Something’s changed. You feel stronger than ever, mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
You’ve finally honestly asked yourself, “What do I want in life?”
Feeling empowered, you know that now is the time to set yourself some very real goals, and big ones at that.
But then you hit a roadblock.
How exactly do you set positive and productive goals? And what types of goals do you want to be set for yourself?
How can you find balance in all the different aspects of your life, and still productively move forward in each?
Incredibly valid questions, and ideas we should all consider before we attempt to establish any kind of direction in life.
Whether it’s one goal or multiple goals, it’s important to not only understand the construct of the goals themselves but to establish them in a practical fashion.
As you pursue these different types of goals, you will set yourself on the path of true progressive personal growth.
What Are The Goals In Life?
Have big goals—but don’t tie your happiness to your goals. You must be happy before you attain them.
—Vishen Lakhiani, Founder of Mindvalley and Author of Mindvalley’s Becoming Limitless Campaign
What is a goal?
Well, it’s the end toward which effort is directed.
In a broad sense, any goal can be defined as a singular outcome we direct our energy toward.
But that doesn’t shed much light on the different types of goals we can use to classify our efforts.
So, what are the different types of goals we can pursue?
What are the 3 types of goals?
We can classify types of goals into three distinct categories: time, focus, or topic.
Goals that are defined by specific time frames are called time goals. These can be either short- or long-term goals.
Time goals are very powerful. They give a definitive structure to our dreams and aspirations.
But time goals can also be dangerous if we’re not willing to be flexible in our approach. Invariably, we’re going to encounter circumstances outside the realm of our control.
When this happens, we have to be willing to alter our expectations accordingly.
Focus goals, or end goals, are goals that provide direction and focus throughout your life. Focus goals hold sway over many major decisions you make, from how much money you have to spend on lunch today, to what city you are currently living in, to what kinds of people you choose to surround yourself with.
Focus goals help you establish your life path and are essential in helping to maintain awareness of your own truest intentions.
Topic goals are typically rooted in something more tangible and descriptive than a focus goal. In fact, topic goals are often the stepping stones you use to achieve long-term focus goals.
Topic goals help keep you focused and on track to achieving your larger aspirations.
For example, if your focus goal was:
“When I am an old man, I will live in a house I’ve built myself.”
Your corresponding topic goal might be:
“I’m going to take this 3-week course on how to lay the foundation for a house.”
It’s good to keep in mind that there is room for overlap between all three types of goals. You might have a topic goal based on a timeline, or you may have both a short- and long-term focus goal.
But regardless of what types of goals you are setting, you need to make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. goals.
What Are The 5 SMART Goals?
Having smart goals goes above and beyond simply selecting goals that best fit your lifestyle, priorities, and aspirations.
Your goals may be smart, but are they S.M.A.R.T.?
The best goals meet the following criteria:
An acronym that actually establishes quite the powerful and precise framework for goal setting, in and of itself.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at each one of these aspects of S.M.A.R.T. goals.
First things first, be specific about your intentions. The more specific you can be about your goal setting, the better.
If you were to, on the other hand, set a goal that was rather vague and non-descriptive, you ultimately only set yourself up for inevitable failure.
If you don’t know what you want, you’re never going to be able to work towards it.
So, establish what you want, be very precise about it, and then take action in the direction of its manifestation.
Also, make sure what you want is something measurable.
An aspect actually of being specific with the goal, as well. Instead of aspiring to simply lose weight, make it a goal to lose to 20 lbs.
This will give you a way to tangibly track your progress. You can then find ways to improve when you backtrack and will have a way to celebrate your progression.
Ensure that this new specific and measurable desire of yours is actually attainable.
Try not to bite off more than you can chew, so to speak.
Ask yourself where you are in life, and what resources you have at your disposal. Develop a plan of action that is congruent with your honest ability to take action.
Be real with yourself, and remain patient.
Always remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
The next question to ask yourself is this:
Is your goal relevant?
Why are you trying to accomplish this goal? What is your primary objective behind this pursuit? And will achieving it actually benefit you in the future?
Your time is very precious. Don’t waste it.
5. Time frame
Time is an important tool for structuring your goals.
You’re not going to write a book within a week, for example. But you might be able to finish one in the next year or so.
Set yourself a timeline, be specific, be realistic, and stick to it. Your time parameters should be generous enough that your goal doesn’t seem insurmountable, but tight enough that you’re spurred toward action.
3 Ways To Find A Goal That Sets You Up For Success
THE POWER FOR CREATING A BETTER FUTURE IS CONTAINED IN THE PRESENT MOMENT: YOU CREATE A GOOD FUTURE BY CREATING A GOOD PRESENT.
— ECKHART TOLLE
So, you know all about the different types of goals and you’re ready to start setting a few of your own.
But you want to make sure you set goals that set you up for success — not failure.
Here are 3 strategies you can use to help you set success-bound goals for the future.
1. Ask the right questions before you set a goal
The culturescape is how society believes you should live your life. Your culturescape tells you that you should go to college, get a 9-5 job, get married, and have kids.
Step back and reevaluate your goals. Align them with your happiness, not what society has programmed you to want.
You can begin by asking yourself what Vishen refers to as “The 3 Most Important Questions To Use For Goal Setting:”
- What beautiful human experiences do you want to have?
- What will help you grow and become the person you want to be?
- In what ways can you contribute to others and to the world as a whole?
2. Know the difference between end goals versus means goals
Another common mistake people make when goal setting is that they set means goals when they should be setting end goals.
A means goal is something you do in order to get the experience you want to have. An end goal is what you actually desire.
For example, going to college to get a degree in order to get a job to one day retire are all-too-common means goals.
By asking yourself the 3 Most Important Questions, you bypass the means goals and get straight to your end goals.
You discover the goals that speak to your heart and your happiness to create an extraordinary life.
3. Invest in the process, not the outcome
Now that you have reevaluated your goals, let’s explore the process.
Srikumar Rao, Author of Mindvalley’s Extreme Resilience: A Powerful Framework To Help You Bounce Back Every Time Life Knocks You Down, believes that the importance of goals is the direction they set, not the goals themselves.
When you focus solely on the goal, the process becomes very black and white. You either achieve it or you fail.
This puts you in extreme mindsets of either elation or despair. You think, “I achieved my goal, life’s a blast,” or “I failed, life sucks.”
Instead, put all of your focus on the actions you must undertake to achieve your goal.
The trick is to invest in the process, not the outcome.
Once you invest in the process, you actually enjoy the journey — whereas when you put your focus on a destination, you miss the journey.
Be smart with how you set and pursue your goals, and kind to yourself as you pursue them.
Keep things simple, be patient, and apply this knowledge across all your different types of goals.
Find balance in every area of your life as you launch to the top of your own ladder of success.
So, what types of goals would you like to pursue? Share a few with us in the comments below!