What types of goals do you need to set in order to keep your life moving in the right direction?
We’re not talking about S.M.A.R.T. goals here since that’s more an approach to goal-setting than a specific goal type.
The goals listed in this article target different areas of your life or fit different time-frames.
Some goals you’ll have for years, while others you’ll slay in a matter of months or weeks — or even days.
But all the goal types described below are indispensable to your continued growth and to the impact you’ll make on the lives of others.
Because ultimately, your goals are not all about you.
What Are Goals?
Look up the word “goal” in a dictionary or on the internet, and you’ll probably see it defined as the “object of a person’s ambition or effort.”
A goal you set is something you want to happen badly enough to put some effort into making it happen.
If you have goals in life, you’re probably looking for ways to accomplish them more quickly.
Or maybe you’ve lost some of your mojo, and you’re looking for ways to get it back, so you can finally make something happen to your benefit or someone else’s.
Usually, if the goal is something you could accomplish within minutes or within a single day, we call it an objective, but you can also call them short-term goals or even stepping-stone goals.
And a single, larger goal could be broken down into several of these.
Consider the following examples of goals:
Why are Goals important?
A life without any goals to reach is far sadder than a life that ends before your goals are met.
If you’re not still striving for some goal when you reach the end of your life, you’ve stopped living before your time was up.
I don’t mean you always have to be doing something that gets you closer to one of your goals; we all need moments when we can just enjoy the present and not worry about whether we’re making some kind of progress.
There’s progress in those mindful moments, too.
And we need energy in order to move forward, so some moments are going to be about restoring that energy.
But the bigger picture of your life should be about continued growth, new experiences, and greater contribution.
And to keep our eyes on that greater goal, we set smaller goals that address the different areas of our lives.
Once those life goals are set, we consider what it will take and what we can do every day or every week to get closer to them.
14 Types of Goals To Set and Achieve
In the goals list below, you’ll see both time-bound goals and goals relating to a particular area of your life.
For each of the goal categories, we’ve listed some examples to give you some ideas for your own goals.
Some of the goal types will overlap, and among the goal types associated with areas of your life, some will be short-term and others long-term.
The overlap is to be expected since you can’t force a separation between the different but connected areas of your life; your performance in one area will affect all others.
Keep that in mind when setting your own goals, which should be about what you truly want — not what someone else said you should want.
Whether you call these short-term goals, objectives, or “stepping stones,” these are goals you’ll get to check off your list in the near future — probably within a year or less.
Short-term doesn’t mean “easy” or inconsequential.
Every time you set a goal and accomplish it, you build confidence and make it all the more likely that you’ll accomplish longer-term or more audacious goals.
Examples of Short-Term Goals:
These goals will take longer to accomplish, but breaking them down into more manageable, shorter-term goals makes them easier — especially when you’ve already accomplished related goals.
While we often overestimate what we can do in one year, we’re more likely to underestimate what we can accomplish in the space of three years.
So, don’t be afraid to think big, and make your long-term goals even bigger.
Examples of Long-Term Goals:
These goals relate specifically to your business and its growth and mission.
It’s perfectly normal to have goals related to bigger profit margins, less waste, and greater customer/client satisfaction.
It’s also natural and laudable to want your business and its success to go beyond material benefits and temporary satisfaction.
Whatever your aims for your business, don’t limit yourself to what you’re used to — or to what others in your industry have accomplished or tried. Think of the long-term impact you want to make with your business.
Examples of Business Goals:
These goals are about your professional growth and your impact on everyone you serve, impact, and influence.
They’re about who you want to be as a professional and how you want to earn your income, which has a lot to do with how you want to spend your time.
You already know that going after the career you really want takes initiative and the willingness to take risks and try new things.
No one gets to new places by taking the same road they’ve always taken. Keep that in mind while you brainstorm your own career goals.
Examples of Career Goals:
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These goals revolve around your relationships with family members.
Choose goals that reflect your commitment to prioritizing those relationships over less important concerns.
What could you do today, this week, this month, or this year to deepen those connections and make sure everyone in your family knows you love spending time with them?
Examples of Family Goals:
These goals have to do with your money situation and mindset.
What thoughts come to mind when you think of your financial situation? And how would you like that to change?
One of the greatest benefits of having enough money is the freedom to do what you must and also what you truly want to do.
What could you do today, this week, etcetera to improve your relationship with money?
What could you do to make better use of the money you have now?
Examples of Financial Goals:
If you’ve ever created a vision board or a mind movie with images that illustrate the life you want to live, you’ll be in great shape when it comes to brainstorming your own lifestyle goals.
Otherwise, it’s a simple matter of daydreaming plus emotion.
Imagine the life you would love to have and allow yourself to feel what you would feel if that were your present reality.
Then describe what you see, how it makes you feel, and what the person you are in this “mind movie” would do, think, and feel every day.
Examples of Lifestyle Goals:
These goals are about how you want to develop and use your intellectual gifts.
Whatever your IQ, there’s always more to learn – about yourself, about others, about the universe, etc.
So, why on earth wouldn’t you set goals to grow and contribute more in this area, too?
There will naturally be some overlap between these goals and those related to your physical health and your spiritual development since they’re connected and influence each other.
Examples of Intellectual Goals:
Personal Growth Goals
These goals are all about the person you want to be — not so you can show off your progress but so you can do more to inspire, challenge, and help others.
The benefits of growth for yourself are also considerable since each life is about learning.
But the purpose of your personal development goes far beyond you.
When setting your personal development goals, keep in mind how reaching those goals will help you become the kind of person who helps others grow and contribute more, too
Examples of Personal Growth Goals:
Health and Fitness Goals
Your health and fitness will in large part determine your daily energy levels, which impact how you live and interact with others each day.
Personal growth takes energy, and so does contribution.
It’s so much easier, especially when your energy is low, to scrap your productive plans and spend the time binge-watching your favorite shows and munching on comfort food.
If your body is healthy and your brain chemicals are balanced, you have a much easier time thinking clearly and creating new things.
Fitting more easily into your clothes is a nice side benefit.
Examples of Health and Fitness Goals:
Whatever you accomplish in this life, it won’t matter much if you have to celebrate them alone.
Strong and loving relationships are critical to the kind of success worth having.
With that in mind, it’s important to have goals related to building and strengthening those relationships.
Picture in your mind the experiences you want to have with the people you love or with the significant other you’ve yet to meet.
Think of ways to improve every relationship you have.
Examples of Relationship Goals:
Social goals are about reaching out to others, showing compassion, and helping others see their own potential for greatness.
Whatever you do socially has an impact on others. And it’s important to know whether your social time is more likely to charge you up or deplete your energy levels.
The more you know, the better you can prepare to make the most of your opportunities to influence others in a helpful way.
Examples of Social Goals:
Whatever retirement means to you, set the kind of goals that make you think, “I can hardly wait to reach that.”
You don’t have to retire at a specific age, but if you’re thinking, “I want to retire at 55 and start traveling the world,” it makes sense to set goals that will get you closer to that.
Think of how you want to live in the present as well as ten, twenty, or more years from now, and choose your short- and long-term goals accordingly.
Examples of Retirement Goals:
Whatever you believe about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, your spiritual goals should reflect that.
If you believe in the existence of souls, you know their needs are different from those of the body but that your spiritual and physical health influence each other.
Both deserve consideration when you’re setting goals and taking stock of your present health and energy.
Examples of Spiritual Goals:
What goals are important to you?
Now that you’re well-acquainted with the different types of goal setting, I hope you enjoy setting your own and taking a moment to feel the way you will when you reach those goals.
It’s not just the goals themselves but how you go after them.
The steps you take to get closer to your goals will influence others and shape the person you become.
And the steps you take to reach one type of goal (financial, career, or health and fitness, for example) will influence and may even change the goals you set for other areas (such as spiritual, social, or intellectual goals).
The more your goals for each area overlap with and complement each other, the more likely you are to have a cohesive vision of the person you want to be and the impact you want your life to have.
And the more fun it will be to work toward that vision.
May your personal freedom and passion for growth influence everything you do today.