If you’d like to know the different areas in your life in which to set goals, this post has the answer.
Setting goals was never a strength for me growing up. I was always a free spirit. Going where the wind blew me and doing what I felt like at any given moment.
Add a few years onto this girl plus a baby and I quickly realised that living in that carefree, spontaneous way was hugely underutilising my potential.
Let me say this in another way.
Conversely, wasted potential is one of life’s great tragedies.
It’s one of the factors behind many a mid-life crisis. And the pain of it increases the older you get.
So, wherever you are in life right now. If you’re not setting goals, start today!
Don’t waste another day, week, month or year that you can never get back.
Time is irreversible. Your potential is limitless. Set goals for your life and step into your amazing potential.
If you’re wondering where to start setting goals, I wrote this post to help you identify the areas in your life where you can set goals.
You don’t need to have a goal in every single area at the same time. In truth, we can only focus on very little at any one time. But you should have an idea to grow or improve in each of the areas I’ve listed below.
And if you want to grab the Goal Planner from the September bundle of my Paper Me Pretty subscription, you can get it for free here!:
So if you’re ready, let’s dive in!
8 categories of your life you need to set goals in
These categories are split into 3 areas; the area of Being, Relating and Doing. This is a concept Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy talk about in their book Living Forward.
Your life is made up of three concentric circles. Starting in the middle with the circle of Being, you move outward to the circle of Relating and finally to the circle of Doing.
This is important because we start with ourselves in the centre as beings, not because we are selfish or self-centred, but because in order to love, help or serve other people or contribute in any area at all, we first need to be in a position to contribute, love or serve.
If you are to be a vehicle of change in your world, you need to be a working vehicle. Just like an MOT or getting your car serviced is vital to ensuring you can get from A to B in once piece, similarly, you need to make sure you’re able to function well if you want to contribute in the other two circles of Relating and Doing.
I find these circles to be very helpful, although I don’t use all of Michael Hyatt’s life categories for goal setting. For example, he has separate categories for marriage and parenting, yet there are some people who don’t have kids, or a spouse. And he also has separate categories labelled Intellectual and Emotional. However, I find that these both relate to one’s’ personal development, so I’ve put them together below as you’ll soon see.
So let’s start with the first area.
The circle of Being
In the circle of Being, there are three categories; Spiritual, Physical and Personal Development.
You are a spiritual being whether or not you believe in God or have a faith in something. And this category is important because we will all ask, at some point in our lives, ‘Why am I here?’. It’s one of the deepest and most philosophical questions we’ll ever ask. And I think the most important.
How you choose to answer that question is, of course, up to you. But answer it you must. And when you do answer it, the question that follows is ‘How can I grow in this area?’.
It’s the answer to this question that will inform your goals in the circle of Doing. Because once you know why you are here, it sheds a huge amount of light onto what you are here to do.
Geoff Woods, of The One Thing Podcast, always asks ‘If you don’t look after your body, where are you going to live?’. And it’s very true. If we don’t take care of our physical bodies, we won’t have the energy or stamina to do…well, pretty much anything!
When setting goals in the area, some good questions to ask yourself are;
- How can I improve my energy and stamina?
- How can I improve my nutrition?
- What’s the greatest need right now in my overall health?
- Am I getting enough rest?
- Am I allowing my body and mind to rejuvenate?
- How do I manage stress? And is there room for improvement?
3. Personal development
The fact that you’re reading this blog post right now is proof that you, like most people on the planet, want to create a better future yourself. But did you know, that one of the biggest factors in realising that better future for yourself is a better version of yourself?
Now that’s not to say that there’s something wrong with you right now. But it refers back to my initial point about potential.
In order to realise your potential in any area of your life, you’re going to need to develop yourself. And in order to develop yourself, you’re going to need a plan. And all plans start with a goal.
If you want to be a better mother, spouse, CEO, Christian, budgeter, swimmer, pianist or friend, you’re going to need qualities and skills that you either currently don’t possess, or that need to be improved.
Also, note how I worded that. If you want to be… This category sits squarely in the circle of Being and has a ripple effect on every other category.
This is an area that you’ll need to look at after you’ve set one or more goals in any of the other areas. When you do, ask yourself, ‘In order to achieve XYZ goal, what skills or qualities do I need to develop?’. Then also ask ‘What can I do to develop those skills?’ or ‘Where can I go for mentoring or support so that I can develop those skills?’.
This is the life category that covers your marital, parental or family goals. So if you have a significant other, kids or family relations (parents, siblings and extended family), you’ll want to set a goal in this area.
This area would probably not apply to you if, for example, you’re a nun who doesn’t have any kids, parents, family relations of any kind, a love relationship and where you don’t want to have a significant other. So, as you can see, there aren’t many people in the world where this wouldn’t apply!
Some good questions to ask in this category are;
- how do I feel I’m doing with my…husband/kids/siblings etc.?
- how do I want to show up in this area of my life?
- and how would I want the people in this category to remember me when I’m gone?
- is there anything I need to change or improve in my relationship with them to leave the impact I would like to have?
5. Social (Friends & Community)
This is the area of your life that relates to your friendships and how you interact with your wider community. That could mean your neighbourhood, your church or any associations and environments where you interact with others.
No man (or woman) is an island. And we all have an impact on the people around us whether we’re aware of it or not.
Ask yourself how you’re showing up in your friendships, in your local area and in the communities where you see and speak to people. This might include your workplace, your gym or your kids’ school. Are you adding or taking away? Giving or only on the receiving end? And what kind of impact do you want to have in this area of your life?
If you’re a stay at home parent, I don’t want you to skip this section.
Everyone (and that includes you if you’re unemployed) has work that they do.
Work is just the description of your main body of activity.
You may have a corporate job. Or you may be an entrepreneur. You may be a homemaker, a student, a volunteer at a charity or the Chair of the Residents Committee for your block of apartments. You may be a home educator.
Your work or occupation is that main activity that occupies your day.
So, what’s yours? Next, ask yourself, ‘How am I doing in this area of my life?’, ‘How can I improve in this area?’, ‘What would I love to see in this area of my life?’ or ‘What’s the aim for my role in this area – and am I living up to or delivering on my role?’.
As important as our finances are for paying our bills and funding our dreams, it’s surprising to discover how few people set goals in this area. Money comes in and money goes out without a lot of intention about what that money needs to be doing.
Now, if you’ve never paid much attention to what your money does when it comes into your bank account, then I highly recommend that you start paying attention.
This is not so that you can be a miserly sour Scrooge who never opens their hands in generosity. In fact, the opposite is true! When you’re in control of your finances, you can be more generous because you know what your money is doing. You can actually budget to give generously and because your finances improve when you work on them, you’ll put yourself in a better financial position to give even more generously!
As a self-employed entrepreneur, I always thought that budgeting was for people with regular paychecks. How wrong I was!
When I discovered that people on irregular incomes like myself could budget successfully, I started paying attention to what our money was doing and it was life-changing!
I began using this budgeting software that has completely revolutionized our finances and showed me that we were frequently spending more than we could afford. It also showed me how to manage our money better through their super helpful free online workshops. Since then, I’ve set goals for our finances and it’s really motivating when we hit our goals each month.
Our net worth (our cash/assets minus our debts) has been increasing every month with the help of this software and I couldn’t imaging budgeting without it! You can try this software free for 34 days using this link.
Ask yourself, ‘What’s the state of my finances?’, ‘What state do I want my finances to be in?’, ‘What do I need to do/learn/use to help me reach my ideal financial state?’.
This category is one of my favourites. I’ve called it Lifestyle because it relates to goals you may have that are just for fun or related to a hobby, or that improve some aspect of your lifestyle. For example, goals that relate to remodeling or decluttering your home would fall into this category because your home environment directly impacts your entire lifestyle.
And yet so many goal-setting gurus out there don’t talk about goals for your home environment! That’s a serious lack of insight on their part.
To create a goal in this area you need to ask questions like ‘What kind of lifestyle would I like to have?’, ‘What would I like to do for fun or recreation?’, ‘What hobbies or other interests would I like to pursue?’ and ‘How do I want to live?’.
Do you see what a huge category this is? Your lifestyle impacts all of your other categories. You may decide you want to spend 30 minutes in meditation or quiet time each day, but how difficult would that be if your home was a chaotic mess or a building site? Or you may have a social goal of meeting a girlfriend for coffee every other week. This affects your lifestyle especially if you’ll want to have someone babysit the kids at least once a month.
Often, our goals in the other areas of our lives have an impact on our entire lifestyle and the lives of our families. So it’s important to know what we want our lifestyle to look like.
It would be unproductive of us to create a goal to go salsa dancing every Saturday night if that meant that we never could squeeze a date in with our spouse – and vice versa. Are there goals in the other areas of your life that would actually make your overall lifestyle too packed to fit in anything fun and leisurely?
So these are the 8 areas in which you can set goals; Spiritual, Physical, Relational, Social, Personal Development, Financial, Work, and Lifestyle. And although you may want to have a goal in every single area (and you probably should), don’t try to work on a goal in every single area at the same time.
The temptation with goal-setting is, because you want things to improve everywhere, you’re tempted to go all in and do everything all at once. This is a huge mistake, please don’t do it! I’ve done it so many times for many years in a row before my thick skull eventually figured out the power of focus.
If you’re new to successful goal-achievement, the most important thing for you to do right now is to focus on the one goal that’s the most important. Yes, I said one. What’s the one thing area that’s most important to you right now. And don’t say ‘they all are!’. Yes, they’re all important, but which one area would, if you improved it, would make all the other areas of your life easier or better?
Have you got that one thing in mind? If so, that’s great! Set a goal in that area and focus like crazy on making it a reality.
You might also want to check out these 5 things that will help you achieve your goals. Or make a note of these 7 ways to keep your goal front and centre. Because when we’re always thinking about our goal, we take action!
I hope this post has been helpful for you to know which areas of your life to set goals in. Let me know in the comments which area you’d like to set a goal in today! Or which area are you currently working on? I’d love to know!
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