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The practice of setting goals for yourself, both in your personal life and career, can do a lot for your self-esteem and long-term success. If you’re a recent graduate whose future career path is unclear or even if you’re an established professional with a bulletproof plan, you can use goals to maintain your trajectory and ensure a happy and productive life.

Set Specific and Realistic Goals

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of setting unrealistic goals. Most of us aren’t going to make a million dollars overnight and we can’t all find our dream jobs straight out of college. As such, it’s crucial that your goals are realistic. Not only does this make them more easily attainable, it can prevent the fatigue or stress that sometimes comes when pursuing long-term goals.

Track Your Accomplishments

Setting a goal and thinking through the process in your head is a great way to start, but it seldom results in the desired effects. Instead, take some time to write your goals down. Any format will work as long as they’re readable to you.

Make sure to track your progress, too. It’s a great feeling when you can scratch a goal off your list, but don’t lose track of the little milestones. These minor achievements might seem like nothing more than stepping stones to your final goal, but they can record your path to success and serve as a template for your future goals.

Make Your Intentions Known

Don’t keep your goals to yourself. Although many are shy about sharing personal ambitions with others, it’s actually a great way to track progress and maintain forward momentum. You might even find you share similar intentions with your friends, colleagues or family members, which could make the road ahead easier for everyone involved.

The internet is a wonderful tool for connecting with like-minded professionals who share in your goals and ambitions. Social media has already proven effective for exchanging ideas, tracking progress and following the success of others. This sort of collaboration has never been seen on such a scale, but it’s already paying off huge dividends for those who know how to use the technology at hand.

Remain Positive!

Above all else, remain positive while pursuing your goals. It can be difficult to stay optimistic at all times, especially in the face of constant rejections, prolonged unemployment or personal issues, but it’s just as important to your long-term success as it is your mental health.

Start Small and Develop Goals as You Progress

If you’re the type who lives life on the fly, it can be difficult to adapt rigid and structured goals. But following your personal ambitions doesn’t necessarily mean a change in lifestyle. In fact, modern technology makes it easier than ever before to follow your dreams and maintain an earnest living at the same time.

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