5 Best Practices for setting Life Goals and getting the most out of life

Life Goals: Get the most out of life and start working on your life goals. If you are not focused right now, or if you are stuck, or if you don’t have a sense of direction in your life, then this article is for you! Crafting life goals, working on your life goals and managing your life goals, maybe the best thing you could do to become more successful in achieving your goals and in having a fulfilled life.

So, what are you waiting for?

Please read on and start crafting your life goals today and furthermore: never stop working on them for the rest of your life.

That’s how important life goals can be for you!

So, please read on:


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What are Life Goals?

What are Life Goals

Life goals represent the purposes you have in your life as well as the various goals you have. So, life goals are a broad range of goals, missions, and purposes you have in your life.

They might be very specific or more generic.

Life goals might be easy to accomplish or take years of hard work to accomplish.

Life goals maybe in the near future or the far future.

But although you might have a great variety of life goals, there is a unique driving force behind them. Life goals are the things you find very important to accomplish thus reflecting your core values. Life goals are also the things you want to be remembered by when you are gone. Life goals are the things that you dream about when thinking of winning the lottery.

Some people write all their life goals down on one big list, often referred to as “the bucket list.” Others have their life goals somewhere in the back of their mind. In the latter case, the goals are probably less specific because they are not formulated on paper.

Why do you need Life Goals?

Why do you need Life Goals

Consciously thinking about your life goals will give you a sense of direction in your life. It will give your life more meaning and purpose. Furthermore, thinking about your life goals will give you a broader perspective on your life. It will enable you to connect the dots.

Having life goals will give you focus and enable you to stay focused.

Life goals give you more clarity on what you value and want the most. This will make you more determined in the choices you make every day. Moreover, life goals will open up a sense of resourcefulness, so that you will be more receptive to opportunities, like new ideas, innovative thinking, tools, support systems, and so on.

Stephen Covey has written a book about Principle centered leadership. He speaks about finding your “True North.” If you have a True North in your life, then you have an internal compass you can always use in every situation.

Developing, maintaining and working on your life goals is the best way to develop your True North.

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So, whenever you get stuck in life, don’t know what to do or feel lost, you will have your True North in the form of your life goals to guide you through that period of uncertainty.

So, if you want more control over your life, now is the time to set your goals in life. It will channel all your energy towards your True North. It will make you more responsible, more in control and more powerful. And when setting life goals, don’t limit yourself. With regards to life goals, there is no limit. So, follow your wildest dreams and go even beyond that. Become the best possible version of yourself!

But Life Goals are not for me!

Are Life Goals for me

Not true!

Life goals are for everyone!

Anyone can set life goals even when you are a teenager or already retired. It doesn’t matter where you are now in life. It does matter where you want to go.

To set your goals in life adequately, the only thing you have to do is to make sure that your goals are clear. If you have a fuzzy goal, then it is like walking into a fog.

I assume that you want to walk into a bright and shiny future, so set clear goals. This means that you have to be very specific: what will you see, what will you hear, what will you feel, what will you taste, what will you smell and what will you say to yourself when you have achieved a goal?

If you can answer these questions than your goal is clearly defined.

Furthermore, your goals need to have a deadline. A goal without a deadline is just a dream. So, for every life goal you set, make sure to put a deadline on it. This will also encourage you to work on your life goals frequently.

Your goals need to be measurable because how would you otherwise know that you have accomplished them?

Finally, it is also a good practice to organize your goals in life in a list so that you can keep track of them, plan your actions accordingly and review them frequently. If goals are long-term, then you probably might split them into milestones, so that you have the feeling of progress towards your goals along the way.

Best practices for setting Life Goals

How do you set Life Goals

There is a process which increases the chance for you to actually achieve your life goals. This process consists of the following steps:

  • Step 1: Choose a life area for which you want to set life goals for
  • Step 2: Brainstorm about your life goals in the chosen life area
  • Step 3: Develop your 11-star life goals in the chosen area
  • Step 4: Make your goals in life SMART
  • Step 5: Write your life goals down on your bucket list

Repeat this process (steps 1 to 5) for all your life areas to make your bucket list with life goals complete.

I will now describe in detail what you the best practices are for each of the 5 steps:

Step 1: Choose a life area for which you want to set life goals for

I assume that you are a person who wants to balance his life.

With balancing I mean not only work/life balance, but also life/life balance.

You play multiple roles in your life, and you play on different chess boards simultaneously. You are maybe father or mother of your kids, so you want to spend time with them and also have goals with them and for them. You are a husband or wife, and you also want to bring time together with your spouse. And also in that area you probably have goals. You are playing sports and have goals in that area. And so on.

So, instead of only setting goals for your career, for example, you also need to think about your other life areas. And don’t forget about yourself! Probably you also have some personal development goals.

Personal Development Goals

Whatever you do in your life, you will always bring yourself with you. So, if you would become the best version of yourself, then everything you do will improve tremendously. So, when setting goals in life also think about setting goals for your personal development. They may fall into one of the following categories:

Physical goals: these are goals related to how you look and feel physically, such as fitness goals, health goals, goals related to appearance or lifestyle.

Emotional goals: these are goals related to how you feel and how you will react to all kinds of circumstances. Think about becoming more stable and happier.

Mental goals: these are goals related to better thinking, gaining more focus, developing your intelligence and peace of mind.

Spiritual goals: these are goals related to the non-physical aspects of your life. It might be that you want to have a deeper connection with the world around you or that you want to develop a calm mind.

These are all life goals in the context of your personal development. But you are way more than that!

What about your family and relationship goals:

Family and Relationship Goals

Family and relationships are also a main and very important area in your life worth setting goals in life for. You can set goals to improve current relationships, abandon relationships and develop new relationships. It’s up to you to choose what you want. But you better choose consciously now, instead of “letting it all happen.” But whatever goal you set, be specific. So, for example, say that you want to call your best friend every week from now on. Or maybe you want to take your spouse on a date every month. Or you want to attend a networking event every two weeks.

Apart from your personal development and your family and relationships you have probably also a career going on worth setting goals for:

Career Goals

If you are like me, then your career is where you spent the most of your hours awake every week, so this is a major part of your life. What are your life goals regarding your career? Where do you want to be next year? And where do you want to be in five years from now? And where do you want to be when you are 60 or 70 years old? Do you want to stay the rest of your life in the career you have now? Or do you want to deepen that or broaden that? And do you want to stay in a job or rather start your own company? And what type of clients do you prefer to work with?

Whatever career goal you choose, it will have an impact on the financial area in your life:

Financial Goals

You will have income from your career. But maybe you want also to generate a passive income stream? How will you do that? By making some investments? And what about your costs? What goals do you have in that area? Do you want to save enough money for an early retirement? Do you want to leave your kids with a trust fund?

All this type of questions leads to life goals in the area of your financial situation. But there is still much more to your life than that. What about serving your community?

Community Goals

When we are young, we are taking much from the community we live in. Education is such an example. Or moral and financial support from the people around us. But there comes a time that you will want to give back to your community. Maybe you even want to leave a legacy after you are gone? So, what are your life goals in this area? Will you start a charity fund? Will you give children in your neighborhood extra mentor lessons? Will you volunteer at a school? Giving can fulfill you with great joy. So, why would you withhold yourself from that pleasure?

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Key point:

So, as a first step towards crafting your goals in life, choose a life area for which you want to develop your goals in life for.

Step 2: Brainstorm about your life goals in the chosen life area

Now think of the life are you have chosen.

For example, let’s say that you have chosen to develop life goals for the area of Community goals. Inside this area, what would your perfect life look like in a few years from now?

And in 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now?

What type of role would you prefer to have?

How would you like to interact?

Write down your first brainstorm of goals in life in the chosen area.

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Key point:

After doing this, you will have a list with a couple of goals. Now we are going to take this a step further.

Step 3: Develop your 11-star life goals in the chosen area

For each of the goals you have written down, ask yourself:

How can I make this goal even better?

Think about the standard way products and services are reviewed by customers. This is mostly a five-star system. So, a 1-star review is a bad experience, and a 5-star review is an excellent experience of the delivered product or service.

What if you could make your goal a 6-star review worthy? How would that look like?

And now take it even a step further: what if you could make it a 7-star experience? How would your goal then look like?

The point in this step is not to be realistic about your goals. The point is to dream B-I-G.

Why not?

If you are developing your goals, then they better apply to the BHAG Principle:

Big Hairy Audacious Goals

If you don’t shoot for the stars, everything you will get is less.

So, take your goal even a step further: how would an 8-star experience look like?

And a 9-star experience?

And a 10-star experience?

Do you think you are at your limits of what is possible in your life?

No, you are not!

So, take it even one step further and design your 11-star experienced goal. How does that look like? Brilliant, hopefully!

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Key point:

Design your future 11-star experience for every goal you have.

Step 4: Make your life goals SMART

Now that you have dreamed BIG and developed your Big Hairy Audacious Goals, it is time to make them SMART.

This means that they need to be Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-framed.

So, go by your life goals one by one and check if they are specific enough. What will you see, what will you hear, what will you feel, what will you taste, what will you smell and what will you say to yourself when you have achieved your life goal? If you can answer these questions, then you know that your goal is described specific enough.

Check if your goal is measurable, how else would you know that you have achieved your goal?

And your goal must be acceptable. This means that your goals must be good for you, for the people around you and ultimately for the whole planet.

Make also sure that your goals are realistic. Yes, they must still be BIG, but you must at least have a chance to realize them, of course.

So, find the balance between challenging goals and realistic goals.

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Key point:

Make sure that your goals in life are challenging and realistic and SMART!

Step 5: Write your life goals down on your bucket list

Now, that you have crafted your challenging and SMART goals, it is time to write them down on your bucket list. With a deadline, of course.

This will be the list you can always refer to, to check where you stand with regards to your life goals.

And you can mark down every goal you have completed on this list.

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Key point:

Write your life goals down on your bucket list.

Realizing your Life Goals quicker

Realize your Life Goals quicker

Now that you have your bucket list with life goals for each of the main areas in your life, it is time to realize them.

This does not mean that you forget your bucket list and never will come back to it. No, instead you need to make sure that this bucket list is always somewhere in the back of your head. So, review your list regularly, for example, once per week.

Furthermore, it is wise to break down the large goals on your list in more bite-sized goals.

For example, if one of the things on your bucket list is to write a book, you can break that down in a task of writing at least a 100 words every day. Or 500, or 1000. This is dependent on the time you can plan every day for this activity. Now, you have a task oriented goal which is motivating you and for which you track your progress. And all these little tasks will finally end up in you realizing one of your life goals.

When reviewing your bucket list regularly, new ideas might come to your mind. Write them down! And make sure that they apply the SMART principles.

Your bucket list with life goals is not static. It should evolve with your evolution in life.

Bring Focus to your life using your Life Goals

More Focus with Life Goals

Now, you have a bucket list with all your life goals.

This is great!

Because now you can start bringing focus to your life.

Review all your life goals and prioritize them. Which of all of these goals are important in the upcoming year? Mark them with a star. These should be the goals you give more attention when you review your list of life goals every week.

Furthermore, you need to make some action plan for these goals. Break them down and work on them at least once every week.

You can draw a progress bar next to your starred goals to visualize how far you are. This will give you inspiration and motivation to come into action and work on your goals. 

Conclusion about life goals

So, having a list of life goals and work on them continuously can bring focus to your life. So, why wait any longer? 

Having a set of life goals with give your life more Focus and Meaning.

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Give your life more meaning and purpose and above all more focus and start crafting your life goals and working on them!

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Over to you

Please leave a comment below by telling us if yo already have a bucket list with life goals or not? And if so, what your experience is with working on your life goals. Does it excites you?

Thank you already in advance for sharing your thoughts and insights!

About Harry Heijligers.

Harry Heijligers has been a project manager for more than 25 years and a NLP trainer and mental coach for more than 17 years.

On his website SmartLeadershipHut.com he writes about personal transformation and becoming successful in whatever dream you pursue.

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