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Life Goals: The Complete Guide

Everything You Need to Know About Setting Life Goals


Introduction to Life Goals

You’re on a popular game show and it’s your last turn to spin the prize wheel. You walk over to the giant wheel and spin it with all your strength. You hold your breath in suspense as you watch the needle stop just as it reaches the jackpot slot. You’re ecstatic when you discover that you have just won the Grand Prize Life Package! This package gives you the life you want, from the people you want to be around to anything that you want in any location in the world.

What would be in your package? Where would your prize take you? How would this prize change your life? Your answers to these questions can help you discover your most important life goals.

What Are Life Goals?

Life goals reflect our purposes in life, as well as our various objectives. They are the driving force behind everything that we do, and they are the most important things that we want to accomplish. Your goals in life are often found in list form, detailing everything that someone wants to do before they die or reach a certain age. These are commonly referred to as “bucket lists,” which have become extremely popular over the last several decades.

Life goals include the things that we want people to remember us for after we’re gone. They comprise the legacy that we want to leave behind for the generations that follow. They are the things that come to mind when we dare to dream. Put simply, life goals are the things we want to do, be, and have that are most important to us.

Do I Need Life Goals?

Life goals are much more than just targets that we shoot for throughout our lives. They are vital to the quality and direction of our lives, determining where we’re going next and where we will end up further down the line.

Goals help keep us focused while providing clarity into what it is that we want most. They make us more determined to get to where we want to be and experience the things that we most desire. They open up our sense of resourcefulness, which gives us the drive to find new ideas, support systems, and tools such as technology, consultants, coaches, and innovative thinking.  When you’re feeling stuck or lost in life, having life goals aligns you with your own personal true north.

Goals help us channel our energy into getting what we want, and they prevent us from wasting our time on anything that takes us in the opposite direction of what we are seeking. Personal goals can also keep us accountable, which makes us responsible for ourselves and our future. This puts the power and control back into our hands and allows us to guide our lives in any direction that we choose. No dream is too big when goals are strategically set.

Most importantly, our goals in life help us to be the best possible version of ourselves, and they ensure that we live the life of our ever-expanding dreams.

Who Sets Life Goals?

Anybody can set goals in life, and most people do set them throughout their lives. The techniques and methods that you use to set and pursue life goals will ultimately determine whether they are successful or not. Personal goals that are successfully accomplished generally contain four qualities:

  1. They are clear
  2. They are highly organized
  3. They are measurable
  4. They have a set time frame (they have deadlines)

A life goal is clear when it is specific, can be explained easily, and the person who is setting it understands why they want it. Understanding why you want to achieve a personal goal provides greater clarity about your objective, as well as the road to achieving it.

Organization is essential when it comes to setting your goal and striving towards it. It must be planned in a logical manner that works with your time frame and your daily schedule. If your actions and intentions are haphazard, you will waste more time and get less done.

Measurable life goals allow you to track your progress and milestones. These elements work together to help you reach your desired goal in a way that makes the entire process easier and more satisfying. Your personal goal can be measured in any way as long as it relates to your desired outcome. For example, if you want to run a marathon, your goal may be to run twenty-six miles in three hours. When you quantify your outcome, it becomes easier to break it down and incrementally work towards what you want to achieve.

Goals that have a time frame, or deadline, in mind add even more effectiveness to your organization. Setting up a time frame for your goals helps you to figure out the speed in which smaller goals must be met in order to achieve your overall goal. Deadlines tell you where you need to be in your progress and when, and they provides more motivation while pushing you to work harder.

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Setting Life Goals

Choosing the right goals is the first step on the path to getting what you really want in life, but simply knowing what your goals are is not enough. There are several techniques used in goal setting and achievement that can make the difference between reaching your goals and becoming discouraged and giving up.Working with a life coach can help you understand every component of setting life goals, but here are a few important things to know about when working on them alone:

Writing Goals Down

Writing goals down is an effective strategy for a multitude of reasons. It brings your goal into the realm of reality where you can see it, think about it, and can be reminded of it regularly. It also helps to activate the brain and ready it to seek out any information or ideas that would help you achieve your stated goal. Writing your goal down sometimes leads you to share your goal with others, which can help to keep you accountable and motivated. Writing your goal in the present, or as if it has already happened, is a good exercise that can motivate you and prepare you for the rewards that are coming to you. An example list of personal goals written in the present are:

  • I make $150,000 a year
  • I am buying a three bedroom condo downtown
  • I landed a job that pays me 20% more than my previous job
  • I spend at least four hours of quality time with my family every weekend


Writing goals down in this way can keep you on track and focused through each phase as you work toward your desired outcome.

Main Goals and Sub Goals

Goals can always be broken down into smaller and smaller parts. There are primary goals, which are the major and most important goals in your life, and there are sub goals, which are the goals that are created when the main goals are broken down. Sub goals are found within the primary goals and are typically smaller and more manageable.

Breaking down your goals is an essential part of goal achievement. It is much harder to believe that you can achieve large goals than it is to believe that you can achieve smaller, more incremental goals. Using the marathon example from before, imagine that you want to run a marathon in three hours, but you can barely run a mile.The goal of running a marathon may seem to provide an insurmountable challenge, which is why you start with a one-mile run, followed by a two-mile run, and so forth.

Achieve Your Goals and Go Beyond

It is always best to focus on as few goals as possible at a time. The fewer goals you have in front of you, the more energy and attention you can give to achieving each one. It is preferable that you focus on no more than three goals at a time so that you can get results faster and avoid burnout. The key to living the life of your dreams and being a highly successful person is to never stop.When you’re getting ready to finish up with one goal, prepare to start on the next. Keep moving, and keep building upon your goals. You should always be in pursuit of at least one goal in life.

Major Life Areas for Goal Setting

Most people don’t go through life with only one goal. People sometimes have main goals that are more important than others, but they typically set goals that cover all areas of life.

It is healthier to have goals that relate to each of the different parts of your life and not just one area such as career, relationships, or money. Multi-faceted goals help you maintain balance, reduce stress, and maximize the prosperity and enjoyment that you experience in your life.

Personal Development Goals

Personal development goals not only cover any mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual desires that you have, but also anything else that helps you improve yourself.

Mental goals are related to thinking, focus, intelligence, education, and overall peace of mind.

Emotional goals relate to how you feel. These goals are focused on emotional stability, moods, emotional expression, happiness, and more. Any goal that is focused on the way you feel is an emotional goal. Physical goals relate to the way you look and feel physically. These include health goals, fitness goals, and appearance and style goals. They are any goals that improve the way you look or the functionality of your body.

Spiritual goals encompass a wide variety of needs and desires, but they typically relate to the non-physical aspects of ourselves and life after death. Spiritual goals can be religious goals, meditation goals, and goals that help you find a deeper understanding of the world and life. Achieving your spiritual goals can make life more fulfilling and can, in turn, provide you with greater mental and emotional support.

To help you gather some more ideas for your own personal development goals, here is an example list of personal goals:

  • Meditate for fifteen minutes a day for a year
  • Go to church every Sunday for a year
  • Run four miles every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a year
  • Read every book written by Jane Austen within the next four months
  • Win the chess club championship title next year
  • Complete a master’s degree in business within the next four years


Some of these goals are more specific than others, but they are all good examples of the types of personal development goals that can be seen on life goal lists.

Family and Relationship Goals

Family and relationship goals are goals that deal with the people you spend your time with and how you interact with others. These includes marriage, children, parents, friends, and your social life as a whole.

You can set goals to improve your existing relationships as well as goals for establishing new ones. For example, you can make it a goal to spend more time with your spouse, and to be more specific, you can set a goal to spend an evening out with your husband or wife once a week. If you are not married and want to be, you can set a goal to be married within the next three years. This will not guarantee that you will be married by your deadline, but it will definitely have an impact on your actions and behaviors. As a result of setting your goal, you may start dating more and proactively seeking out people who fit the qualities of your ideal mate.

Similarly, you can set goals to spend more time with your children, parents, and friends, or you can set a goal to make friends with people who are supportive and positive. Remember, the more specific your goal, the higher chance of success you will have.

Here is an example list of family and relationship goals:

    • Call your best friend once a week
    • Take your kids camping every summer for five years in a row
    • Go on at least one date every month
    • Visit your parents at least three times a year

  • Attend a social event and meet new people once every three months

Career and Financial Goals

Goals in these categories tend to be on the forefront of many people’s life goal lists. That’s because most people spend a significant amount of time tending to their careers and they spend the majority of their week at work. On the financial side, monetary income greatly affects the quality of life that people experience. People with high incomes tend to enjoy more luxuries than those who fall into a lower income bracket. Some examples of career goals include getting a promotion, finding a new job, and gaining new clients. Small career goals can also go a long way in producing greater results and improving the satisfaction that you get from your work life. Examples of smaller career goals include increasing your sales, working more hours, and taking on new responsibilities.

Financial goals deal strictly with income and money management. These goals relate to the amount of money that you make, how it is spent, and how much is saved. Examples of financial goals include increasing your earnings, saving a certain percentage of income, earning money from investments, and making budget cuts in different areas. These goals should be time sensitive and specific in order to ensure maximum success.

Here are a few more specific examples of career and financial goals:

    • Increase your work productivity by 20% over the next three months
    • Make an extra $10,000 by the end of the year
    • Apply to three higher paying positions every six months
    • Save 10% of your income for the next five years

  • Pay off your mortgage within the next seven years

Community Goals

What do you want to give back to your community? What legacy do you want to leave behind after you are gone? Community goals have to do with what you are giving and sharing with others, as well as what you create that benefits those around you. These types of goals deepen our relationships with our communities and are crucial to personal growth and fulfillment.

Some examples of community goals include volunteering at local organizations, helping clubs raise funds, starting your own non-profit organization from scratch, and offering free services to the public. Working with a professional such as a community leader or an online life coach can help you discover what you can do to give back to others.

Here’s an example list of community goals:

    • Mentor a teen for five years
    • Bathe dogs at animal shelters every other Saturday
    • Volunteer at city gatherings twice a year
    • Help charity organizations raise money by donating groceries for bake sales

  • Play guitar for senior citizens every month for three years


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Setting Expectations

There are various things that you can expect when diving into any of your goals. The key is to get acquainted with these expectations, so that you can accomplish your goals more easily and you’ll know what to do if something gets in your way.Nothing can prevent you from successfully completing your goals when you are equipped with the right knowledge and tools.

Establishing Realistic Timetables

Don’t set an epic goal and make the coming weekend your deadline. You never want to set up a time frame that puts too much pressure on you and leaves you without enough time to accomplish the tasks before you. This will only discourage you, stress you out, and leave you without you sufficient time to carry out your plans.The bigger the goal, the more time you should allow yourself to achieve it. You don’t want to go crazy with super long-term goals, but you definitely don’t want to cut yourself off with an overly strict deadline.

Overcoming Obstacles and Roadblocks

Sometimes obstacles and roadblocks will appear unexpectedly on your path to achieving your goals. These obstacles can either discourage you or teach you. The first option will lead you to slow your progress, or worse, give up altogether. On the other hand, if you analyze the obstacles that you face, you will likely discover something that needs to change in your life. You may discover things that need to be different in your routine and or that need to be cut out completely. These things can be actions, habits, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and even relationships.

Obstacles don’t show up to challenge you. They appear when you’ve overlooked a potential problem or when there is something that needs to be done. They usually show you a missing step in your process, making them more beneficial than detrimental. People often prevent themselves from accomplishing their goals because they perceive obstacles as giant red STOP signs. This could not be further from the truth.

When we overcome obstacles we always end up smarter, better, and more motivated than we were before. We can easily use our obstacles to our advantage if we are determined and open minded. Life coaches are often great at helping people find ways through their obstacles by examining what needs to change and working with the information that the obstacle provides.

Staying Flexible and Making Adjustments

If a goal is not working out for you, it’s okay to leave it behind. This doesn’t mean that you should walk away from something that you really want when the going gets tough. It simply means that people are always growing and changing, and we don’t need to waste time chasing yesterday’s dreams if today’s dreams will make us happier.

However, most of the time you won’t need to change your goals entirely, but instead alter your strategies for achieving them.You may want to edit the sub-goals or the organization of the goal plan as a whole, or you may want to change the activities that you include on your daily to-do lists. Being stubborn will not serve you when it comes to achieving what you desire, because you’ll be prevented from learning new things that can enhance your current goal plan.

How a Life Coach Can Help

Life coaches can help you succeed in many areas, but they are particularly adept when it comes to setting goals. They are experienced in examining and planning goals and can help you set up appropriate time frames, measurements, and activities for reaching your goals. They are also great at keeping clients motivated and cheering them on when the journey gets tough. Life coaches can help you by giving you the confidence that you need to be successful.

Most importantly, a life coach can help you figure out exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life and how you can be the happiest that you can be. You have greatness to share – don’t settle for less. A life coach can help you discover your heart’s true desires and guide you down the road to the life of your dreams.


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