A goal is a desired outcome or result you wish to achieve. Goals can be either long-term or short-term, and you can set goals for almost any category of your life. An example of a long-term goal is purchasing a house, and an example of a short-term goal is saving $100 by the end of the month. Oftentimes, a long-term goal is accompanied by many short-term goals that help you to reach your long-term goal.
Goals are also ever evolving. You may find that the goals you’ve set are either too easy or too difficult to achieve or your priorities shift—adjust your goals accordingly so that they are challenging yet realistic.
Why do I need goals?
Goals are something you actively work toward and offer a sense of direction. Once you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you may feel a stronger sense of purpose, make small changes to help you get to your goals, and begin to hold yourself accountable. You will likely feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete them, and this will help boost your confidence.
How can I set goals?
The best goals follow the acronym “SMART.” SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. You may even have one large overarching goal and multiple smaller goals to supplement your big-picture goal.
Be specific with your goals so that you know exactly what you are working toward.
Goals should be measurable so that you have a way to quantify and track your progress (such as save $100 instead of just “save money”).
While your goals might be challenging, they should also be achievable and realistic. A goal like walking 50,000 steps a day might be measurable, but for most people it is not realistically attainable.
Next, your goals should be relevant. Set goals that align with your values and desires. You might have completely different goals than your family or friends, and that is okay.
Lastly, your goals should be time-bound. Setting a time frame on your goals helps you to stay on track and may prevent procrastination.
An example of a long-term SMART goal might be “to lose 50 pounds in one year.” Smaller short-term goals that support this long-term goal might include “exercise at least 30 minutes a day” or “try a new healthy well-balanced recipe every week.”
Keep either a physical or digital log of your goals and the steps you need to take will help you stay on track. There are lots of resources you can use, such as setting reminders on your phone or downloading a habit tracker app. Some people prefer to keep a physical journal or calendar to track their progress, so find the way that works best for you.
Setting goals is an important step in moving forward in life. Goals can act as a roadmap for us to follow toward a chosen destination. Without goals, it is easier to end up lost and unsure of ourselves. With the right goals and strategies, you’ll find you are able to achieve more than you ever thought possible.