Setting career goals is an important step in the process of developing your career. It’s important to think about what you want before looking at what you need. So how do you set achievable, measurable, and realistic goals? Use these three steps to set career goals that will help you reach your full potential.

First, start with what you want. Think about your career goals and write down what you hope to achieve in the next three years. This is a good time for big-picture thinking. Don’t focus on titles or salaries just yet! What are some things that would make you feel successful? Would being recognized by peers matter more than recognition from upper management? Do certain projects stand out as particularly rewarding ones? Consider how these aspects of work related to your values and strengths. Keep this list somewhere visible so it can help guide your plans moving forward.

Second, figure out which goals will be most important to achieving success within the organization where you currently work or plan on working. Different organizations may value different things, so it’s important to determine what you need to be successful within your chosen field. Do some research on the organization where you hope to work and look for positions similar to yours or tasks that are commonly performed by employees with your level of education and experience. What skills would someone new hire into this position likely have? Which ones do they probably already possess? Use these insights as a foundation when brainstorming which goals will help move you forward at the company where you’re currently employed.

Finally, identify how these career objectives fit together over time so that each one is helping bring about success towards reaching all of them. It can be helpful here to think of an overarching goal, for example, “I want my job title change” if this is something that will help you achieve all of your other goals. Once you have identified these high-level objectives, write them down and list the specific steps needed to reach each one. This task may require some research on what skills are necessary for successful performance in different positions within your organization or industry, but with practice, it becomes easier over time.