11 Types of Goals to Set for Yourself

I’m sure everybody wants to be the best version of themselves. We hope to step up our game in specific parts of our lives. At that point, success could be just around the corner.

But first you need to have the right kind of goals to set for yourself. What goal types are there? And what are examples of these goals?

In this article, you will learn about different types of goals and how they can encourage growth in your daily life. Let’s dive into it.

What is a Goal?

A goal is the desired outcome you want to achieve within a certain timeframe. Goals don’t need to bring a massive, disruptive change to society.

They can be small, like saving up for a new car, or more long term, such as early retirement. But no matter what your goals are, they should align with your overall objectives in life.

For example, if you want to improve your fitness, you might have the goal of heading to the gym three times per week. Since physical health is something you care about, you become motivated to set and pursue your goals with zeal.

The idea is that the type of goal you set for yourself matters. A lot more than you think. After all, if you aren’t passionate about a goal, it can be arduous to begin working towards it in the first place.

11 Types of Goals to Set for Yourself

Having goals in itself is a helpful way to focus your efforts and stay on track. But not all goals are the same. Here are 11 types of goals you can consider setting for yourself:

1. Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals take a considerable time to accomplish, often extending to years or even decades. That’s why it is called “long term.”

And since long-term goals usually require tons of work, you can expect many sessions of planning. Here are a few examples of long-term goals to set:

  • Start a new business venture. Any sort of business needs to be built from the ground up. This will require a significant amount of time, energy, and effort.
  • Visit 30 countries around the world. Traveling can be expensive and this goal certainly can’t be reached in a single sitting.
  • Advance your career. This goal could require you to go back to school for education or obtain more job experience. None of which can be done in a short time.

2. Short-Term Goals

Short-term goals are stepping stones to help you reach your ultimate goal in life. These goals are things you want to achieve soon, which can be today, weeks, or months from now.

Short-term goals are all about small steps that lead to an improvement in your personal and career life. Here are some short-term goals examples you should consider:

  • Get more sleep. Sleep is important for your overall well-being. You can set the daily goal of getting a certain amount of sleep every day.
  • Reduce screen time. Too much time on your devices could be interfering with your personal life. You may create the goal of getting off your phone and computer by 10 PM each night.
  • Meditate in the morning. This goal can aid you in having peace of mind. You could dedicate 20 minutes to meditating before you start the day.

3. SMART Goals

SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. This type of goal can drastically increase your chances of reaching them.

smart goals infographic

The SMART framework ensures your goals are well-defined and that you are on track to making progress. Here are a few SMART goals you may set for yourself:

  • Apply for a dream job. Job seekers can use SMART to narrow down the number of job applications to submit each week. Since you have a target and deadline to aim for, you’ll pace yourself better.
  • Read a new book. When reading a book, you will likely set aside time for this activity, such as 30 minutes each day. You know exactly what steps to make for successful progress.
  • Buy a house. Saving up for a home can be tough, especially for first-time homebuyers. They can set a SMART goal of “buying a $300,000 house with a 20% down payment within three years.”

4. Educational Goals

From attending school to taking courses online, educational goals play a huge role in your life. They help invest in your knowledge so that you grow and learn.

Don’t be under the assumption that you don’t have to educate yourself after completing academics. Regardless of where you stand, education is part of self-improvement. Here are some examples of educational goals you might set:

  • Get high grades. To graduate with a high GPA, you may commit to completing your assignments and rigorously studying for exams.
  • Earn a degree. Obtaining your degree, whether it be undergraduate or graduate, is an ambitious goal to have. You could start skimming through the classes you need to complete for your academic program.
  • Attend seminars. Seminars are educational meetings led by an expert, and it is the ideal place to gain in-depth knowledge about a topic.

5. Career Goals

Career goals are an effort to make your professional life better. These goals can be related to your workplace or aspirations you have. For more clarity, here are a few career goals examples you can set:

  • Get a promotion. Perhaps you want a higher salary or simply want to climb to a leadership position. A promotion is a wonderful goal and opens more doors in your career.
  • Improve communication. Whether you’re doing a work presentation or meeting with colleagues, communication is key to success at work. This goal speaks volumes about your confidence and ambitions to succeed.
  • Develop a new skill. This goal will allow you to gain brand-new opportunities for growth at your job.

6. Health Goals

There is a reason why a saying like “health is wealth” exists. Health goals are about doing everything possible to live well, physically and mentally.

Here are some health goals to set for yourself:

  • Eat three balanced meals daily. This means including vegetables and fruits in your meals. It is essential to get all the nutrients that your body needs.
  • Establish an exercise routine. To get into shape, your goal could involve a months-long workout routine. Sticking to it will take sheer dedication and time.
  • Quit smoking. The negative impacts associated with smoking can lead to poor health. Removing this bad habit will give you a new lease on life.

7. Financial Goals

Plenty of people want to have more money in their pockets. To accomplish financial goals, you should know how to budget, manage your spending, and save money.

Here are a few financial goals to focus on:

  • Set up an emergency fund. You can decide on a goal of saving enough money to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. Or if that seems like a daunting task, you can automate a fixed amount of money from your checking to your savings account.
  • Get out of debt. You might decide to pay back more than the minimum payment each month. Or you could cut back on expenses to save extra money. Whatever it is, you must be patient to get your finances back on track.
  • Retire early. It takes a lot of financial planning to retire from your day job. This goal will likely require you to boost your income or set aside more money from your paycheck.

8. Relationship Goals

No relationship is perfect. Whether it is a relationship with your loved ones, neighbors, coworkers, or family. You should ensure your relationships remain strong and positive.

relationship goals

To strive for a healthier relationship, you should set the right kind of goals. There are a couple of relationship goals you should look at:

  • Avoid anger and frustration. How often do you unintentionally hurt someone close to you? Perhaps you yell out and voice some rude things. Learning to curb your anger is a fantastic relationship goal to understand your partner better.
  • Have daily conversations. In our fast-paced world, you feel overwhelmed. Having a goal of connecting and communicating regularly is pivotal for any relationship. Even if it feels tedious to reach out, make sure to talk it out.
  • Express gratitude. A simple “thank you” to your significant other can reaffirm your bonds with them.

9. Spiritual Goals

Spiritual goals encompass our highest aspirations and deepest values. While these goals may seem lofty, the journey can be incredibly rewarding.

Pursuing spiritual goals can help us feel more connected to the world. Plus, we may discover hidden talents and powers we never knew we had.

Here are some examples of spiritual goals:

  • Be more compassionate. Being able to understand and share the feelings of another person is a great goal to set. Compassion will set the stage for a kinder and more peaceful world.
  • Practical self-care. By keeping self-care a priority, you help yourself relax and recharge. You have more energy and patience for things important to you. So get a massage, go out for a walk, or take a yoga class. You won’t lose out.
  • Do volunteer work. Giving a helping hand to the community will fuel positive change.

10. Stretch Goals

It takes substantial effort to achieve stretch goals, and you may have to dedicate your entire life to reach them. This is the type of goal that pushes your abilities to the furthest.

But the good news is that the sense of accomplishment is far higher. Here are different examples of stretch goals:

  • Learn to embrace failure. Many people view failure as an enemy, so having the objective of accepting failure is commendable. It would mean turning setbacks into life lessons that will take you far in life’s journey.
  • Be Kind. Kindness is a trait that will ease your relationship with anybody. There is no harm in showing kindness once in a while, so this stretch goal is great to have.
  • Run a marathon. Complete a year-long training regimen to crush that upcoming marathon.

11. Self-Improvement Goals

Self-improvement goals help improve your quality of life. These are objectives that make you a better person. Here are a few examples of self-improvement goals:

  • Have a positive mindset. This goal will ensure you can bounce back from failure and develop perseverance in the face of obstacles.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people. Since everyone comes from different walks of life, there is no end to opportunities of meeting new people. Be intentional about being with people you admire or support you.
  • Stop procrastinating. Plan and get work done ahead of time. That’s a problem, use a reward system to keep you moving forward.

Final Thoughts

Have you set goals in any of these 11 categories? If not, then make sure you start choosing a few to focus on, and you’ll certainly elevate the quality of your life.

And make sure the goals follow the SMART criteria to keep a high chance of success. Most importantly, remember to take small steps here. You can gradually make progress toward meeting your goals.

Since you only have one life here, it would be a waste not to pursue goals that interest you. As Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Photo of author

Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.