Personal Development

Design Life Goals that Actually Work

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Keywords: Life goal

When you aren’t clear on your life goals you lack direction in life. Essentially, you end up feeling lost.

Too many people fail to set clear life goals in a way that provides them with this direction. Fortunately, I have developed a strategy based on the worlds most successful individuals and high-performers.

Through this post, I am going to take you through my goal setting process step-by-step and show you exactly what you need to do to clearly define your life goals!

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are adopted by many successful individuals. It helps them turn vague goals into actionable steps towards success!

A lot of people learn about SMART goals at one point or another. You probably have as well. Unfortunately, few people actually stick with it. So commit yourself to it right now.

If you’ve never heard of SMART goals, essentially, SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Let’s break down what each of these means!

S – Specific

A goal like, “you want to live healthier”, despite being a great target, is a poorly defined goal. It’s nowhere near specific enough. Is your goal to up your exercise game? Are you looking to start eating a healthier diet? These questions are left unanswered.

The value of the goal is in the DETAILS! Who is involved in the goal? What is going to be the target outcome? When are you going to work on this goal? Why is this goal important? And, how are you going to achieve it?

Addressed as many details as possible in order to make your life goals specific enough to provide you with true direction.

M – Measurable

Once you’ve got a specific goal your next step is to determine how you’re going to measure it. Are you going to track the time you spend exercising every day? Perhaps you’d prefer to track your calorie intake vs. your calories burned? Whatever you decide is fine. All that matters is that you have a way to track and measure your progress toward your life goals.

A – Attainable

There is no point in setting a goal that is so outrageous that you’ll never be able to achieve it. If your life goal is to bench press more than Superman, I’m sorry, but you’ve set an unattainable life goal.

The best way to set an attainable life goal is to look at your past history and evaluate trends in your behavior. Is there any logical path that could lead you from where you were and where you are now to the life goal you’ve outlined?

If the answer is no, maybe consider scaling this back a bit. Make sure your life goals challenge and push you, but also make sure they are attainable.

R – Relevant

Make sure your life goals are relevant to what you actually want to achieve in life. It’s so important for you to align your life goals with your life values and then begin building a lifestyle around those things.

It’s the best way to reach personal happiness, success, and fulfillment.

T – Time Bound

Finally, you must ensure you have a time constraint on your life goals. This will motivate you to achieve that life goal by a certain time. If you miss a deadline however, it will signal that you either need to re-evaluate your desire to achieve the life goal or the plan you have in place.

5-Steps to Defining Your Life Goals

Now that you know what SMART goals are, it’s time to go through my 5-step process. After this, you’ll have gone from vague and directionless goals to having a blueprint for your own success!

Step 1: Decide Which Struggles Make You Happy

Every life has challenges. Yes, some challenges are a lot tougher, but everyone faces them. So choosing a life goal that takes you down a path that has struggles you won’t enjoy is a horrible idea.

Think about what struggles and challenges you would enjoy confronting throughout your life.

Ask yourself:

What do you want to spend your time on? Who do you enjoy spending time with? What do you want to learn about? What problems are you good at solving?

Your answers to these questions will help you pick life goals which align with your ideal life path.

Step 2: Write Down Your Life Goals

Ok, now that you’ve figured out which struggles you want to confront, it’s time to clearly define what life goals stem from them. Then, and this is important, WRITE THEM DOWN!

Research has shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. This cements the goal into reality.

So at the top of a separate page each time I want you to write down one of your life goals.

Remember, these don’t have to be your life goals forever. They can change as the things that are important to you change and as you evolve and grow as a person. But don’t worry about how these goals might change in the future. Focus on what’s important to you right now.

If you need help, look at your answers again from the previous steps. What life goals will bring you closer to those answers?

Step 3: Create an Action Plan for Your Life Goals

Now we need to create your success blueprint.

Under each goal, you are going to write down the things you are going to need to do and the steps you are going to need to take in order to achieve that life goal. These items will essentially serve as a checklist as you progress towards accomplishing these life goals. They’ll also help you keep yourself accountable if you feel like you’re falling behind.

Remember to make sure that each step follows the SMART guidelines we already discussed. If you aren’t going to create a detailed plan, you’ll have no idea what path you need to take to achieve your life goals.

The best way to build your action plan is to start with the attainment of the life goals and work backward from them.

For example, if your life goal is to run a triathlon the final step is running and completing the race. Prior to that though you need to engage in a conditioning training schedule, you may need to get a coach, you may need to get the appropriate equipment, etc. If you’ve done this correctly, you’ll have a step-by-step plan you can progress through as you move towards your life goals.

This plan goes directly under each goal heading you’ve already created. Then when you have the plan and steps outlined you need to begin placing them on a timeline with specific and realistic deadlines. This helps you to create momentum and continually progress towards your life goals.

Step 4: Take Action

Now that you’ve got an action plan it’s time to get working!

It can be intimidating to look at your life goals and all their steps. So try to limit yourself to looking simply at the next step. This prevents you from becoming overwhelmed.

Place those next step on your calendar and place it in an easily to see location. Figure out what you can do today, this week, this month, this year, etc. to move closer to your life goals. When you break it down like this, your long journeys become more manageable.

This should remind you regularly to take action and actively pursue your life goals. After all knowledge and planning are great, but combining them with action is so much more powerful!

Step 5: Conduct Progress Reviews

A progress review will be essentially you checking-in to see whether or not you’ve stayed on track towards your life goals. I would advise conducting these reviews yearly to keep yourself accountable.

It would be great if all of us achieved every goal we ever made for ourselves. Unfortunately, the reality is not every goal will be a smooth journey. There will be unforeseen barriers and challenges that we didn’t predict when we originally made our action plans.

These are the things your progress review will help you identify. Your progress review will identify what is working well for you and what isn’t. It will help you determine if you still value that particular life goal or whether other things have become more important. Remember, your life goals are allowed to change as you change. You are the captain of this journey.

Wrap Up

That is my brief version of my 5-step process. If you are interested in learning even more about goal setting, then check out my ultimate goal setting guide.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me if you have any follow-up questions. I’d be happy to connect with you.

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About the author

Mark Lynch

Mr. Lynch is the founder of “The Excellence Addiction: Life Balance Community”. If you’re interested in aligning your life to facilitate your personal happiness and success check out Mark’s FREE “Balanced Living Workbook!”. Currently, over 10,000+ members have joined Mark’s community in order to begin aligning their lifestyles with their unique life values and life goals. If you would be interested in learning more about what Mark does and how to begin living your ideal life take a look at the Excellence Addiction Website!