Without a doubt, there is a strong relationship between motivating yourself, setting personal goals, and achieving anything in life. From Usain Bolt to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, the world is littered with examples of people who set personal goals for themselves and famously achieved them.
Setting personal goals ensures that you have specific objectives you can use as personal motivation and inspiration. Once you have that motivation, the result should be a noteworthy achievement.
Personal goals are not a magic process that guarantees your life will forever be on the right track and guarantees success though. However, studies show that just writing about your personal goals and plans, regardless of the goal type, helps boost academic performance. Personal goals not only help with personal growth and maturity, but also helps build accountability and clarity as to what was responsible for any failure we may encounter along the way.
You Can Set Personal Goals for Different Facets of Your Life
As individuals, we can set all types of goals that pertain to different parts of our existence. You can set goals to improve in an area, or you can set goals to overcome an issue you have been struggling with for a while. The truth is the number of categories you can break your personal goals into are inexhaustible.
If you seek to set personal goals in any of the categories named above, below are some practical objectives to follow.
Recognizing areas that qualify for improvement and growth in your professional life can positively influence your career. These personal goals can lead you to learning new things, increasing your efficiency and effectiveness, and even strengthening the abilities you already possess. It is proven that setting goals for work tend to increase performance by 20-25%. It also improves happiness and productivity at work while reducing stress. Simply put, it is advantageous all around. Here are some examples of personal development goals for work:
- Improve Time Management – By assigning a timeframe to every task and sticking diligently to it, you can improve your work productivity and efficiency.
- Develop your Emotional Intelligence – This means developing control over your emotions and showing more empathy. Setting and achieving this goal will make you a better communicator at work and solidify your relationship with your colleagues. It will also mean less conflict.
- Improve your Reading Habit – One of the best ways for anyone to expand their knowledge base is reading. There are books on every topic out there, and investing in books in your professional field is a great goal to set. It will open you up to new knowledge and make you more rounded.
- Improve your Public Speaking Skills – Working in an organization means you may have to address colleagues, superiors, make presentations, or brief the board. Gaining public speaking skills means a more confident, clear, and assertive version of you. That confidence generates more trust from your peers and superiors in you.
- Meet New People – You can build your professional network by meeting new people and making more acquaintances. Doing this means exposing yourself to more opportunities within and outside your field.
Money is usually a tricky and sensitive issue for every single person. We continuously think of making more of it, spending the one we have, or saving for future needs. Creating personal goals for your finance can help serve as a pathway to financial stability and security. Joining a financial psychology group, for example, has been shown to improve people’s saving rates by a mammoth 7% moving from 10% to 17%. Here are some other examples of personal goals you can take on to boost your finances:
- Paying off all debts – Accruing debts is one way of knowing someone is not financially secure. When you are in a perpetual cycle of getting money and using it to pay off debtors, financial stability will be hard to achieve. Setting up a personal goal that ensures you can promptly pay your debts, and guarantees you do not fall into more, can help a great deal.
- Saving for retirement – Retirement is one thing that leaves every working-class individual with a bittersweet feeling. While you are excited about having more time to yourself and doing the things you love, the fear of what lies ahead might be overpowering. One way to reducing that fear is to ensure financial strength post-retirement, and you can have that by setting a goal to save more for it.
- Kickstarting a business – Kickstarting a business requires a lot of investment, and it is not out of place to see people take out loans for it. You can reduce the amount of loan you might potentially take if you create a personal goal to build financial power towards owning your own business.
- Buying a home – Buying a home is always one of the most significant achievements for any individual. It is, however, often a long-term vision that requires meticulous planning and saving. Creating a plan for this personal goal will ensure commitment and discipline.
- Setting up an emergency fund – Emergencies can always blindside us at any point in life. It is even worse when you are not financially prepared for them. With emergencies, it is advisable to be proactive rather than reactive. The best way to be proactive is to have a personal goal that ensures you have an emergency fund set up. You will thank yourself for it later.
The beautiful thing about setting personal goals is that it is not limited to a particular group of people or individuals. Even students who are either not yet done with school or just starting their educational journeys can set personal goals to achieve academic growth and success.
Parents can even teach their younger children in elementary and middle school how to set goals and work towards achieving them. Here are four personal goals students can adopt:
- Finish Your Homework Early Every Week – this particular goal helps students be proactive and manage time from an early age. Finishing your assignments with time to spare means you have time to revise and devote to other things. Commit towards completing your homework and submitting it a day before they are due. It helps to be prepared for the unexpected and avoid rush work. Effective time management from finishing early reduces anxiety amongst students and improves academic performance.
- Be More Vocal in Class – this is yet another vital goal that encourages students to be more active in class. Speaking up more in class builds self-confidence and visibility. It also helps you gain more clarity and knowledge, as you are not afraid to ask or answer class questions.
- Build an Effective Study System – every student has different study techniques that work for them. While some thrive by audio learning, others do better by watching videos. For some, it is a combination of both. Recognizing the learning system suited most to you will entail trying the different strategies until you find the best one. It encourages self-discovery and means you know yourself better.
- Find a Mentor – The value of mentors cannot be overstated. They serve as a guide and can share their own experiences with you. Having a mentor has been linked to numerous positive outcomes like improved job selection, career success, and overall clarity with life. It is even better to find a mentor who studied a similar course to what you are learning in school. It means they can inform you of the job opportunities out there and guide you on what to do and what not to do.
Our relationship with family members is one of the most defining ones we will ever have in our lifetime. The truth is that not every family shares a strong bond, and even for those that once had such a bond, things can deteriorate, and family members become distant. Having personal goals that will help you build stronger family bonds is a great way to prevent this from happening.
- Be a More Willing Volunteer – willingly committing to partake in family events or outings or even being the organizer is a great personal goal to have. You can also step up and take charge of certain things around the house. It can help you generate more respect.
- Share More of Yourself – The older we grow, the more we become sticklers for privacy. It is a known fact that kids tend to isolate themselves once they reach their teenage years and request privacy. It eventually leads to shutting others out, and distance sets in. Making the conscious effort to share more of yourself is a great way to keep this in check.
- Go on More Vacations Together – The fastest way to create a bond is to spend time with each other. One of the best ways to do this is by going on a planned vacation with family members. Make this a personal and family goal, and see how things pan out for you and your family members.
You can grow in your business, career, fitness, or even financially and remain stagnant as a human being. Make a conscious effort to maintain growth across every area of your life. This will make you a well-rounded individual. Examples of personal growth goals are:
- Become a great listener – The key to building understanding with anyone is to listen to them properly. Learning to listen to understand, and not reply drives effective communication. You should note this because effective communication is the foundation for great relationships and personal growth.
- Learn to Wake Early – Waking up early has a lot of scientific benefits. It has psychological benefits as well. It makes you more prepared for the day and gives you time to take advantage of the calmness of the dawn. Waking up early is also great for the mind and makes one more productive.
- Acquire a Creative Skill – This is one personal goal that is very important when it comes to deriving a sense of accomplishment. Creative people tend to feel more satisfied and content as they enjoy watching their creations bring fulfilment and joy to others. Acquiring a creative skill is one way to grow as an individual and enjoy contentment. The good news is, it is a cyclical relationship. According to research, being creative makes one happy, and when one is happy, they are at their most creative.
A Guideline to Setting and Prioritizing your Personal Goals
Most people tend to shy away from creating personal goals, mostly because they do not know what they want out of life or for themselves. It is why the first thing to do before setting and writing any goal is to think long and hard about what exactly you want to improve or what you want.
There are different ways to determine this, and one of the most effective is what is called the ‘Which? Why? What? How?’ technique. It entails asking the following questions:
After doing this, the next step towards setting your personal goal is to write the goals down. To set the most effective targets, ensure they comply with the SMART standard. It simply means you should ensure your goals are:
- Specific – your personal goals should be clear and straightforward with no room for confusion
- Measurable – Make sure your personal goals are not abstract. They should be things you should be able to track and qualify with each target.
- Achievable – No matter how ambitious you are, it is crucial to ensure your personal goals are realistic and within the realm of achievement. Make sure there are resources and time available to you to achieve the goals.
- Relevant – Your personal goals should be in tandem with the part of your life you wish to change. There is no use in having goals that are not in sync with what you want to improve.
- Timed – Your personal goals should be time-conscious. Having a deadline gives you motivation and ensures your goals remain goals instead of dreams.
Prioritizing Your Personal Goals
Step three of setting your personal goals is to prioritize the goals you have from the most important ones to the least important. Chasing multiple goals can be overwhelming for any individual. For this reason, whittling down your list is advisable. To do this, rate your personal goals on a scale of 1-10, depending on how important they are.
The goals that score highest should be of maximum importance to you. Another way to prioritize your goals is to do a cause and effect scenario. If one goal causes a domino effect on others, that goal should have top billing on your list.
Create a Working Plan
Step four is all about creating a working plan and tracking your goals. Ensure you write your goals with positive language to inspire confidence and encouragement. This operational plan could be in a journal, diary, notebook, or an online planning tool. Follow the working plan strictly to give yourself the best chance of achieving your personal goals.
Reflect and Review
The final step of setting personal goals is to review and reflect on your performance about achieving your goals. The review could be a daily or weekly thing, but it should be a planned task to ensure discipline. It is essential to celebrate completing any task or achieving one of your personal goals. Rewarding yourself creates positive encouragement to achieve other goals. If you do not complete a task, review the reason, and rectify it.
Goal-setting is a psychological way to drive motivation both at personal and professional levels. Research has also strongly linked goal-setting with success. The goal of every individual is to achieve improvement in every aspect of their lives.
One of the fastest and most effective ways to do this is to set personal goals. Setting personal goals can be done by people of all ages and statuses. Setting personal goals creates clarity and a steely determination to excel. You can set personal goals for any aspect of your life as long as you are determined to do so.
Ensure your personal goals are SMART and remain dedicated and committed to them. It is also necessary to reward yourself for completing a task or goal to boost your confidence and increase encouragement. So, what are you waiting for? The best time to create a personal goal in that aspect of your life is right now.