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How to Set Goals for a New Position

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Entering into a new career position can be a difficult transition. From learning to adapt to a new daily routine to maintaining confidence in yourself while you learn new tasks and procedures, the additional pressure of setting goals can end up overwhelming you. But the exercise of setting realistic goals will not only motivate you to succeed in your position, it promises to benefit your company as well.

Setting Goals for a New Position

Determine why you accepted the new position. Listing the reasons why you took the job will help you figure out what you would like to accomplish while you're in it. Such reflection can help you remember issues or problems that have surrounded the job and challenged the people who held it before you. For a newly created position, determine how it plays into the company's overall mission and how you, as the first person to hold the job, can lay that groundwork.

Figure out if the new position is a stepping stone to a bigger position or one that you can see yourself staying in for a long time. If you plan on staying with the position, think about the mark you want to leave, and set the short-term and long-term goals needed to solidify an impressive legacy. If you do not plan on staying long in the position, set goals that can be started by you and finished or at least furthered by someone else.

Be realistic about what you can accomplish in your position. If you determine that a goal is probably out of reach, perhaps because of limited resources, don't put it on your list. Relieve yourself of the pressure of trying to reach the unreachable. On the other hand, if you identify a problem that seems unsolvable, brainstorm smaller, realistic goals that could get you closer to resolving or at least mitigating it.

Talk to people who had the position before you or one similar to it perhaps at another company. Ask them what their goals were while in the position and whether or not they were able to accomplish them. If they were not able to accomplish certain goals, discuss why. Then review whether the goals you have set for your new position are realistic and attainable.


Keep an up-to-date list detailing your goals. Go over the list every so often to check your progress and add more goals.

Be flexible and patient. Goals are about bettering your work and yourself. Do not beat yourself up if you do not accomplish a goal within a certain amount of time.


Do not allow negativity or setbacks to deter you from accomplishing a goal. Accept constructive criticism and use it to your advantage.