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Published on July 8, 2020

How to Create Life Goals And Put Them into Action

How to Create Life Goals And Put Them into Action

Over the last few years, we’ve all become accustomed to using GPS way-finders such as Google Maps, TomTom, and Waze. These super-helpful apps enable us to walk, cycle, and drive to our chosen destinations following the shortest, quickest, or even most picturesque routes.

But think for a moment how useless these apps would be if you didn’t choose a destination. Suddenly, the impressive technology would grind to a halt. With no destination, the apps would be unable to create a route and unable to provide any assistance to you.

What does this tell you?

Having a destination is vitally important.

And it’s the same in all areas of life. If you don’t know where you are going to, then you’ll likely go nowhere!

This is why you must have life goals, specific targets to aim for. These are things that will energize and motivate you to keep moving forward.

Let’s look now at exactly what life goals are and how you can create and put them into action in your life.

What Are Life Goals?

Life goals are just as the name suggests: Goals that can play a major part in shaping your life.

Some examples of life goals include:

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  • To get fit
  • To build a circle of supportive friends
  • To become a thought leader
  • To learn a new language
  • To write a book
  • To become debt-free
  • To take up a new hobby that you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life

Of course, there are no limits to what life goals you might choose. We all have our unique experiences and skills, so what works for you may not work for someone else.

Choosing Your Goals

The trick to choosing life goals is to spend some time looking at all areas of your life.

One of the best ways to do this is to take our free online life assessment: Are You Living a Full Life?

This assessment will take you no more than 10 minutes to complete and will generate a detailed report showing you how to live your life to the fullest.

In addition to the assessment, I recommend you analyze specific areas of your life to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. The six life aspects are a good place to start this journey:

1. Physical Health

If your health is below par, your energy and drive will be affected, too. This will hinder your ability to achieve your aims. The good news is, however, that through simple changes, like improving your diet and exercising more, you can transform your health.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Losing weight
  • Building muscle
  • Increasing stamina
  • Learning how to relax

2. Family and Relationships Fulfillment

Our success and well-being depend heavily on our relationships. Negative people can knock you off track, while positive people can help and support you throughout your life. It’s also important that you have a partner or close friend that you can share your fears, dreams, and goals with.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

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  • Spending less time with negative people
  • Spending more time with positive people
  • Being grateful for your loving and supportive relationships
  • Widening your circle of friends to increase your influence

3. Work and Career Prosperity

Who doesn’t want a rewarding job or career? However, many people do not have these things. They feel miserable at work every day. However, life doesn’t have to be like this. You can break free from this trap by setting clear and realistic targets.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Getting promoted
  • Changing careers
  • Setting up your own business

4. Wealth and Money Satisfaction

Not having enough money to do the things you want to do is frustrating, but for some people it’s even worse — they have debts that keep increasing every month. Clearly, money management is a vital skill and one that should really be taught in our schools.

However, it’s never too late to get your finances in order. Your focus should be on offering a service to the world. If it’s something that people need, then you should charge fairly for it and enjoy the rewards.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Becoming a master of money management
  • Paying off your debts
  • Finding ways to earn more
  • Learning how to invest your spare income

5. Spiritual Wellness

Many people take comfort in believing in a power greater than themselves. It allows them to be humble and to keep their lives in perspective. It also offers them strength in times of difficulty. In my experience, spiritual wellness will definitely help you with your physical, emotional and mental wellness.

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

  • Learning how to meditate
  • Joining a spiritual group
  • Reading (and contemplating) classic religious and philosophical books

6. Mental Strength

If your mind is weak, you’ll also be weak-willed. This means that you’ll find it hard to achieve the things you want. But if you can develop mental strength, then you’ll have focus, drive, and conviction. You’ll go from being a wishy-washy non-achiever to someone who gets things done!

Goals to consider in this life aspect are:

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  • Building new habits
  • Developing your skills and knowledge
  • Playing games like Sudoku and chess
  • Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone

I suggest you take plenty of time to think about the six life aspects. Hone in on the areas that you are weakest at, and make these your starting point.

For example, if your health is holding you back, then set life foals that will revitalize you. These could include things like: waking up early, cutting back on caffeine and sugar, and going for a daily walk, run or cycle. (Ideally, you could set a goal to do all these things.)

Putting Life Goals Into Action

Of course, it’s not enough to choose some goals that you’d like to achieve in your life — you also need to make a plan to achieve them!

My recommendation is that you pick just two or three small goals to start with. Set a date to accomplish them by, and then write down the necessary steps you’ll need to take to make the goals a reality.

For instance, if you’ve lost the “reading habit” but would like to rekindle it, you could set yourself a goal of reading one book per month. The steps to achieve this would be:

  1. Choose a book you’d like to read
  2. Purchase or lend the book from a library
  3. Check the amount of pages the book has
  4. Calculate how long it will take you to read each page
  5. Calculate how long it will take you read the whole book

Once you know how many hours it will take you to complete the book, it will then be straightforward to plan how many times a week you should set aside for reading and how long each reading session should be.

If it’s been a while since you’ve read a book, then the first month might be hard for you. But after that, you’ll begin to build the habit, and you’ll have no problem reading one or more books per month.

If non-fiction titles are your thing, you’ll be able to learn a tremendous amount over the course of a year. If fiction titles are your thing, then imagine the journeys you’ll go on!

When you accomplish your smaller goals, you’ll be ready to choose bigger and more substantial goals.

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The secret behind being able to accomplish big goals is to break then down into bite-size chunks. This will make the goals easier to achieve as you’ll have clear steps to take you all the way to the end. Plus, at any point in time, you’ll be able to see how far along the path you are.

Final Thoughts

If you fail to have life goals, you’ll likely fail at life.

They is a big difference between just hoping that something good will come along and having a clear picture of what you want and then taking definite steps to get it.

Once put into action, life goals will transform your existence. You’ll be happier, healthier, and more successful.

Now, you just need to make a start. As Lao Tzu once said:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

More Tips on Setting Life Goals

Featured photo credit: Jordan Madrid via unsplash.com

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Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 3, 2020

How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life

To make goals or not to make goals, that is the question.

On the one hand, if you make goals without asking yourself what your true strengths and values are first, you could put yourself on the fast track to disappointment. On the other hand, if you don’t set any intentions at all, you could bounce through life like a pinball doing what others want without accomplishing what’s really important to YOU.

Fear not. Here are 8 powerful ways to be goal oriented using the ENVISION method (Endgame – Nesting – Value – Inspiration – Superpowers – Intimates – Openess – Nourishment) that will help you create a successful meaningful life:

1. Start with the End in Mind

To ensure that you make goals that matter, stand back and examine your life from a broader perspective. Think about the happy ending you would like to achieve, the “E” in ENVISION, and work backwards to determine how you’ll get there.

For example, if you’d like to generate goals for yourself over the next five years, write down where you’d like to be professionally and personally five years from now. Let nothing hold you back. Just keep that pen moving and see where it leads you.

Where do you see yourself in relation to work? What’s your family life like? What type of friends and social support group do you have? What are your hobbies? How is your health?

Next, ask yourself where you would like to be one year from now relative to what you’d like to accomplish in five years. Write the answer out in enough detail so that it seems real to you. Then ask yourself where you’d like to be three months from now. Be specific.

What about one month? One week? What one small action could you take this week to come closer to achieving your master plan?

If this exercise seems daunting, don’t worry. It’s actually a fun and eye-opening way to line up your goals with the bigger picture of your life so that you won’t waste your precious time on passing fancies and other people’s agendas.

I’ve used it with thousands of workshop participants who have rocked their lives. It will work for you, too!

2. Create Nested Goals

The most efficient way to achieve your goals is to nest action items inside them, the first “N” in ENVISION. Get specific about when, where, and how you’ll reach your objectives by breaking them down into subgoals.

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Make your aspirations challenging but not too hard. Each one should be measurable. Instead of writing “I’d like to write a book,” try setting an intention such as “I’d like to write two hours a day four times a week” and mark space on your calendar for it.

Make your aims positive. Instead of “I’d like to quit my stinking job,” think about what a desirable career would look like. Try “I’d like to develop educational toys with like-minded people in a virtual office” and then send out your résumé to companies with matching job openings.

Come up with alternative pathways to your goals so that if one doesn’t work, you’ll already have plan B in place. It’s normal to fail and experience setbacks. This goal-oriented strategy will help you move forward on the pathway to your dreams no matter what happens.

3. Get Clear on Your Values

Before you start setting goals, it’s important to ask yourself what you really value, the “V” in ENVISION.

In my creativity workshops, I’ve found that most people don’t get what they want in life because they’re playing out someone else’s idea of who they should be.

The number one regret of people on their deathbed is that they did not live their dreams. Don’t let that be you. To avoid living a life full of shoulds and obligations, make a wish list. Jot down what you really want and put all the reasons you think you can’t have it aside.

These aspirations can range from the material (such as a new car) to the psychological (high self-worth), to the spiritual (inner peace), to — well — pretty much anything you can think of. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy.

Giving yourself permission to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to getting it. Be sure your goals speak to your soul.

4. Make Time for Inspiration

As you put your goals together, think about how you can find downtime to receive inspiration in your life, the first “I” in ENVISION.

Americans put in the longest work hours and get the shortest paid vacation time in the developed world. Those of us “lucky” enough to have jobs have added another day to our work week because we now check work emails and calls from home. It’s no wonder we try to stuff everything we can’t do at work into our off hours.

But the second regret of the dying is that they wished they didn’t work so hard. Research shows that people who engage in creative hobbies and side projects are happier and flourish more in life because they can generate new ideas and express themselves uniquely.[1] Feeling energized and playful, they get more done in less time, become better problem solvers, and receive better evaluations at work.[2]

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Make balance a priority in your goal-oriented life. Start a hobby or side project to rejuvenate yourself after the workday ends. Paint, play hockey or try a new dinner recipe. Doing something you love for just a couple of hours a week can significantly improve your life. Like steering a ship slightly to the right, over time you’ll arrive at the destination YOU desire.

5. Form Goals Around Your Superpowers

Research shows that people are more likely to succeed when they develop their natural strengths, the “S” in ENVISION, than work on their weaknesses.

If you don’t know where your true talents lie, try using assessment tools such as Gallup’s CliftonStrengths and psychologist Martin Seligman’s Character Strengths to discover your personal strengths. You can also find your superpowers by answering these questions.

Each of us has a unique purpose in life. Most of us don’t realize it, though, because we’ve been pressured to conform to someone else’s idea of who we should be. Fear of change and staying in our comfort zones stunts our growth. Stretch yourself and take a risk if you want to find out what makes your heart sing.

Make an action plan to create a life in which you express your superpowers on a regular basis, whether it be through your vocation, a meaningful side project, a worthy cause, mindful parenting, volunteer work, or whatever else sparks your interest. This goal-oriented strategy guarantees you’ll thrive at work and at home.

6. Make Time for Intimates

When setting your goals, be sure to carve out time for your intimates, the second “I” in ENVISION. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “intimate” as “a very close friend or confidant: an intimate friend.”

The fourth regret of the dying is that they were too busy to see their friends much.[3] Make it a point to connect with real friends, people you can turn to for sympathy when you need it, confide in about most things, and be your true self around.

A few weeks ago, I suffered from an “eye stroke” and suddenly lost vision in my left eye. I’d moved to Portland nine months before and only knew one busy family I didn’t want to overburden. I was super lonely.

Because of my vision loss, I needed to ask for rides from people I barely knew to attend meetings of some of the groups I’d joined. These acquaintances are now turning into friends. I couldn’t have made it without their help and the support of friends I’ve known for years scattered around the globe.

A new Cigna study shows that nearly half of Americans feel alone or left out.[4] According to Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad at Brigham Young University, the detrimental effects of loneliness is the same as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.[5] She warns that:

“Loneliness and social isolation are linked to around a 30 percent increased risk of having a stroke or developing coronary artery disease.”[6]

I should know.

Being with your friends is not only good for your soul, but it is also essential for your health and well-being. Put it in your goals.

7. Open Up Emotionally

When crafting your goals, be sure to include ways you can open up about your feelings, the “O” in ENVISION. The third regret of the dying is that they wish they’d had the courage to express their true feelings instead of stuffing their emotions down to keep peace with others. To lead a fulfilling life, it’s important to prioritize talking and behaving honestly with others instead of hiding your true feelings.

According to Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps,[7]

“Start with identifying your emotions (e.g. angry, hurt) and understanding what triggered you to feel this way.”

She recommends you try to understand your feelings and practice self-compassion for having them. When you’re calmer, try to understand the person who upset you. What are their emotions? What triggered them? This will help you respect and care about yourself and the other person.

If there is someone you need to talk to or a situation you’d like to resolve, honor your feelings. Whether it be writing a letter or making a phone call or visiting someone you haven’t seen in years, put it on your goal list. Be sure to meet in a safe environment if you’re confronting someone who has abused or harmed you. Tell the truth as you see it and try to be kind.

Sharing your genuine feelings may bring you closer together and it may not. It doesn’t really matter how the other person responds. What matters is that you expressed your true self, that you did it for YOU. Make emotional honesty a habit by adding it to your goals.

8. Nurture Happiness

To be more goal oriented and succeed in life, nurture the people and activities that bring you joy, the final “N” in ENVISION.

The fifth regret of people on their deathbed is that they wished they’d let themselves be happier. Instead, they stayed stuck in old patterns and pretended to be content when they weren’t.

If you don’t like your job, make it a goal to look for a new position that aligns your paycheck with your purpose. If you are entrepreneurially-minded, think about turning your passion project into a business you love. If you have multiple passions, consider pursuing a slash career (e.g., copywriter/coder/career coach). According to Forbes Magazine, many companies are beginning to see the value in hiring employees who have side gigs that differ from their main vocations. You’ll bring in multiple streams of income and experience more meaning and fulfillment to your life.[8]

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If you are unhappy with your marriage or romantic relationship, set a goal to do something about it. Do you need to go to counseling? Do you need to move on? If you’re on the fence about whether to keep a friend in your life, be goal oriented about getting closure on the issue. Take care of yourself in the process by taking yoga classes or getting a much-needed massage.

Whatever you do, make it a goal to show compassion as often as you can because it will boost your happiness.[9] Dr. Amit Sood defines “compassion” as:

“Your ability to experience others’ feelings — from joy to sorrow — with a desire to help.”

By helping others in need, you not only can decrease their suffering, but you can also make yourself happier than you could by directly pursuing activities to make you happy.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the ENVISION method shows you how to blend lessons from the five regrets of the dying with effective goal setting techniques that center around your strengths to become goal oriented. It includes:

  • Endgame — Asking yourself where you want to be in 5 years, 1 year, now.
  • Nesting — Creating positive, specific, measurable subgoals.
  • Values — Building your goals around what truly matters to you.
  • Inspiration — Making time for meaningful hobbies and side projects.
  • Superpowers — Orienting your life plan around your unique strengths.
  • Intimates — Spending time with close friends and family.
  • Openness — Being honest about your feelings.
  • Nourishment — Nurturing people and activities that bring you joy.

It may seem like a lot of work at first glance but, in truth, it should only take you about an hour to piece together a list of goals following these guidelines. Why not trade an hour of watching television or engaging in social media to do this instead? You can always get online and watch TV later to reward yourself for becoming more goal oriented.

You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring what would make your heart sing. It’s worth investing in yourself this way. You have the power to create a life that totally rocks by setting the intention to do so. As the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi wrote,

“What you seek is seeking you.”

Be more goal driven!

More About Goals Getting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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