are sprucing up your work space or getting new office supplies to organize your office.

19 – Refresh Your Resume (and Apply for a New Job)

After major projects, career milestones, or switching jobs, updating and fine-tuning your resume are important personal development goals for work. Otherwise, you’ll forget what you’ve accomplished and have trouble recalling things when you’re ready to apply for a new job.

Make it a habit to refresh your resume every time you learn a new skill, finish training courses, get a certification, or change positions.

20 – Attend Networking Events

Attending networking events is a great task to add to your personal development goals for work. At networking events, you never know who you might meet or what position / company you’ll learn about. Perhaps you’ll even secure your next job or find an amazing mentor.

21 – Do an International Assignment

Getting an international assignment is a goal that will stretch and challenge you. Living and working abroad has many benefits such as learning a new language, navigating a new culture, communicating with multicultural teams, and honing your soft skills.

After you’ve set your own personal work goals, why not take it a step further? Add work goals with your team that facilitate an improved work environment. Start the conversation with your coworkers about how your team can set and achieve personal goals for the workplace.

22 – Swap emails for phone calls

Have you ever gone back and forth on email, but still end up with a misunderstanding at the end? Phone calls allow for clearer communication and are quicker than emails. This personal goal for work will also declutter your mailbox.

23 – Employ proper meeting etiquette

Too many times, I’ve gone to a meeting where I had no idea what the actual meeting was about. Sometimes it takes half an hour for me to realize that I didn’t need to be in this meeting or that we don’t have the right people to discuss the topic.

Make it a point with your team to employ proper meeting etiquette so you make the best use of everyone’s time. For example, only set up meetings with clear objectives and a structured agenda. Additionally, start and end meetings on the :05 and :55 to give people breaks and prevent video meeting fatigue.

24 – Be Intentional about Relationship Building

“It’s not who you know. It’s about who knows you.” This quote from my management professor still sticks with me today. Building relationships is what makes people stand out.

One way to accomplish this personal goal for work is to take the first few minutes of meetings for chit-chat and relationship building. Another is to eat your lunch with your colleagues once a week instead of at your desk.

The valuable connections you make with your peers, colleagues, and managers today will serve you well later in your career.

25 – Schedule team building activities

Other personal goals for the workplace that relate to relationship building is team building. A well-functioning team is much more productive and creates a healthy work environment for each of its members. Sometimes team building activities can be the glue that bonds teammates together and helps them understand each other.

26 – Create a continuous improvement culture

What does continuous improvement mean? It’s a way to ensure you’re allowing space and time for ideas to improve current operations while the operation or development is still going on.

Instead of waiting until year end, make it a point to ask for feedback about possible improvement often. Schedule meetings at the end of the month to talk as a team about what went well and what could be improved.

27 – Establish work boundaries

One of my top personal goals is about creating work boundaries. Work boundaries establish clear expectations, protect your personal time, and help you maintain work-life balance.

Once you’ve decided on your work boundaries, you need to communicate them to your manager and your teammates. Ask your coworkers about their work boundaries so you can be respectful of them, too.

28 – No Meeting Fridays

While working in consulting, sometimes my weeks were so packed with meetings that I didn’t have time to actually get my work done. Later, our team established “no meeting Fridays” to give everyone time to catch up on work.

See if your manager or team wants to employ this method as well. If not a whole day, then perhaps an afternoon of no meetings will give your team valuable productive time back.

Career Goals & Personal Goals for the Workplace

Now that you’ve got many examples of goals for work, it’s time to make your own goal list. Remember to use the SMART Goal framework as a reference and guide, set realistic goals, and write down your goals! A work planner is an easy way to do this.

Pursuing development constantly in your career is vital to driving your career. In the same way, the personal goals for work you make now, lay the groundwork for a vibrant future.

What are you examples of goals at work?

Leave me a comment below!

Don’t miss this! More posts about Working and the Young Professional Lifestyle:

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