8 Books to Help You Set Your Career Goals

Have you reached your limit with the presidential election? Are you looking for something else to occupy your time this summer? Why not use the next few months to start (or continue) setting career goals for yourself? Below is a list of eight books to get you started (or keep you going!) on your path toward living your career dreams.

The Magic Lamp: Goal Setting for People Who Hate Setting Goals

By Keith Ellis

Ellis’ book focuses on where most people fail to achieve their goals: The actual follow-through. Sure, we can all write down what we’d like to do, but how motivating is a piece of paper tacked to a wall? This book is generally for those who already know what their goals are and how to go about goal setting. There are some techniques on how to define goals, but the primary focus is on how to actually achieve your goals (including establishing weekly check-ins to track progress). 

Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want—And Getting It!

By Henriette Anne Klauser

Attention list makers! This is the perfect goal-setting starter book for you. The idea behind Klauser’s method is that writing down your goals is an essential first step toward achieving them. Because the author recognizes that a list cannot make anything magically happen, she also offers strategies for clarifying goals, increasing self confidence, and taking actionable steps to make your goals a reality.

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

By Brian Tracy

Although this book is focused on ending procrastination to improve productivity, there is a key takeaway for goal setting: The most successful individuals don’t try to do everything. They choose a set number of goals to focus on and place their time and energy into those.

Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals

By Susan B. Wilson and Michael S. Dobson

This is a quick read, but it focuses on a methodology aimed at helping you set achievable goals and actually follow through on them. It includes quizzes and worksheets to help walk you through the goal setting process, set priorities, and delves into how to overcome setbacks. Be warned: If you aren’t a list maker, this book probably isn’t for you.

What Are Your Goals: Powerful Questions to Discover What You Want Out of Life

By Gary Ryan Blair

Think of this as more of a workbook than something you’re just going to read once and leave on the bookshelf. Blair asks a number of probing questions to encourage the reader to really think about what goals he or she would actually like to achieve (and if you’re working along with the activities, you’ll have something to look back on in six months, a year, or five years to see how far you’ve come).

5: Where Will You Be Five Years from Today?

By Dan Zadra

This book encourages you to look at the next five years and determine who you want to be and what you want to achieve in that time period. It’s more inspirational than step-by-step, but features a number of exercises to get you thinking and dreaming about what you want to become.

Goal Setting: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Goals That Truly Excite You

By Thibaut Meurisse

Meurisse’s book combines both goal setting and follow through activities, and also provides advice on how to choose which goals are the most important to you. The author even offers information as to how to know when you should give up on a goal, to ensure that the time and effort invested in achieving your goals is not wasted.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple: 10 Steps to Master Your Personal and Career Goals

By S.J. Scott

Scott’s book provides a 10-step plan to set and achieve S.M.A.R.T. goals. The book outlines not only how to determine what you want and how to ensure your goals are actionable, but also how to get into a habit of working toward your goals and how to conduct effective tracking and follow up. The great thing about this book is that it gives real-world examples to go along with its action items.

What books have you read/are you reading to help set and achieve goals?

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