How to set realistic goals and stick to them

Katie Barillaro
By: Katie Barillaro
Categories: Coaching Return to Work

Sometimes we set ourselves goals (either professional or personal), but then get caught up with the day-to-day of life and don’t actually achieve them. So how do you set realistic goals and stick to them?

The best way to start your goal setting is by using the SMART method to identify and formalise your goal. The SMART acronym is:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time-based

Say your goal is that you want to increase your visibility on LinkedIn. This is an example of how to write a SMART goal:


I’m going to rewrite my LinkedIn summary to include 7 industry-specific keywords.


I will measure how many people visit my profile to see if my visibility has increased.


I will research keywords that are relevant for my industry.


This is something that I can do in my free time.


I will do this by 1 September 2018.

All of these steps to building a goal are important but I would say the most important part of goal setting is giving yourself a realistic timeframe. There is nothing more demotivating than saying you are going to achieve something by a specific date when that date was not going to be achievable in the first place.

Think about how and when you are going to act on your goal and whether that fits in with your current work and life schedule. Although be mindful also that you want to challenge yourself so don’t drag out your goal to the last possible moment!

There are many mobile apps that you can find for iOS or Android that help you to record and track your goals, check out this list of 5 of the Best Goal Setting Apps.

Another great way to identify, record and track goals in a deeper context is with a career coach. To learn more about our career coaching services or to speak to our experienced team, visit our website.


Katie Barillaro
About Katie Barillaro
Katie joined JustMums in July 2018 as our Marketing Consultant and brings more than 20 years traditional and digital marketing experience to the team. Katie has previously worked for large recruitment brands and is a busy working mother balancing career and family.

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