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Gamify Your Goal Setting to Level Up Your Career

By Paige Kassalen

2022 is almost here, which means a lot of people are thinking about the goals they want to accomplish next year. Many people want to start working out more, or pick up a new hobby, but we should also think bigger and more strategically about the goals we want to accomplish in our personal and professional lives.

Many of the goals we set at the start of the new year are soon forgotten and abandoned, so I was thinking… “how can we make the path towards achieving our goals more fun?”

Here are some tips to help you gamify your goal setting, and put you on a path to success:

1. Set smaller sub-goals that you can reach along the path to accomplishing a larger goal

This is not a novel topic, but important on your journey to gamify your goal setting, because no one wins a game of chess in only one move. It takes strategy to plan each step and walk out victorious. This idea holds true for goal setting as well.

When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I knew that I wanted to eventually get a masters. The master’s degree was my larger goal, but if I wanted to be successful, I could not just wait until it came time to submit the application. I needed to strategically develop a game plan to ensure my application would solidify my spot in the incoming class.

Over the next few years, I thought through things I would need to submit an appealing application. I networked with faculty at different universities, talked with leaders in my professional network, and I took on different leadership roles in my community. When it came time to submit my application, I was prepared. I had been working progressively to achieve my sub-goals for years, and that put me on the path to achieving my larger goal.

Breaking your goals into actionable, smaller sub-goals helps your larger goal become more attainable, and will leave you strategically aligned to accomplish it.

2. Diversify the level of difficulty for accomplishing each goal

Whether you are playing blackjack at a casino, a tennis match, or Yahtzee, we all know what it means when someone says “you’re on fire!” That feeling — when everything is going right and you are on a path to success — brings out your confidence and helps build up momentum to keep you pushing forward. You can also do this with your goals.

When I set goals, I try to group them into buckets of “easily attainable,” “stretch,” and “oh-my-gosh-there-is-no-way-I-can-accomplish-this” goals. This process is different from the method of developing sub-goals, because the different categories of goals do not build off one another.

An example of an easily attainable goal could be trying a new restaurant you read about on a blog, or learning a new skill through an online class or YouTube tutorial. These goals are very important, because checking off your easily attainable goals help you look back on the past week, month or year and feel accomplished and ready to tackle the next goal without feeling burned out.

Diversity in the level of goal achievability is important though because it’s no fun to play a game you know you will always win. Your more difficult goals help push you out of your comfort zone, and help you achieve major personal or career milestones; while the smaller, unrelated goals remind you that you can do anything you set your mind to, and give you the confidence to tackle more daunting tasks.

3. Plan ahead for how you are going to celebrate your accomplishment

You won! Now it is time to celebrate!

Getting out of your comfort zone leads to increased personal and professional growth, but it is not always easy to find the courage to do this. Having a plan in place for how you will celebrate your accomplishment makes it even more exciting to achieve your goals, because you are rewarding yourself for the hard work and taking the time to reflect upon and appreciate your success.

I grew up playing slow pitch softball, and every time we would win a game, our team went to get ice cream to celebrate. This was something very small, but something that made a big impact, because achieving success was not the final step. Instead, we were able to regroup as a team and take time to appreciate and celebrate our hard work.

After accomplishing a goal, it’s important to take this step back and celebrate with people close to you. It helps you to remember the bigger picture of why you invest so much time into your goals. This reflection period helps you stay motivated and develop more momentum to tackle your next goal.

Setting goals is important to provide motivation and direction for your personal and professional life, but the path to achieving those goals should be anything but dull!

By gamifying your goal setting, you will:

  • Make more strategic decisions that will increase your likelihood of success
  • Accomplish smaller, unrelated goals to build confidence to tackle stretch goals
  • Give yourself the opportunity to reflect upon and appreciate your success and the purpose of your hard work

Wishing you luck in 2022!


Paige Kassalen loves to put her creativity to use by solving problems in emerging technical fields, and has been an IEEE member since 2012. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech in 2015, Kassalen began her career with Covestro LLC. in 2015, and soon became the only American engineer working with Solar Impulse 2, the first solar-powered airplane to circumnavigate the globe. This role landed Kassalen a spot on the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list along with feature articles in GlamourFast Company and the Huffington Post.

After Solar Impulse, Kassalen helped Covestro develop its strategy for materials for the future of mobility, and shared her work at conferences around the United States. In 2020, Kassalen received a Master of Information Systems Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University and now applies her problem-solving skills to the finance industry, where she works with teams to develop big data strategies and implement innovative technologies.

Paige Kassalen

Paige Kassalen loves to put her creativity to use by solving problems in emerging technical fields, and has been an IEEE member since 2012. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech in 2015, Kassalen began her career with Covestro LLC. in 2015, and soon became the only American engineer working with Solar Impulse 2, the first solar-powered airplane to circumnavigate the globe. This role landed Kassalen a spot on the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list along with feature articles in Glamour, Fast Company and the Huffington Post. After Solar Impulse, Kassalen has helped Covestro and JPMorgan Chase develop and implement strategies to embrace a range of emerging technology trends from autonomous vehicles to machine learning. In 2020, Kassalen received a Master of Information Systems Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University and now uses her problem-solving skills at an artificial intelligence startup, CrowdAI, where she leads the implementation of computer vision solutions for existing commercial customers.

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