A goal is something that you are trying to achieve. Are you hoping to earn your master’s degree? Advance in your company? Do you intend to travel to a new country? Try a new hobby? We’re constantly setting personal and professional goals. Today, we’ll cover the most useful vocabulary and phrases for talking about professional development goals.
Verbs about Goals
To set a goal - to establish a goal
Example: This year, I set two primary professional goals: 1) Improve professional communication 2) Continue my education.
To make a goal - to establish a goal
Example: Making goals helps me to stay motivated at work.
To have a goal - a goal that you currently maintain
Example: I have a big long-term goal for the next five years - double the company’s sales.
To achieve a goal - to successfully attain a goal
Example: This year, I achieved my professional goals of learning how to use both Excel and Photoshop.
To reach a goal - to extend for and successfully achieve a goal
Example: After 5 years of hard work, I finally reached my goal of securing a management position in the company.
To accomplish a goal - to successfully attain a goal
Example: She is a very dedicated person and hard worker, so she always accomplishes her goals.
Adjectives to Describe Your Goals
Ambitious - designed to meet high aspirations, challenging to achieve
Example: Increasing sales every month is an ambitious goal.
Challenging - not easy, demands effort
Example: My professional goals for this year are challenging, but I’m going to work very hard to achieve them.
Easy - simple, achieved without serious effort
Example: This month, we have an easy target. We just need to maintain our current client base.
Achievable - possible to reach successfully
Example: Completing one report per week is an achievable goal.
Realistic - a practical idea of what can be achieved
Example: My boss is very rational. She always sets realistic goals for our team.
Unrealistic - an impractical or inaccurate idea of what can be achieved
Example: Our new manager doesn’t understand the market, so he set completely unrealistic annual sales goals.
Short-Term - occurring during a short period of time
Example: My short-term goal is to take a social media marketing class.
Long-Term - occurring during a long period of time
Example: My long-term goal is to get my master’s degree in marketing.
Common Professional Goals
Example: I’ve set a goal to increase my professional productivity. With the help of my team, I think I’m capable of producing excellent results this year.
Be more efficient
Example: Sometimes I lose time doing small tasks. I’ve set a goal to be more efficient and get small tasks done quickly so that I have more time to focus on large projects.
Example: My primary goal is to continue my education and get my master’s degree. If I have my advanced degree, I’ll be a more competitive candidate in my field.
Expand your network
Example: Making connections is one of the best way to advance professionally! I’ve made a goal to attend more conferences so that I can expand my professional network.
Improve communication skills
Example: I need to be more direct and concise when I communicate. I’ve made a goal to improve my professional communication skills.
Advance in the company
Example: My goal is to advance to a management position in the company within three years. It’s an ambitious goal, but I’m prepared to work diligently and prove my leadership skills.
Example: Sometimes, I have problems with time management. My goal for this year is to plan ahead and organize my time better.
Manager: Thanks for meeting with me! I’d like to discuss your short-term goals for this quarter and your long-term goals at the company as well.
Employee: Great! I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals, and I have some ideas. This month, I’d like to learn how to use a new application for social media management. My long-term goal is to re-design and implement a new social media strategy. I also intend to finish my market research project this quarter. My long-term goal is to use the research to help expand our company’s client base.
Manager: Your short-term objectives definitely sound achievable. And I’m impressed by the long-term goals you’ve set! They’re ambitious, and I think that’s great. Have you been thinking about your goals related to your position in the company?
Employee: Definitely. My short-term goal is to learn as much as I can and succeed in my current position. In the future, I’m hoping to reach my goal of becoming Lead Business Analyst.
Manager: If you continue to work hard, I think both of those goals are realistic. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you accomplish your goals!
* Tip: It’s important to remember that there’s more than one word for a goal! You may also hear people use these words: objective, target, purpose, intention, or aspiration.
Written by Mariah Wika