Many people wish to improve themselves and their lives but don’t know where to begin. The following steps serve as a guide on how to create personal development goals for your life. By setting such goals, you can work towards becoming a better individual as well as a happier and more fulfilled you. To begin, you need to first reflect on a few, simple questions.
Find what you enjoy doing most in your life
What is it that you enjoy doing most in your life? Take a moment to reflect on this question. Perhaps you like to read, or maybe you enjoy being in nature. Do you like sports? All of these things, as small and insignificant as they might seem, are possibilities to create personal development goals for yourself. Your goals don’t have to be huge, world-altering pillars of self-improvement. They can be as simple as finally reading that copy of War and Peace that’s been collecting dust on your shelf for the last seven years. By figuring out what it is that you love in life, you will set the foundation for goals that matter to you, personally.
Use vision boards
Many people find the art of vision-boarding to be useful when setting and maintaining their personal development goals. For those of you who don’t know, a vision board (also sometimes referred to as a dream board) is a collage made up of pictures and affirmations of your goals, made to serve as a source of inspiration. It uses the law of attraction, in which positive thoughts bring positive experiences, to attain goals. For the individual above, the one who likes to read, experience nature, and playing sports, their vision board might feature the cover of a novel they desire to read, a picture of a forest, and their favorite sports team. These images, when seen every day, help to encourage the individual to pursue these goals and interests in their life.
Others find a stream of consciousness writing to be useful when they can’t quite find their words. Set a timer for yourself, anywhere from three to five minutes. Grab a pen and put it to paper, and keep writing until the timer goes off, even if you have no idea what to write. Putting down words like ‘I have no idea what to write here. What should my goals even be?’ is perfectly acceptable. It doesn’t matter if your words make sense so long as you keep writing. Don’t worry about grammatical errors or punctuation, either. That isn’t the point of the exercise. Odds are that, by the time you are done, you will have written something helpful that can guide you on your next step when it comes to forming your goals.
If you are looking for a simpler approach, try interest-mapping. Draw a circle on a piece of paper, right in the middle. Write your name in it. From that circle, draw as many circles branching off of it as you like and fill those in with your interests. Reading, writing, hiking, it doesn’t matter. Keep branching off from these circles, narrowing down your interests. When you’re finished, you will be able to find patterns between your interests. Forming your goals is easier when you have a better idea of what interests you and what you’re passionate about.
Create a journey
When choosing your goals, make sure that they create a journey for you. You will burn out quickly if you are working toward a singular goal which is difficult to achieve. Create smaller goals which will serve as stepping-stones toward a larger goal. Make sure that you praise yourself for the little things, like reading a handful of chapters or signing up for that rec league sport. Nothing happens overnight, certainly not self-improvement. Be patient with yourself and make sure that you appreciate the journey from start to finish.
Make your goals fun
In that vein, be sure that you make your goals fun. Granted, not every step of your journey is going to be fraught with excitement and joy. That much is a given. But the steps that you do make should be praised and appreciated as a part of a larger whole. These goals that you have created, or are in the process of creating, are for your personal development. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re not going to succeed in the long run. Make sure that your end-goal is worth attaining and aligns with your core values as an individual. In addition, try to make your steps as positive and as fun as possible. Create small challenges for yourself and reward yourself when you succeed. Share your progress with others who will be happy to see you grow. Most importantly, validate yourself and your progress.
It is important to focus on your actions rather than on immediate results. When creating your goals, think small steps. Monthly goals, weekly achievements, and daily habits can make all the difference when it comes to determining success or failure. Make sure that your goals include these smaller, bite-sized pieces and that you appreciate the little things.
Write your goals down
The final and perhaps the most important step is to write your goals down. Very few people (around 3% of adults surveyed) have their goals written down either on paper or electronically. By writing your goals out, you are committing to them and enabling yourself to hold yourself accountable for your own success. Make sure that you put them somewhere that you will see them every day.
Now that you have your goals, it is a good idea to put them on or close to your vision board, if you have one, as well as places in your house that will be easily seen on a daily basis. Your vision board isn’t just a collage of what-ifs. It’s a collection of goals that you will manifest through your roadmap to success.
Map out a plan
This is only the first step of your journey to personal development. Make sure that you map out how you want to get from start to finish while paying attention to smaller, more manageable goals along the way in order to bring you to your final goal. Hold yourself accountable for adhering to your road map and don’t get discouraged if something comes up and you can’t quite reach your goal for the day, week, or month. Life happens, and that’s okay. Keep moving forward nonetheless.
Remember that, no matter if it gets hard, you are on a road to a better you. Hold on to those images on your vision board and remember why it is that they’re important to you. By the time you reach your goal, you will be surprised at how far you’ve come.
Ask for help if you need it
If you need help creating meaningful goals or are confused about what you really want, a single session with a life coach can be really helpful. We can get together and look at what you want out of life and what kind of goals could help you get there. Contact us for a free consultation to get started.