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Measuring Up Your HEART: A Goal-Setting Tool

by Melissa Macfarlane


Day in and day out we meet with clients to help them reach their goals. As career practitioners, we assist them in recognizing their skills, interests and values. We are able to provide sight to that much needed light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
But what about us?  Are we spending the amount of time focusing on our own career goals that we would advise our clients to?  When was the last time that you – yes you! – sat down and assessed your own career path?  Are you heading in the direction you want?  Does it still make sense for you?
A unique measuring tool to assess both goals and current circumstances is the HEART method. Created with SMART goals in mind, the HEART method addresses your emotional quotient, rather than intellectual quotient. This tool focuses on values and beliefs to help you determine if this goal or situation is a right fit. You can apply it to many different scenarios: to goals that you are setting, and to where you are right now – your job, the company you work for, your educational plans, etc.


H Heartfelt Does this goal come from the heart?  Do you believe in it?  Does it inspire confidence?  Working on something that you believe in and are confident about will inspire you.
E Embrace Can you embrace this goal and commit to it fully?  Are you committed to attaining the goal?  Your level of commitment determines how much time and effort you are willing to invest.
A Adhere Does this adhere to your values?  If you are working on something that causes a constant niggle in the back of your mind, why are you doing it?  Be honest and recognize your values in the work you do.
R Reflect Does this goal reflect the direction that you want to be in?  Sometimes we end up in places that we didn’t intend, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just make sure you are currently heading in a direction that makes sense to you and your world.
T True Are you being true to yourself?  Who are you doing this for?  Working towards something because YOU want to can inspire courage, faith and happiness. However, it can also bring about guilt for some. There is no shame in following your own plan.


Where do you measure up right now with the HEART method?  Paying attention to our own career paths is just as important as paying attention to our health and well-being. After all, doesn’t one affect the other?

Melissa Macfarlane is an Employment Counsellor with Northern Lights Canada. She is also a Development Coach, guiding clients through the Project Progress programs she co-created with her business partner to assist people in goal-planning and achievement. Read Melissa’s blog on

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