What kind of goals should you set to keep your life on track? We’re not talking about the (SMART) technique because that’s more of an approach to goal setting than a specific type of goal. The goals mentioned in this article cover different areas of your life or correspond to other periods.
Some of these listed goals you’ll pursue for years, while others you’ll accomplish in a matter of months or weeks or even days. But all of the types of goals described below are essential to your continued growth and the impact you make on the lives of others. Because ultimately, your goals aren’t just about you. We will review together the 14 main areas of goal setting in life and study examples of each.
What do the goals include?
Look up the word “goal” in a dictionary or on the Internet, and you’ll probably find it defined as “the goal of a person’s ambition or endeavor.” The goal you set is what you want to happen and what you are working towards. If you have plans, you’re looking for ways to achieve them faster.
Usually, if a goal is something you can achieve within a few minutes or a day, we call it an aspiration, but you can also call them a short-term goal or even a milestone goal.
And a single, larger goal can be divided into several items. Consider the following examples of goals:
- Get accepted to your favorite university.
- Complete a two- or four-year degree program.
- Read at least six books on a specific topic in the new year.
- Tidy up your whole house, one room at a time.
- Repaint the interior of your home.
- Replace all the stacked boxes in your home with bookshelves.
- Marathon (or half marathon).
- Writing and publishing three books a year.
- Pay off all credit card debt within the next five to ten years.
Why are goals important?
A life without a goal is much sadder than a life that ends when you achieve your goals. If you still need to work towards a plan when you reach the end of your life, you’ve given up on life before your time is up.
I mean that you should only sometimes do something that brings you closer to one of your goals. We all need moments to enjoy the present and not worry about whether we’re making progress. There is also progress in those conscious moments.
And we need the energy to move forward, so a few moments of patience is about recovering that energy. But the bigger picture of your life should be about continuous growth, new experiences, and more involvement, and to keep our eye on the bigger goal, we set smaller goals that address different areas of our lives.
Once those goals are set, we consider what it takes and what we can do each day or each week to get closer to them.
14 areas of goal setting and achieving them
In the list of goals below, you will find time-bound goals and goals related to a specific area of your life. For each goal-setting category, we’ve listed examples to give you ideas for your purposes.
Some goal types overlap, and among the goals related to areas of your life, some will be short-term, and others will be long-term. Overlap is to be expected, as you cannot create separation between different but related areas of your life. Your performance in one place affects other areas.
Keep this in mind when setting your goals, you should aim for what you want, not what someone else said you should wish.
Short term goals
Short-term goals are likely to be achieved within a year or less soon. Short-term does not mean “easy” or trivial. Every time you set a goal and achieve it, you build confidence and increase the likelihood of attaining longer-term or more audacious goals. Examples of short-term goals:
- Preparing a personal budget plan
- Reduce wasteful expenses
- Take a blog design class and update your blog
- Cut costs to save something
Long term purposes
These goals will take longer to achieve, but breaking them down into more manageable, short-term goals makes them more accessible, mainly when you’ve already accomplished related goals.
While we often overestimate what we can accomplish in one year, we most likely underestimate what we can achieve in three years; So, be bold, think big, and make your long-term goals bigger. Examples of long-term goals:
- Earn more than $7500 per month working from home.
- Save enough money to buy that new crossover you’ve been looking for.
- Renovate your home and sell it for a profit.
- Find an ideal location for an apartment or house.
- Invest in a mobile “home” to drive to any new destination.
These goals relate specifically to your business and its growth. It is natural to have goals related to higher profit margins, lower waste, and higher customer satisfaction. It is also natural and commendable to want your business and its success to go beyond material benefits and temporary pleasure.
Whatever your goals are for your business, don’t limit yourself to what you’re used to or what others in your industry have done. Think about the long-term impact you want to have on your business. Examples of business objectives:
- Optimize your website to improve SEO and attract customers.
- Find a way to do more of what you love and outsource what you don’t.
- Cut unnecessary costs and transform cash flow to improve your customers’ experience with your business.
- Find ways to create a happier and more supportive (virtual) work environment for your employees, co-workers, or contractors.
- Upgrade (and insure) the technology and other tools you use for your business.
These goals concern your professional growth and your impact on everyone you serve. These goals are about who you want to be as a professional and how you want to earn your living, which has a lot to do with how you spend your time.
You already know that pursuing a career you want takes the initiative and a willingness to take risks and try new things. No one gets to new places by going down the same road they’ve always taken. Keep this in mind when brainstorming your career goals. Examples of career goals:
- Get promoted at work.
- Start your own business doing what you love.
- Become an expert in a particular field.
- Create a “side hustle” that generates over $1,000 a month.
- Pursue a career that you can enjoy during your ‘retirement.’
These goals revolve around your relationships with family members. Choose plans demonstrating your commitment to prioritizing those relationships over less essential concerns. What can you do today, this week, this month, or this year to deepen those connections and make sure everyone in your family knows you love spending time with them? Examples of family goals:
- Leave more time for family nights, date nights, game nights, etc.
- Start dinner table conversations and spend more time listening than talking.
- Involve your children more in preparing and cleaning up family meals.
- Plan a vacation and travel with your family at least once a year.
- Take a walk (or bike ride, etc.) with your family at least once a week.
These goals are related to your financial situation and mindset. What thoughts come to mind when you think about your finances? And how would you like it to change?
One of the enormous benefits of having enough money is the freedom to do what you need and what you want. Today, this week, what can you do to improve your relationship with money? What can you do to use better the money you have now? Examples of financial goals:
- Redirect spending from an enjoyable but wasteful expense to something that improves your financial situation (the “latte factor”).
- Find a trusted financial planner who can help you plan for retirement.
- Find a thorough accountant to help you get the best tax return each year.
- Improve your credit rating by 50 points in a year or less.
If you’ve ever made a dream board or mental movie with images depicting the life you want, it’s time to start brainstorming your lifestyle goals.
Otherwise, it’s a simple matter of daydreaming plus emotion. Imagine the life you would like to live and allow yourself to feel what it would be like if that were your current reality. Then describe what you see, how it makes you feel, and what the person in this “mental movie” does, thinks, and handles daily. Examples of lifestyle goals:
- Budget for a trip to a new destination once a year.
- Start a creative side hobby that you love that will generate good side income.
- Please list the experiences you would most like to have and plan at least one today.
- Find clothes that look great on you.
- Design and furnish the private sanctuary of your dreams.
These goals are about how to develop and use your intellectual talents. No matter your IQ, there is always more to learn about yourself, others, the world, etc. So why set goals to grow and contribute more in this area?
Naturally, there is an overlap between these goals and your goals for physical health and spiritual growth because they are connected and influence each other. Examples of academic goals:
- Learn to speed read so you can read and learn more every month.
- Find new and stimulating conversation partners and connect with them regularly.
- Learn new ways to maximize your mental clarity and boost your energy levels.
- Read more books that challenge your thinking/beliefs and write about new developments.
Personal growth goals
These goals are about the person you want to be, not so you can show off your progress but so you can do more to inspire, challenge, and help others.
The benefits of growth are significant for you, too, because life is about learning. But the goal of your personal development is far beyond you. When setting your personal development goals, remember how achieving those goals will help you become a person who helps others grow and contribute more. Examples of personal growth goals:
- Write and publish a book (or more than one).
- Learn a new skill or language that interests you.
- Improve your body language and build confidence.
- Start a better morning routine to clear your mind and boost your energy.
- Create a blog to share what you learn and help others.
Health and fitness goals
Your health and fitness largely determine your daily energy level, which affects how you live and interact with others daily. Personal growth takes energy, and so does engagement.
It’s much easier, especially when you’re low on energy, to put your effective plans aside and spend time watching your favorite shows and eating comfort food. If your body is healthy and your brain chemicals are balanced, it will be easier for you to think clearly and create new things.
Being able to fit more comfortably into different clothes is a nice side benefit. Examples of health and fitness goals:
- Take a fitness class (the one you’ll enjoy) to build strength, endurance, and flexibility.
- Remove toxic “foods” from your pantry and fridge and replace them with healthier options.
- Learn new and more nutritious recipes for your weekly menu.
- Ditch the caffeine and find new ways to energize yourself in the morning and throughout the day.
Whatever you achieve in this life won’t mean much if you have to celebrate it alone. Strong and loving relationships are critical to the success that counts. With this in mind, it is essential to have communication goals related to building and strengthening those relationships.
Imagine the experiences you want to have with people you love or someone you haven’t met yet. Think of ways to improve any relationship you have. Examples of relationship goals:
- Find a significant other who shares your most valuable values.
- Let go of stress at work and spend more time on important relationships.
- Find ways to make the workplace a happier and more supportive environment.
- Create something handmade and unique as a token of love and appreciation for each person in your life.
- Consciously forgive those who hurt you and express your genuine hope for their continued growth and happiness.
Social goals are connecting with others, showing compassion, and helping others see their potential for greatness. Everything you do socially affects others. And it’s important to know whether your social interactions are likely to recharge or deplete your energy levels.
The more you know, the better prepared you can be to make the most of your opportunities to influence others beneficially. Examples of social goals:
- Spend more time getting to know your colleagues, neighbors, and other connections.
- Do more acts of kindness and generosity to brighten someone else’s day.
- Join a group or class that involves encouraging and supporting others.
- Volunteer regularly in your community to connect and help others.
What retirement means to you Set goals that make you think, “I can hardly wait to get there.” You don’t have to retire at a certain age, but if you’re thinking, “I want to retire at 55 and start traveling the world,” it makes sense to set goals that will get you closer to that.
Think about how you want to live now and ten, twenty, or more years from now, and choose your short-term and long-term goals accordingly. Examples of retirement goals:
- Retire by the age of 55.
- Get your house ready to sell by then so you can buy that mobile home and travel across the country.
- Save enough money to quit a job you don’t like and start a business you love.
- Pay off loans to increase your income.
Your spiritual goals should reflect whatever you believe about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. If you believe in the existence of souls, you know that their needs are different from those of the body, but your mental and physical health affect each other.
Both deserve attention when you set goals and assess your current health and energy. Examples of spiritual goals:
- Devote at least 15 minutes to meditation every day.
- Practice mindfulness every day.
- Keep a diary.
- Volunteer in some way regularly.
- Provide assistance to those in need (food/nutrition, clean water, shelter, etc.).
- Focus on one person each morning to consciously and wholeheartedly forgive them and have compassion for them, as if you were in their shoes.
What goals are important to you?
Now that you’re well-versed in the different types of goal setting, I hope you enjoy setting your goals and consider the moments until you reach them and how you’ll feel. It’s not just the goals themselves; how you pursue them is more important.
The steps you take to get closer to your goals affect others and shape the person you become. The steps you take to achieve one type of goal (e.g., financial, career, or health and fitness) affect the plans that It affects and may even change other contexts you set (such as spiritual, social, or intellectual goals).
The more your goals for each area overlap and complement each other, the more likely you are to have a coherent vision of the person you want to be, and the impact you want your life to have, and the more fun it will be to work toward that vision.
If reading this article was helpful, we suggest you also read the “Nine tips to be successful in starting a new job” article.