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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

10 Goals in Life List to Create for a Better Future

10 Goals in Life List to Create for a Better Future

What’s one goal that – if you achieved it – would transform your life?

Perhaps your aim is to get in shape, start a business, or get married. Or you want to buy a house, get promoted, or travel the world.

Think about the type of life you could be living if you accomplished your dreams. How empowered and happy would that make you feel?

Then, imagine the consequences of not setting goals. Are you okay with the regrets and experiences you’d miss?

So, are you ready to learn the precise formula on how to achieve all your goals?

Sorry, but that’s NOT this article. The good news is that volumes have been written on how to set goals:

    TLDR: Write down SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) goals. Break them down into steps, then act daily.

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    That’s it. Instead, I want to talk to the 97% of people that don’t set goals at all or are overdue to rewrite them.

    Let’s first remember why goals are important, and then I’ll recommend ten of the best goals you can set for yourself.

    The Power of Setting Goals

    Your life’s purpose describes why you’re here. Your goals are the milestones of that purpose. Without concrete objectives, you have no way of knowing if you’ve achieved what you’re after. In that sense, goals bring needed clarity and accountability. They also inspire you and drive action. They steer you in the right direction and remind you when to switch course. They set your life’s focus so you aren’t distracted by dead ends.

    Every successful person sets priorities for themselves, even if their approach may be unorthodox. Bill Gates wanted to be a businessperson growing up. His company, Microsoft, was for a time the most significant business in the world, and Gates the world’s richest man. Barack Obama answered in a school assignment that he wanted to be President of the United States, and he became the forty-fourth.

    “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” —Zig Ziglar

    Admission: I learned the power of goals the hard way, through years of missed opportunities and disappointments. Before I could even drink legally, I was fired, arrested, and kicked out of school.

    Alone, defeated, and in a moment of introspection, I finally realized that I had become the source of my problems. I had set the wrong goals using shortsighted tactics. I quit too early or too late all too often. When I began setting the proper goals, my results increased. I found more success at work, at the gym, and in personal relationships. I achieved things I never thought possible.

    Creating Your Own Goals

    Where a lot of people get stuck is choosing the right goal. Start by taking a piece of paper and start to write down everything that you want to do, no matter how crazy or bizarre it may sound to you or others. Write down “I Want to Do “Activity or Accomplishment By [Date]”. Think categories like Physical and Mental Health, Personal Life, Family, and Social Life, Career, Spirituality, etc. Once you have a few dozen goals listed, start grouping similar ones and cut out the ones that don’t speak to you. Most people only have the time and energy to pursue one or two goals at a time. The trick to prioritizing is to identify keystone goals that have a domino effect on other areas of your life.

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    For example, a couple of years ago I decided to run a marathon for charity. To accomplish it, I would have to: 1) Quit Smoking, 2) Exercise daily, 3) Eat Healthier, 4) Join a Run Club = Improved Social Life 5) Wake up earlier each day to fit into my schedule, 6) Give back/donate. Not bad for one goal!

    10 Great Goals to Get Started

    While I can’t prescribe the perfect goal for you, as it’s highly personal, here are some of my favorites to get you started:

    1. Take a Class on Any Skill That Appeals to You

    Why This Goal: Learning new skills keep your mind and body engaged, and it can open the doors to new hobbies or careers. It can also reduce your stress and help you meet new people.

    How to Get Started: Google search workshops near you. As the world reopens, hands-on activities like learning an Instrument, Filmmaking, Photography, Painting, Archery, Salsa Dancing, Glassblowing, and more are becoming available.

    2. Participate in an Endurance or Obstacle Race

    Why This Goal: Aerobic exercise can improve your physical health by lowering your cardiovascular risk. Endurance races are a great way to hold yourself accountable so that you are more consistent. This type of training also builds mental fortitude and is a great way to meet others.

    How to Get Started: Sign up for any type of race – running, biking, swimming, or a combination of the three (triathlon). Or try an obstacle race like Tough Mudder or Spartan. Active.com is a great website for finding races in your area. Many races were canceled in 2020, but you can often do a virtual race or sign up for one in 2021.

    3. Make a Difference in Someone’s Life by Volunteering

    Why This Goal: When we’re feeling bad about ourselves, we tend to see our problems as worse than they are. We start to see our struggles as insurmountable. When we give back to others, we gain strength, and it reduces our anxiety and fear.

    How to Get Started: Go to volunteermatch.org. There you’ll find hundreds or thousands of charities in places near you.

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    4. Write a Book

    Why This Goal: Writing is not just a good practice for work or school. It’s a major creative release that helps us express who we are as a person. I find writing to be a cathartic experience that helps me gain clarity in my mind.

    How to Get Started: If you don’t know what to write about, write about your life experiences, your interests, or your observations of the world.

    5. Spruce up Your Home

    Why This Goal: Renovating your home, whether it’s cleaning, upgrading some furniture, or doing a full remodel can give you greater pride. And since you’re likely spending more time in your home these days, it might as well be comfortable. If you own, it can make it more attractive to buyers when you sell.

    How to Get Started: Envision your ideal living space. Identify a few home improvement projects that would make the greatest impact. Find ways to better organize your space, declutter, and clean. Try these tips: 10 Helpful Tips To Effectively Declutter Your Home

    6. Deliver a Speech to the Largest Crowd You Can

    Why This Goal: Many people would rather pass a kidney stone than deliver a speech to strangers. Yet there is no other activity that will expand your influence like public speaking.

    How to Get Started: Join the Toastmasters international public speaking organization. Clubs get together weekly to practice their public speaking skills. Annual dues are less the $100 and include a guide to your first ten speeches. You could also take a course at your city college or an Improv or Acting Class. Whatever gets you talking!

    7. Learn a Self-Defense Technique or Martial Art

    Why This Goal: This is another goal that can help all aspects of your physical health, from weight control to building strength. Knowing that you can defend in an emergency, will bring new levels of peace and confidence.

    How to Get Started: There are many options, from karate, taekwondo, or mixed martial arts to name a few. I am a big fan of Muay Thai kickboxing. Find which martial art interests you, and sign up at your local gym or dojo.

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    8. Explore Your World, Near and Far

    Why This Goal: Travel has been known to relieve stress and boost one’s overall happiness and satisfaction with life. One of life’s best gifts is exploring other cultures, meeting new people, and trying new cuisines and novel experiences.

    How to Get Started: While international travel was greatly restricted in 2020, most of us still have plenty of options. If you’d feel safer traveling next year, consider a staycation or road trip. This is a great year to explore nearby towns, monuments, and national parks.

    9. Build a Business or Brand for Yourself

    Why This Goal: Best case scenario, you build a profitable business that provides a valuable service to the community and stable income for you. Worst case, the business doesn’t work out, and you’ll learn a ton of valuable lessons. Be mindful of the risk and your exposure to losses.

    How to Get Started: This is beyond the scope of this article, but if you have a great idea, consider writing a business plan, look for ways to fund your business, and form a team to build your product or service. Here’s How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

    10. Save & Invest More of Your Money

    Why This Goal: People build wealth by saving more of their income and investing it wisely over the long term. Great wealth could mean financial freedom to you – the ability to choose how you want to spend your time. It could bring you greater security and peace of mind.

    How to Get Started: Try to save at least 20% of your income. This can be tough, but reduce your budget to the necessities, and try to make more money at work (raises, bonuses) or through a side hustle. Max out your 401k if you have one. Invest the rest in assets like index funds and real estate.

    I hope that I’ve inspired you with a few ideas for your own goals. No one ever looks back and wishes that they spent more time watching TV, or scrolling through feeds on social media. Try out as many experiences as you can. Learn about yourself in the process, and figure out what makes you happy. Let us know your favorite goals in the comments below.

    More About Goal Setting

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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    Chris Tubbs

    Biz Dev Leader, MBA, Marathoner, Triathlete, and Writer for Knowyourbest.com

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    Last Updated on November 26, 2020

    How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

    How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

    There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

    With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

    With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

    1. Determine Your “Why”

    Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

    The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

    Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

    “Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

    That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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    I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

    Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

    Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

    2. Write Down Your Goal

    If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

    This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

    When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

    3. Set a SMART Goal

    A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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    Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

       

      By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

      • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
      • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
      • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
      • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
      • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

      Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

      4. Take One Step at a Time

      Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

      Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

      For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

      This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

      5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

      With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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      For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

      The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

      Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

      6. Schedule Your Tasks

      Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

      What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

      For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

      Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

      While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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      7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

      Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

      Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

      You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

      8. Check off Items as You Go

      You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

      There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

      If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

      9. Review and Reset as Necessary

      Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

      If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

      The Bottom Line

      When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

      More on Goal Action Plans

      Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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