2022: How to Set Achievable Goals- Investing in Self (Companion Article)

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Controlling the Goal. That should be at the top of everyone’s list for the New Year.

Controlling the Goal – don’t let someone else’s goal control you (or your success).

Also: controlling the conversation about your goal. This… this one is harder, though. Harder, but not impossible. And a topic we cover in an upcoming episode.

This companion article to our episode about Investing In Self (and creating actionable goals at work for the New Year) is filled with extremely valuable reminders, tips and actions for individuals out there. If you haven’t had a chance to watch or listen yet, you can watch the video HERE or have a listen HERE.

In retail, you might be finishing up your fiscal year and preparing to write (or receive) your annual review.

In other industries, you might already be head down and beginning the new year with a new set of challenges and changes, including communication about the updated strategic goals for your team, your location or even your organization as a whole.

Wherever you might be employed, the beginning of the year is generally filled with a bunch of emotions. Some might be:

  • Frustration at change
  • Pride in accomplishments
  • Worry over the unknown
  • Confusion over what it means for yourself
  • Doubt over your security (in your personal work goals and possibly even in the continuance of your role)

Like most of our episodes and articles, this one will focus on the INDIVIDUAL and walk you through ways to not fall victim to those emotions, and to regain some CONTROL over your employment situation. Development opportunities come at us all the time, and the beginning of the year is no exception!

Learning how not to fall prey to the feelings of being stuck in a mode of reacting to elements outside of your control is hard. This article will give you some concrete ways to reflect on your past year, absorb your current situation, create realistic and actionable career goals for yourself, AND link those to the success of your team, location or organization in order to gain supporters to help guide you to success.

In an employment environment that is ever-changing, it’s time you became the driver of your success, not an unwitting passenger to an organization’s success while sacrificing your own.

Topic Discussion

The differences between creating a goal and achieving a goal are pretty BIG. New Year’s Resolutions can easily (and often) become New Year’s Failures without the understanding of HOW to make them and HOW to keep to them.

The same can be said for goals at work.

While your company’s fiscal year might be slightly different (retailer’s years begin in FEBRUARY, traditionally) generally speaking, your company’s year is most likely coming to a close in December or January, along with the statistical timeframes that your annual review is going to be based on for the previous year. 

While you might not have too much time (if any) left to impact last year’s performance, you DO have the ability to be more strategic, more thoughtful and more committed to a change in your work experience, satisfaction and success for this next cycle.

Needless to say, there are plenty of stories we could share about ‘resolutions’ that became disappointments. Most of us think of New Year’s Resolutions as things that apply to our lives OUTSIDE OF WORK, not being relevant within the professional sphere… but we say otherwise.

During every annual review conversation, you are asked what you want to do differently, what YOUR goals are… and even though we know these questions are coming, we almost always do the same thing: tell our boss what THEY want to hear. We recite things directly from our annual review and quite frankly, most are generally about hitting a certain metric we fell short of. But, while some of those parroted replies are relevant and could help us along our career path, because we haven’t put too much thought into making them OUR OWN GOALS, they almost always become afterthoughts once the new year has started.

Today, you’ll learn how to be better at creating work goals, structuring how you approach them and how to be able to explain (and SHOW) how YOUR goals fit into the larger goals of the location or even organization.


Many of us are REALLY GOOD at the first half of the hardest and most difficult things. Giving someone feedback is a great example: telling someone what they are doing that is NOT HELPFUL or NEEDS TO BE CHANGED… that’s so easy! Stating obvious observations of what should be changed for a better outcome is super easy. It is why it’s easier to be a critic than a motivator. BUT that’s only HALF of the equation, friends.

The second half is the follow-up to either support the person’s attempts to change their actions, or to recognize the progress towards/achievement of the new behavior or skill. That part? Well, we often stink at that part… the supporting, the recognizing… the ACTUAL DOING. The thing is, this hard part? This hard part is the half of the equation that helps the learnings STICK.

The RIGHT formula is the following:

Those personal goals? Yeah, we set them and then don’t reach them because we only do the first part (and even that part we aren’t always realistic about!)

What if we applied the PROPER mentality to our work goals?

Let’s dig in.


Let’s start with the easy part… but do it more effectively and more efficiently. It’s really just 3 things.

  • LIMIT the Number of goals (3 or LESS)
  • Identify the ACTIONS needed to achieve it (what will it take within YOUR control to get there?)

But just so we don’t get too cocky and so we really understand what we mean by making a goal EFFECTIVELY, let’s examine two examples and which explore is more specific:

  1. Get promoted or move up 1 level
  2. Get a raise or maximize earning potential at my current level


Remembering to keep it SIMPLE also means you need to keep it SPECIFIC enough to be ACHIEVABLE with actions YOU PERSONALLY can take.


  • Take small steps (know what needs to happen to get there)
  • Get support (recognize opportunities to work towards them & who can help you)
  • Recognize and do not repeat what DIDN’T WORK BEFORE (catch yourself falling into old habits FAST by being most self-aware)
  • Reward yourself for stepping into NEW SKILLS (treat yourself to a win and share when you’re making progress with whoever is a partner in your success)
  • Link your goal to your supervisor’s/location’s to guarantee their commitment to your success (see where your goal overlaps with the goals for others and earn their buy-in to help you achieve YOUR GOAL to help themselves achieve THEIRS.)

BREAKDOWN TIME: real world example.

Let’s take one potential ‘goal’ through these steps just so you can see this formula in action:

  1. Create Specific Goal and Limit How Many you have: 1. Maximize my earnings in my CURRENT YEAR & 2. MOVE UP
  2. Actions:
    1. Are there programs that allow me additional earnings in my CURRENT ROLE? What do I need to do to take advantage of these?
    2. Is there opportunity to move into a department or similar level position that earns MORE? (Higher base pay, potential commissions, extra incentives, etc.)

3.  Are there opportunities for me to showcase these actions like taking advantage of extra commissions or bonus structures? Who do I need to leverage as a partner that can help me work on these and MASTER these actions? A Co-worker/peer mentor? A Supervisor/leader/teacher?

4. What are the small steps I can take that get me closer? Is it asking to learn skills that will make me better at the little things that will help me maximize those extra earnings opportunities or incentives? Is it taking on an action or two that are from the ‘next step’ you are hoping to achieve? Is it just stating your intentions to your boss and gaining their commitment to help you?

5. WHO do you need in your corner to make more money? Move up? Who needs to see your skill improvement? Who needs to HEAR your intentions? Who do you need to make into your CHAMPION for PROGRESS??

6. Are you remembering what stood in your way before? What do you need to do differently to see a different result THIS TIME? If it involves you being uncomfortable with the risks of trying new behaviors or approaches, are there ways you can practice these in lower risk instances? (ie: up-selling to earn incentives – do you stop because you feel too pushy? Have you changed how you word your suggestions? Have you asked someone who’s more successful what their secret is?)

7. How can you reward yourself for sticking to your goals and making progress towards them? For every 5 up-sells/incentives you buy yourself a peppermint mochaccino… for every 10 new clients you add, you buy yourself a needed ‘work’ item that can serve as a reminder of your achievements…. earrings, silly socks, insoles, a new pen, etc.)

8. How does YOU making more money ALSO help your boss or your location? If you sell more, they make more… the location gets closer to their goals, their metrics improve… ALL because you are performing differently in order to achieve YOUR goals…. not just theirs. ALSO: Your boss sees this and invests in your success by giving you time, recognition, challenges as well as development to help maximize YOUR potential (which in turn helps YOU earn more and move towards YOUR goal…. see how it’s a two way relationship with overlapping goals that help BOTH!?!)

This is what we mean by shifting your mindset… by taking back control.


You can do it.

You have to see it, set it, take action and achieve it.

What are you goals this year? Drop them below and let us know how our tips can help you make REAL and ACTIONABLE goals this year!

Next Episode: Career Pathing for Beginners (Understanding Where to Go from Where You Are)

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