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How to Set Professional Development Goals

The first step towards setting proper professional development goals is self-discovery. It offers some realization on the direction you would like to take in your career and overall life. You must define what you actually want to do in life, be or have. These are encouraging resolutions, but you must come down to how you intend to realize your desired outcomes.

Professional development goals share the same traits like any other goals individuals set in lives, and you must work hard to ensure they are realized as expected.


Specific: Professional development goals are normally set for the long term, unlike the routine “to do” list that expire at the end of the day. They may take weeks, months and even years to be fully realized, but it all depends on how specific you are. Individuals who set ambiguous resolutions normal miss the track at some point during the implementations. You may resolve to “lose weight” during the year, but how many pounds do you really want to shed? Murky objectives and goals will never be realized, and it brings us to the next point; measurability.

Measurable: Goals must be measurable, otherwise, how will you know the strides you have made along the way. To measure success, you have to assess the achievement and ways to achieve. It is crucial that you lay out clear criteria to attain the desired outcome. You may have to use a notebook or even bring a friend on board to keep you on track. If you chose to pursue further education to better your competencies, did you enroll in a college or university for that? Did you pass with the desired grades and attained the accreditations?

Attainable: It is only human to be ambitious, but being overambitious can be harmful. While outlining your professional development goals, don’t try to chew what you cannot swallow. You cannot achieve much if you chase after so many things at the same time. Be realistic and set goals that you will learn from, and enable you grow in your career. It is understandable if you desire to take up your supervisor’s position at work, but how tenable is it? How long do you think it will take before you succeed in that? Be realistic.

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Relevant: Relevancy of professional development goals is one of the most important and worth your effort and investment. How pertinent are your goals towards attaining the overall objective? How will the extra class you intend to take help boost your work-related skills? If something you desire to do will not add value to the overall career objective, then there is no point in spending valuable resources and time on it. Instead, set out to achieve more important goals.

Time-Bound: How long do you think it will take to attain the set goals? The expected dates of completion must be clear. Time attaches a sense of urgency and significance to the objectives. You must then strive to achieve the goals by the set completion date.


At the beginning of the year, many individuals list goals for the year. For a start, you may find your list too long, but you should eliminate and compress them to just two or three that meet the listed characteristics that are important and relevant for the time being.

About the author


Naaz is a web designer and loves to find new tips and tricks for creativity purposes and likes to share them with the people.

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