Maybe you want to score your next promotion at work. Or maybe your goal is to save enough money for that holiday overseas, or perhaps you want to run a marathon! Achieving your goals might seem like climbing a steep mountain at times, but it doesn’t have to be. Although we all have dreams, it seems not everyone is able to turn their aspirations into reality. Why is it that some people always seem to achieve their goals while others don’t?
The answer is goal-setting: identifying what you want, making a plan and outlining the steps to make it happen. Here I’m sharing the six key types of goals and steps to achieve them — so you can create the life and career of your dreams.
Goals give us something to strive for, which can keep us motivated and inspired. Goal-setting is the process of planning out specific steps that will lead us to our desired goal. This helps us understand our current situation, figure out where we want to be, and plan the route to get there.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of goal setting, it’s important to understand the three different types of goals: outcome, performance, and process.
Result-oriented goals, or outcome goals, are those you set to achieve a specific desired result. And because they’re focused on the results, there are steps you can take to influence the results… but there’s a catch. The end result is not ONLY dependent on your own actions because there are outside forces that play a role in you achieving your goal. For example, let’s say your goal is to get promoted at work. You can excel at work and be the best employee possible, but that alone doesn’t guarantee a promotion because promotions are also contingent upon your boss’s decision.
Performance goals are based on the standards we set for ourselves to achieve our desired outcomes. Unlike outcome goals, having performance goals gives us more control over the results.
For example, if your goal is to get promoted, a performance goal you may set for yourself is to reply to emails within 24 hours so that you appear timely and responsive. Or you might set up weekly one-on-one check-ins with your manager to ensure open communication channels.
Process goals are the things we do to make it more likely that we’ll achieve our outcome goals. They’re the behaviours and strategies that help us create a plan to get our desired result. And since we have complete control over them, process goals are great motivators. An example of a process goal might be to network with three new people in your organisation every month.
People usually set goals in one of two ways: time-based or category-based. As you can probably guess, a time-based goal is something that you want to achieve within a certain period.
Category-based goals are those you set based on the spheres they fall into in your life, such as work, personal-life, or financial. Let’s dive into time-based goals first:
Lifetime goals are the objectives you want to achieve over the course of your lifetime. The amount of time it takes to accomplish these goals may depend on how complex or challenging the goal is.
Start by picturing what your life will look like in the distant future. Bring to mind what you wanted to be when you were growing up or what you envisioned for yourself after leaving school. Those huge, incredible goals are your lifetime aspirations!
Your sky-high ambitions don’t have to be limited by time when you set lifetime goals. Rather, because you have more time, you can aim high! Additionally, it’s only natural for these objectives to develop and change as your wants and needs vary throughout the different stages of life. Consider your lifetime goals in the same way that you would think about items on your bucket list. Some examples of lifetime goals include:
Long-term goals may appear to be alike to lifetime objectives, but the principal distinction is that lifetime aspirations are broader and more momentous in scale than long-term targets. Envision them as foundation pieces whereby long-term ambitions can establish you for prosperity to accomplish your lifetime aims.
Having long-term goals helps set the table for success by giving you a sense of direction in both your personal and professional life. These attainable objectives enable you to live out your purpose while achieving short-term targets along the way.
Some examples of long-term goals include:
Short-term goals are the objectives you can achieve in half a year to twelve months – in other words, in the not-so-distant future. These are the important stepping stones that can help you achieve your long-term goals.
Your short-term goals are just as, if not more, important than your long-term and lifetime goals. Why? Without completing smaller objectives along the way, it becomes much harder, if not impossible to achieve those larger dreams.
Some examples of short-term goals might include:
Category-based goals are those that fall into a certain area of your life, distinct from time-based goals. Note that time-based goals often relate to a category of your life as well–for example, saving 20% of your salary would be a financial goal, but if you gave yourself the timeframe of six months, it would become a short-term financial goal. Three common categories which most people’s goals fall into are career, personal development, and finance. The advantage to having these types of categorisations for your targets is that they tend to be self-explanatory and easily digestible.
Career goals are commonly one of the first areas people think of when they go to set goals. Whether associated with professional development, earning more money, or reaching a higher ranking in their career and company, accomplishing career success is often gratifying for many women, and for great reason! Here are a few examples of career goals:
Personal goals are for you and nobody else. They make you feel happy and accomplished, and can cover a lot of areas in your life including relationships, fitness, and personal development. If you’re stuck on what sort of personal goal to set for yourself, here are some ideas to help jumpstart your creativity.
There’s something incredibly empowering about being completely on top of your financial situation! You guessed it – financial goals are all about money. Whether you’re looking to become financially stable or financially independent, money can be a big conversation topic. Here are a few examples to get you started:
Ok, so now you know about the types of goals you can set, but is your follow-through strong enough to actually achieve them? It may not surprise you to learn that only about 9% of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions after a month! So, if you want to learn how to create effective goals that you’ll actually stick with, read on.
First and foremost, your goals should be for YOU and you alone.
You’re only going to find true success when your goals are truly important to you and not dictated by someone else’s standards. When a goal resonates with you, it becomes something you naturally plan for and prioritise, and this intrinsic motivation is key to seeing any goal through until the very end.
A tried and tested formula, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. If you make sure your goals meet these criteria, then you’re more likely to rise to your commitments and reach success.
Failure is inevitable, and it happens to everyone! You’ll sometimes hit your goals, and other times you won’t. Remember, failure isn’t inherently good or bad–it’s simply a part of life and an essential part of learning and growing. When thinking about your own personal failures related to goal setting, remember that if at first you don’t succeed, you can always redefine your goals and try again later.
When we link our productivity and self-esteem to our goals, it can be tiring and eventually lead to burnout. As you travel through your growth journey, you will most likely achieve different results than initially planned – and that’s okay! It doesn’t mean you should feel discouraged either. If we let go of constantly needing to see results, we’ll be able to better appreciate the progress being made instead of fixating on the destination.
Achieving a goal, making a deadline, or taking the first step towards your desired outcome is definitely something to celebrate! Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back – you worked hard and you deserve it! Remember to take it one step at a time; remind yourself along the way that a journey is made up of several small steps. Keeping yourself motivated throughout your journey is essential to success. By celebrating your accomplishments along the way, it will be even more rewarding when you reach the end goal.