top of page

Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Writer's pictureTerri K. Lankford, LPCS

The How-To of Holistic SMART Goals: Occupational Goals

In our last blog post of 2023, we talked about holistic SMART goals. As a reminder, we talked about how SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timed. We discussed how the SMART goal format sets us up for success rather than confusion. Then, we saw 24 examples of SMART goals that aligned with the Wellness Wheel (review our blog series on the Wellness Wheel here).

Over the next few months, we’ll be discussing the “how-tos” of holistic SMART goals, showing you how to (1) identify your values in a given area, (2) examples of SMART goals in that same area, and (3) how to put your plan in action. Last time, we talked about social goals. Today’s topic is occupational goals. 

In America, approximately 62% of adults are in the workforce. If you work 40 hours for 52 weeks a year from ages 22 to 65, you’ll spend 89,440 hours at work - or 10.21 YEARS. That’s a lot of time at the office desk!

So, if Americans are spending this long at work, they must enjoy it, right? Unfortunately not - only 51% (barely half) of Americans report they’re satisfied with their occupation. The things most unsatisfactory to Americans about their job includes the few opportunities for growth, pay, and the lack of opportunities to learn new skills. 

Want to set some holistic SMART goals for occupational wellness? The counselors at Rise and Thrive Counseling are here to help with three easy steps below!

Step #1: Identify Your Values

Social values refer to your beliefs and desires around connecting with others, whether you’re related or not. 

To determine your values in this area, consider these reflection prompts:

  1. How important is work-life balance to me, and what does it look like in practice?

  2. How do I define success in my career, and what metrics or indicators matter most to me?

  3. Reflecting on past experiences, what moments or achievements at work have brought me the most satisfaction and fulfillment?

  4. How do I want my work to align with my personal values and beliefs?

  5. What level of autonomy and independence do I desire in my work?

Hopefully, these reflection questions help determine (1) if this should even be a goal for you, and (2) the beginnings of a goal of what occupational wellness could look like.

Step #2: Set a SMART Goal

Use the answers to step one to determine what your goal should look like. Here are some examples to help inspire you:

  1. By the end of April, I will approach my employer about opportunities for growth in the workplace.

  2. Once a month for the next six months, I will attend a webinar that improves a skill useful for my occupation.

  3. By the end of June, I will approach my employer about a pay raise in order to make a sustainable wage.

  4. Once a week until no longer needed, I will apply for a job that aligns with my personal values.

  5. By the end of the year, I will take steps to launch my own independent business in my field.

Step #3: Your Plan in Action

After you form a SMART goal based on your values and intentions, it's time to put that goal into action. Based on the examples above, here are some ways to move towards your goal:

Goal 1: working towards this goal may look like assessing my current skills, strengths, and interests to identify areas for growth within the company, taking initiative to participate in relevant training sessions or educational opportunities that align with my career aspirations, maintaining open communication with my employer about my career aspirations and any changes in my goals or interests over time, and scheduling a meeting with my supervisor or HR representative to discuss my career goals and express my interest in pursuing growth opportunities within the organization.

Goal 2: working towards this goal may look like identifying specific skills relevant to my occupation that I want to improve or develop further, researching and selecting webinars or online courses that focus on enhancing those skills, setting aside dedicated time each month in my schedule to attend the chosen webinar, and registering for the webinar in advance to secure my spot and receive any necessary materials or instructions.

Goal 3: working towards this goal may look like researching industry standards and benchmarks for salaries in my occupation and geographic location to determine a reasonable and fair wage, documenting my accomplishments, contributions, and any additional responsibilities I have taken on since my last salary review to support my request for a pay raise, practicing effective communication and negotiation skills to confidently advocate for myself and my financial needs, and scheduling a meeting with my supervisor or HR representative to discuss my compensation and career progression within the company.

Goal 4: working towards this goal may look like reflecting on my personal values and identifying key factors that are important to me in a job, setting aside dedicated time each week to review job postings, research companies, and submit applications for positions that resonate with my values, tailoring my resume to highlight how my skills, experiences, and values align with the specific role and organization, and following up on submitted applications with polite and professional emails or phone calls to express my continued interest.

Goal 5:  working towards this goal may look like conducting thorough market research to identify potential opportunities and gaps in the market within my field,developing a detailed business plan outlining my business concept, target market, revenue streams, and marketing strategies, seeking advice and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs or industry professionals, and securing necessary resources and funding to support the launch of my independent business, whether through personal savings, loans, or investors.

We hope this blog post helps you reflect on, set, and execute holistic occupational SMART goals in 2024! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!




Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.


I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.


I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 


Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.


Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)


All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

Join our mailing list

Be the first to know when a new post gets published and never miss an update!!!

*** Be Sure to Check your Spam/Junk Folder in case that's where your Welcome Email lands!! ***

bottom of page