If you’re reading an article on life goals, chances are, you’re among those want to improve yourself and live a meaningful life. And setting life goals is exactly how you do it.
But setting life goals isn’t an easy task. Before you sit down and start randomly writing out a list, you’ll need to know what exactly your key objectives are. Why? Those overall long-term goals will support your life goals! And your life goals will help you reach your life mission.
Short Term Goals -> Long Term Goals -> Life Goals -> Life Mission Statement
Goals that support what you want to accomplish as your “mission here on this earth” is no small matter. We’d like to offer some help as you navigate this deep topic. Let’s dive right in.
What are Life Goals?
Life goals are simply the desires people seek to live up to, maintain, and/or avoid altogether. When we set goals, we see the future and we’re planning to get there. Your life goals are that plan! Then comes the hard part, committing to achieve the desired results.
Our lives are complex. They’re made up of many different parts. And setting goals is an important part of what it means to make the most of your life. Reaching them is super rewarding and can even lead to a greater sense of purpose and meaning.
Your overall life goals should take into consideration the main areas of your life, not just one area like “financial” or “health.” Here are seven main areas of your life to consider:
- Family and Relationships
- Spiritual/Life Philosophy
Developing life goals that incorporate more of these components will lead to more powerful results.
How Life Goals Are Different from Long-Term Goals
Life goals are what you want to accomplish in life. They’re the overall big picture goals. Your long-term goals will help support the big picture.
For instance, let’s say you’re a research scientist. “To become known as an expert in the field of research science” is a life goal. A long-term goal that would support it could be to get an advanced degree or write a book and speak about research science. To break it down even further, a short-term goal might be to write a chapter a month on the topic, attend one conference every 90 days, or to practice your public speaking with a coach.
How to Start Setting Your Life Goals
You’ve heard the old cliché: What would you want your tombstone to say? That will read like a short and sweet life mission statement, more or less. We recommend writing out a full-blown life statement (usually two well-crafted sentences or less) when you have some time.
Once you have that statement, you can start adding some actions that would need to happen to make that “tombstone statement” or “life statement” true.
Life Goals: Exercise 1
For help thinking about your goals or life statement, sit down and list out your values. What means the most to you? What are you willing to die for? What are those things you’d never give up no matter how much someone offered you? How do you want people to see you in light of your belief system? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to help before you leave this earth. Answer these questions.
Life Goals: Exercise 2
Now, jot down the names of people you admire. It can be famous celebrities or an elder in your community. Don’t censor yourself – make a good list of 10-15. Now, sit back and examine the list. Why did you write their names down? What about them makes you admire them? Chances are they have qualities, a personal brand or list of accomplishments you’d like to emulate.
SMART Life Goals
Now that you have the list of your values, things you’d like to accomplish and people you’d like to emulate, evaluate where you are and start putting together a series of actions or smaller goals that can help you become that person.
As the famous acronym goes, make your goals SMART. Specifically, SMART stands for:
S – Specific
Be as specific as possible when writing your goals, down to the nitty-gritty! Generic goals won’t go anywhere.
M – Meaningful
Make sure the goals are worth pursuing. They’ve got to mean something to you! Not a spouse, another relative, or a friend. It’s got to be personal.
A – Achievable
Don’t set goals that are too lofty. You want to dream big, but can you see yourself reaching the goal? Are you serious about putting in the commitment to reaching it, over a given period of time? A goal without commitment is just a wish.
R – Relevant
Your goals need to make sense for you, to tie into your overall life plans. Will it add something meaningful to your life?
T – Time-bound
Your goals need to have time limits on them. Write out when you want to reach each goal by. That will also keep you focused!
Examples of Life Goals
Goal: Maintain a Strong, Healthy Family
Long-term goals to help reach it:
- Encourage family outings, mini-trips, or vacations.
- Get more involved in the community and make faith more of a foundation.
- Have bi-monthly date nights with your spouse.
- Gather once a year to dream together as a family.
- Have a regular game night or weekly dinner.
Goal: Commitment to Good Physical Health Stamina
Long-term goals to help reach it:
- Walk or jog twice a week.
- Work with free weights twice a week.
- Cut back on carbs and sugars.
- Limit alcohol intake to a glass of wine twice a week.
Goal: Serve in The Community Like [My Mentor] Did.
Long-term goals to help reach it:
- Volunteer to cook for the less fortunate once a week.
- Coach a summer league soccer team.
- Volunteer at a shelter or facility.
- Organize drives or donations for those in crisis situations.
These are just a few examples. Obviously, short-term goals will help you nail down some specifics, but you get the idea. There are no limits. You are free to create the best future version of you. We guarantee the world needs it.
How to Stay on Track with Your Life Goals
OK, finally – how to stay on track with your goals. 1) Write them down. 2) Break them down. These are two of the primary keys to keep you on track. If you write it down, your future self will be far more likely to take them seriously. And breaking them down into manageable daily goals will keep your life goals from feeling overwhelming.
The next step would be 3) Make them visible. Keep a written version of them somewhere you’ll see them every day. This can be a note on your fridge or bathroom mirror.
Get Help Reaching Your Life Goals with a Qualified Coach
Life goals are too important to leave to chance. They usually encompass career or professional goals, as well as relational ones that can feel overwhelming to tackle on your own. For help achieving your life and career goals, consider partnering with a professional coach from Southwestern Consulting.
Our qualified coaches provide life-changing impact, insight and accountability that help you get the most out of life. In a recent survey of those who completed 12 months or more of coaching, SWC clients reported a 58% increase in time management, 49% increase in goal-setting and 44% increase in productivity.
Wondering if coaching can help? Get a free consultation from Southwestern Consulting today! We’ll answer all your questions and let you know if coaching is right for you.
Over the past three years, I’ve had coaching calls with [my coach] every two weeks.
I’ve been tremendously blessed to see significant growth in my practice year over
year. Working with [my coach] and the Southwestern Consulting team has been one
of the best investments of my time and resources I’ve ever made.