If you are going to have a meaningful career, you need to have personal goals for work. There are too many people entering the workforce, thinking that they will get their first promotion in a few short months, and within a couple of years, they will have a high-level position within the company. 

Fast forward a few months. They quit their job to pursue a dream bound to fail because they don't understand how things work. Without personal work goals, you will likely not develop the skills required to climb any career ladder or venture out on your own with any level of success

“With deliberate practice, however, the goal is not just to reach your potential but to build it, to make things possible that were not possible before. This requires challenging homeostasis― Anders Ericsson

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What You Will Learn How to Do From This Article

Why You Need Personal Goals for Work

You need goals for work for the same reason that you need goals for any area of your life. Without goals, you have no idea where you're headed. A goal provides some direction and purpose from day to day. Here are the three things you need for your work goals:

  1. Career Mission 
  2. Long-Term Goals
  3. Short-Team Goals
  4. Habits

In this post, we include short and long-term goals as one. Out of all of the things listed above, most people are good at creating short-term goals, but they suck at rest. Here is the reason you need them all for this to work. 

The career mission gives you a long-term prospect of where you're going. The mission is how you plan to change the world, and it gives you purpose

Goals help support a lofty mission that can seem unattainable when you have so many years to accomplish it. Goals are how you know you are on track, and they also provide purpose for your habits. 

Habits are the actions you take day to day. Habits seem pointless without goals because you tend to forget why you are even working hard and being so disciplined. 


  • The Mission provides purpose for your goals and gives you life direction
  • Goals help to stair step you towards your life mission 
  • Habits are your daily actions that move you towards your goals 

How Deliberate Practice Will Help You 

Most people work at skills until they are good enough and then they plateau. For most people, this looks like studying hard in school until you land a job. When you get to that job, you train and learn what you need to do the job, and then once you're good enough, you stay in that place.
 
Deliberate practice is when you work on building the right skills and continuously improving your skills. When you practice like this, you eventually get so good that your skills can't be ignored.

Deliberate practice can give anyone a huge advantage in achieving personal goals for work because people will not do it. Deliberate practice is hard, and it requires being uncomfortable.
To engage in deliberate practice, you must do the following things:

  1. Stretch Your Skills 
  2. Get Instant Feedback
  3. Focus On What You're Doing 
  4. Be Patient

Stretch Skills to Achieve Your Personal Goals for Work

Stretching your skills means that you do the opposite of settling. When you engage in deliberate practice, you begin to work on the things that you struggle with. 

Gone are the days of just doing what you're good at or staying within your comfort zone. If you're a marketer and have weak analytical skills, you attack that area until it's one of your strongest points. 

Stretching your skills is one of the hardest parts of deliberate practice because it's not fun. It requires a lot of frustrating exercise working on things you're not good at. 

You also stop focusing on a result and instead focus inward on your skills and how you can improve. You build your habits around this new deliberate habit. Then you set small goals for improvement to make sure that you're getting better. 

For example: Instead of saying you want to be the director of Finance, your goal would be to master advanced Excel techniques. You will learn about a new technique for 20 minutes a day and then practice it for 40 minutes. 


  • Stretching your skills means practicing things that push you outside of your comfort zone
  • Practice will not be as fun because you will work on things you're not good at 
  • Focus less on the result and more on the habits that will bring you results

Get Instant Feedback to Achieve Your Personal Goals for Work 

The second part of deliberate practice to achieve your personal goals for work is getting instant feedback. This is the area that people struggle with the most out of all these steps. There are more people with the drive to learn and improve than people with coaches to provide feedback.

Think about sports, for example. Athletes can keep improving when they engage in deliberate practice. They don't just show up to practice and work on things that they are good at. They stretch their skills and depend on coaches and mentors to provide feedback on their practices and games.

You need to consider hiring a coach and finding a mentor who can continuously look over your work. When you practice the skills you need to reach your personal goals for work, they can improve faster.

  • Not many people are willing to get the coaching they need to imrpove
  • Athletes have coaches who provide instant feedback at practice and games 
  • Hire a coach and find mentors who can keep helping you
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Focus to Achieve Your Personal Goals for Work 

The next step to deliberate practice is to be in full concentration when you are practicing. Think about a chess player who works up a full sweat just from thinking of their next move.
 
Now how do you work? Do you work on something for two minutes before checking your phone for something or opening up a new tab in your browser?
When you are stretching your skills, every second needs to be spent focused on what you're doing.

When you focus, you will be able to get more done, and you will also produce a higher quality of work. 


The key is being proactive and blocking all distractions before they become problems. Get away from your phone, block problematic websites, and go to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.
  • Concentrate like a chess player that sweats from thinking so hard 
  • Focus help you to produce the highest quality of work 
  • Remove all distractions before you even start working

Be Patient to Achieve Your Personal Goals for Work

The last step to deliberate practice is that you need to be patient. To master skills and be so good that your career can't help but reward you, it will take time. This is the step that derails more career goals than anything else.
 
People want success to work like a microwave or an elevator, but the problem is that success comes with no shortcuts. If you're going to master a skill, you will have to take the long road and build up enough career capital that people begin to take notice of.

The best way to approach this is to be prepared to spend the next ten years working on one thing. If giving ten years of your life is too much, then find something worth putting that much time into.
 
Many people you would consider to be a huge success have put in a lot more time then you realize. The reason for this is because most deliberate practice happens behind the scenes.


  • There are no shortcuts to success
  • Be willing to give mastery of a skill 10 years of your life
  • Deliberate practice happens behind the scenes

Conclusion of Using Deliberate Practice to Crush Your Personal Goals for Work 

The biggest thing you need to remember when setting work goals is that they are essential because they provide you with direction.

Once you have set goals, you achieve them by begging or thinking about what you want. You get there by focusing on your skills and improving.

The best way to do that is through deliberate practice. Deliberate practice will push you to get past plateaus by getting outside of your comfort zone.

  1. Stretch Your Skills 
  2. Get Instant Feedback
  3. Focus On What You're Doing 
  4. Be Patient

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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