There comes a point in your life when goal setting suddenly becomes… interesting. What was once a tiresome school exercise evolves into a tool to unlock a more excited, more aligned, more you life.
When you’re stuck in a rut and can’t see the way out, exploring the different types of goals can’t give you the inspiration you need to get things moving again.
Why are goals important?
Goals give you something to aim for. They can amplify an area of your life, give you a new focus and renew your sense of purpose. When things feel unsettled, goals bring you progress and joy.
Whilst the process of setting your goals encourages you to get to know yourself a little better. You dive deep, reflect and explore what you really want. Making your life feel more like your own. Because you’re prioritising the things you value most.
4 types of goals based on results and processes
1. Time-based goals
Time-based goals are goals that are designed to be achieved within a set time frame. With this in mind, it’s essential that they’re realistic and achievable.
Giving yourself a month to achieve a goal that you really need a year for? Not the one. That’s a one-way street to disappointment.
Setting yourself up for success with a goal that excites you, with enough time and energy to achieve it? Much better.
This type of goal can be short-term (perhaps even just for this week), long-term (several years or more) or yearly. If that’s you, take a look at our New Year goals guide here.
2. Lifetime goals
Ever heard of a bucket list? If you have, then you’ve heard of this type of goal.
Lifetime goals do exactly what they say on the tin. They’re designed to be achieved over the course of your lifetime. You might not know exactly when these goals will come to fruition but, by writing them down, you’re training your mind to look for opportunities to bring them to life.
3. Outcome-based goals
If you set yourself an outcome-based goal, you’re measuring your success based on your performance.
Rather than giving yourself a set time within which you’ll achieve the goal, you’re allowing yourself as much time as you need. Instead, your goal is considered “successful” when you’re happy with your performance.
4. Stepping stone goals
If you want a type of goal that feels manageable and (more importantly) genuinely doable, it’s worth looking at stepping stone goals.
Most types of goals will take you towards one big thing. But stepping stone goals are milestones, designed to be achieved as you’re on your way to achieving something else. They’re part of your journey and show you that you’re headed in the right direction.
15 types of goals based on areas of your life
Each of the types of goals listed above can be applied to different areas of your life. The ideas below should give you plenty of inspiration for your next goal setting session!
5. Emotional goals
Emotional goals are essentially mental health goals. They’re all about how you feel in yourself.
If you’re setting an emotional goal, two things are key. Firstly, make sure that you’ve got a clear way to measure the achievement of your goal. For example, you might be looking for a specific improvement in your mood tracker.
Secondly, be clear about how you’re going to improve your emotional state. This might mean looking for therapy, adding some new wellbeing habits into your life or taking some steps to reduce your stress levels.
6. Skills goals
Sometimes, you might need to attain a specific skill in order to achieve another goal. Other times, you might just have an interest in gaining a new skill.
Either way, skills goals are for you. You’ll aim for a certain level of skill before progressing onto the next phase.
7. Relationship goals
Your relationship goals might be about improving the current state of a relationship you’re already in, such as with your romantic partner. Or, you might be looking to bring some new relationships into your life.
Building adult friendships can be a challenge but it’s also one of the most important things you’ll ever do.
8. Personal goals
Personal goals are exactly that, personal to you. Nobody else gets to have a say in how you achieve these goals or what they look like.
You get to tailor the goals to your lifestyle. It’s goal setting, your way. As it should be!
9. Family goals
In stark contrast to personal goals, family goals are for you and your family to achieve together.
These can be set at any time in the year. The only essential ingredient is that every member of the family is on board. Try looking through the other types of goals for inspiration and consider what might help amplify your family life.
10. Wellbeing goals
When most of us think of a goal that’s related to our health, we immediately think of weight loss (you can thank decades of diet culture for that one). But wellbeing is so much more.
Types of wellbeing goals include strength goals,fitness goals and health goals. This is about how you feel in your physical body. This may include your mental state, or it may not. It’s all about what will help you feel good and, ultimately, well.
11. Spiritual goals
Your spiritual goals are aligned with exploring a deeper sense of self through your spiritual practices.
They may be related to religion. Or perhaps it involves trying another practice such as tarot or moon journaling.
12. Career goals
Most of us will need some form of career goals in our lives. These can cover anything from the obvious - such as pursuing a promotion or raise - to more subtle - such as gaining more responsibilities, receiving a certain level of feedback or getting your voice heard in the office.
13. Community goals
This type of goal is all about achieving something outside of your personal sphere. The goal is set by you but it’s other people who feel its impact.
Volunteering, community work and giving back are all examples of this type of goal. Try looking for social initiatives and charities in your local area to help bring your mission to life.
14. Learning goals
Learning goals are most closely related to your education. If you’re in school or university you might be pursuing a certain subject or academic result, that’ll enable you to move onto certain other goals in the future.
But you don’t have to be in academia to pursue a learning goal.
These goals can be set at any time in your life. You might choose to learn a new language in your 50s or take up hiking in your 20s. Whatever it is, as long as it involves learning something new, it’s a learning goal!
15. Just for fun goals
It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking for deeper meaning when you’re setting your goals. You might try to link your goals to your career, your family life or your financial wellbeing.
And that’s great! Sometimes that’s just what you need.
Other times, the opposite is true. If we’re always pursuing something serious, we’re always putting pressure on ourselves.
Just for fun goals are the antidote for that stress. It doesn’t matter if you don’t achieve this type of goal. Instead, it’s about the journey, having fun and seeing what happens.
16. Team goals
Just like family goals are intended to be achieved by your family unit, team goals are designed to be accomplished as a group.
This type of goal can be applied to a sports team, company, community group or any type of team that shares the same mission and values. Each member of the team will play an integral role in bringing the goal to fruition. And each member will celebrate in its success, equally.
17. Business development goals
Career goals are for the employed. Business development goals are for the self-employed.
If you run your own business, you know just how important it is have your end destination in mind. Without it, it’s all too easy to be influenced by the whims of your customers and clients, with little thought as to what you want and need out of your business yourself.
18. Financial goals
You’ll likely set financial goals in order to unlock another type of goals.
For instance, if you set yourself the goal of saving up for a house deposit, that financial goal is unlocking the next goal of owning your own home (a personal goal of yours).
19. Creative goals
Being creative is an important part of being human. For many of us, it’s an essential part of our daily lives.
Your creative goals can help you explore this further. From experimenting with new artistic pursuits (yes, even if you’re “not creative”) to writingand journaling in new ways, anything that sparks creativity can be classed as a creative goal. And we’d encourage you to experiment as much as possible!
No matter what type of goal you’re setting, follow our three-step process to make bringing it to lifeso much easier
Step one: set your goal
Even if your goal is designed to be achieved over a longer period of time, it helps to look at it through a yearly lens.
Once you’ve determined what your goal is for that time period, break it down into milestones to be accomplished over the next three months. These will help you test the waters, so you can see exactly what time and effort is required to make this goal happen.
Step two: execute your tasks
Now that you’ve got your goal for the next three months, what do you need to do to achieve it?
These are your tasks. Make a note of them in your diary, alongside any tools or resources that’ll help you achieve them.
Step three: reflect and learn
At the end of every quarter, ask yourself:
Did I achieve my goal and why/why not?
Are the goals I set still important?
If I didn’t continue, would the loss of this goal negatively affect my life?
Now you’ve got 19 types of goals to bring into your life. Which one will you choose first?