As someone who is constantly thinking about moving forward & upward in life, I have always been quite big on setting goals 🎯
Monthly challenges, New Year's resolutions, getting new “personal bests” during workouts - that all was and still is a big part of my life.
However, in the middle of setting my random goals whenever I felt like it, I often felt a bit confused and not sure of what I really wanted to do with my life and what are the things most important for me. Sounds familiar? I thought so.
I mean I get it - no-one really has it all figured out, especially in their teens and early twenties. But as time goes on, you kind of feel the need to “set the plan straight” and have a clear “roadmap” on how to get to where you want to be 🙌🏼
Sometimes it is not only you who wants to make a sense of where you are headed - your peers, family and the society as a whole often “pressures” you into thinking about these things as well.
And that is not necessarily a bad thing as long as all your choices are made by you and are in line with your higher purpose ✨
My Experience On Setting Life Goals
In this blog post I am going to share my personal experience on setting life goals.
As I I know that it can be quite a challenging and confusing process in the beginning, sharing my experience is my way of giving you some ideas on how to start.
Although I had the opportunity to be part of a personal development program while I was setting my life goals - I am very confident in the fact that anyone who has previously considered doing this will be able to set goals on his own as well 💯
Thus, I am not in any way advertising any self development programs/courses throughout this article.
Where To Start?
When I realized that I finally need to “set the plan straight” for myself, I had no idea where to begin. Not that I didn't have goals in mind, but I didn't know what would be the best way to put them down, so that I can review them, edit them if necessary and so on. I needed some kind of a system.
I sat down and started thinking about it. "Where do I see myself in 5 years?”. “Where do I see myself in 10 years?”. "Where do I see myself in 20, 30, 40 years…?”. Hmmm… Let me see… Now how the hell would I know that? 🧐
Maybe one of the main reasons I could not think of my goals this way was because of my “short-term” way of thinking. I hated the idea of planning something for “the future” instead of “the now”. And maybe I just didn't want to think of myself getting so old along the way?
Either way - this option wasn't really working for me. I needed a different approach to this life goal setting process. Something a bit more structured. It was time to reach out to good old Google for some much needed suggestions 🔍
Setting Life Goals For The 12 Key Areas Of Life
Google didn't let me down. Shortly after typing in a few relevant keywords in the Google search bar, I was officially enrolled in an online self development course which was called something along the lines of “The Book Of Life”.
Although it wasn't my initial plan on how I though I will go through this whole “life goal setting process” - if life (Google) throws you an opportunity - why not take it?
“The Book of Life” advertised itself as one of the most powerful and profound personal development programs everyone should do, and after completing the course I would walk out with a personalized blueprint of life goals for 12 key areas of life.
“Yes, that is exactly what I need!” I though to myself and was ready to jump right in 🤩
I really liked the idea of thinking of my life goals in terms of different categories (aka "key areas of life"). This way I would have a structured overview of goals that I would be easily able to come back to.
How To Set Goals?
Now let me tell you a little bit about how this program was set up, as it will give you great advice on how to start the process of setting your goals.
In it's essence, it was a 12-week personal development program where each week was devoted to setting goals for a particular key area of life.
Each week you would watch a video about 1 key area of life. Two mentors - one female and one male (the founders of the program) shared their insights about each topic, explained why it is relevant and shared some ideas of what kind of “goals” in this area could be applicable.
Now I would say that “setting goals” is not really the best way to characterize this process, although in its essence it is just that. Here are the main steps that were part of this process:
Step 1: The Vision
First of all, you need to think about what is important for you in regards to the particular key area of life, what are your beliefs (both good and bad) about it and what would this area of life look like if it was your “perfect life scenario” 💫
They called it “The Vision”. Here you basically needed to think about what would you be like at your very best? How would this “best version of you” look like?
In some cases it is not as easy and straight forward as it seems, as you really have to “dive deep” into yourself to find answers to some of these often uncomfortable questions.
It is always good to split bigger life goals into smaller bits, just so you can see all the different aspects that go into it.
It is also a good idea to make goals as measurable/precise as possible (e.g. I want to weight xxx kg, I want to make xxx amount of money a month, I want to finish studying by the age of xxx and so on).
Step 2: Motivation
Once you go through that, you need to write down your motivation for why these things matter to you.
Motivation is a super important aspect here. Without motivation you don't really have the drive to go out there and make things happen, and all your life goals will stay just that - written on a piece of paper without any intention to make them into reality.
Let's say one of your life goals is to “Have great physical health and a fit body”. That's a great goal, but why do you need that? What is the motivation for getting fit and having great physical health?
An example of motivation would be the ability to do things - participate in different sports activities and practice hobbies that make you happy. Or maybe you want to have a fit body in order to attract the opposite sex? Or maybe your main motivation for keeping up with your physical health is to be a great example for your children?
Whatever it may be - you need to know what motivates you to keep that fire burning! 🔥
Step 3: Actionable Steps
Once you split the “life goals” into smaller bits and parts, you also need to make a list of actionable steps that you need to do in order to reach them.
Let's continue with the same example about physical health and fit body. Let's say that a fit body means that you need to weight between 75-80 kg. And let's say that currently you weight 85 kg. What actionable steps you need to take in order to reach your target weight?
Some good examples of actionable steps in this case would be:
- Decrease sugar consumption 🔻
- Walk at least 10 000 steps a day 👣
- Go to the gym 3 times/week 💪🏼
- Decrease alcohol consumption 🚫
Step 4: Affirmations
Last but not least you have to write down affirmations. To “affirm” is to state that something is true. When applied to the spiritual life, an affirmation is a statement of truth which one aspires to absorb into his life.
Affirmations help purify our thoughts and restructure the dynamic of our brains, in other words: you are what you think you are. Your job in terms of affirmations is to constantly repeat them day to day until you reach a point where it becomes the reality.
Get Inspired By Others
Throughout the 12-week period we also had group coaching sessions with both founders of the program every week. During these we would discuss one of the key areas of life, our progress in terms of setting our goals for this area and any obstacles we had encountered along the way.
For me these calls for one of the best aspects of the program. Both founders were very knowledgeable and helped us navigate through the whole process. Hearing their stories (from both male and female perspectives) and other people's experiences was super inspiring and motivating 👍🏼
Here I can definitely advise you to talk about life goals with your friends, family, peers and colleagues. At the end of the day - we all have goals and dreams! Maybe you will hear something that will inspire you as well!
The 12 Key Areas Of Life
Let’s briefly explore these 12 categories of life in which it would be essential to map out your life goals and vision.
Although some areas of life might not be as important to you at the moment (e.g. setting goals for parenthood if you are unsure if you even want to have children in the first place), it is still important to start thinking about these and understand where you stand.
And don't be afraid to add more “key areas of life” if you feel like it - find what works for you!
- Body, Health and Fitness – What is your vision when it comes to your visual appearance and health? What do you want to look like? 💪🏼
Brain & Intellectual life 🧠 – How would you characterize the quality of your thoughts? Are you constantly developing yourself and gaining new knowledge? What about your memory, problem solving skills, creativity?
- Emotional Life – Where would you like your energy and happiness levels to be? How would you like to feel throughout your day? Do you let your emotions take control of your life?
Personality & Character – What values and beliefs drive you? What characterizes you? What characteristics would you like to have and what kind of a person you aspire to be?
- Spiritual Life – What is your relationship with yourself and your soul? What role does spirituality play in your life? What personal spiritual practices would you like to maintain or begin? ✨
- Love ❤️ Relationships – Who do you want to be with? What kind of partner do you want to be? What type of life do you want to live with your partner?
- Parenting Vision – What was growing up like for you? How do you want to parent your children? What values do you want to instill in them?
- Friends & Social Life – What types of friendships would you like to establish? What kind of friend would you like to be? What kind of people are around you?
- Financial Life – What is your relationship with money like? 💵 Do you despise it or see it as a “tool”? How much money would you like to make or save? How would you like to see money flow to you?
- Career - What are your career goals and dreams? What would you like to do? Where would you like to work or be employed?
- Lifestyle - How does you daily life look like? Where would you like to live? What would you like your home or car to look like? Where and how often would you like to travel? 🛩️
- Life vision - What do you see as your grand contribution to yourself, your community, or your planet? What is your life about?
Now although this is just a quick summary of the 12 key areas of life, in reality all of them go much more deeper and there are a lot more things to think about. Feel free to explore each topic in depth online or find relevant books to gain more information.
In addition to writing down the vision, motivation, action steps and affirmations to these 12 key areas of life, it is also advised to print out images and visuals associated with these areas and create a so called “Vision Board” as you go along.
Collect pictures 📷, magazine clippings, words, and quotes that visually affirm your goals and dreams. Anything that inspires and motivates you! You can create a big poster, pin images on a notice board or paste the visuals straight into your notebook.
If you are not really into arts and crafts, another option would be to create the ultimate vision board digitally by using Pinterest or by simply downloading images from the Internet and placing them in a folder on your computer.
Just remember - the idea is that you see the vision board as often as possible. It is there to inspire you and remind you of what your dream life looks like.
Why should you do this? Well overall it is a fun exercise that can get you really inspired and motivated. But most importantly - seeing these constant visual reminders is how your subconscious mind stays focused on your goals. Don't underestimate the power of visualization.
Doing this amazing 12 week self development program was an overall very beneficial experience 🙌🏼
Never before had I taken a deep dive into the 12 key categories this way and I walked out with my personalized “blueprint for life”, a clear vision, and purpose.
I am so happy that now I have a physical notebook (yes, I wrote down all of my goals, motivations and affirmations by hand) that I can pick up and read through anytime I feel the need to do so.
Although I would advise you to write them down on a piece of paper (as I do believe in the power of "pen and pencil"), if you think that writing your goals on a computer is more convenient - go for it! Whatever works for you!
To be completely honest - the goal setting process hasn't stopped. As time passes by - some of the goals get checked off the list, while some simply don't make any sense to me anymore ✅
Life throws new opportunities at you every day. As it is unpredictable and you have to constantly adopt, your goals and vision will change along as you go.
If you feel like this is something you would like to do as well - I would encourage you to give it a shot! It will take some time and effort - but it will be worth it!
I highly recommend it if you’re looking for greater confidence, clarity, and direction in building your bigger future. Good luck and enjoy the process!