As a new year begins, this is the time where we hear all the “New Year New Me” phrases come along, where we are all very determined to make the year count, make progress in life and feel accomplished.
Setting personal goals helps us with that progress and feeling of accomplishment, and though I am writing this post at the beginning of a new year, I believe that personal goals can be set throughout the year – no matter the exact time.
I also believe that personal goals can change over time depending on what happens in our life, but we should have some sort of consistency to make sure we’re not just jumping from one thing to another.
For many people, setting any kind of personal goals can be an overwhelming process because especially as beginners, many don’t know where to start or how to practically take action in their daily life to achieve these goals.
I aim to make this process as easy as possible for you, so let’s dive into what personal goals are, why you should set them, how to set them, and a few practical examples.
What are personal goals?
Table of Contents
The first question you may be asking is: What are personal goals?
According to Indeed.com, Personal goals are short- or long-term goals that can apply to your work, family-life or lifestyle. They are meant to motivate you to achieve what you want in life.
Why you should set personal goals
I believe that it’s important to set personal goals if we want to see any growth in any area of our life. We are meant to change and grow, and to constantly face new challenges so we can become the best versions of ourselves.
I’ve always been passionate about personal development (even before I knew that was the appropriate term for the subject and before it became such a huge topic), and I believe that if you want more in life than to simply accept whatever comes at you, you need to be very strategic with it.
That’s where personal goals come in; they help you to analyse several areas of your life so you can make the most of it, not just for yourself but also for the people around you.
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How to set personal goals
Although setting personal goals is very exciting, many people get lost in the “how-to” process, that is knowing where to start, and how to stick through them.
My recommendation is that you make your goals SMART: this stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound.
As a Marketing Graduate I have my fair share of knowledge when it comes to setting SMART goals, as it’s literally what I did for the entire time at University, so here’s a simple explanation for it.
- Specific: as the word says, you need to be very clear with what you’re trying to achieve. “Saving money” is more generic than “Saving 15k”; so the more specific you are, the more likely you are to achieve them.
- Measurable: the goals you set need to have an indicator to track your progress. In the example I mentioned above, if you say that you want to save 15k by putting away a specific amount each month, that is a measurable goal.
- Achievable: whilst I’m a big fan of dreaming big and even setting very challenging goals, you still want to make sure that they are somewhat realistic and achievable, otherwise you’re just dreaming and you’ll be frustrated when your goals don’t come to pass.
- Relevant: your goal needs to be relevant to your long-term vision. If your goal is to buy a house in 5 years, saving a certain amount each month is a relevant goal. But spending all your savings on travelling? Maybe that’s not such a relevant goal to your main vision.
- Timebound: your goal needs to have a timeframe. We have seen over and over again that setting goals with a deadline is more efficient and proves to work better than setting goals without one. That’s because when you write down dates, you can create an action plan and take steps regularly, thus making progress towards achieving your goal.
Types of personal goals to set
There are different types of personal goals that you can set, and I decided to group them into these 4 categories (this is just my own opinion after doing it in my own life and following experts’ advice).
Personal work goals:
the goals related specifically to your career/business
Personal development life goals:
the goals related to your own life and personal growth, to improve yourself as a person and for your relationships with others
Personal financial goals:
this is pretty straightforward and related to your personal finances
Personal health goals:
these are all the goals related to your health
Let’s take a look then at 40 personal goals examples that you can set for your life in this new year and beyond.
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Personal goals examples
Improve your expertise
What does it take to make sure that you always stay on top of your game in your industry and be the best at what you do? You should never stop working on your professional development to ensure that you regularly check where you are based on the progress that’s been made and that you can improve where necessary and continue to grow in your area of expertise.
2. Expand your skillset
Nowadays it’s easier than ever to increase your skillset. You can buy books, purchase online courses, work with a coach, to learn a new skill that’s going to place you in a unique position and differentiate you from the competition.
3. Get a promotion
If you work for a company, you should try and get a promotion if possible. Why? Better money, better role, more opportunities and new challenges. Unless you’re at the most senior level in a company, there’s always room for growth and you shouldn’t settle in your current role for longer than it’s needed.
Connecting with other people in your industry is a great chance to open new doors, get more opportunities, stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, and build relationships that can become a real blessing. You can attend workshops, virtual or physical events, or any other networking opportunity that you think will help you advance in your career.
5. Take action on your passion project
Why did I not just say start a new business? Because successful businesses are built from a passion that someone has within themselves, instead of just starting a business to make a profit. So if you’re passionate about something (and there is a potential of monetizing it) you should follow that passion and take action now. This blog was born exactly like this.
6. Practice daily gratitude
This is such an important quality to have, especially in this day and age where it’s easy to never be content about where we are. But when we are intentional about understanding how blessed we are in our lives and we practice gratitude, our whole lives will change.
7. Work on your mindset
Unfortunately, many of us struggle with mindset issues, limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns. The good news is that our brains can be rewired and create new neural pathways – thanks to something called Neuroplasticity.
8. Improve your weak points
One thing I like to do is to talk to someone that I’m close to and absolutely trust to share the truth with me in love and ask them where they think I fall short and what areas of my life I could improve. After they give me their feedback, if I think they may be right, I start working on those things to make sure I can become a better version of myself.
9. Read personal development books
When you improve the quality of the information you digest and start working on your personal growth, you’re on the way to success. Check out this page for some of my favourites.
10. Get accountability
Do you have goals you want to achieve but you struggle to stay consistent and work on them? There’s nothing better than finding an accountability partner that will help you to stay on track and smash your goals.
11. Learn a new language
Maybe because I’m now bilingual, but there’s something about knowing more than one language that’s so freeing and empowering, and cool! Learning a new language has several benefits, so that would be a great goal to set for your personal development.
12. Become adaptable
As we have seen from the past few years, things can change so quickly and suddenly, that being too set in our ways does not help. But if we develop resilience and adaptability, though we will still go through challenges, we will be able to handle them in a better way.
13. Become a better listener
Unfortunately, too many people lack this important skill, because whilst someone is talking, their minds are wandering or are already thinking about what to reply. Being a good listener is a life skill that will improve both our personal and professional relationships.
14. Lower your stress and anxiety levels
Many people are stuck in a cycle of stress and anxiety that often comes from the environment around them, making their life miserable. By learning to handle anxiety and stress and keep them under control, you’ll incredibly improve the quality of your life.
15. Mind your business
I said what I said. If an issue doesn’t have anything to do with you personally, just ignore it and move on. I’m not talking about minding your business when someone needs your help. I’m talking about staying away from gossip and drama because they add nothing to your life except negativity and problems.
16. Be intentional
I mean be intentional with every moment of every day. So much happens in our world and we’re not promised tomorrow, so make sure that you tell the people close to you that you love them, build memories, and enjoy every day of life with all its ups and downs.
There’s nothing more satisfying for me (and productive) than decluttering. I’m talking about decluttering your home, your wardrobe, your inbox, and any other digital space. Especially at the start of a new year, decluttering is a great personal goal.
18. Set boundaries
If you struggle with setting boundaries and your life is suffering from it, set the goal of creating boundaries both in your personal and professional life. Read all about it here.
19. Become more productive
Obviously, I couldn’t talk about personal goals and not talk about productivity. A great goal to have in your life is to improve how you manage your time and where you spend it so that you can be more intentional, work less and achieve more.
20. Do one thing out of your comfort zone every week/month
Whether that’s talking to a stranger, taking yourself out for dinner, going on a solo trip, writing the first draft of a book, do something that is not comfortable for you right now and that will challenge you. There’s nothing better for your personal growth and development.
21. Pay off your debts
If you do happen to have debts to pay off, it’s a good goal to create a plan on how you’re going to pay them off.
22. Grow your savings
Whatever you want to do with your money, if you dream of buying a house, or travelling the world, or helping those in need, you’ll need to save some money for that, and you won’t be able to do that unless you set smart goals around it.
23. Create a budget
One of the best ways to stay on track with your finances and fulfil some of your dreams is to have a budget. Make it your goal to create one and stick to it in the long run.
24. Have an emergency fund
That’s something that’s extremely important to have because unexpected things happen all the time. Write down how you can achieve this and map out the exact steps you need to take to grow this account.
25. Start investing
Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that leaving your money sitting in a bank will do nothing for your future. A much better way of using your money is investing it, and there are tonnes of resources out there on how to get started.
26. Move every day
This should be a must for everyone because exercising or doing some sort of movement has incredible benefits for our bodies and overall health and life. Make it your goal to do this as regularly as you can in the new year.
27. Drink plenty of water
At the cost of sounding repetitive, I will always shout about the importance of drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Not only it’s essential for our body but it’s also an incredibly powerful tool to boost our productivity and focus.
28. Eat healthy meals
Needless to say how important eating healthy is; and how it makes us glow from the inside out! If that’s challenging for you, write down a plan on how you can make it happen, and my best recommendation is to create a meal plan and stick to it.
29. Journal often
There’s something so therapeutic about journaling and putting our thoughts on paper; plus I’ve always loved the feeling of reading old journals after years have gone by.
30. Book regular checkups
I know this is another boring aspect of adulting, but you should make it your goal to schedule all your health checkups every year to make sure there’s nothing wrong hiding in your body. Prevention saves lives!
31. Be more present
I’m talking about removing distractions, living in the real world (put your phones on do not disturb) and just being present in the moment, whatever you’re doing.
32. Have a me day
I’m a firm believer that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and if you want to serve others well, you need to serve yourself first. So I love taking one day of the week to do all the things I love doing that help me to recharge my batteries. It doesn’t have to be a full day as we all have different circumstances, but I highly recommend that you’re intentional with setting some time for yourself only.
33. Wake up early
There’s something special about waking up when most people are still asleep and everything is quiet. It allows you to start the day peacefully instead of rushing to get things done, and that sets the mood for the rest of the day.
34. Get plenty of sleep
I’ll never promote sleep deprivation as a productivity hack because it’s the complete opposite. I make sure I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night so that my body can recover, my skin can rest, and I can give my best to the day ahead.
Can I take the attention off of you for a minute? Giving is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself, but it can be literally life-saving for someone else. Whether you give money, time, or other resources, make sure that you’re generous with whatever gifts you have and share them with those in need.
36. Nurture the relationships with your loved ones
The older I get, the more I realise how important family is to me (and my extended family which includes my friends too). So be intentional with your relationships, have regular meals together or regular catch-ups or phone calls, because you’re not meant to do life on your own.
37. Find a hobby
Not everything has to make money, we all need a creative outlet that does just that: it boosts our creativity and makes us decompress from the world around us. I love baking, dancing, creative colouring, but whatever you find interesting, pursue that and practice it regularly.
38. Travel more
Travelling is one of the best experiences in life for so many reasons. If you’re able to, plan a trip to a different country at least once a year, and if you’re not able…set some smart goals and make it happen!
39. Become disciplined
Trust me when I say, being disciplined is the secret key that opens many doors in life. If you want to know more about it, read this post.
40. Be kind to yourself
It’s easy to beat ourselves up whenever we don’t fully meet the standards or when things don’t go the way we planned, but it’s important that you practice being kind to yourself.
Final notes on setting great personal goals
I’ve shared so much in this post with you today, but I hope you found this helpful and that you’ll take some of these personal goals examples and start applying them in your own life!