A goal without a timeline is just a dream.Robert Herjavec
Have you ever written down your goals on a nice little sheet of paper before sticking it on your vision board and forgotten all about it a week later?
That’s what happens to most of us.
By the time the year ends, we’re right back where we started.
Instead this time, we’re making new New Year’s Resolutions. And they’ll be just as out of reach as the previous batch.
I’m speaking from experience because this was me for most of my life till my mid-twenties.
Writing down your goals isn’t enough.
And these goals will never materialize into anything.
So, in this post, I’m not just going to give you some good personal goal examples, but I’ll teach you how to actually achieve them.
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- What are personal goals?
- Why keep personal goals?
- How do you write your personal goals?
- Examples of Personal Goals
- How do you achieve your personal goals?
- Final thoughts on personal goals and the personal goal examples in this post
What are personal goals?
Personal goals are targets or missions that you keep to perenially improve yourself personally – so that you can grow as a person.
Life is all about learning.
Learning to become a better person so we can do our part for society and contribute to this big, beautiful world.
No, I’m not implying that you should live your life for others. But the more we give, the happier we actually become. It’s funny.
Because most of us believe that getting more stuff will lead to happiness. We believe that if we buy that one dress or that one dream car, we’ll be happy.
But after a while, the happiness melts away, and we move on to drooling over the next big and bright object.
Personal goals can give you a lifetime of fulfillment, provided you keep an open mind and are always willing to improve yourself.
Why keep personal goals?
Personal goals help you aspire to become something greater than what you are now. In short, it keeps you going.
Have you ever sunk in bed, feeling a wave of boredom and nothingness sweep over you?
You feel like wanting to do something, but you can’t think of anything that sparks real joy.
So, you distract yourself with worldly pleasures like binging on Netflix, browsing Social Media or shopping online for bed linen you can’t afford. All the while believing that you are engaging with the world, when in fact you are drifting far from it.
You see, personal goals give you something to work on.
It is an endless project that never gets boring, provided you keep throwing new goals in the mix. Why? Because the project is you.
Think of it as a jellybean box that has no bottom containing jelly beans of an infinite number of flavours.
Life isn’t long enough to discover all those flavours.
Likewise, if done correctly, personal goals can
- Keep you calm
- Give you an immense feeling of contentment
- Make you wiser and brighter
- Help you evolve to a more beautiful, happier, successful you.
How do you write your personal goals?
Before you start galloping away thinking of cool goals to write down, take some quiet time to actually visualise your dream life.
These questions will help you figure out what you really want from life.
- What is your current life like? Is there anything you wish to change? For eg: do you feel like you never have time to do anything? Do you wish to improve your time management skills? Write it down.
- Are you happy with the people you surround yourself with? Do the people in your life make you happy? Do you wish to cut out toxic friends? Or do you constantly isolate yourself from people? Do you wish to socialize more? Write it down.
- Does your work make you happy? Is it something you truly enjoy doing? Or does it suck your mental energy and leave you bone dry and tired at the end of the day? What do you wish to do about it?
- Are you happy with your health? Do you constantly wish to become healthier and fitter, but you keep pushing it off? Write it down.
- Are you constantly stressed and overcome with anxiety paralysis? Do you wish to be more relaxed and plan your day better? Write your goal down.
Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to retrace your steps and actually work towards your goals. If you can set a deadline to these goals, it’s even better. It’s okay if you have a few roadblocks. These are normal and can be circumnavigated.
For instance, one of my goals, when I was 21, was to make money by becoming an Illustrator. But there were a few roadblocks:
- I didn’t have any sort of formal training (I was an engineer). How did I fix that? I took a few classes on Domestika to understand how anatomy works and figure out my drawing style.
If you’re keen on learning how to become an illustrator, then here are my top picks of the classes I took to learn what I know now. These courses are very inexpensive and you get to own it forever, so you can revisit them whenever you want.
- I didn’t have a graphic tablet and couldn’t afford one at the time. So, I saved up enough money by working as a Freelancer and created websites and brand identities for clients till I could buy a Wacom Cintiq and set some money aside for rent and other utility bill payments. 2 years later, I was able to upgrade to an iPad Pro 12.9″ and Apple Pencil.
- I didn’t have any experience drawing on a tablet. I picked up the skill by practising everyday and watching more classes on Domestika and learning anatomy from other artists.
Where am I now?
I have a whole blog dedicated to helping women start an online business that’s fun and creative so they can make money doing something they love. It’s filled with illustrations and I’m officially making money doing something I love.
No matter what your goal is, you can achieve it.
All you have to do is:
- Write down your goals
- List the steps required to hit each one. The more specific they are, the easier it will become for you to reach.
- Actually take action each day to move closer to that goal.
Examples of Personal Goals
There are different types of personal goals you can set so that you can improve your quality of life in different aspects like:
- Becoming more mindful and self-aware so that you can be present in the moment
- Embracing that less is indeed more and focusing on experiences rather than objects
- Becoming more healthy so that you can live comfortably and have a better quality of life
- Picking up skills that will help you in every walk of life
- Building meaningful and sustained relationships
If you set enough goals in each aspect, then I can guarantee your that your life will become much, much better.
Let’s dig in!
Becoming more Mindful and Self-Aware
This section is dedicated to helping you understand who you really are. Unless you know who you are, you can’t exactly nail down what you want and why.
These set of goals will help you understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie so that you can set goals that tailor to your life.
1. Journal regularly
I’ve been journaling since I was 5. Back then, I had a little diary with a kitty on it and it came with a tiny padlock. Super adorable.
Write down anything. The events of the day, what you’re thinking, what you’re planning for tomorrow, random thoughts, anything!
Journalling helps you understand who you are and gets your thoughts out on paper. It helps you clear your mind and understand what your priorities are.
Use a notebook that you are comfortable writing in every day. Stick to something simple and sleek so you can carry it with you, everywhere.
How do you journal consistently without losing interest?
I’ve noticed that most people love to start journalling but eventually give it up because they can’t keep up with it or are just too intimidated. I was one of those people. Here are some tips to help you stay consistent:
- Embrace imperfection. Don’t aim to make it a masterpiece. This journal is yours. It’s for you. You don’t need to write it for anybody but you. The more simple it is, the easier it is to maintain.
- Combine your journalling activity to a pre-existing habit. I have a chamomile tea every night before bed. And I do it without fail. So combining journaling while I sip my tea is the perfect way for me to wind down.
- Journal when you’re comfortable. If you don’t like writing every day or aren’t too keen on carrying your notebook around with you, don’t. Write once a week. Stick to a schedule that works for you.
2. Keep a gratitude journal
You can use the same journal for everything or get a separate gratitude journal.
As human beings, we have an inbuilt trait to focus on negative experiences because they help us learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating it.
But we no longer have to worry about running into a wild rattlesnake or a lion. So, this particular trait does more bad than good.
By focusing on everything good in our lives, we will be able to maintain a positive mindset which in turn will 10X our productivity and make us happier.
3. Wake up early
A lot of people find it hard to wake up early. But if you have a family or have a full-time job, waking up early will give you some much needed “me time.”
I’m able to think very clearly in the morning. It helps me be mentally present.
After I get back from walking my dogs in the morning, I make myself a cup of chai and sit down with my laptop. And this quiet time with my chai boosts my productivity through the roof.
Use this quiet morning time to do anything you want – practice a hobby, get better at a certain skill, plan your day, write in a journal.
4. Keep lists
Keeping lists has helped me maintain my sanity.
We love to pride ourselves that we can accomplish everything we set our minds to, but by the end of the day, there may be tasks that have completely slipped our minds.
It is crucial to maintain some sort of list that you can write up the night before so that you wake up with clarity on what you need to focus on first.
Prioritizing 3 tasks every day will help you complete your most important to-dos and will give you more time to focus on things you love. I love the feeling of writing on paper. I prefer using a nice list pad or just writing in my Rifle Co Planner.
5. Practice patience
We make hasty decisions when we are impatient. Being impatient also increases our rage and leaves us extremely flustered.
2020 has taught me to be patient and practice more kindness. A lot of situations and people will get on your nerves. And sometimes, things will be out of your control.
When you learn to be more patient and mindful, you will find peace and live a happier life. These two books by Haemin Sunim helped me make this transformation.
6. Learn to be happy by yourself
You cannot start a healthy relationship with anyone else until you learn to love yourself and be happy alone.
Discover the joy in little things by doing things that truly make you happy.
Learn to be more giving and thoughtful, and you will find peace and happiness.
Although experiences help us become more mindful and happy, I can proudly say that a few books helped speed up this progress.
Embracing that less in indeed more
We are caught up with trends and buying the latest gizmos that are just released to the public. Why?
We feel that it will bring us happiness.
Does it though? Think about the last time you splurged on something for yourself. Did it bring you sustained joy? Do you still use that item all the time?
Please note, that I’m not asking you to give up your treasures and live like a hobbit. But minimalism does have a lot of benefits.
I am far from reaching my goals, but I have cut down significantly on shopping and cluttering my house with pretty but useless knickknacks.
I am far from reaching my goals, but I have cut down significantly on shopping and cluttering my house with pretty but useless knickknacks.
7. Donate or discard belongings that don’t spark joy or aren’t useful
When I was shifting from one apartment to another, I thought I’d make things easier for myself by getting rid of the things I don’t need.
And I was shocked.
I had collected years of stuff I had assumed I would use at some point and it was all locked away and mostly useless – clothes, stationery and so many other knickknacks.
Although, I didn’t throw away everything immediately. I used the Kon Mari method and I highly recommend the Manga version because it’s a quick read and the illustrations are absolutely adorable. After reading this book, I went through my belongings by category.
And like she says, letting go of sentimental things was the hardest. My dad was a Stationery Manager and I had enough stationery to start my own shop.
I donated all my markers, pens, pencil cases and toys (I didn’t plan on using) to the Orphanage and it felt good.
My stationery and toys needed a good home and I’d prefer someone using it rather than letting it rot in my storage. Once I did that, I put all the items I decided to keep in nice and compact storage boxes that I arranged according to category and kept them tucked in my cupboard.
8. Let go of grudges and learn to forgive
This particular skill will take a long time to master. Especially when you’ve been wronged by someone and it was through no fault of your own.
I’m not asking you to forgive just because it’s the right thing to do. But I’m asking you to let go, because your mental peace is more important holding a grudge.
Grudges bear down on us like a sack of rotten potatoes. It destroys our peace and leaves us butter with rage. It harms no one but ourselves.
Learn to let things go and you will find happiness fairly quickly.
9. Let go of the past
You may have made mistakes in the past but don’t let it ruin your future. We all make mistakes. We are human after all.
Some mistakes are bigger than others and can leave deep wounds or be difficult to recover from – like a marriage to an abusive partner or a business deal that went sour.
Use the lessons learned from those mistakes to create a better future for yourself and let go of the past.
10. Digital Detox
As a prior Instagram Addict, I can tell you that Social Media has a way of sucking you in until you are completely absorbed.
And it’s a huge time drainer.
The day I blocked social media notifications from my laptop and phone, I realized how much social media was hampering my productivity.
You don’t need to check social media daily unless your business/work depends on it.
Similarly, check your email only once-twice a day. I check mine in the morning first thing when I wake up to see if I have any emails I need to respond to immediately and once when I’m retiring for the day to push all the emails I’ve dealt with into their respective folders.
I strongly suggest adapting to the Inbox Zero habit. It will change your life.
11. Learn to say no
We only have 24 hours a day.
We cannot do everything. It’s okay to do favors for the people you love. But you cannot accommodate everyone and everything in your life without another part of crumbling.
This means you need to choose what deserves your energy and mental space. The world is not going to collapse if you do not cater to everything and everyone around you.
Sometimes, we have to say no to:
- Events, we don’t want to go to
- Favours, we don’t want to do
- People, we don’t really like
And it’s okay.
When I started freelancing, I was allergic to the word “no.”
I’d take up every project that came my way in order to please clients and hit my income goals. This resulted in massive burnout and an unhappy work environment.
Learn to say no. Take up work/tasks that make you happy and thrive.
Becoming more healthy
If you’re body and mind are nourished and maintained, you will feel energised and happy. Exercise helps increase your blood circulation, helps you get better sleep, and improves your mental health and mood.
12. Drink more water
Water cleanses your body from all the toxins that build up regularly. It also energises you and helps increase your metabolism. It has way more benefits than I can count on one hand.
If you do not have a water drinking habit, start small. Start with 5 glasses a day, instead of 8 and slowly build it up over the weeks.
Unable to stomach water? Spice it up. Add a lemon and some mint. Or some berries to get a little fruity taste. The best way to build healthy habits is to focus on what works for you.
If you work at a desk, keep a nice water bottle right next to your laptop. Keep a daily goal of finishing that bottle before you get off your desk at 5 pm.
I start my day with a glass of hot water. And after I take my pups out for a walk, I have another. Doing this has helped clear my skin.
13. Cut down on sugar
As a former chocolate cake addict, I am not saying that this is easy. Sugary food and sodas give you an amazing rush. But you crash just as quickly. And it will leave you lethargic and slow afterward.
You don’t have to do it all at once. I still take 3 teaspoons of sugar in my chai every day, but I’ve quit sugary foods like cookies, cakes and chocolates. And honestly? I feel so much better.
I’m able to work after a full meal. I feel more energetic and I can get back to work even after playing with my pups.
14. Walk for 30 minutes every single day
If you have never exercised and are just starting to, start small.
Start with a daily walk every day and slowly pump it up to a good workout routine that you are comfortable with so that you can become more healthy and increase your stamina.
15. Take frequent physical breaks
Our current lifestyles don’t really allow us to move much.
Most of us hunch over our laptops for hours on end. And this can lead to a lot of body-related problems like back pain, headaches, bad posture and a bad mood in general.
Move your body whenever you can.
Do stretches every 30-45 minutes, take a small walk to go get a glass of water, play with your pups, do a few jumping jacks.
Moving your body is crucial to keep yourself fit and healthy.
Picking up skills that will help you in all walks of life
16. Read every single day
Some people say, “Why read? It’s not like you can remember everything you read.” I used to believe this hypothesis.
But I continued to read. I read business books, eBooks, blinks, articles, and watch related videos every single day. I spend at least 1-3 hours a day researching and trying to grow my knowledge.
It’s helped me make a full-time income with my blog in less than 2 years.
You see, at least 5-10% of what you read stays in your mind. It works on your sub-conscious and you slowly start implementing what you read. You are what you read.
Read something 5-6 times and it will become ingrained in your memory.
I had a lot of trouble letting go of grudges.
I started reading more books on mindfulness, love, and kindness. And I found myself becoming more understanding and kind to those who harmed me.
I learned to let go. And I found peace.
17. Improve your communication skills
I know quite a few people who are talented, skilled, and super smart. They lost their jobs to people who can speak better than they can.
Learning to talk to people will improve your confidence and open many doors in your life – be it your relationships, your career, etc. It changes the way people perceive you completely.
You will be able to talk to anyone and get them to feel instantly better.
Learning to communicate will also help you:
- resolve conflicts peacefully
- negotiate without arguing
- explain your exact thoughts to anyone
Reading this particular book helped me improve my communication skills tremendously.
18. Learn the art of listening
Place the same priority on listening as you do communicate. Listening to people helps them feel heard.
A lot of people don’t want advice. They just want someone to listen to them.
I inherited the gift of the gab. And it took me a long time to understand and read people. It’s only when I started paying more attention to listening and learning, did I realize that you can win people over with silence as well.
19. Learn to read people
This is a skill that will help you in every field of your life. Whether it comes to buying a new house or landing yourself a tough job, reading people will help you understand how to talk to them.
You will be able to tell if someone is lying to you or trying to mislead you. You will also be able to identify if a person is sad or tired or angry and this will help you understand how you can communicate to them.
20. Understand how money works
Learn the art of making money but at the same time pay attention to saving it. Money saved is money earned.
When my mom was diagnosed with fourth, I saw years of their live savings go for her treatment. It gave her a second chance at life.
And I realized the value of money. Learn how the art of making money and investing it so that you can spend more time doing the things you love.
This is a skill that will benefit you a lot if you live alone.
21. Track your expenses
I use the Pocket Expense app and every time I spend, I record it. You can even mark the category. You get a nice pie chart so you can see where your expenses are going.
I never knew I was spending so much on outside food and books, until I started doing this. I have started eating at home more and I’m slowly switching to purchasing online books on my Kindle or second-hand books to save expenses.
This will help you control your expenses and save for the future.
22. Learn to kick procrastination in its persistent bottom
The key to achieving any goal is being consistent. Unfortunately for us living in the 21st century, we are surrounded by distractions.
They come in the form of social media notifications, email alerts, new season releases and so much more.
You have to muster your willpower to become more focused. This is not something a person can master in a day. So don’t beat yourself up if you waste a day. Try again tomorrow.
Building meaningful and sustained relationships
We cannot thrive in this world without being part of society. As an adamant introvert turned extrovert, I’ve learned that it is crucial to engage with like-minded people in order to live a meaningful life.
23. Make time for your loved ones
I find it very easy to get absorbed in my work – because I love it so much. I can work from dawn to dusk without touching my phone or bothering with the outside world.
It feels good, but it’s not healthy.
We all need people to talk to and confide in. We are social creatures. And it’s crucial to keep ties with people who lift you up and make you want to be a better person. And likewise, you should do the same for others.
Put some effort into maintaining relationships. Learn to balance your work life and home life so that you don’t become a work zombie.
24. Check in on your loved ones
Think back on the last time someone pinged you on a messaging app asking, “How you’re doing?”
Didn’t it feel warm and loving? Just knowing that someone remembered you and took time out of their day to check in on you made a difference to you. Didn’t it?
Likewise, check in on the people that you love regularly. I love leaving voice notes for my family and friends. Even though I cannot call all of them on a daily basis, I leave voice notes or send them an extra-long text message once in 2-3 weeks.
25. Let go of toxic friends and family
Your mental health matters a lot. If you cannot take care of yourself, you are doing yourself a major injustice and cannot take care of your loved ones.
How do you tell who is toxic? Whenever you feel mentally or emotionally drained after talking to someone, that person isn’t someone you should be entertaining on a regular basis.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Toxic people often drain you, use you, constantly berate you or make you feel low and are never happy for your success. Let these people go.
It’s not your job to change them or offer them an explanation.
You will notice your mental health drastically improve after doing this. This will allow you to become a better version of yourself and truly be happy.
How do you achieve your personal goals?
I need you to understand that creating and achieving personal goals isn’t a fast process or a one-day feat.
It takes time.
This is a journey that you have committed to take to make your life better and become happier.
Commit to 3-5 goals each month and slowly incorporate them into your daily routine. Use the above personal goal examples to write your own. Prioritize your goals so that you know which of them are most important.
Tailor them to your life and make subtle changes to move toward your goal every day.
Don’t try to do everything at once. It’s not easy to stay consistent if you do that and you may burn out.
Final thoughts on personal goals and the personal goal examples in this post
Life isn’t easy.
There will be days when you feel like you’re making no progress at all or just giving up.
This is normal. It happens to a lot of us.
Just take a deep breath and try again the next day. Each step you take gets you closer to your goal. Remember, it’s a way of living.
Creating and achieving your goals is more about the journey – not the destination.
Which personal goal are you going to tackle right now? Let me know in the comments below!