Before you can start to write out your GOALS and OBJECTIVES, it’s important to know the difference and how they correlate with each other. Here’s a definition of both from

“A goal is a short statement of desired outcomes to be accomplished over a long time frame, usually three to five years.”


“ Objectives are specific, actionable targets that need to be achieved within a smaller time frame, such as a year or less, to reach a certain goal.”

Before choosing a career or deciding to transition from one to another, you NEED to ask yourself the following questions – What do I want to achieve in my career?   Where do I see my professional life a few years from now? What are my CAREER goals? What OBJECTIVES will help me achieve my career goals?

From the outset, these questions MAY seem tricky to answer; however, MOST people have been preparing for their careers throughout their life by attending an educational training program or specialty apprenticeship programs. Take some time (7-10 days) to jot down in detail your career GOALS/OBJECTIVES and the different areas in your career you wish to branch off into; for example, if you plan on becoming a nurse, write down if you want to transition into becoming a Pediatric Nurse, Cardiac Cardiac Care Nurse, or a Case Management Nurse. The idea here is to be as clear as possible about your career path/goal. With clear CAREER GOALS, you will be able to set short-term objectives (actionable plans) on how to achieve them.

PLEASE NOTE: We will provide you with a step-by-step overview of what to write when creating your GOALS/OBJECTIVES planner.

Why Is Setting Career Goals/Objectives Important?

The benefits of SETTING YOUR GOALS/OBJECTIVES should NOT be underestimated. Many top Business Executives have attributed their success to setting GOALS/OBJECTIVES early on in their careers. Setting GOALS/OBJECTIVES provided them with clarity when making business decisions and help them STAY FOCUSED on the bottom line in terms of what they wanted to achieve in their business career. With that said,

Here are a few ESSENTIAL reasons why setting CAREER GOALS/OBJECTIVES will help you EXCEL in your CAREER.


Writing out your GOALS and OBJECTIVES will help you make more informed decisions when choosing an educational program, internship, and accepting a job offer. The next time you are faced with a decision about your CAREER, you can ask yourself these questions –

“What I’m about to do, does it bring me closer to achieving my long term GOALS?  Or, Does this fulfill a specific, actionable target that’s needed to reach a certain goal.”

In addition:

1) Will this job offer help me GAIN the experience I need to transition into other job roles closer to my ultimate GOAL?

2) Does this actionable step fulfill any short-term PROFESSIONAL targets I have? For example, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly?

3) Is the training program a necessary step required to meet any short-term objectives or goals? If not, will this program provide any ESSENTIAL skills that will help me in my CAREER?

With that said,

Clear GOALS/OBJECTIVES will always realign you with your CAREER PATH and bring you back on track to fulfill your professional purpose. These questions will help you when faced with a decision in regards to your PROFESSIONAL career like accepting a scholarship to a training program, enrolling in a specialty program, internship, or accepting a job offer for experience.

PLEASE NOTE: Use the answers from questions 1-3  to rethink your GOALS/OBJECTIVES or realign with them moving forward. It is ESSENTIAL to note that small tweaks and adjustments can be made to your CAREER OBJECTIVES if you feel it will help you better accomplish your CAREER GOALS.


Another IMPORTANT benefit of writing down your long-term GOALS and the actionable steps (OBJECTIVES) to achieve them, is that you WILL AVOID unnecessary distractions. Throughout your professional career, you will be faced with several distractions and MAY begin to question your professional decisions regarding your training, education, and the opportunities you have pursued. We have noticed this tends to happen when you are faced with adversity or cannot achieve your OBJECTIVES within a set period of time. Utilize your written GOALS/OBJECTIVE as a REFERENCE guide to provide you with a much needed visual support and to help realign you with your primary purpose during this time.

We encourage you to revisit your GOALS/OBJECTIVES daily to add, re-evaluate, and rebuild your confidence so you can avoid those distractions when they appear. At this point, we even encourage you to ask yourself the following questions –

1) Are the distractions I am facing influenced by my professional or personal life?

2) Am I distracted because I feel I am NOT meeting my professional/career deadlines? What are the accurate timelines (deadlines) I have set for myself?

3) What can I do to AVOID these distractions in the future, so I do NOT lose confidence?

PLEASE NOTE: Use the answers from questions 1-3  to rethink your GOALS/OBJECTIVES or realign with them moving forward. It is ESSENTIAL to note that small tweaks and adjustments can be made to your CAREER OBJECTIVES if you feel it will help you better accomplish your CAREER GOALS.


Writing out your GOALS/OBJECTIVES is an excellent way to stay motivated. When completed, each short-term OBJECTIVE should be checked off a list, and this WILL empower you throughout your journey. Your list of OBJECTIVES is even more powerful when placed in clear sight so you can view each one every single day. We recommend having a large whiteboard on your wall. Hence, as you cross each OBJECTIVE, this will provide you with much-needed motivation every single day.

As you will learn when writing out your CAREER OBJECTIVES, you will be creating daily, monthly, and yearly GOALS. Creating this type of structure will allow you to achieve 1-2 OBJECTIVES every single week, so you GAIN that needed MOTIVATION regularly.


When referring to clarity/focus, we mean when making decisions about what’s next for yourself. For example, SETTING GOALS will provide clarity in terms of what you want to accomplish professionally.  SETTING OBJECTIVES will provide you with clarity on achieving your GOALS in a structured manner providing you with actionable steps, a timeline, requirements, and more. With that said, when you are clear about your GOALS/OBJECTIVES, every decision you make WILL bring you closer to your end GOAL. Less time is also wasted pursuing CAREER PATHS that don’t fulfill both your GOALS and OBJECTIVES, which can save you a lot of time in the long run. When it comes time to decide on your CAREER, the question you WILL be asking is – Does this activity or opportunity bring me closer to my CAREER GOAL?


Another benefit of setting clear GOALS/OBJECTIVES related to your professional career is you have a chance to research and get feedback from others on achieving specific OBJECTIVES along the way. For example, feedback from a professional colleague with the same GOALS or even asking your professor in the school CAN provide you with much-needed guidance. However, you need to have a clear set of written GOALS and OBJECTIVES to show them for you to ask for their feedback. For example, you can’t just say, “I want to become a registered NURSE,” and expect them to provide you with a clear PATHWAY. It’s more valuable to have a visual template with your GOALS and OBJECTIVES and a timeline so they can provide you with the MOST realistic way to achieve them. Some may even guide you on how each OBJECTIVE on your list can be prioritized to reach your GOALS quicker.

Research is another KEY benefit that will be a result when you SET your GOALS/OBJECTIVES in advance. As you view your GOALS/OBJECTIVES planner, you will have a template to start your research. For example, If you want to become a Dental Hygienist, you can research the steps to take like educational training programs available, the certification exam, continuing education requirements, and future employment outlook. Based on this research, you CAN make tweaks to your GOALS/OBJECTIVES if required to set different expectations and timelines.

How To Set Your Goals/Objectives

In this section, we will provide the MOST efficient way to SET your CAREER GOALS/OBJECTIVES. There are ESSENTIAL elements to add to your planner that will provide greater clarity/focus as you progress through your plan. Let’s explore the fundamental elements to include on your GOAL planner.


It is essential when setting your CAREER GOALS/OBJECTIVES that you are as specific/detailed as possible on what you would like to achieve. We recommend taking some time to think about what you would like to accomplish in your professional career and in what time frame. Don’t just say I want to become a Lawyer, Doctor, Nurse, or Therapist. When writing your long-term GOALS and OBJECTIVES, you need to be more specific. For example, my GOAL is to become a Personal Injury Lawyer by the age of 27 and start my firm by 30. Then, create short-term objectives to achieve these GOALs by setting a timeline, education requirements, and any internship opportunities you want to complete along the way to obtain the necessary skills and experience to help you accomplish your GOALS.

Exercise: Take time to answer the following questions and be as specific as possible –

1) What is my CAREER GOAL, and what do I want to achieve professionally? (List your ULTIMATE career goal here, i.e., I want to become a Pediatric Nurse, Criminal Lawyer, Financial planner, etc.)

2) When do I want to complete my education or training? What is my timeline to REACH #1 above?

3) Do I want to work for myself or have my own business or practice? (Be specific if you plan on working for someone or yourself as you progress professionally)

4) How many years will I spend working for someone gaining the necessary skills, experience, etc

Here is a GOAL/OBJECTIVE setting template to get started with – 

Download PDF –

PLEASE NOTE: The key in this exercise is to be as specific as possible, so you have clarity and focus when you reflect on your CAREER PATH. As this will be a reference guide, you want the answers to your questions above to keep you on track of your ULTIMATE CAREER GOALS.


Set OBJECTIVES/GOALS that are realistic, so you avoid setting yourself up for failure. One way to do this is by re-evaluating your current situation and your priorities to have a better idea of the amount of time you have to dedicate towards your OBJECTIVES. You can also research the training, education, and certifications you need to complete before setting your short-term OBJECTIVES. For example, if an educational program and certification takes an estimated two (2) years to complete, set that realistic timeframe for yourself too. With that said,

Unrealistic OBJECTIVES can put a lot of pressure on you, leading to demotivation, stress, reduced focus, and more.


When setting CAREER GOALS/OBJECTIVES, you need to ensure that you have a way to measure their outcome. A great way to measure how successful you are is through timelines/deadlines. For example, “complete five (5) credits in school by the end of the year” or “complete my NCLEX nursing exam within two (2) years”. You can even set weekly OBJECTIVES like study or complete three (3) chapters in your study guide, etc. With that said,

The key idea here is to succeed in achieving the short-term OBJECTIVES in a specific timeframe, ultimately putting you on the right path to achieving your OVERALL goal.


Each OBJECTIVE should be relevant to help you achieve your ultimate GOAL. If your GOAL is to become an Engineer, setting short-term OBJECTIVES related to becoming a lawyer or doctor won’t make sense. Each OBJECTIVE must be relevant to your MAIN GOAL to have complete alignment as your progress through each step on your planner

Exercise: Take time to answer the following questions and be as specific as possible –

1) Should I do what I’m doing and why?

2) What will be the IMPACT on my GOAL? Does it bring me closer or further?

3) How does this OBJECTIVE relate to others on my list?


We believe your CAREER OBJECTIVES/GOALS are going to be adjusted throughout the years. This CAN happen if educational and certification requirements change or if you decide to pivot your CAREER GOAL.  For example, after spending time working as a Cardiac Nurse, you may decide to transition into a Burn Care Nurse. Whatever the case, it is ESSENTIAL to continue to revisit and update your OBJECTIVES/GOALS planner accordingly. If you don’t, then your planner may NO LONGER be relevant, defeating the primary purpose of having one in the first place.

Exercise: Take time to answer the following questions and be as specific as possible –

1) When I first started my OBJECTIVE/GOAL planner, has anything changed in terms of education, certification, timelines, and more?

2) Now that I have had time to think and research, can I add anything else to my OBJECTIVES to help me achieve my ultimate GOALS?

3) Has my schedule or my priorities changed within the last few years?

A Helpful Strategy For Setting Goals And Objectives

Additionally, you can utilize the S.M.A.R.T method to guide your GOAL setting strategy. S.M.A.R.T stands for –  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Write down the word “SMART” in your journal, planner, or even a whiteboard, and fill out the following –

(S) Specific: Write a GOAL and ensure it’s highly specific. A vague GOAL will not be SMART, and your OBJECTIVES may NOT be clear either.

(M) Measurable: GOALS/OBJECTIVES must be measurable so you can judge how far or close you are from achieving your end GOAL. We encourage you to write down some methods on how you will track your progress.

(A) Attainable: Ensure the GOALS/OBJECTIVES you set for yourself are attainable so that you can achieve them within your set timeframe. If not, you may lose focus, confidence, and motivation as you progress forward.

(R) Relevant: Ensure the short-term OBJECTIVES you set are relevant to your CAREER GOAL. If not, you will be completing OBJECTIVES that will not help you achieve your end GOAL.

(T) Time-Bound: Write down timeframes and deadlines for GOALS and OBJECTIVES because this will help you stay on track and help keep you focused

It’s time to set some specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based goals.

Use this PowerPoint template for guidance and printables. Set goals together as a family. This is an accessible template.

Download Powerpoint – MicroSoft 365

Final Thoughts

Getting into the habit of setting long-term GOALS/OBJECTIVES is extremely IMPORTANT in aligning you with your CAREER PATH. As you go through your educational training and GAIN experience working in your industry, your GOALS/OBJECTIVES planner will provide you with clarity, focus, and motivation as you progress. If you lose sight of your end GOAL, your planner will realign you with what’s ESSENTIAL and even allow you to make changes to help you reach your end GOAL when needed. With that said,

We encourage you to complete the exercises above and download the worksheets/templates so you can start to create your own GOAL/OBJECTIVE planner. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment box below.

Additional Resources

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How to Become a Medical Laboratory Technician – A Complete Guide
How to Become a Dental Hygienist – A Complete Guide
How to Become a Phlebotomist – A Complete Guide


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