3 Cornerstones for Reaching a Goal

In 2016, we arranged a series of workshops for job hunters in Stockholm. In the workshops, we helped people reach their goals with a process called ITC coaching that one of the people in our team has experience with.

When we arranged the workshops, we saw that many people have problems with defining and reaching their goals. There are 3 cornerstones to reaching any goal. In this post, I will go through them all to help you succeed in your job search.

person that is looking out over a lake and some mountains thinking

1. Defining Goals

In order to reach a goal, it has to be clearly defined. Why is this so important? For many reasons.

If you don’t have a clear goal, you won’t know how far you have come in your progress to reach that goal. Let’s say that your goal is to run three times a week for instance. If you don’t specify how long you will run each time, how will you know if you have reached your goal? Is it enough to simply run to the bus stop three times a week and then be satisfied with your progress that week? Probably not, right?

You need to be super specific on what counts as one run. For instance, a more specific goal would be “I will run 5 kilometers, three times a week”. A goal shouldn’t be vague or need a lot of interpretation. A goal should be so specific that everyone that sees the goal can see that it also have been fulfilled. A goal in the job hunt could be ”I will apply for 40 jobs this week”.

It is commonly said that a goal should be SMART, which is an acronym for five important criteria for any type of goal. A goal should be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-bound.

white letters on blue background, spelling out the words five cornerstones of SMART goalsetting: specific, meaurable, assignable, realistic, time-bound

2. Decide on a goal

The next problem that I see a lot of people experiencing is that they find it hard to prioritize goals. We live in a society in where anyone can take online courses at the best Universities in the world, where hundreds of hours of video content are uploaded every minute and where we are told that we can reach any goal if we just work hard enough.

This is both true and a bit frightening. It can be hard to decide what goal we should choose in our life. When we want to make decisions, we need to have some kind of criteria to chose from. We need to specify what kind of values we want to look for in the decision before we make the decision. Just doing a classic list of pros and cons might help. But, it can be good to also have more variables to take into consideration than simple pros and cons. So what could those values be?

Your human needs. We all have five needs. But, we seek to fulfill those five needs differently. The five needs are:


a pyramid with the key human needs as argued by Maslow: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization


We seek to fulfill all these needs by doing a variety of activities. Also, we seek to fulfill the needs in that particular order that I wrote the needs in. Meaning, we will generally fulfill our need for safety before our need for self-actualization.


When choosing between goals, it can be useful to look at this list and think about your life and these five needs. Where do you place various goals on this list? For instance, if your goal is to find any job, then you are working on fulfilling your basic physiological and safety needs.


3. Create Strategies

The third cornerstone is to create strategies that will help you reach your goal. What are strategies? Strategies are plans that we use to reach a goal. So, it is important that you take some time to think about what goals you can put in place in order to reach your goals. Going back to finding a job. Let’s say that your goal is to contact five companies per day. A strategy could be to have a timer and then set the timer for a specific amount of time per application and simply do one application in that time. For instance, spend 1 hour to make an application.

blue color with the white text 40-45 % of our daily activities are the result of habits

One thing that is very powerful is to create strategies that are habits. Because 40-45 % of everything you do during a day is due to habits. It is things that we do with very little conscious effort. Like brushing your teeth. There are three components to create efficient strategies. Every habit has three main parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward. These three parts are parts of every habit that we start in our life.

picture of a forest with the text 3 steps of any habit: cue (when I am on my daily commute), routine (I connect to 5 people on LinkedIn), reward (to build my professional network)

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