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5 Tips to Set Actionable Career Goals and Maximize Your Potential

A man in the office striving toward his career goals

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Summary: Looking to achieve your career goals? Here are a few actionable insights from experts Jon and Missy Butcher to help you create a clearer roadmap to success.

When it comes to your professional life, career goals serve as catalysts for turning your dreams into reality. 

You can have all the abilities you need, but without any direction to focus your energy on, you might be running around and wasting a significant amount of time or resources. If you think about it, it’s like fueling up your car and driving around with no destination in mind.

To bring you more clarity in this category of your life, you can count on the guidance and expertise of Jon and Missy Butcher, creators of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Online Quest.

Your life is yours,” says Jon. You own it.” 

And you are the one who defines what your ideal life looks like to you, be it professionally, financially, or emotionally.

What Are Career Goals?

Career goals are targets for the future that you’d like to achieve. They can be short-term or long-term goals.

  • Short-term goals refer to those targets that you’d like to meet in the near future. It could be a salary raise, creating the template for your next course, or finding a few more clients to work with.
  • Long-term goals are about those bigger dreams of the future. Maybe you desire to build an online community, organize impressive events, or become the leader of a transformational company. 

No matter what you like to achieve, it’s important to note that everything flows together easier when your short-term goals are aligned with your long-term ones. In this way, you progress slowly toward your most inspiring dreams.

What Are the Benefits of Setting Goals for Your Career?

Studies have shown that “goals and intentions are the most immediate motivational determinants of task performance.” So it’s scientifically proven that goals move you closer to achieving what you desire by giving you the motivation and hope to look forward to the future.

Other benefits of goal setting include:

  • More clarity for your professional life
  • Ability to decide what your next actionable steps look like
  • Awareness of what matters most to you
  • Letting go of things that don’t take you closer to your goals
  • Makes drawing boundaries easier because you know what to focus on
  • Helps in decision making
  • Promotes overall professional and personal growth

Additionally, Jon highlights how the fulfilment you experience for accomplishing any of your life goals will shine through and inspire others.  

If you are fortunate enough to get your own act together, then you are faced with the remarkable opportunity of helping people around you.

— Jon Butcher, trainer of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Online Quest

Examples of Career Goals

As mentioned above, your career goals can be divided into two different categories: focusing on short-term accomplishments or long-term perspectives.

Short-term goalsLong-term goals
Learning new skillsOrganizing events
Opening up a businessRunning a successful company
Improving your financial educationBecoming an expert in a certain profession (e.g., lawyer, psychologist, doctor)
Getting better at time managementWinning an industry award
Coming up with a passive income ideaBuilding a community
Getting a salary raiseAchieving financial abundance
Investing in business courses and workshopsMaking money out of your passion and mission

According to Jon and Missy, you should have clarity on both because they contribute to your overall ascension in your professional life. When you know what your destination is, you can decide on your next decisions and which directions to focus on.

A woman sitting in front of her laptop and writing her career goals

5 Tips on How to Write Career Goals That Bring You Closer to Success

The whole secret to a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.

— Jon Butcher, trainer of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Online Quest

One of the by-products of creating lofty goals is taking responsibility for doing what’s required to make those goals a reality, explains Jon in the Quest. And here comes the strategy that you need to focus on when setting your career goals.

1. Make sure your goals are SMART

SMART goals refer to those targets that you’d like to achieve, taking into consideration that they are:

  • Specific. When you’re certain about what you want to achieve, it’s more likely to happen. For example, instead of wishing to “earn more,” you can be more specific: “I want to earn 10 thousand dollars a month.”
  • Measurable. How will you know that your goal has been accomplished? Focus on answering this question. You can think in terms of “knowing how to perform a new skill”, or “my workload is done in 30% less time.”
  • Achievable and adjustable. Be realistic regarding your goals. And always consider that no matter how much and how hard you may work, life still happens. Even though it’s difficult to accept, sometimes life has something greater in store for you, than what you thought.
  • Relevant. How do my actions add up to my main life vision? How are they aligned with everything else that I want in my life, besides the career aspect?
  • Time-Bound. Set a (flexible) deadline for your goals. Realistically speaking, when can this goal be achieved? And what is the benefit of achieving it by that due date?

2. Align your short-term and long-term goals

Once you have a life vision for yourself, you portray what you’d ultimately like your life to look like. 

So after you’ve decided on your career goals in the long run, break them down into smaller steps. 

  • How can you get closer to that vision, step by step?
  • What can you achieve by the end of the next three months?
  • What about next year? 

You can start out with a brainstorming session and then organize the ideas that come up. And once you’ve settled on what the next step is, do your best to make it happen.

Then comes the next step, and the next step. As the saying goes, when you start walking on the path, the path will appear.

3. Choose goals that inspire strong positive emotions within

Jon and Missy point out that our emotional life permeates all other aspects of life. Because emotions are here to guide you, make you feel alive, and show you the beautifully human aspects of your existence.

So when thinking about career goals, sure, it’s important to earn a certain amount of money and maybe achieve a social status that would help you make a change in the world. But what do you truly feel when writing down those goals?

Imagine the life you’d have after reaching these targets and ask yourself:

  • Am I excited to wake up every morning and do my work?
  • Do I get into flow easily?
  • What impact does my career have on the world? Is it making it a better place?
  • Am I inspired to share my knowledge?
  • Does my career drive me to become the best version of myself?
  • Does it bring me joy, happiness, and purpose?

Your career is where personal growth, contribution to the world around you, wealth, and a very high quality of life all come together.

— Jon Butcher, trainer of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Online Quest

4. Consider the things that created your present life

Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that existed when the problem was created.” 

That’s a powerful statement by one of the greatest thinkers in history, and it implies something important. The things that you’ve done in the past have created your life exactly as it is right now.

So when setting your new goals for your new life, take into account what actions from the past contributed to creating the reality you experience nowadays. And it’s essential to do so when creating your roadmap to success because you now know what things, patterns, and people to avoid.

One thing that Jon puts great emphasis on is that in order to get out of your comfort zone and your current life situation, “you need to put more in.” Make sure that your new goals add value to your profession, even if it is the tiniest bit.

5. Make the best of now

Sometimes you may not be ready to make a change right in the present moment. 

This means that maybe you’re not ready to unexpectedly leave your job and start a business. Or you want to take some time and learn new skills, plan out your next action steps, or work a bit more on your personal development.

That’s also a natural stage of life to be in. However, according to Jon, what can change is your perception of how you see the present moment.

Maybe you’re not ready to change your “now” completely. But are you ready to make the most of it? 

Your attitude toward the things you’re doing attracts the kind of abundance that you actually desire. Because when you take a step closer to the universe, it will take a step closer to you.

Reflect on the following questions to gain more insight and clarity:

  • If you brought a whole new attitude, a whole new level of thinking and performance to your job, how would your life be better?
  • Would you make more money? 
  • If you were able to find a strong purpose in your work, how would that change things for you?

As the old saying goes, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change, too. Try it out for yourself.

Bonus: How to answer the question “What are your career goals?”

You may be asked this question quite often, especially when interviewing for a job. 

The purpose of it, though, isn’t to mechanically list out a number of accomplishments that you want to achieve. Rather than explaining one or two, focus on the strategies you thought about when making those goals come true. Additionally, you want to make sure that you talk about goals that are authentic and truly exciting for you.

The more passionate you are about what you’re talking about, the more your energy shines through and your abilities are highlighted. That is what most employers like to see: passion, motivation, and great actionable strategies.

Make a Change, Set Your Greatest Goals

Once you start planning your life, things fall into place with more grace and ease. And it’s essential to remind yourself that you deserve to have it all.

If you need some guidance on how to take responsibility for designing your dream life, Mindvalley is the place to be. With transformational programs, such as Lifebook, guided by Jon and Missy Butcher, you can start your journey today.

And by signing up for your FREE Masterclass with them, you will explore more wise insights about:

  • How to get clarity on what your heart desires
  • The “3 Silent Saboteurs” of your hopes and dreams
  • How to eliminate uncertainty
  • Asking your subconscious what it really wants and get answers from it
  • How to create harmony in all aspects of your life.

And the best part of it all is that you don’t have to be alone on your journey to finding a purposeful career. You can join a community of people where you’ll find connections and support along the way.

Your best life is waiting for you. Don’t be afraid to take the first step.

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Written by

Alexandra Tudor

Alexandra Tudor is a former content writer for Mindvalley and a psychology enthusiast. From clinical experience working with both children and adults, she's now in the process of becoming a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in the IFS method and family constellation therapy.
Picture of Alexandra Tudor

Alexandra Tudor

Alexandra Tudor is a former content writer for Mindvalley and a psychology enthusiast. From clinical experience working with both children and adults, she's now in the process of becoming a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in the IFS method and family constellation therapy.
Jon Butcher - Trainer
Expertise by

Jon Butcher is one-half of the dynamic duo. He and his wife, Missy Butcher are the founders of Lifebook, a transforming lifestyle design system that empowers people to envision, plan, and achieve their best life. Prior to their now-incredible life, Jon was an overworked entrepreneur who came to a breaking point before a big client meeting and experienced a severe anxiety attack that left him incapacitated and housebound. The event spurred him to explore a more conscious and holistic approach to life. This evolved to him and Missy creating a specific and personal game plan that aligned with their purpose, what they wanted, and the life they wanted to live. And thus, Lifebook was born.

How we reviewed this article
Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.


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Fact-Checking: Our Process

Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.