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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How to Start Setting Strategic Goals for a Successful Life

How to Start Setting Strategic Goals for a Successful Life

There are different types of goals that you can set in your quest to become successful in life. However, when it comes to taking a leap, changing status, identifying opportunities, maximizing possibilities, and surmounting obstacles, strategic goals can take care of everything and help you get to where you want to go.

Strategic goals produce strategic results, and these include attaining positive change and repositioning of your life and status, gaining competitive advantage, achieving optimum performance, and living a balanced life.

In this article, I will share some insight into the thought process that leads to setting strategic goals, and how you can develop and make use of strategic goals to boost the key areas of your life. You will also find specific examples of strategic goals for your personal development.

What Are Strategic Goals?

Strategic goals are specific objectives and results that you, as an individual, aim to achieve over a period of time, usually three to five years[1]. They are long-term goals and often emerge when you engage strategic thinking or undertake a strategic planning process.

Perhaps, what differentiates setting strategic goals from other types of goals is that they are based on strategic responses to some identified opportunities or challenges. When you want to make a new move or make major changes in your life, what you need are strategic goals.

How to Plan for Strategic Goals

In the strategic planning process, the environmental scan and SWOT analysis are two important tools you can utilize in your evaluation. Although these tools are primarily used in business strategy, they can be applied to your personal situation as well and will be very helpful to you in setting your strategic goals for success.

Environmental Scan

Environmental scanning is an ongoing tracking of trends and occurrences in an organization’s internal and external environment that bear on its success, currently and in the future[2].

The results of this scanning are said to be extremely useful in shaping goals and strategies.

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As an individual, internal and external situations affect your success and future, as well, and you need to track them to be successful. Your internal factors include your strengths and weakness. You have control over these two, and you can utilize, manage, or improve on them for your own success.

Brian Tracy highlighted 9 factors that can influence your personal success; they include education, skill, contacts, money, good work habits, positive mental attitude, positive image, creativity, and character.[3]

Other factors that can affect your success also include market share and trends, economic outlook of the country you live in, government policies, advancement in technology, family situation, social influence, etc.

You need to study these factors and review how they impact your success and progress positively or negatively.

Personal SWOT Analysis

The SWOT acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats[4].

SWOT Analysis for Strategic Goals

    Maximizing your talents and opportunities and managing your weaknesses and threats can boost your success rate in life. The personal SWOT analysis will help in ordering your thinking and give you different perspectives about your life. It will also help you to identify areas where you need development.

    How to Set Strategic Goals

    When you have identified the areas mentioned in the previous section, you will then be able to set strategic goals and objectives towards making the needed changes.

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    Identify Strategic Issues for Strategic Goals

    Strategic issues are issues that can contribute to your success or failure, or are capable of affecting a needed change in your life. When you carry out an environmental scan and SWOT analysis, you will be able to identify strategic issues and goals towards the end of the process.

    These issues and goals usually come from strengths to be built on, weaknesses to be strengthened, opportunities to be taken, and threats to be avoided.[5]

    Clarify Strategic Priorities to Set Strategic Goals

    From your analysis, there is the likelihood that many issues will come up. Also, you might find that some of the problems are urgent, while some are important. Therefore, to be able to come up with more definite strategic goals, it is better to focus on the important issues.

    These important issues will represent your strategic priorities. When you know what your priorities are, you will be able to set your goals based on those priorities and create strategies around them.

    Examples of Strategic Goals for Personal Development

    To illustrate examples of strategic goals for personal development, I will assume that you have taken the environmental scan and SWOT analysis, and you have also been able to identify the issues of importance. These have now become your top strategic priorities, say over the next three to five years.

    For example, your strategic priorities for your personal development for the next three to five years can be the following and they can be turned to strategic goals:

    • Develop self-confidence
    • Boost personal image
    • Advance in education
    • Acquire more skills
    • Achieve work-life balance

    1. Develop Self-Confidence

    Whatever it is that you do, exuding self-confidence is crucial to your personal success. Having self-confidence can help you perform to your highest potential, as it gives you the energy and confidence to develop an action plan. It will help you influence others as you become attractive and noticeable. It can also earn you a promotion at work.

    Furthermore, you’ll be more positive and make better decisions. Other than that, you will be more productive and happier.

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    The lack of self-confidence can bring apathy. You will be unable to take the necessary action that can lead to your success, thus missing out on great opportunities.

    If you have identified a lack of self-confidence, you can set a strategic goal to boost your confidence by reciting daily personal affirmations, reading books on personal development or attempting things that scare you.

    2. Boost Personal Image

    Like self-confidence, the way you appear to other people says a lot about you and your chances of success. Paying attention to personal grooming, how you look and what you wear, can boost your personal image and open more doors for you.

    There are specific ways to dress for success. You can achieve this and still be on a budget.

    Besides dressing, you will also need to learn other attributes, like wearing a warm smile when meeting people, giving a firm handshake, practice good posture, etc. All of this will say much about your self-image. When you consciously develop this habit over an extended period of time, it becomes part and parcel of you.

    3. Enroll for Professional Masters Degree or Doctorate

    There is no end to learning, and education is key to success at any stage in life. No matter how confident you are, there are some opportunities you will never be able to access if you do not have the required academic qualifications.

    In your analysis, you might have identified some opportunities in your industry which you have not been able to access as a result of a lack of qualification. It may also be that you sense that some new opportunities are emerging in your industry, and the technical skills are not readily available.

    It could be your strategic goal to study in that area so that you can acquire the requirements by the time such an opportunity presents itself.

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    4. Acquire More Skills, Develop Existing Ones

    Skills are one of the most important assets that determine success in life. Skill-gaps limit growth, productivity, and opportunities. If you have identified a skill-gap in your analysis, it’s about time to set strategic goals to acquire or develop those skills.

    Some of the skills you’ll probably need most are problem-solving skills, creative thinking skills, management and leadership skills, IT skills, and communication skills. Acquiring and developing any of these skills will require some training, reading, learning, and conscious practice.

    5. Achieve Work-Life Balance

    One of the markers of a successful life is balance. Attaining work-life balance in this ever busy world definitely requires some strategic planning around time management.

    You have to allocate time and resources to every important aspect of your life: work, family, health, social life, spiritual life, etc. and stick to your schedules as much as possible. This can be a long-time strategic goal for the next three to five years, so that you can confidently say that no aspect of your life is suffering as a result of the other.

    Now that you know some examples of strategic goals, check out this video to learn more tips on how to achieve them:

    The Bottom Line

    Climbing the success ladder in life requires strategies. In order to make strategic moves, you might have to carry out an environmental scan and SWOT analysis to identify your potential and limitations, as well as identify the opportunities around you.

    This analysis will open you up to issues in your life that require attention in order to become more successful. You will then be able to set your strategic priorities based on the issues you think are most important to you.

    More Goal Setting Tips

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life 7 Tips for Overcoming Challenges in Life Like a Pro How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    How to Find Your Passion and Live a More Fulfilling Life

    How to Find Your Passion and Live a More Fulfilling Life

    If you could do one thing to transform your life, I would highly recommend it be to find something you’re passionate about, and do it for a living. Learning how to find your passion may not be as easy as it sounds, but it’s well worth the effort.

    If you dread going to your job, find yourself constantly lacking motivation, or find what you’re doing dull and repetitive, you need to start looking for a new job.

    Staying in your current job will not only continue to leave you feeling stuck and make you unhappy, but you are not realizing your full potential in life.

    Imagine this instead:

    You get up early, jumping out of bed, excited to go to work. You might put in more hours than the average person, but it doesn’t seem difficult to you, because your work hours just zoom right by.

    You are often in that state of mind, often referred to as “flow,” where you can lose track of the world and time, losing yourself in the task at hand. Work is not work as many people refer to it, but something that is fun and interesting and exciting. It’s not a “job” but a passion that leads to a fulfilling life.

    If you’ve got a job you dislike, or even hate, this will sound like a pipe dream to you. And if you never put in the effort to find what you’re passionate about, such a thing will never be possible.

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    However, if you dare to ask “how do I find my passion,” imagine the possibilities, and actually search for what you love, it is not only a possibility, but a probability.

    How do you go about learning how to find your passion in life? Here are some suggestions:

    1. Is There Something You Already Love Doing?

    Do you have a hobby or something you loved doing as a child, but never considered it as a possibility for a job?

    Whether it’s reading comic books, collecting something, or creating or building, there is probably a way you could do it for a living. Open a comic book shop, or create a comic book site online.

    If there’s already something you love doing, you’re ahead of the game. Now you just need to research the possibilities of making money from it.

    2. Find out What You Spend Hours Reading About

    For myself, when I get passionate about something, I’ll read about it for hours on end. I’ll buy books and magazines. I’ll spend days on the Internet finding out more.

    There may be a few possibilities here for you, and all of them are possible career paths. Don’t close your mind to these topics. Look into them until you feel your heart is content, and this will help you get started as you learn how to find your passion.

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    3. Brainstorm

    If nothing comes to mind right away as you’re asking how to find my passion, get out a sheet of paper and start writing down ideas[1]. This doesn’t need to be an organized list. It can simply be a paper full of random notes or even doodles. All of this will eventually come in handy later.

    Look around your house, on your computer, or on your bookshelf for inspiration, and write down whatever comes to mind. There are no bad ideas at this stage.

    4. Ask Around

    There are likely people you admire in life, and there are things about them that you would like to replicate in yourself. Go to them if possible, and pick their brain. See how they landed where they currently are and whether they feel they’ve discovered their passion.

    The more possibilities you find, the more likely your chances of learning how to find your passion in the long run. This may mean that you spend time talking to friends and family, coworkers, or even acquaintances in your free time.

    5. Don’t Quit Your Job Just Yet

    If you find your calling, your passion, don’t just turn in your resignation tomorrow. It’s best to stay in your job while you’re researching the possibilities.

    If you can do your passion as a side job and build up the income for a few months or a year, that’s even better. It gives you a chance to build up some savings (and if you’re going into business for yourself, you’ll need that cash reserve), while practicing the skills you need.

    6. Give It a Try First

    It’s best to actually test your new idea before jumping into it as a career as you’re wondering how to find your passion. Do it as a hobby or side job at first, so that you can see if it’s really your true calling.

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    You may be passionate about it for a few days, but where the rubber meets the road is whether you’re passionate about it for at least a few months.

    If you pass this test, you have probably found it.

    7. Do as Much Research as Possible

    Know as much about your passion as possible. If this has been a passion for a while, you may have already been doing this. At any rate, do even more research. Read every website possible on the topic, and buy the best books available.

    Find other people, either in your area or on the Internet, who do what you want to do for a living, and quiz them about the profession.

    How much do they make, and what training and education did they need? What skills are necessary, and how did they get their start? What recommendations do they have?

    Often, you’ll find that people are more than willing to give advice.

    8. Practice, and Practice, and Practice Some More

    If you’re getting close to learning how to find your passion, don’t go into it with amateur skill level. If you want to make money—to be a professional—you need to have professional skills.

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    Get very good at your future career, and you will make money at it. Practice for hours on end and learn how to focus; if it’s something you love, the practice should be something you want to do.

    9. Never Quit Trying

    It’s possible that you won’t be able to find your passion at first. However, if you give up after a few days, you’re sure to fail. Keep trying, for months on end if necessary, and you’ll find it eventually.

    Perhaps you thought you found your passion but discovered several months on that it wasn’t for you. Start over again and find a new passion. There may be more than one passion in your lifetime, so explore all the possibilities.

    Have you found your passion but haven’t been successful making a living at it? Keep trying, and try again until you succeed. Success doesn’t come easy, so giving up early is a sure way to fail.

    If you need a little help, the Make It Happen Handbook can provide you with a solid action plan to help you turn your passion in your career. Check out the handbook and start to live your passion!

    The Bottom Line

    Don’t forget that all of this will be a lot of work, but it will be the best investment you’ve ever made. Put in the time to learn how to find your passion, and you will find that your days are more fulfilling and produce more happiness and well-being in the long-term.

    More About Finding Passion

    Featured photo credit: Dewet Willemse via unsplash.com

    Reference

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