How to Set Financial & Career Goals You Can Actually Achieve

Working hard without realizing progress in your finances or career can not only be frustrating but demoralizing as well. It can make you wonder what you can do to change the outcome you’re experiencing now and finally achieve the success you deserve. Luckily, there’s a simple answer – setting goals.


You need to clearly define what exactly you want as your outcome and set a clear path toward those goals. However, this is not always simple to do, and the following steps, shared by Blackhawk Bank’s personal saving experts, can help you on your way.

Understand your aspirations

Before you begin, identify specifically what it is you really want. Ask yourself what makes you excited and what you would opt for if you could choose any outcome you desired. A clear vision of success can boost the motivation necessary to set and follow your goals.


SMART is one of the strategies you can use to set your goals. It’s an acronym that pinpoints the perfect features of goals:

  • Go into as much detail as possible.
  • There should be criteria you can use to measure progress.
  • Are you capable of achieving the goal? Is it realistic?
  • Make sure it’s consistent with your standards.
  • Time-bound. You should set a completion timeframe.

Write it down

Not writing down your goals will leave them floating around your head, making it more likely to forget about them and their particularities. Take your time to write them down and put them where you can easily see them, as a perpetual reminder.

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Make an action plan

In addition to listing your goals, create an action plan for each item, with your vision at the very top of it. If you’re creating a plan for a year, list the months and specific steps for each. This way, you’ll have a clear overview of your progress.

Set deadlines

Setting a timeframe for your goals is essential, but it’s important to keep them realistic. You can use your phone calendar app or a planner to schedule reminders, action steps, and deadlines. However, don’t go for too many goals in a short time period.

Divide into smaller sections

Breaking your large goals into smaller steps that you can tackle on a weekly basis will increase your confidence and keep your motivation high as you steadily work your way toward the bigger goal.

Stay responsible

Creating a system that keeps you working on your steps can significantly increase your chances of reaching your goals. By sharing your goals with a friend or family member, you’re more likely to be accountable for sticking to them week by week. However, if prefer not to share with another person, reminding yourself of the ‘why’ behind achieving your goals can also have an impact.

Track your progress

Progress monitoring is a part of the SMART strategy, and it can involve rating your progress from 1 to 10. This way, you’ll have a better idea of your growth and be able to celebrate the success, further boosting your motivation to keep going.

Find motivation in other people’s success

With a lot of people showcasing their success through social media, it’s easy to fall into despair thinking you’ll never be successful. Instead, try to figure out what people who have what you want have done to obtain it. You can even ask them in person, if you know them well enough, so they can share some useful advice and insight with you.

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Learn from failure and readjust


If there’s anything on your list that gives you trouble, don’t instantly think about it as a failure. Rather, ask yourself why it’s happening. You may need to reconsider your goals or take a different approach. What’s important is that you clearly understand what works for you, since there isn’t such a thing as a unique approach to setting your goals. You can do this!


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