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Anything you want to achieve in life is considered a goal. Even if you don’t think you have any goals, you do. They may be as small as getting out of bed in the morning or as big as starting your own company. Setting goals, whether big or small, is an important part life and one you should take time to think about. Knowing what your goals are can give you a direction to go in life. They can inform your decisions and give you the drive to succeed. They also give you a sense of purpose. Without a feeling of purpose, you can easily start to feel that life is monotonous and boring, and this can lead to a feeling of depression. Everyone needs to feel there is a purpose to their life.
Types of Goals
There are two types of goals you can set for yourself: short term goals and long term goals.
Short Term Goals
Short term goals are ones you are aiming to complete in under a year. Some examples of short term goals include:
- Learning Something New
- Losing Weight
- Completing a Project
- Changing a Bad Habit
Long Term Goals
Long term goals are ones you would like to complete at some point in the future. These have a time frame of over a year. Some examples of long-term goals include:
- Buying a House
- Taking a Dream Vacation
- Career Goals
- Saving a Certain Amount of Money
Areas of Life
There are several major areas of life that you may want to think about when dreaming about the future and deciding what you want out of life. These include:
This includes your relationship with God, making a difference, charity, etc. Perhaps you want make attending church regularly or completing a Bible study a goal. Or maybe you have had your eye on a charity that you would love to raise money for. Anything you want to achieve in your spiritual life would go in this category.
Health related goals include things like losing weight, bettering your nutrition, sleep, etc. You may want to lose 100 lbs. or run a marathon. If it is related to your physical well-being then put it in this category.
Think about your relationships with your family, friends, business associates, etc. You may want to strengthen the relationship with your parents or your children. The goal may be to have a weekly date night with your spouse or a monthly outing with your friends. Maybe you would like to meet more people and make new friends. If it relates to relationships this is where it goes.
This is my favorite category. This is where most of your dreaming goes. This includes material possessions, recreational activities, dream trips and experiences, etc.
Do you have a particular level you would like to reach in your career? A dream job? Perhaps you want to start your own business or achieve a certain sales volume. This is category for anything that has to do with your career.
The financial area of your life includes your income, net worth, debt management, etc. Do you want to make a certain amount of money? Do you want to have certain kinds of investments? You might have a large amount of debt you want to pay off. Think about what your current financial picture is and where you want it to be.
Personal growth includes skills, education, training, etc. I also include mental health and habits in this category. You may need to work on your confidence or your attitude. Or, perhaps, you have some bad habits you would like to change. Is there something you want to learn or a way you want to grow? This is the area to focus on for those things.
Tips for Achieving Your Goals
Write Out Your Goals
Writing your goals down on paper helps to solidify them in your mind. You can write them out on a computer, but I recommend handwriting them at least once. There is a big connection that takes place between your hand and your mind. It’s hard to explain but it is amazing how much you take to heart when you handwrite it. After you write them out, tape them up somewhere you will see them every day. Consistently seeing your goals in front of you will push you to achieve them that much faster.
Break Them Down
Once you have your goals written out, break them down into doable chunks. It can be hard to see a big goal, like saving up for a down payment on a house, and not feel overwhelmed. Start by breaking it down into main steps and then break those steps down further if you need to. Break them down as far as you need to in order to make them feel easy and manageable.
For example, you may break down your goal of saving up for a down payment into small chunks of saving up $500 a month. That could be further broken down into saving a certain amount from each paycheck to equal that $500 a month. Saving a smaller amount will feel a lot more manageable in your mind but still be the right step towards the ultimate goal of saving up for a down payment.
Set a Timeframe
Setting goals doesn’t really help you if you don’t set a date for achieving them. Having a deadline encourages you to stick with your goals and work hard to achieve them. Aim for a date that seems doable but is not so far away that you start slacking. If you are the type that works best under pressure then having just enough time to complete your goal will add some of that pressure. And, if you are the type that works best using a schedule, then having just enough time will help you manage it better.
Find someone or something to keep you accountable. A friend or family member might help keep you on track if you share your goals with them. Or, just setting up small rewards for yourself or reminders on your phone and notes on your mirror might be enough to keep you on track. I, personally, share my goals with my husband but, in general, I actually find that I tend to achieve the goals that I keep to myself and find that my visions of what could be are enough to keep me going. Not everyone can do that, though. Most need someone to keep them accountable. If that is you, find someone that you trust and know will push you to succeed.
Review Your Goals Frequently
Take time to review your goals frequently. Look through your list. See where you stand and if there is something you should be doing differently to achieve them. Also evaluate whether or not those are still goals for you. It is very possible that your goals will change over time. Further, you may add new goals. I like to review my main goals every three months or so and tend to review the steps I am taking every few weeks to make sure I am on track.
Setting goals can be a fun activity as they tend to go hand-in-hand with your dreams and, as you achieve the steps to complete these goals, you get such a rush and sense of accomplishment. Even big dreams can become a realistic possibility when broken down into smaller goals. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is out of reach. Dream big, set your goals, and work the steps and you’ll be there in no time.