Set yourself up for success

Set Yourself Up for Success

From an early age, we have been setting goals and figuring out a way to attain them. Simply put, we desired something, and we worked to get it. Throughout our professional lives, we constantly assess what we are trying to achieve. As we go through our careers, we contemplate questions like “Where do you see yourself a year from now? Five years from now?” Wherever we are on our journey, learning effective goal setting is a life skill that can help us succeed.


United Way’s young professionals’ group, United Young Leaders, is starting the year with success in mind. Members at the Ambassador level recently had the opportunity to learn practical tips from expert leader Cheryl Jones on designing and achieving goals. During this interactive session, members also shared their experiences. Here are some key takeaways for effective goal setting:

1. Identify what is most important to you
If money was not a consideration, what would you do? Begin with thinking about what matters most to you and refrain from thinking about limitations. Consider your passion vs. purpose. Studies show that if you pursue a passion, your life will likely be happier and experience better psychological well-being overall.

2. Set a goal and write it down
Choose 1-3 goals to focus on at a time, create a plan, and write it down. This will serve as your roadmap to achieve your goal. Do you have a personal mission statement? Choose goals that align with it and incorporate something you truly enjoy doing.


3. Identify obstacles
Expect to encounter challenges along the way. Be aware of obstacles so you can remove them or plan for ways to overcome when faced with them. Create an environment that supports your goals.


4. Set a timeline – KPI’s
Determine your timeframe and how you will measure success. If you don’t have a timeline, you may never achieve it. Plan with the end in mind and identify your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). How will you know if you are making progress or if you achieved it?


5. Commit a block of time
Carve out a time dedicated to working on your goal. Consistency is the key here. Make this time a priority when planning. In time, and with repetition, it will become a habit.


6. Have an accountability buddy
Tell someone about your goal and rely on them to help you stick to it. This person should be someone you trust to support you and keep you accountable for progress. When you declare a goal to another person, you are 65% more likely to meet the goal.


Whether you are considering a career change, looking to take your career to the next level, or pursuing a passion, the path forward begins with envisioning where you want to be. And remember that It’s just as important to plan for personal goals as it is for professional goals.


About the presenter
Cheryl Jones is a long-time supporter of United way through the Women’s Leadership Society and the Charmaine Chapman Leadership Society, and leader of one of United Way’s safety net agencies, Girl’s Inc. As President and CEO of Girls Incorporated of St. Louis, Cheryl specializes in setting ambitious, yet attainable goals through her daily work. Prior to her time at Girls, Inc., she served as president of Jones & Associates, Inc., a company focused on providing individuals and organizations with strategies and solutions to bring out their best performance and effect positive change. Clients included companies such as AT&T, Frito-Lay, Anheuser-Busch, and NASA.


Cheryl’s areas of expertise include: Leadership; culture; complex systems; change management; recruitment; diversity and inclusion.


About United Young Leaders
Through United Way of Greater St. Louis, United Young Leaders brings together professionals 35 years and younger to work on our region’s most pressing issues. Members are committed to strengthening our community through giving and volunteerism while gaining essential leadership skills.



Take Action Now:

  • Learn more about United Young Leaders and their upcoming events.
  • Consider making volunteerism a goal this year and find an opportunity through our Volunteer Center.
  • Share this story with friends and family.


Ninette Querimit
Ninette Querimit