Business/Career Lifestyle

How to Reach Your Personal and Professional Goals in Nigeria

Written by Omolola Akinyemi

Setting and achieving quality goals – whether on a personal or professional level – is the hallmark of a meaningful, successful life. Your overall success in life is a collection of several small and big victories. They are the result of setting and striving to reach your personal and professional goals, in a bid to add value to your life. Without setting and reaching quality personal and professional goals, a person’s life risks becoming aimless and empty. 


To be more specific, a man or woman who does not strive to reach meaningful personal and professional goals will largely remain poor. We are speaking of both mental and physical poverty. It is a particularly serious issue in Nigeria – and we know too well there is widespread poverty in the country. We encourage both the young and old folks in Nigeria to overhaul their mindset. We need to direct more of our attention into setting and reaching quality personal and professional goals in this part of the world. 

Setting and reaching goals involves clearly defining your purpose in life, and working towards it. It requires mental and physical work; it requires your time, focus and determination. Expect to face challenges; and you may likely face some failures and setbacks. Nevertheless, you must continue to learn, grow, and perhaps adjust your plans. And YOU MUST NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR GOALS..

Personal Versus Professional Goals: What’s the Difference?

Let’s compare your PERSONAL GOALS to your PROFESSIONAL GOALS to know the difference. 

Your personal goals are goals that focus on improving aspects of your personal life. That includes your relationships, overall well-being, and happiness. On the other hand, your professional goals are goals that focus on career and educational achievements, 

Additionally, you create professional goals in response to the dire need to meet personal goals. After all, you go to work or focus on a career, in order to meet personal needs. Ultimately, you should set your personal goals first before defining your professional goals. In essence, your professional goals must be tailored to harmonize with your personal goals, and not consume them, Otherwise your professional goals may badly impact on your personal life.

Let’s examine strategies you can use to reach your personal and professional goals in Nigeria. 

Focus on the Most Important Things: Prioritize Your Needs 

Before you attempt to create, or even attempt to reach your personal and professional goals – find out which things are the most important to you. You have to set your priorities right. The critical needs of your life will control or give direction to every other aspect of your life. Use these critical needs to set your short-term and long-term goals. Remember also that both your short-term and long-term goals must agree with your critical needs, and be tailored towards meeting your life’s purpose. 

Set Goals that Are Achievable and Flexible  

For you to reach your personal and professional goals, they must be achievable and realistic. You should be able to simplify the attainment of your goals by breaking them down into smaller tasks. You should also expect the possibility of slightly changing any of your plans in the attempt to reach your goals. 

Let’s face the reality – your personal and professional goals are strongly influenced by surrounding factors. Such factors include limited resources and challenges you may face along the way. Nevertheless, you must learn to work your way around those limiting factors in order to reach your personal and professional goals.  

Break Down Your Goals into Smaller, Simpler Steps

Every goal is attainable, if you can break them down into smaller and easier steps. Each step should be relatively easy to execute within a specific period of time – it could be within minutes, hours, a day or more. And all the steps must work towards reaching that goal. If for instance your goal involves saving money towards getting a much-needed item, it would be wise to cut down on spending in other areas. 

To make it easier, create a To-do list of attainable steps every day, and/or every week. You might decide to pick on the easier steps first, then work your way gradually through the more complex ones. However, it may also be necessary to pick on the most important or critical tasks first. Work through them, take a break to cool off, then finish off with the smaller ones. Examine which of the two options works best for you. 

Yet again, if you can afford to delegate some of your tasks to an assistant, – by all means do so. It will help you to work faster, and to better organize your work. It will also reduce your stress in no small measure, with some free time in your hands to do other things. 

Take Time Management Seriously

Managing your time effectively helps you to focus better on attaining your goals, while also reducing wastage of energy. This is where setting out your priorities, and creating a To-do list comes in. Arrange your goals and sub-goals/tasks one after the other in a harmonious way, and handle them one by one. Ideally, you should begin with the most important tasks. Do not overcrowd your time or your mind. You seriously cannot handle your daily or periodic tasks all at once – you might get overwhelmed and easily tired. 

Allocate a specific time to each step or task, and focus solely on it for that period. Furthermore, arrange your tasks into a written schedule or time-table that will be easy to follow. Remember to include interludes that cover lunch breaks and periods of rest. Those periods will allow you to refresh and recover in-between tasks.

Employ The Power of Visualization

While you are working to reach your personal and professional goals, you should employ every possible means to focus on it. Visualize that goal as clearly as possible; it will help you to focus. You can use visual aids to help your imagination. Say, you may arrange images, photographs, newspaper or magazine cutouts that strongly remind you of your goals all around you. Put them on the walls of your bedroom, on your desk, or even your smartphone or computer wallpaper.

Take Control of Your Life: Clearly State Your Expectations and Set Boundaries 

As pointed out earlier, your professional goals must balance out with your personal goals, and not consume them. That would be self-defeating. Do not allow the demands and expectations of your job to rob you of your personal life. As such, you must set clear and meaningful boundaries to protect your personal life and goals. Make it clear to others what limits you cannot cross (probably with reasons). Let others know if and when you are available (or not). And if necessary, negotiate a deal that will ultimately preserve your needs and preferences. 

Perform a Self-Audit: Monitor Your Own Progress

What better way is there to know how well you are progressing, than to keep souvenirs or records of your achievements? You should keep available records that you can sit back and review time and again to check your own progress. 

You can have a journal or diary to record events or tasks as you complete each of them, along with the time. You should keep other records such as receipts, videos, pictures, voice recordings, memos, letters, documents, certificates and more in a neat, safe place. That way, it will be easy to make reference to them later to evaluate your progress, and perhaps improve your plans.  

Celebrate Every Achievement

A smart trick you can employ to keep yourself well motivated is to congratulate yourself for every achievement. Celebrate yourself (and others around you) as you complete each achievement, task, or feat. Learn to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, no matter how small the task. 

And when you fall short of your own expectations, forgive and encourage yourself to keep going. After all, every failure or disappointment is a learning stage you probably need in the pursuit of your goals. After God Almighty and special mentors you meet along the way, you are one of your own best counselors. 

Seek Necessary Help and Get Feedback 

And finally – no man is an island. You will definitely need support, advice, mentorship, and feedback from others from time to time. There are situations where getting feedback from colleagues, loved ones, mentors and counselors can help you to be more realistic. Someone else may see issues from an angle where you cannot see it at a glance. 

Also, do not be afraid to ask for help or support when you need it. Look to those people who are equally or more skilled than you boost your morale. They can supply you with ideas and tools that will make your journey and goals easier to reach as well .  


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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.