What goals should I set in life or rather… what goals should I set if I don’t know what I want? These are surely questions that have crossed your mind at one time or another in your life.
First of all, you should know that people who set goals are much more likely to produce the results they desire than those who simply “work hard”. It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, unemployed, or disabled, you are concerned.
But before you set goals, you need to understand the different types of goals that exist.
There are two broad categories: time-based goals and those based on different areas of your life. And these two types of goals are going to help you find the right goals for your life.
But before that, let’s ask ourselves this simple question:
What is an objective?
The question may seem ridiculous, but it is not. Let’s first look at the word “objective”. Many people believe that a goal is something extraordinary and important. That reaching a goal must be accompanied by a significant financial change, living a successful life or changing society in some way.
All of this is obviously not true.
These kinds of goals, like those mentioned earlier, are generic and impersonal. Moreover, it is often these same objectives that society or those around us unconsciously offer us. A more personal goal would be, for example, to run 1 kilometer every day if you want to lose weight, or simply to train for running.
“The reason people never achieve their goals is because they don’t define them, or don’t see them as believable or achievable.” – Denis Wailtley in The Attitude of a Winner
The mistake of setting too many goals
Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of goals you can set for yourself. However, there are only 24 hours in a day and if your goals take too long, you won’t be able to do everything.
If, for example, you want to create a new startup, this objective will spread over years and take up a lot of your time every day. In addition, because it is very complex, it will prevent you from devoting time to something else.
If your goals are simpler, you can afford to achieve several in the same day. If your objectives are or become complex, you will have to reduce this number.
We will now focus on time-based goals.
Part A: The 4 types of time-based goals
When you set a goal, the time you allow yourself to achieve it greatly influences the result you will get at the end of the day.
There are 4 types of objectives:
- life goals
- Long term goals
- Short term goals
- The springboard objectives
When people say they have “too many goals/goals” they are mostly talking about the first two: long term goals and life goals. These are the only types of goals where you have to be careful not to get overwhelmed.
Of course, if you have too many short-term goals, for example, you are also going to feel overwhelmed and you will probably fail to accomplish some of them. That said, you can always try them again later, when you better understand your personal limits.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with long-term or life goals, which will take up all your time and whose outcome will remain uncertain for a long time. It will not allow you to move on or realize your mistakes easily.
1. Life goals
Lifetime goals are goals that will take you anywhere from 10 years to your entire life to achieve.
The best way to find these life goals is to project yourself into the future, and imagine what you would like to become:
- What has your future You accomplished?
- Is he happy with what he has?
- Is he single or has he started a family?
- Does he live in ease or just comfortably?
- What do people around you say about your future You?
When you imagine the future version of yourself, you are indirectly bringing back your life goals. These are goals that you have always had in you, and that are precious to you. If you reach them, then it will allow you to make this vision of the future a reality and to transform yourself into this person.
Of course my life goals are different today than they might be in 10 or 20 years. It is normal for them to change over time. But this change will not happen quickly. Maybe 5 years from now you want to change your life goals a bit, and that’s a good thing.
For example, becoming a millionaire thanks to my own 100% natural clothing company.
These life goals encompass all the other goals you will set for yourself throughout your life. Of course, it will take both long-term and short-term goals to start taking action and moving forward today.
2. Long-term goals
These are your most powerful goals. You must set yourself a time limit to achieve them: typically between 5 and 10 years.
Remember that most people overestimate what they can do with short term goals, but underestimate what is possible with long term goals. Unlike life goals, these are more specific and require some level of planning to be able to achieve the desired result by the given deadline.
For example, having set aside €25,000 over 10 years to launch my business.
3. Short-term goals
Short-term goals…are not always very short. This can be a goal to achieve in a month, 6 months or even a year. These are goals that are supported by stepping stone goals, with the sole purpose of achieving your long-term goals or life goals.
Let’s take our previous example “having set aside €25,000 in 2026 to launch my business”. Your short-term goals may be to be able to set aside money by finishing paying your small loans by the end of the year. Or, to consume less and perhaps become a minimalist.
These short-term goals can be renewed each year (like setting aside money). Another example like paying your small credits may also require some sacrifices, but unless you have huge debts, you should be able to achieve these goals using the stepping stone goals. Likewise, going minimalist requires you to get rid of everything you don’t use or could do without.
4. Springboard objectives
These are transitional objectives. Just tell yourself that these are steps that will allow you to achieve greater goals. These are the fundamental bricks that help you build your short-term goals and then your long-term and life goals.
These are things you will do monthly, or all at once.
Still using the same example, let’s say you’re looking to set aside every month to pay off your credits, so you can set aside for your future business. A number of stepping stones will allow you to achieve this short-term goal:
- You may make a monthly budget for yourself find a side hustle to m find a side hustle to m.
- You can cycle to work instead of driving or carpooling with your colleagues.
- Sell appliances and objects that you do not need at home.
- Limit yourself on certain things: Take a cheaper phone plan, make your coffee at home rather than buying it at the coffee machine, eat out less or go to the movies less often.
This is of course not an article to manage your budget, so I will not go into detail on all the ways to save your money. You just have to understand that these stepping stone objectives, once they are clearly defined, will help you achieve your short-term objectives (whether it is to pay your credits or otherwise), as long as you are ready to put in the work. your.
Once your credits are paid, you know that you will only need to save ~€210/month over 10 years to obtain your €25,000 and launch your business.
Not setting enough goals
We’ve talked about the mistake of setting too many goals, and here’s the reverse. Not setting enough goals. Because yes, not setting enough goals is problematic in itself. Take for example John.
Jean wants to progress in his career. He then sets a lot of short-term goals for his long-term goal, which is to have a better job within 5 years.
Its short-term objectives are:
- Increase sales by 20% for next year.
- Read 3 leadership/personal development books per month for a year.
- Train in sales in your field of activity.
- Learn communication tools like the Gordon method, to motivate yourself and become more efficient at work.
- Get a promotion before the end of the year.
These are all great goals, and John might even get his promotion and hit his sales numbers. Despite everything… all this is only about work! Where is the rest?
Indeed Jean has no relational goals, nor goals for his health, nor spiritual or passions, in short you see the picture.
Jean would therefore need to be a little more balanced in his goals if he wants to lead a serene and fulfilled life. Which brings us to the 6 goal areas.
Part B: The 6 Goal Areas in Your Life
“the wheel of life” in coaching explains that we are all made up of several major “categories” in our lives. We can then choose to concentrate a few goals in a single category, or put one objective in each. It all depends on your priorities as an individual.
That said, to be “balanced” you should diversify your goals a bit, and not focus on just one area. Either way, the final decision is yours and yours alone. Don’t let anyone dictate your goals.
Here it is not simply a question of cutting a cake and putting equal parts in each section, but rather of making your choices according to your life. The important thing is still not to completely neglect a part, but some may be more important than others depending on your values.
So take the time you need to define your goals and break them down into these categories. These goals in these different areas are connected to time-related goals. For example, “In the short term what would I like to achieve in the area of my health / finances / etc?”
1. Career goals
This is mainly what people think about when setting goals. These are the first things that come to mind when you think about your goals, among the different areas of your life.
Career goals are for example:
- Get promoted
- Changing jobs within the same job
- Change career
- Improve your communication
- Get a specific prize/reward
- Start your own business
- Find a second hustle to supplement your income.
- Become an expert in branch X or Y
- Increase your creativity
- Make more money for you and your business
2. Financial goals
Here is another well-known area. Many people want to make more money and are willing to take their time to make it happen. To achieve your financial goals, you will need to budget, change your spending habits, save as much as you can, and luckily earn more money.
As an aside, France is a country that would be in Orange (and in transition to Green) on the Dynamic Spiral. It is therefore natural that the majority of French people are interested in the first two areas (career and finance).
Financial goals include:
- Contribute to your retirement
- Become owner
- Repay your home loan
- Any major purchase
- Have money on hand for emergencies
- Have no more debts
- Save enough money to change jobs and do what you love (even if it pays you less)
3. Personal goals
Personal goals are those that will make you a better person. This is not a value judgment. For example, knowing only one language is not a problem. But if you feel you need to learn another language, then it will become a goal for you to improve.
Understand that it is a question here of evolving in what you want to evolve, and not of following standards.
Personal goals include:
- Learn a foreign language
- Write a book
- learn to read faster
- Learn new skills
- Read more books/articles on a topic of your choice
- Create a blog or online course
- Improve your body language / self-confidence
- Start a morning routine
- Improve your behavior in certain situations
- Travel/Visit certain countries or destinations
Educational objectives are related to learning. When you were (or still are) in school / university, learning is essential to be able to embark on the career you have decided on. Later in life, it doesn’t seem as important.
However, you are mistaken if you think that at 50, you have nothing more to learn in your field. Educational goals often intersect with personal and career goals. But after-school educational goals mostly focus on what you need to know for your career/job/future job.
As this can vary greatly depending on the careers pursued, I will not list the various educational goals that you may want to achieve.
4. Physical/health goals
Common objectives in this area are:
- Keep your vital signs average (blood pressure, cholesterol…)
- Stay lean and active
- Exercising regularly
- Achieve a fitness goal
- Maintain your immune system at its maximum potential
- Sleep enough at night to be fit during the day
- Live forever. Or at least live healthy until you die
5. Spiritual goals
What can you do to give meaning to your life? This may be for religious purposes, or to contribute to society or the world at large. It can include anything beyond yourself and those around you.
Spiritual goals can be:
- Volunteer regularly
- Pray in a place of worship
- Be more aware of the world around you
- Teach a student
- Meditate daily
- Give money to the needy
6. Relationship Goals
Relationship goals are pretty clear to everyone. These are the goals that you set for your entourage and your friends mainly.
Some relationship goals:
- Meet friends / Hang out with friends regularly
- Make time for your children/spouse
- Have more free time
- Spend more time with family
- find your better half
- Have children
- Save for your children’s goals
- Maintain a good relationship with your parents
The final word
Now you know a little more about your different types of goals, and maybe that has even lifted the veil on what you would like to become.
Take a moment to take stock of your 4 types of time-based goals as well as those in different areas of your life. I repeat myself, but it is essential to take the time to clarify your objectives. They should not be fuzzy or vague in your mind, but precise and fixed in time.
Indeed “Earning money” is not an objective, while “Earning 200€ more per month before a year” is one.
So, what goals do you plan to start this year :)?