A Beginners Guide to Setting Life Goals
You haven’t found yourself on this page by accident. We all know what it’s like to feel lost in this crazy world and trying to decide what life goals to set can be an incredibly challenging process. One day we may feel like doing one thing only to wake up the following morning with no interest in it. In this article, we’re going to explore the very basics of setting goals in life. Rather than simply providing a list of goals, we will instead focus on a few personal goals examples. We’ll also take a look at figuring out what life goals to set, how to set them, and how to make them more manageable.
What are Life Goals?
It’s important to distinguish a life goal from your life’s purpose. Your purpose in this life may be to create a family or have a positive impact on as many people’s lives as possible. Life goals are slightly different in that they are more personal to you.
That’s not to say that your goal won’t extend beyond yourself but these goals allow for a certain degree of selfishness (if you could even call it that). We’ll touch on some examples of goals in a moment but first, let’s consider some of the problems that people have when creating these goals.
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What are your goals in life? You might dream of becoming an author, of climbing Mount Everest, watching your movie premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, or it could be something smaller like learning to play the piano or speak Spanish.
People struggle to form life goals for two main reasons: 1) they focus too much on worrying about what a life goal actually is. 2) They don’t actually have a clue about what they want to accomplish in their lifetime. Let’s address both of those issues.
We purposefully left the definition of a “life goal” vague at the start of this article. Why? Well, because creating too specific a definition closes off opportunity and sets limits for what your goals may be.
You might have 15 life goals or you might have one. It might be something you’ve always wanted to do or it might be something you’ve literally just thought of.
A life goal could be something that you have to work hard at (e.g. learning the violin) or it could be something that simply requires time and money (e.g. traveling around the world).
Life goals are different from one person to the next and it’s up to you to decide whether you aim for something small or gigantic. Neither is wrong and you shouldn’t feel ashamed that your life goal doesn’t seem as grandiose as your brother’s or friends.
Discovering your Calling
Of course, once you accept that life goals can literally be anything, the next problem is finding a goal that is important to you. This is probably the biggest problem that everyone faces when trying to create a list of goals. The best thing to do is focus on one.
Don’t worry about thinking about 2 or 5 or 13, just focus on thinking of one singular goal. Once you’ve got one, you can go from there. We’ll now take a look at some examples of goals in order to demonstrate some simple ways for you to find a goal that resonates with you. We’ll also explore how to break down your goal into more manageable steps.
Follow your Passion
The first question to ask yourself is “what am I passionate about?” As we already discussed, your goal doesn’t have to relate to the goals of your friends or family, this is one of those moments where you can consider what’s important to you and only you.
Let’s say you enjoy writing: what do you enjoy writing about? Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction? Here we have the beginnings of a life goal e.g. become an author.
However, this goal is far too vague. It’s important to break your goals down into manageable steps. For this example, we would need a starting point. It’s impossible to jump from being a casual writer to a published author simply because you wrote it down as your goal.
The first step might be to write a book or short story. It could even be something as simple as coming up with a character or plot and having friends give you feedback.
It’s all well and good to come up with your life goals but then what? Writing down your goals isn’t going to be enough to make them a reality. Once you’ve taken the first step towards your goal or even the first few steps, there’s going to come a time when you need to take action. Let’s consider another life goal: climb Mount Everest.
This is, of course, a rather ambitious one but it’s always better to aim high. If you’ve been training and researching the climb, you’ll need to practice. So your next step might be to climb a smaller mountain to test your skills.
Only through taking action that leads towards your goal can you ever hope to achieve it. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, don’t rationalize with yourself by saying that you still have plenty of time, and don’t change your goal simply because things have become more difficult.
Accept the Challenge
Following on from the last point, you need to acknowledge that your life goal isn’t always going to be easy. It’s likely to require work, training, preparation, patience, and much more. If you give up after the first hurdle then there’s ultimately going to be no point in setting a life goal in the first place.
Instead, rise up to the challenge. Set out to succeed, not to fail. When you get to the hurdle, you jump and you do the same with the next one, the next one, and the next one. If your life goals include something like running a marathon in X amount of time, then you have to get out and train.