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Create Clear Goals for Your Job Search (What are SMART Goals? What is 4DX?)

New Year's is a time for creating new goals, but did you know that only 8% of people actually stick to their New Year's resolutions each year. This can be due to several different variables, but I can tell you that majority of the time I don't meet my own personal goals simply because...

  1. I didn't keep my goal in front of me, a constant reminder so I don't forget

  2. I didn't set realistic goals with a strategic game plan

  3. I didn't create a clear goal to begin with, to know when I've achieved it

If you've done similar things to the above that have stunted your success in achieving any goal you've set before, then you might consider learning more about SMART Descriptions and the Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX), two models I have adopted when I set goals personally and professionally.

If you're more of an audio learner, then feel free to click below the link below to listen to the audio version of this post on my YouTube channel @Tips_ByTaylor. Don't forget to like & subscribe!!

What is 4DX?

The Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a model typically used in the professional world to allow executives and teams to focus on 1-2 major yearly goals to achieve. However, this can also be applied to your personal life since you are the executive of your life and have to balance between all your daily commitments and activities. It can be hard to juggle all this and incorporate new goals, so this model helps you create goals and actually execute on them.

1st Discipline of Execution - Focus on Your WIG

Your WIG is your Wildly Important Goal. Ideally, you want to aim to focus on 1-2 WIGs max at a specific time period in your life, this is to make it easier to manage your goal and juggle with your "world-wind" of things you do day to day. When creating your WIG, you want to follow the SMART method:

SMART is another method, this time an acronym you can use to make sure you're creating very clear goals.

Specific - what is it you want to achieve? Why?

Measurable - tie a number to your goal to know when you're done!

Attainable - make sure your goal is realistic.

Relevant - does your goal align with your current life?

Time-bound - set a target date to follow and track to.

2nd Discipline of Execution - Act of Lead Measures

Lag measures are basically your WIG. What is it that you're looking to achieve that you can't really "do" (i.e. # offers, savings, weight loss, etc).

Meanwhile, your lead measures are habits, activities, or mini goals you will do one some type of consistent basis to help you achieve your WIG.

In order to make sure you achieve your WIG, you want to make sure you create a gameplan to help you achieve this long-term goal. These are basically short-term goals you will complete daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly to help achieve your goal. For example, your WIG may be:

WIG: "Lose 50 pounds by December 2022"

What are things you can do daily or weekly to help you achieve this goal? Here's some examples:

  1. Work out 5-7x per week

  2. Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day

  3. Eat meal prep meals 5 days per week

When you create your habits, you want to make them simple and have a direct impact on your WIG. Again, you want to try and follow the SMART method when creating these habits so they are clear and easy to say "yes or no" on whether you completed these weekly.

3rd Discipline of Execution - Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

Keep your goals in front of you with a scoreboard! Track your progress towards your WIG, but also monitor and track your habits.

Get creative, but make sure you keep these in front of you consistently to help keep you motivated, excited, and engaged to reach your goals! Whether you keep a jar of marbles and remove one marble for every pound you lose, or create some kind of chart (anyone remember those thermometer wall trackers from grade school where you colored the "graph" as you raised more money for xyz fundraiser), an excel sheet, or a simple habit tracker in a journal... whatever works best for you, use some kind of scoreboard to help you keep you on track.

Not only do you want to see your progress towards your WIG (which may move significantly slower than your habits) you want to make sure you are tracking your habits as well, which we'll review more in the last discipline.

4th Discipline of Execution - Create Accountability

REFLECT on your goals and especially your weekly habits on a CONSISTENT basis. Don't wait until the end of the year to have reflection, you want to make sure you're checking in on your self more frequently than that to make sure you're actually making progress, but to also identify any hiccups and modify/pivot on your strategy to make you more successful for future.

Let's go back to our example with the weight loss. Let's say you are having a hard time working out 5-7 times per week because your schedule is so hectic, then you might consider evaluating your schedule to find a more realistic goal and realize you can make time for 3-4 times per week, which is probably a more realistic goal to start off with anyway.

This step is one of the most critical, but you don't have to beat yourself up or be mean about it. This is more so to identify areas you may struggle with to pivot and reward yourself for good behavior. Whether that's treating yourself to a movie or special meal/snack, find something good to look forward to when you complete all your weekly habits, regardless of how close you are to your WIG or not. Let's focus on the short-term wins, and consistently compounded over time they will help you reach your main goal.

If needed, pick a friend of family member to be your accountability partner. Whether you are both studying for the same class to make an "A", work out partners reaching a fitness goal, or just someone who is just supporting you from a distance, you can schedule a weekly meeting or time with that person (or self) to have this reflection and say "yes" or "no" to all the habits you completed and update your scoreboard. It is critical you do NOT skip this meeting and get into a habit of brushing it off, make it a short 5-15 minute reflection meeting every Sunday at 5 PM (or whatever day/time), and make sure to show up for yourself to show how serious you are to meeting your goals.

Recap & Career Search Example

So to reiterate, below are the four disciplines of execution:

  1. Focus on your WIG

  2. Act on Lead Measures

  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

  4. Create Accountability

By implementing this in your every day life, you are sure to stay focused and achieve any goal or New Years Resolution.

Finally, here's an example for anyone completing a job search:

WIG: Get 3 job offers by May 2022

Lead Measures: (1) complete X applications weekly, (2) research X companies daily, (3) practice interviewing skills daily

Scoreboard: keep track in my journal

Accountability: meet with my career coach every week at X day & X time


This is just a glimpse of what your goals and habits could look like for a job search, for more one-on-one assistance with your career journey and to create strong, streamlined goals & habits... make sure to learn more about my career coaching program at or check out my resume makeover writing services.

Make sure to check out my other blog posts or YouTube videos for more FREE content or follow me on my socials @tips_bytaylor for more free content.

Good to you with your job search and goal setting this year!

Best, Taylor Smith

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