As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” When it comes to goal setting, anyone who takes the time to set SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) goals is more likely to accomplish their goals.
Data shows that people who set goals are more likely to achieve significant results, unlike those who simply ‘work hard.’
So, what types of goals are there? Goals are often categorized based on time. For example, long term and short term goals. However, goals are also often based on accomplishing something within an area of life. For example, getting promoted, losing weight, etc.
Let’s look at what goals are, the five different types of goals and how to achieve them in your own life.
First of All, What Are Goals?
When most people hear the term ‘goal’, they often think that it is something that will take them a significant period of time to accomplish. Goals are often seen as major undertakings, which will require a substantial amount of time and a large amount of effort to accomplish.
However, the reality is that goals are personal and don’t necessarily need to be substantial in nature. Goals can include significant things like improving your finances, losing weight etc. or can also include subtle actions and plans, such as saying thank you more often.
It is important to understand that not all goals are major or massive. If you think that all goals require you to completely change everything that you do, you may struggle to accomplish any of your goals.
A goal is the object of our effort or ambition, an aim or desired result. For instance, your goal may be to lose 50 pounds within a year or get a side hustle going. Whatever you state as your goal becomes your object of ambition or something that you intend to exert effort on until you achieve it.
Five Different Types of Goals
Below we have listed five different types of goals that are applicable to our every day lives.
1. Career Goals
Have you heard this question before? “Where do you see yourself in five years?” This can be a tricky question to answer if you’ve never thought about it before. This is often a common question that is asked by interviewers when it comes to considering career goals. Yet, the reality is that most people struggle to answer this question because they’ve never seriously considered it.
Career goals are important because they help you set a framework for your future professional development. Understanding where you are going in your career whether it be short term or long term, is essential not only for you but also for your family.
Career goals may include:
- Getting a degree
- Gaining a new skill
- Creating a side hustle to boost your income
- Becoming an expert in your field
- Setting up your own business
How To Achieve Your Career Goals:
The primary reason that most people don’t achieve their goals is because they don’t define them clearly. If you want your goals to be achievable, it is important for you to set short term and long term goals.
For example, if you’re going to set up your own business, you will need to achieve several short term goals in order to achieve this long term goal. Such as, begin by creating a business plan so that you know whether or not your business idea will be profitable.
Come up with a plan of what you want to achieve within a given time frame. With short term goals, the time frame is at most twelve months. Therefore, if your goal is to set up your own business within the next ten years (long term), a short term goal would be to get the necessary certifications to make you an expert in your field.
A key strategy to accomplish professional goals is to plan what you want to achieve within a given time frame. Once you map out your goals, highlight actionable steps that will help you accomplish them.
2. Financial Goals
Your professional goals previously mentioned, are also connected to your financial goals. That’s because every stepping stone you make in your career is likely to affect your finances. Financial goals are all about building your financial health over a period of time (in the short term and long term). For example:
- Getting out of debt
- Saving up a down-payment for a home
- Saving up for retirement
- Creating a sinking fund for large purchases
- Increasing your income stream
How To Achieve Your Financial Goals
Financial goals usually contain other types of goals such as savings, investment, and spending targets. How much you want to save over time usually depends on the stage of life you’re in and what you wish to achieve. For example, a short term financial goal may be saving for a family vacation or a long term goal may be to save for a house.
Write down your desired goals when it comes to your finances. This should also include how soon you want to accomplish these goals and what actions you will take to ensure that you accomplish them.
Remember that it is important to set realistic goals. Such as, which debts do you need to tackle first? What does your ideal lifestyle look like? Which areas within your finances do you struggle with and want to manage better?
Even if you have large goals for your finances, it is always best to start small. It’s also vital that even though it can seem overwhelming, you simply start somewhere rather than not starting at all. What are the things that you can quickly achieve and will help you build momentum and confidence to continue going?
It might be starting to put aside a decent amount of money into your savings or building an emergency savings plan. Whatever it is, you should aim to get started as soon as possible and reward yourself along the way as you make progress towards reaching your goal.
3. Personal Development Goals
One of the best decisions that you can make is to actively work on becoming a better version of yourself, through setting personal development goals. This initiative is not necessarily something that you can simply achieve with money. Instead, it takes time, and commitment to work on the areas of your life that you feel need improvement.
Some personal development goals could include:
- Becoming an active listener
- Being more confident
- Exercising more
- Improving social skills
- Stop procrastinating
How To Achieve Personal Goals
The first step towards setting your personal goals is to set a vision for yourself. This encompasses the kind of person you want to be.Before you begin creating a vision for yourself, it is important to accept yourself the way you currently are. This means accepting your flaws and all. Next, come up with a plan on how you want to accomplish your personal goals and vision for your life, as well as the steps that you will take.
Check out some personal vision examples here.
As you work on yourself, it is a great idea to surround yourself with people who have the same mindset for self improvement. This may include people that are doing well in life and have already succeeded in this area of their personal journey. You can learn a lot from them and what they learnt along the way. Alternatively, they can also be people with a positive attitude who can encourage you during your own process of personal development.
One of the reasons some people struggle with personal goals is that they surround themselves with negative people. So, finding encouraging people is a great way to help you on your journey.
Remember to track your progress. You can do this by recording your development, as you continue to work on your goals. Note the changes you have made and their impact on your life. For example, slowing down and listening to my friends has strengthened your bond with them. You can also make it interesting by including photos of your progress and placing them around the house where you see them each day.
As you work on these goals, be kind to yourself and try not to push yourself too hard. Enjoy the journey and appreciate the small wins.
4. Spiritual Goals
Spiritual growth is just as significant as personal growth. Yet when it comes to goal setting, often people think about money, influence, growth etc. There’s nothing wrong with working towards these things. However, a healthy spiritual life will make it easier for you to attain these other goals.
Your spirituality is more important than what you want to accomplish in life because it’s all about who you are as an individual. Your spirituality determines your character, your perspective and how you deal with others. Before prioritizing personal success and growth, you must focus on feeding your spirit.
Some examples of spiritual growth include:
- Be more mindful
- Meditate or pray daily
- Volunteer often
- Be more compassionate
- Join a prayer group
- Practice tolerance
- Practice gratitude
How To Achieve Spiritual Goals
The first step towards achieving your spiritual goals is to clarify your beliefs. Take sometime to decide what you believe in. What makes up your truths, values and what guides your life?
Developing the right spiritual goals requires you to do some soul searching. Maybe you realize that you struggle with forgiveness. You can set a goal to work towards learning to forgive others. You can also focus on a new theme for every month. For instance, you can set June’s theme as ‘Thanksgiving.’ So, you can plan on how you’ll practice being more thankful that month. In your plans, for example, you can say: I will write a thank you note each week to express gratitude to the people in my life. Or, you can set a reminder to alert you each morning not to complain.
The themes that you choose to work on will depend on your spiritual goals. For example, loving your partner more intentionally, planting daily seeds of faith in your kids, praying for others etc.
You can keep a spiritual journal to keep track of your progress, as well as your thoughts and daily reflections. Also, you can read inspirational books to motivate yourself towards spiritual fulfillment.
5. Relationship Goals
Relationships are an essential part of our lives, and it’s essential for you to work towards developing healthy relationships with your friends and loved ones. When you search ‘relationship goals’ online, you’ll find a sea of advice on how to set ‘couple goals’ or advice that focuses on romantic relationships.
Even though there is nothing wrong with that, it’s important to note that all relationships are important-be it relationships with your friends, neighbors, relatives, partner or co-workers.
Some examples of relationship goals include:
- Finding a life partner
- Spending more time with family
- Having kids
- Showing gratitude towards loved ones
- Communicating more with your partner
How To Achieve Your Relationship Goals
The first step towards achieving your goals is to be realistic. Forget about the Hollywood fairy tales, as they don’t reflect reality. Relationships take work, and both partners must be committed to building a healthy and lasting relationship.
It all boils down to commitment and understanding. You and your loved one or friends must be willing to work on the relationship. It takes more than words to communicate to your partner and friends, it requires understanding, actions, as well as allowing a degree of give and take within the relationship.
Learning to understand your partner, including their strengths and weaknesses, is crucial if you want to accomplish your goals.
Remember, it is easy to form a connection with someone. But building a working relationship isn’t always easy. You may find that your partner doesn’t share the same interests as you and holds different values.
It is important to ensure that your relationships are in alignment with mindset, goals, and values. Furthermore, you should also aim to set goals that will make you feel better about yourself and ensure that you are happier with the direction your life is going.
All You Need To Know About Goal Setting
When it comes to different types of goals , it is important that you should set both short term and long term goals. Set SMART goals to increase your chances of achieving them. One way that you do this is to ask yourself a lot of questions in regards to each of the five areas that have been discussed. The answers will help you fine-tune your strategy, ensuring that the goals are attainable.
Although you should be as realistic as possible, it’s important to approach writing SMART goals with a positive mindset. Besides, each of these goals are a stepping stone to your success.
Avoid approaching goal setting as a daunting task. In fact, the process is illuminating, as it helps you figure out all you have to do to realize success and reach your goals. Each of your goals can be broken down into smaller, more attainable goals that will propel you towards success.
That being said, there are three types of goals that you can set.
These are goals that entail a specific action or process that you’ll engage in to realize your dream. The ‘process’ of performing actions that leads to your success. For example, you can aim to spend 30 minutes reading an inspirational book everyday. This will help you progress towards becoming more knowledgable in a certain subject.
These are goals based on maintaining or creating standards for yourself. For example; be punctual at work, or meetings, request feedback from co-workers, etc. Performance goals allow you to perform better in life and in your career.
These goals focus on achievement. For instance, landing your dream job or making a down payment on your dream house. You are motivated and driven by the final outcome that you will be able to reach if your performance remains consistent and steps are taken to get you to your goal.
Process goals, outcome goals and performance goals are all intertwined and have a linear relationship. This is because once you realize your process goals, your performance goals also become achievable.
Similarly, when you attain your performance goals, you have a higher chance of accomplishing your outcome goals.
It is beneficial to break your goals down into weekly or daily activities that will lead you in the right direction towards accomplishing the overall goal. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, you could take on daily activities that will help you towards pursing that endeavor. For example, exercising multiple times a week, planning to cook and eat healthy meals, etc.
The Bottom Line
It can be tough to establish goals especially if you aren’t already in the habit of setting them. However, once you start, you’ll find that it motivates you to keep working towards your dreams.
Get started today by creating a mental picture of the kind of life that you want. Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to increase your chances of being promoted in the work place by pursuing another course? All that can be achieved when you take the time to set your goals and focus on objectives that can get you there.