How to Set Life Goals

For most people, setting goals is a necessity in order to get things done, especially when one is dealing with multiple tasks and multiple ambitions. Some people are lucky, and seem to be able to set and keep goals in their heads, whether consciously or unconsciously. But most of us regular folk need to write them down--and then learn how to monitor and keep them. Whether you're a sales representative, a homemaker, self-employed, a CEO, a high schooler or a professional football player, effectively setting goals makes it far more certain that you will become a real achiever. Here is how it is done.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Highlighter


    • 1

      Find a piece of blank paper and a pencil. Look at the blank paper and think for a moment--you are about to put some of your great dreams and ambitions down on this piece of paper.

    • 2

      Write the word "Goals" on the top of the page, then use a highlighter to draw a box that extends about a quarter way down the page. Label the box "Life Dreams" and proceed to list some of your life's greatest ambitions and desires. Be sure to include goals that span the realms of relationships, career, spirituality, physical fitness and mental fitness (collectively, these are the "Five Categories"). Understand that there are "Two Rules." First, your goals must be measurable (for example, "I want to climb all seven of the world's Seven Summits"), and second, your goals must be dated (for example, "I want to climb all seven of the world's Seven Summits by December 31, 2020").

    • 3

      Underneath your highlighted box of Life Dreams, write a set of goals for the next 30 days. These are your warm-up, short-term goals. It is fitting that they be situated underneath your Life Dreams; only as you work on the small things will you be able to accomplish the great ones. Additionally, your short-term goals should ultimately lead to your Life Dreams. Remember the Five Categories, and remember the Two Rules.

    • 4

      Underneath your one-month goals, write goals for the next six months. Again, remember the Five Categories and the Two Rules.

    • 5

      Underneath your six-month goals, list your one-year goals. Make sure all Five Categories are represented and that the Two Rules apply.

    • 6

      Draw a box next to each goal. Check the box after you have completed the goal. You should know exactly when you have completed the goal since each goal is measurable.

    • 7

      Put your goals in a visible place (in a planner, on your desk, on the fridge) and consult them daily, if only for a minute or two. Decide now when you will consult your goals each day, and make this habitual.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't set your short-term goals too high--or too low. They must be achievable, but they should push you, too. As you set goals regularly, you'll become better acquainted with the types of goals that push you well.
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  • Photo Credit Photo by Elvis Santana.

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