Propel Your Analytics Career: Mastering the Art of Goal Setting

Propel Your Analytics Career: Mastering the Are of Goal Setting
Written by Heather L. Cole, December 14th, 2023

As the year draws to a close, it's an opportune moment for every Cognos Analytics Business Intelligence professional and IBM Planning Analytics user to reflect and recalibrate. The path to a professional zenith in analytics is not linear – it's a journey marked with continuous learning, adapting, and most importantly, goal setting. This blog aims to guide you through a step-by-step process to crystallize your goals and create a robust plan to achieve them.  My goal is to help you propel your analytics career in 2024.  After all, in the wise words of Tony Robbins, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

I truly believe that goal setting and reflection has been the key ingredient in creating the life I want and having a career I love.

Propel Your Analytics Career: Mastering the Are of Goal Setting

Goal Setting Step 1: Define Your Destination

Assess Your Current Position

Start by evaluating where you are in your career. Are you a novice grappling with the basics of Cognos Analytics, or are you an experienced professional aiming for higher proficiency in IBM Planning Analytics? What did you accomplish in 2023?  What did you learn? And what frustrated you or stressed you out in 2023?  Understanding your current standing is crucial for setting realistic and relevant goals.

Envision Your Professional Apex

What does success look like to you? Is it mastering advanced analytical techniques, leading a team of analysts, or innovating in predictive analytics? Paint a vivid picture of your professional pinnacle.

When I do this, I don’t just think about the skills I need to succeed, but I also evaluate who I want to work, what lifestyle do I want… Maybe you want to work virtually so you can have more life-work harmony.  Whatever your dream professional picture looks like write it down.  Yes, if you write it down it’s more likely to come through.  

Goal Setting Step 2: Chart Your Course

The next step is to think about what you need to do, learn, or experience to realize your vision.  Maybe you are new to Cognos, and you know enough to get by but want to learn all the amazing new functionality that IBM has added to the software.  

Check out our Cognos Reporting Fundamental and Dashboard Training January 9-11th, 2023  

Or maybe you’re an IBM Planning Analytics administrator and you want to learn how to deploy Planning Analytics Workspace.  For some of you leveling up your soft skills, like learning to be more persuasive may be necessary.  Check out our blog – Using Chat GPT as an Analytic Professional to Become More Persuasive

When you create your list of what you need to learn, do, or experience, the next step is to create goals to measure your performance.  Regardless of your dreams and goals, they will not be achieved without ACTION!

Set SMART Goals

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals are your best allies. For instance, rather than vaguely aiming to “improve analytics skills,” set a goal to “complete an advanced course in Predictive Analytics using Cognos within the next six months.”

Break Down Big Goals

Large goals can be daunting. Break them into smaller, manageable tasks. If your goal is to lead a project, start by volunteering for smaller roles in ongoing projects.

Goal Setting Step 3: Equip Yourself

Gather Your Resources

Identify the resources you need. This could include enrolling in specialized courses, seeking mentorship, or accessing advanced analytical tools.  I highly recommend IBM TechXchange 2024, which will be October 21-24, 2024, at Mandalay Bay | Las Vegas. 

Here’s my blog on IBM’s 2023 TechXchange

In addition to our Cognos Analytics Training Jan 9-11th, we will be offering additional classes in 2024.  If you are interested in learning about our training email us at

Build a Support Network

Connect with peers, join professional groups, and engage in communities. Learning from others’ experiences and insights can be invaluable.  If you are a Lodestar Solutions client, you are invited to our quarterly virtual user groups where you can network with your peers.  For more information email us at

Goal Setting Step 4: Embark on Your Journey

Take Consistent Action

Progress is made in the consistent small steps you take towards your goals. Regularly review and adjust your plan to stay on track.

I check my weekly progress every Friday afternoon.  This allows me to keep focused on the goals that matter.  I find if I don’t do a weekly check-in, it’s too easy to spend all my time firefighting and getting distracted. 

Track and Celebrate Milestones

Keep a log of your progress. Celebrating small wins keeps you motivated and focused.  I like to reward myself after I accomplish a goal.  Maybe it’s a new pair of trail shoes, or a nice dinner out, but celebrate the wins.

Goal Setting Step 5: Navigate Through Challenges

Stay Adaptable

The tech world is ever-evolving. Stay open to learning and adapting your goals as required. Remember what Michael Jordan said, “Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

Seek Feedback

Regular feedback is crucial for growth. It helps with refining strategies and correcting course when necessary.

Conclusion: The Power of Purpose-Driven Objectives

As we conclude, remember that setting and achieving meaningful goals is more than a task – it's a mindset. It's about embracing the journey of professional excellence with determination and adaptability.  Join our “Goal Setting and Achievement in Analytics” session on Friday, December 15th to unlock the full potential of your analytics career. Propel forward with purpose-driven objectives and transform your aspirations into tangible achievements.  I will host it live on Linkedin at 1:00 pm Eastern.  

Here's to a year of remarkable growth and unparalleled success in your analytics career!