Whether you have small dreams or lofty expectations, setting goals allows you to plan how you want to move through life. Some achievements can take a lifetime to attain, while others can be completed in the course of a day. Whether you’re setting broad overarching goals or planning specific manageable goals, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
Determine your life goals
Ask yourself some important questions about what you want for your life. What do you want to achieve: today, in a year, in your lifetime? The answers to this question can be as general as “I want to be happy,” or “I want to help people.
Break the big picture down into smaller and more specific goals
Consider areas of your life that you either want to change or that you feel you would like to develop with time. Areas might include career, finances, family, education, or health. Begin to ask yourself questions about what you’d like to achieve in each area and how you would like to approach it within a five-year time frame.
Write goals for the short term
Now that you know roughly what you want to accomplish within a few years, make concrete goals for you to begin working on now. Give yourself a deadline within a reasonable time frame (no more than a year for short-term goals).
- Writing your goals will make them harder to ignore, consequently making you accountable for them.
- To become fit, your first goals may be to eat more vegetables and to run a 5k.
Make your goals specific
When setting goals, they should answer the highly specific questions of who, what, where, when, and why. For each specific goal you make, you should ask yourself why it is a goal and how it helps your life goals.
Create measurable goals
In order for us to track our progress, goals should be quantifiable. “I’m going to walk more” is far more difficult to track and measure than “Every day I’m going to walk around the track 16 times.” Essentially, you’ll need a few ways of determining if you’re reaching your goal.
At any given moment, you have a number of goals all in different states of completion. Deciding which goals are more important or time-sensitive than others is crucial. If you find yourself with too many goals, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and are less likely to accomplish them.
Keep track of your progress
Writing in a journal is a great way to keep track of both personal and professional progress. Checking in with yourself and acknowledging the progress made towards a certain goal is key to staying motivated. It may even encourage you to work harder.
Keep setting goals
Once you have achieved goals—even major life goals—you will want to continue to grow and set new goals for yourself.