Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, aspiring entrepreneur, local restaurant manager, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, there’s no denying that success is somewhat rooted in maintaining productive daily habits and routines. The problem is that the majority of people don’t know which routines are constructive. And if they do, most people aren’t disciplined enough to consistently maintain these habits.
While everyone is different — and no two individuals thrive under the same conditions — it’s helpful to look at what other successful people are doing in an effort to foster success in your own life. Check out the habits of these eight CEOs and be inspired:
1. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square
If there’s anyone qualified enough to discuss daily habits and routines, it’s Jack Dorsey. This is the guy who co-founded both Square and Twitter. He understands what it takes to be successful in both his personal life and business life. So, what’s his best habit?
“[I spend] an hour or two every day keeping up with tech news on Twitter,” says Michael Bruch, CEO of the new social platform Willow. “It’s not good to obsess over what other people are doing, but staying informed is certainly important.”
Bruch isn’t alone in this habit. Plenty of successful entrepreneurs and CEOs carve out time for marinating in industry trends and staying up to date on the latest news. If you completely shut yourself off from these things, you’ll end up limiting your ability to innovate and create.
3. Zach Supalla, CEO of Particle
According to Zach Supalla, the CEO of a new IoT startup, the key to being successful actually lies in shaking up your routine. In other words, you can’t have the same routine for 25 years and expect to still be relevant. Sure, you can keep the same basic principles, but you must be willing to adapt at some point.
“I’m always trying new things and changing how I work,” he says.
4. Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Nets
While you could point to virtually any CEO and marvel at their ability to wake up in the wee hours of the morning and start their day, there’s perhaps no better example than Brett Yormark, CEO of the Brooklyn Nets basketball franchise. Yormark gets up at 3:30 a.m. each morning. Do we even want to know when he goes to bed?
While 3:30 may be excessive, you should consider waking up a little earlier each morning. Even one hour can make a big difference. If you typically climb out of bed at 7:00 a.m., try getting up at 6:00 a.m. for a week and record the difference. It may surprise you how much more you’re able to get done in a workday.
5. Mark Cuban, Serial Entrepreneur and CEO
If there’s one thing Mark Cuban hates more than anything else, it’s unnecessary meetings. He believes frivolous meetings are a daily time-killer and does everything he can to avoid them. “Meetings are a waste of time unless you are closing a deal,” he says. “There are so many ways to communicate in real time or asynchronously that any meeting you actually sit for should have a duration and set outcome before you agree to go.”
6. Evan Williams, Former CEO of Twitter
While most people feel like pushing through and spending as much time as possible in the office is the best way to increase productivity and profitability, entrepreneur Evan Williams couldn’t disagree any more. Williams believes in breaking up the day by taking some time off right around noon. He prefers to hit the gym, as it boosts his energy level and reinvigorates him for another five-plus hours.
7. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project
The problem with our lives is that we’re so caught up in everything that we forget to focus on anything. Everything comes at us so quickly that we quickly become anxious and overwhelmed. Well, Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project, has an answer. His morning routine consists of meditating. He believes it helps him maintain a “steady reservoir of energy.”
8. Gary Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall
According to Gary Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall, you must make a habit out of beginning each day with a positive attitude. If you don’t make it a priority, it won’t happen. “I wake up and start every day with one initial thought: being thankful for the abundance in my life- family, friends, company, and more,” he says. “Nothing good ever comes easy. Hard work and dedication always pays off. Starting every day with a strong, positive thought is the best way to kickoff each day.”
Do you have daily habits and routines? If so, what are they? Success is anything but guaranteed, but a few strong habits will point you in the right direction.
Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.
Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.
Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.
In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.
Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.” The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.
Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:
Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests. Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.
If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.
After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.
We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.
Why You Need an Individual Development Plan
Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.
One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.
These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.
40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career
All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.
For Changing a Job
Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
Get a raise.
Plan and take a vacation this year.
Agree to take on new responsibilities.
Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.
For Switching Career Path
Pick up and learn a new skill.
Find a mentor.
Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
Commit to getting training or going back to school.
Read the most recent books related to your field.
Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. 
Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.
Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
Create a financial plan.
For Getting a Promotion
Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
Stop micromanaging your team members.
Become a mentor.
Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.
Find a way to organize your work space.
Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
Become a better communicator.
Find new ways to be a team player.
Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.
For Acing a Job Interview
Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.
Career Goal Setting FAQs
I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.
1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?
If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.
If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:
Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.
Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.
Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.
3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?
You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.
Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.
4. Can I have several career goals?
It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.
On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.
For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.
You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:
Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.
By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.