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Everyone is looking for ways to better themselves, and we always strive for self-improvement. With self-improvement, we become better people and are often able to achieve more! One way to start your self-improvement and help achieve personal growth is to set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve these goals no matter what life throws at you. Here are individual goals examples to help you start your journey.
The Goal-setting Theory
Industrial-organizational psychologist Edwin Locke came up with the goal-setting theory. It recommends how to set the most effective kind of goals. Locke found that people perform better and are more motivated to complete goals if those goals are difficult.
People can’t cheat. The easier the goal, the less you will work to try and achieve this goal. If you set a harder goal that is not impossible, you’ll put in the highest level of effort.
What Are Individual Goals?
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People set goals for all different reasons in life. Someone you know may have fitness goals, while another has a business or career goals. These are all individual goals examples because the person is trying to better themselves somehow.
Individual goals or personal development goals are set to help you grow and mature as a person. They will often change as you achieve goals and develop new skills.
Setting individual goals not only helps us get better results but also helps motivate us and take responsibility for our actions.
Goal setting also keeps us accountable for mistakes we may make and failures. This way, we do not put the burden on or blame others like family members, society, culture, etc.
When you set individual goals, these revolve around:
- Professional success
- Your life as a whole
Goals are going to help you achieve things in life you might not have realized you could achieve. They will also help you change things you need to change and give you a better outlook on life.
Why Set Goals?
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Everyone sets goals for themselves, whether they realize it or not. Successful businesspeople, Olympic athletes, and achievers in all fields have set goals at one point or another. Setting goals gives you a long-term vision and motivation to get things done, and it helps you focus on acquiring knowledge and organizes your time and resources so you can get the most out of your life.
Sense of Direction
Taking the time to think about what you want in life gives you a sense of direction for life and a purpose. If you create a 5-year-plan based on what you want out of your life, it can help you move from just dreaming about things to actually doing things. Setting goals helps set a clear path of where you want to go and helps set expectations for yourself.
See The Bigger Picture
When you set goals, you can often take a step back and get some perspective on what’s important in your life. It’s the first step towards creating a life you want and is full of meaning. Setting goals help you see the whole picture. Especially using long-term goals to strive toward the life you want.
Setting goals gives you something to aspire to. By nature, goals motivate you and often make you put your best foot forward. Working towards your goal gives you purpose, and you will feel motivation and satisfaction as you start to move towards your goal.
Control of Your Future
Setting goals helps put you in the driver’s seat of your life. Writing down goals and acknowledging what you want out of life will help you take a step toward taking control of your future.
By setting clear and defined goals, you can measure and take ownership of the goals and celebrate the achievement of those goals. Goals also allow you to see progress where you may have felt like they was none and that it was just a never-ending cycle.
They can also help you with self-confidence and help you recognize your ability and competence in many areas as you achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
Short-term Goals Vs. Long-term Goals
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Before getting into some individual goals examples, it is best to figure out what type of goals you want to add to your list. Short-term and long-term goals are two of the main goals you will be setting for yourself.
Have fun with your goals and create vision boards to help you sort your long term and short term goals. Place them somewhere to keep you inspired as you take action on your goals.
Short-term goals are much smaller than long-term goals and are normally achievable between now and next year. This goal could be anything from spending less time on electronic devices to reading a certain amount of self-help books before the year is over. These kinds of goals keep you easily motivated and will help boost your confidence when it comes to setting goals.
Short-term goals focus on what you can do in the current time and place. They are all about working with what you have now or will have in the near future. They help you touch specific parts of your life. For example, health goals are for your physical health and mental health currently.
But, by completing short-term goals, you often start to overflow into other areas as well. If you improve your physical health by exercising, you’ll feel more energized at work, which could positively impact your professional life and help you achieve your professional goals.
Short-term goals are easier to achieve than long-term ones because they are often smaller goals. With a shorter time frame, you can gain a sense of progress and not feel the want to procrastinate. They have tighter deadlines, and they are harder to change.
You can also have many short-term goals at once since they have a short timespan and achievability. You can complete many in a short amount of time. The only problem with short-term goals is they rely heavily on your current situation. If you are looking to achieve a large goal quickly but do not have time to work towards it, it won’t happen.
Examples of Short-term Goals
There are a ton of short-term goals that you can quickly add to your life. Here are a few examples.
- Eat better
- Exercise more
- Save more money
- Take up a new hobby
Remember to turn these into S.M.A.R.T. goals to make yourself more accountable. You’ll learn more about these a little further down!
Long-term goals are for your future and help you plan for it. They typically take longer than short-term goals are more complex and rigorous, and take more effort to achieve. You’ll normally set long-term goals for a year from now or more, and they normally consist of smaller goals and multiple steps.
Long-term goals are a little more flexible because they often have to change and adapt to changes in your life and the journey you are taking. You will choose when to change your plan or when to change your goals. Life will throw you curveballs, and you’ll have to make adjustments.
Long-term goals are who you want to be in the future and must align with your life mission and purpose. They also affect many areas of your life at home time. A big career change will affect your whole life, like income, work schedule, and life fulfillment. You are looking at the big picture when you are looking at your long-term goals.
Examples of Long-term Goals
There are a ton of long-term goals that you can add to your life and take steps to achieve. Here are a few examples.
- Run a marathon
- Learn a foreign language
- Earn a college degree or graduate high school
- Become a better spouse or parent
- Become better at time management
These are long-term goals you will not be able to complete in a week, month, or maybe even a year. Long-term goals are for your long-term vision of your life. These, too, can be written in S.M.A.R.T. goal format to make them more effective.
How To Set Individual Goals
When you decide to set some individual goals for yourself, there are some questions you should ask before getting started.
- What do I want out of life?
- What kind of family life do I imagine?
- What do I want out of my career?
Once you answer those questions, you are ready to set your goals to help with your life, family, and career. However, you do not want to make random goals all over the place, and it is best to use S.M.A.R.T. goals.
A S.M.A.R.T. goal is a type of goal and process that will help you establish specific and worthwhile goals. These goals will then help guide you through life. Each letter in the word SMARt stands for a piece of goal setting that will make it more effective.
Using specific facts, events, etc., will help keep you on track. Vague goals can easily be glossed over since they have less direction to them. Specific goals allow you to know exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
Use questions to get started:
- Who – who is involved?
- What – what do you want to accomplish?
- Where – where will you complete the goal?
- When – when do you want to do it?
- Which – which obstacles might get in your way?
- Why – why are you doing it?
Use concrete detail like dates, times, and amounts that you can easily track. You need to be able to track and measure your progress, so you know when you’ve reached your goal.
The most effective and achievable goals are challenging or attainable goals. You want to set up plans that you can achieve through focus and dedication to the goal.
Goal setting helps when you relate your goals to your significant desires. The results of achieving your life goals should feel rewarding and motivate you.
You want to set a time frame for yourself regarding goal setting. When you have a time-bound goal, you are less likely to put it on hold or avoid it.
Here are just a couple of S.M.A.R.T. goal examples to get you moving in the right direction:
Goal: Get Fit
Right now, this goal is not a SMART goal. It is too vague. It needs to be easier to measure and more specific.
S.M.A.R.T Goal: I will follow my training program from Kayla Itsines and will complete the program within 34 weeks.
This goal is specific, measurable, time-bound, achievable, and relevant.
Goal: I’m going to meet new people.
S.M.A.R.T Goal: I will join a spring kickball league with people I do not know, attend at least 6 games, and attend the end of the season party to meet new people.
This goal is a step outside their comfort zone and helps them make new friends and meet new people while being time-bound, measurable, and relevant to their personal life.
Goal: I will start a craft business.
S.M.A.R.T Goal: I will start a craft business on Etsy on December 11th, and I will work for 1 hour each day and try to get my first sale after 2 weeks.
S.M.A.R.T. goals help keep you focused and allow you to easily take the first step toward your own goals.
How Personal Values Affect Goals
When setting personal or professional goals, you always want to keep your values in mind. If you try to achieve goals that go against your values, you will likely struggle and experience conflict.
Some personal values are:
Authenticity Adventure Balance
Bravery Compassion Challenge
Citizenship Community Creativity
Curiosity Determination Fairness
Freedom Friendships Fun
Generosity Growth Honesty
Influence Justice Kindness
Knowledge Leadership Learning
Love Loyalty Openness
Optimism Recognition Respect
Responsibility Security Self-Respect
Social Connection Spirituality Stability
Status Wealth Wisdom
If you go against your key values when making a personal goal, achieving this goal will be harder, and you may not feel right about the outcome.
How To Achieve Individual Goals
After you have decided on your individual goals, it’s time to start achieving them. Whether
short-term or long-term goals, you want to start manifesting and trying to get these goals done!
Here are a few tips to help you put in the hard work and achieve your goals.
Things will come up and change. You’ll need to adapt, but never lose sight of your goal. You need to be flexible when it comes to goals because there are going to be issues and changes within your life. Flexibility can also make a great goal.
Write Down Goals
There are many personal journals on the market, and you will find a journal right for you. When using the S.M.A.R.T. goal system, you’ll be able to write goals down easily and effectively.
Talk With Others
Sharing your goals with others you trust will hold you more accountable and keep you focused on achieving your individual goals. Remember to share only the goals you feel comfortable sharing. You want to avoid putting more stress on yourself by wondering what a friend thinks of your goal. A good friend will support all your goals in life.
Make a Plan
When you make a plan, you have a better chance of achieving your goals. Different goals will take different amounts of time, and you need to plan your steps and figure out what to do next.
Successful people take action. You need to do something to make something happen and start putting in the effort immediately. Try to accomplish something daily that will contribute to achieving your goals.
Types of Individual Goals
Our lives include many aspects, and that means there are many different types of personal goals. Here are just a few types you may consider:
These goals help you advance your current career, start a new one, or develop new skills.
Many of us are looking for more financial freedom but need more resources. When setting financial goals, you want to ensure your needs and values combine well, and this way, there is no conflict.
We want to find a romantic partner, build friendships, and even improve the relationships we have now.
It’s no secret that Americans are becoming increasingly unhealthy. Health goals are now becoming very common, including diet, exercise, or both. Many goals include trying to overcome a disease or physical difficulty.
Education can be helpful or necessary. But it can help you learn some new skills, make more money, or make a career change.
Many of us have parts of ourselves that we would like to improve. We may want to be a kinder parent, more forgiving, better public speaker, or even better at a game we enjoy. Self-development goals can include anything that will improve ourselves.
Experience goals deal with different things we would like to do or see. Some people want to travel to Europe, see the different colored beaches in Hawaii, or attend a concert.
One of the last types of personal goals has effects on others. Your goal may be to recycle more, borrow more books from the library, or advocate changing government or neighborhood policies.
Let’s get into some examples to help you get started on your goal-setting journey.
Individual Goals Examples
Now that you have learned everything it takes to set and achieve goals, from hard work to a growth mindset and everything in between. It is important to figure out exactly what goals you want to start.
Professional Development Goals
Professional development goals will help you further your career. These professional life goals help you learn relevant skills, expand your professional network, and give you more satisfaction.
- Develop new skills (personal or workplace)
- Take on leadership roles.
- Expand your professional network.
- Take on more small commission work.
- Find a mentor among your team members.
- Improve communication skills (public speaking).
- Complete work before the end of the quarter (instead of rushing).
- Get a certification or a degree.
- Read professional books.
- Apply for a promotion.
- Learn to manage energy.
- Work on your communication skills.
- Improve presentation and interpersonal skills.
- Start a business.
- Research your industry and other departments
- Win an award.
- Try active listening.
- Make better decisions in the workplace.
- Improve workplace skills.
- Skills based training opportunities.
- Keep up with technology, systems, and processes.
- Develop your growth mindset.
- Attend a workshop related to your current or dream job.
- Complete a leadership training course.
- Join one professional organization related to your current or dream career.
- Look for a new or better job.
- Find a career that you love.
- Become an expert or leader in your field.
There are many other professional development goals, and you can easily figure out and create goals specific to your job.
Personal Goal Examples
These individual goal examples are just a few examples of goals that can help improve your life, whether it is kicking a bad habit, changing something about your daily routine, or increasing your emotional intelligence. These examples of personal goals can help you get started.
All the goals under this category will deal with money and finances and help you live the life you want without worrying about it!
- Save to buy a new house.
- Save X number of dollars for retirement.
- Pay off your student loans early.
- Save enough money to buy something you’ve always wanted.
- Put aside money to help your children with college
- Pay off your credit card debt.
- Save for your daughter’s wedding.
- Pay off your mortgage.
- Pay off any personal loans.
- Buy your first home.
- Make better decisions when it comes to money.
- Work towards financial security for your retirement
Relationship Goals and Family Goals
If you want to improve relationships, these goals will help you.
- Find a life partner.
- Become a better listener.
- Nurture good relationships.
- Go on a date night once a month.
- Call your spouse once a day.
- Try a new activity you enjoy to meet people.
- Talk out your problems with family members
- Forgive someone who hurt you.
- Take a trip with your partner.
- Gain more personal relationships.
- Spend quality time with your parents.
- Spend time with your family.
- Go on a trip with your best friends or your spouse.
- Help someone else reach one of their dreams.
- Spend more quality time with your children.
- Sit down for dinner at least 3 times a week with your family.
Personal Goals and Health Goals
These goals are all for you, and they are goals that are going to help you change your physical and mental health.
- Go for a walk every day.
- Challenge yourself.
- Use positive self-talk.
- Let go of the past.
- Allow yourself some free time from commitments.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
- Give back to your community in ways that matter to you.
- Learn how to dance, ski, sew, etc.
- Lose weight.
- Eat less sugar and junk food.
- Get a degree in a subject that matters to you.
- Read a new book per week.
- Learn how to bake.
- Get into graduate school.
- Write a book.
- Look at life with a positive attitude
- Go to a new country.
- Visit all of the American national parks.
- Use more reusable containers and less plastic.
- Practice gratitude daily.
- Create a morning routine.
- Take a break from social media.
- Improve your public speaking skills.
- Learn a foreign language.
- Drink more water.
- Be more productive.
You can easily break these personal goals into the different categories mentioned above and figure out exactly which type you would like to focus on first.
Why you should set individual goals each year
Setting goals each year is a great way to go into the new year with a growth mindset and be ready to take on any challenges that life throws at you. Although you may bring in some long-term goals from years prior, it is a good idea to set some new short-term goals to give you a head start and get your life on the right path in the New Year.
Some of the benefits of setting some new goals each year include:
- Motivation to develop strategies that will help you gain success.
- Increased performance in your personal, professional, and mental life.
- Feeling of satisfaction with achieving the goal.
It is amazing how making goals can help improve your life and ensure you get everything you want out of it.
Still, Confused About Goals?
Goals can still be very confusing and hard to figure out. So, if you are still confused, here is a quick breakdown of what exactly a goal is and what a goal isn’t.
A goal is:
- A vision for the future. Goals should follow along with your personal vision statement and the things you want to achieve.
- Goals are time-sensitive and effective goals are often time-bound. They normally last over a longer time frame and can be broken down into smaller short-term goals.
- They are normally pretty large, and you should not be afraid to set a goal that seems out of your reach. Thinking outside the box and dreaming big is helpful when it comes to setting goals and helping you get there.
A goal is not:
- An objective. Goals describe what you want to achieve, and objectives are the steps you’ll take to achieve your goal. For example, if you’re going to become more confident in public speaking. Practicing your public speaking each night is an objective to help you achieve your goal.
- A resolution. Resolutions are temporary and often give short-term gratification. Think of everyone who set New Year’s resolutions just to stop them in February. They are just not the same as goals. A resolution is a decision to do or not do something; a goal is what you want to achieve in life.
- A mission. Mission statements create a direction to follow that is clear and focused. It is a statement of purpose that companies, businesses, or individuals use. A goal is a specific aim you (or your team) work towards.
When you are setting goals, it is best to look carefully at your plan and determine if what you are looking to achieve is a goal and not one of the other things mentioned above.
Individual Goals: Sum It Up!
There are many ways to get started when it comes to individual goals. Let’s wrap up all the important points made above to make it easier for you to get started and on the right track.
You set individual goals to help you grow, mature, and change for the better. Goals are often set to help you achieve something or develop new skills, and they not only help you get better results but help motivate you and take responsibility for your actions.
There are two different types of goals short-term and long-term. Short-term goals are much smaller than long-term goals and are achievable within a few days, months, or within the year. These kinds of goals keep you easily motivated and help you boost your confidence.
Long-term goals are for your future and help you plan for it. These goals are typically longer and are more complex, rigorous, and take more effort to achieve. Normally you set goals for a year from now or more. To achieve these goals, you normally need to conquer smaller goals.
When setting goals, you want to ensure you are setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This process helps you establish specific goals that are worth your time—using S.M.A.R.T. goals will ensure you set goals that are not too vague.
There are many different types of goals, and you need to know which will help you achieve the life you want. The main goal categories are career, health, community, family, relationship, educational, self-development, and experience.
Finally, setting goals can be challenging, and there are some ways to ensure you can achieve your goals and rock them! Flexibility is needed because life is going to change, and your goals may also need to change. Writing down your goals will help you remember them and keep you accountable, as well as talking about your goals with others. Others can help keep you on track and help you achieve. You also need to make a plan and take action!
Set life goals and achieve them!
Now that you know how important goals are, it’s time to take the first step forward, whether it’s professional, fitness, or personal goals or something else entirely. The goal-setting process can help you find purpose and meaning in your life and improve it drastically.
Don’t ever put too much pressure on yourself. If you are unable to reach all your goals, just writing them down can help provide you with a deeper sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Having them available to you in a notebook will help keep you accountable and help you rock it!
Goals are more than just thoughts and feelings, they are tools to help you live the best life you can.