How to Set Career Goals That Align With Your Personal Goals

Here’s how understanding your personal values can help you set career goals.

In an effort to achieve work-life balance, we often separate our “9-5” selves from our usual selves. This can be good in that we avoid overworking, but all too often, our work and personal lives grow so far apart that we no longer feel balanced and instead feel pulled in 2 different directions.

That disconnect between work and home keeps you from achieving your desired goals in both areas. Working towards a career goal you made in college but no longer see for yourself can leave you feeling drained and unmotivated. This feeling will bleed into your personal life whether you intend it to or not.

As much as we like to separate ourselves from our work, it’s important to remember that you are one person. What you do at work affects your home life and vice versa. So how can you take a step back and set career goals that align with your personal goals?

Understand your morals and values

Before you can assess your career goals, you must first gain a firm understanding of your morals and values. Your morals are what you believe to be right and wrong. An example would be if you believe stealing is wrong, or emphasizing honesty. On the other hand, values are character traits you believe are good in yourself and others. Examples of this would be things like humility, kindness, etc. 

It’s important to create your own moral code before setting out to achieve a goal. This moral code will give you something to reference when hard decisions inevitably come. The downfall of many great people is tossing aside their morals when money or fame is involved. Holding yourself to that higher standard will help you build a life you can be proud of in years to come.

It’s important to create your own moral code before setting out to achieve a goal. This moral code will give you something to reference when hard decisions inevitably come

Paint a clear image for your personal goals

You need to know your personal goals to create career goals around them. A personal goal may be something like buying a house or being more intentional about the time you spend with your spouse. 

When assessing your personal goals and aspirations, check in with your morals and values. Do they align? If so, try this:

  1. Write down everything you want to accomplish in your personal life in the next year, 5 years, and 10 years. You may not be able to accomplish everything on the list, but you will better understand what you want by writing it all out.
  2. Then, look at your work life. How does your work affect each of these goals? If you want to buy a house, working more hours may help. But if you want more time at home, you should consider creating healthier boundaries between you and your job.

This exercise will help you nail down what you want to gain through your personal goals and how to go about it. Now that you know that, you can create career goals that align with what you want from life as a whole.

Determining if your goals mesh well together and creating new ones

Now that you know your personal goals and how your work life will impact them, it’s time to create new career goals that align with your morals, values, and personal goals. 

Try this: Create two separate lists of career goals to determine what is reasonable with your current lifestyle. One list is every outlandish dream you’ve ever had, and the other lists thing you know you can achieve. You may be surprised at which dreams end up on which list. 

Tip: Think about what you enjoy. Often, things we find pleasure doing already align with our morals, values, and personal goals. 

Now that you have your list of career dreams and goals check in with your personal goals. Do they mesh well together? If they don’t, you may have to reevaluate a personal or career goal and make a tough decision.

Remember that if one of your goals is unrealistic right now, it may not be in the future. It’s also okay (and normal) to sacrifice in the short term to get what you want in the long run. Just be careful not to sacrifice your mental well-being in the process. 

Career pivoting 

As you dive into what you want and need from your career, you may realize your current job doesn’t fit your needs as well as it used to. Career pivoting, especially the longer you’ve been in a particular field, can be daunting but possible.

Here are reasons why you should consider a career change.

Your current job is hindering your mental health

Your mental health is extremely important. If you are suffering from a mental illness, seek professional help as soon as possible. A mental health professional can help you get to the root of the problem and assist you in possibly deciding to change jobs. 

Knowing when to step away from a job or situation that isn’t good for you takes courage.

You no longer enjoy your work

While no job is perfect, if you dread going to work every morning and feel drained by the end of the day, it might be time to move on.

Your work no longer aligns with your morals, values, and personal goals

No matter your job, it’s a part of who you are. If you are being pushed to cross your morals or values at work, it’s a sign it may be time to look elsewhere.

Your current job isn’t paying you the salary you want or deserve

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to move on from your current job. Talk to your boss about how you feel. If they are unable or unwilling to accommodate, it doesn’t hurt to explore other options.

How to align career goals if a job change isn’t possible

Unfortunately, there are plenty of instances where career pivoting isn’t possible. Perhaps you’re nearing retirement, in the military, or have a family to support. If this is your situation, try to look for the aspects of your job that you are good at. Most jobs have something to offer, even if it’s small. 

Talk to your boss about your strengths and how you can improve different aspects of your job by putting them to good use.


Talk to your boss about your strengths and how you can improve different aspects of your job by putting them to good use. For example, if you are good at organization, you may be able to find ways to improve workflow by applying those skills. Focusing on those aspects may also open doors you may not have considered before. 

Still, being stuck in a job you aren’t satisfied with is difficult. Try shifting your focus onto achieving your personal goals and gain satisfaction through that. If your personal goals require money, consider taking on a second job for a time, so long as it doesn’t negatively affect your mental health.

Setting achievable goals

No matter your career field, job, or position in the company, achievable goals are what get each of us up in the morning. If you’re feeling dissatisfied at work, it’s time to make a change.

If you’d like to see your organization move in a healthier direction, send them here for a free demo.

Might also interest you