Why you need to set life goals

Every year the company I work for develops goals that align with our corporate strategy. That is a pretty common practice in the business world. It wasn’t until about 5 years into my career when I realized… “Wait a minute. Shouldn’t I be doing this for my life?” And so I did! It was incredibly empowering. I loved the exercise so much, I built it into the Teens Leadership Program that I help out with. The students also love it and it’s my favorite part of the program to teach.

Goals keep us true to the people we want to be. It is so easy to slide into habits and routines that pull us down and hold us back. We get so ingrained into these habits before we realize that we need to change. For many people, this feeling can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Setting goals is the first step to making a change!

Step 1: Define your personal values

Reflect. Make a list of 10 things that are of the most importance to you and define what they mean to you. These should be the foundation for your vision of the person you want to be. There are hundreds of values, but I have included some common values here:

  • accountability
  • authenticity
  • awareness
  • balance
  • beauty
  • boldness
  • calmness
  • closeness
  • commitment
  • confidence
  • happiness
  • courage
  • creativity
  • determination
  • decisiveness
  • dedication
  • dignity
  • discipline
  • empathy
  • fairness
  • freedom
  • fun
  • generosity
  • gratitude
  • growth
  • happiness
  • health
  • humor
  • integrity
  • kindness
  • knowledge
  • learning
  • leadership
  • learning
  • logic
  • love
  • mindfulness
  • motivation
  • openness
  • optimism
  • organization
  • originality
  • passion
  • peacefulness
  • resilience
  • respect
  • serenity
  • significance
  • spirituality
  • stability
  • strength
  • success
  • thoughtfulness
  • trust
  • understanding
  • uniqueness
  • vision
  • wealth

Step 2: Assess the different aspects of your life.

Take a blank page of paper and draw a large circle. Then draw 4 straight lines to create a pizza shape. Each piece of the circle represents an area of your life. Pick the top 8 aspects of your life. Here are some areas of life for you to consider: family, friends, career, health, spirituality, emotional well-being, personal development and life vision. You should pick the aspects that are most relevant to you. Rate each area of your life based on how fulfilled you are by placing a dot in the middle of each piece with the center of the pizza at 0% fulfillment and the outer piece at 100% fulfillment. Once you have rated all of the areas of your life, connect all of the dots in the circle. This will highlight the areas of your life that you should consider focusing on which is incredibly important to setting your life goals!

Step 3: Create your life goals.

Start with the area of your life that you rated the highest and work your way to the areas that your rated the lowest. Reflect on why you rated each area the way you did. What would need to change to feel completely fulfilled in that area of your life? Set goals for each area. Here are some examples to get your brain churning:

Family:

  • Have dinner around the table with your immediate family 5 days a week
  • Call extended family members once a week
  • Do a family fun activity once a month

Friends:

  • Make plans with a friend once a month
  • Send messages/texts to check up on friends weekly
  • Mark friend birthdays on the calendar and send a card

Career:

  • Ask for feedback to identify strengths and opportunities
  • Organize desk and files to help with focus
  • Explore advancement opportunities with your manager

Health:

  • Workout at least twice a week for at least 30 minutes
  • Set up time with your doctor to do a physical check-up
  • Track calories and nutrients daily to ensure appropriate portions and mix of nutrients

Spirituality:

  • Join a group once a month that shares the same spiritual beliefs
  • Make time once a week to pursue further spiritual development

Emotional Well-being:

  • Make time for one self-care activity every other week
  • Find a therapist to help work through any emotional challenges
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings daily

Personal Development:

  • Find a life coach
  • Read one book a month
  • Try a new activity or deepen your involvement with a hobby by taking a class or joining a team

Life Vision:

  • Set goals annually
  • Revisit goals once a month
  • Share your life vision with your family and friends

Step 4: Write out your life goals and make them visible in your daily life.

I like to print out a copy of my goals and keep it in my daily planner (yes, I keep a planner that I carry around and you should too!) You should reflect on your life goals once a week and be sure to plan activities around the goals that you set so that you will achieve them.

Step 5: Make time on the daily to be the person you want to be.

Reflect on the personal values that you defined in step 1. Are you able to fulfill and live the things that are most important to you? For example, if you identified fun as one of your values, but you don’t make time to have fun or if you are in an environment where you cannot have fun, this would be an area where you need to do some work.

I highly recommend the book Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. This book teaches you how to build in daily habits to align the person that you want to be with your actions and behaviors. It also helped to transform me into more of a morning person. I’m not all the way there yet, but I have made so much progress!

You should revisit and develop new goals on a annual basis as a minimum. I like to do this during the holidays between Christmas and New Years. It usually gets me motivated for the new year!

I would love to hear if this works for you!

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