How to Identify Your Life Goals

Life Goals

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Think back to when you were a child. Do you remember an adult asking you the question of, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ This is just another way of asking a kid to identify their life goals. Along the same lines, someone preparing for retirement might be posed the query of, ‘What does the next season of your life look like?’ Any way you look at it, these questions are doing nothing more than asking humans to identify their life goals. They will also prove to be never ceasing throughout your life.

No matter how old you are, where you live, or even what your day-to-day life is like, someone will always be right around the proverbial corner ready to ask the question of ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ Of course, this question could be phrased slightly differently for a variety of reasons, as shown above. However, chances are when you have been posed this question, you were unable to respond with anything more than a couple of vague ideas that did nothing more than kill the conversation where it stood. This reaction is no fault of your own – how are you supposed to give a clear answer to a question that is both incredibly open-ended and personal? Even before giving a vocal response to such a question, are you able to formulate an answer to these types of questions for yourself? Author Brian Cagneey provided advice to anyone caught in this dilemma, “In order to know where you’re headed, you must be aware of your own personal goals.”

Practically speaking, this can become quite the overwhelming endeavor. To keep you from walking away from this potentially fruitful exercise, keep reading to discover how you can identify your life goals.

What do you value?

You could spend a lifetime compiling a list of goals worth accomplishing. The world truly is an oyster. That right there is the beauty of life – you get to choose what you make of it. So why spend your time chasing goals that you do not care about one way or another? An achieved goal may look like an accolade on paper. For example, there is a ton of societal respect for someone who holds a doctorate degree. But, if it’s not something of value to you, the journey to achieve that degree won’t be anything more than frustrating.

“There’s too many options for life goals that you need to keep searching for something of your own until you find it,” said Cesar Cruz, Co-Founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture. “Simply put, do what you love.”

As a follow up to this, let’s take a moment to highlight the specific use of the word you in this quote. When trying to identify goals for yourself, you should be the one calling the shots. And yet, everyone and their mother will have an opinion on what you should set out to do. Chances are, you have already encountered this trend at this point in your life. Children are often given suggestions for what they should be when they grow up. Unfortunately, teenagers and young adults can fall victim to these ideas leading to results in their life that these individuals are unhappy with. Like it or not, the responsibility to avoid this outcome in your own life falls to you.

“Don’t let anyone tell you which goals to chase,” said Eric Elggren, Co-Founder of Andar. “Above all, whatever you’re determined to secure should be a personal choice.”

Writing activities

Identifying life goals is nothing like reaching into a top hat and hoping to pull out a white rabbit. Finding a true path to follow or forge in life is not random. If it was, the popular board game Life would be the biography of many people around the world. While some elements of your life truly are random, you hold the power to influence so many more aspects. Before that can happen, you have to put in some thoughtful and hard work to uncover exactly what you want to achieve.

“Writing down ideas is always a sure fire way to fully flush out your thoughts,” said Corey Lewis, CEO of 1AND1 Life. “Especially when you’re trying to soft through big-picture decisions about your goals.”

There’s more to this approach than simply sitting down to a blank piece of paper and hoping the perfect idea pops into your head. Getting to the bottom of the goals you desire is a process, not a light switch. Therefore, it might be more appropriate to keep a running log, or journal, where your thoughts can build on each other into fully-formed plans rather than fleeting spontaneity.

“Written thoughts are much more accurate than whatever bounces around in your head,” said Dan Potter, Head of Digital at CRAFTD London. “Trying to identify what’s reflective of yourself is hard so make this a regular activity.”

Life Goals

Break it down to a basic level

Dreaming big will always be applause-worthy. There is always inspiration to be found in the people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and turn what appears to be a bum hand into something of substance. That being said, it is vital to remember you’re viewing these people and their achieved goals in totality, not as singular items. If you don’t see them as the latter, identifying and working through life goals of your own will frustrate you.

“Life goals, when broken down, are tons of small goals completed one after the other,” said Michael Fischer, Founder of Elite HRT. “It’s easy to overwhelm yourself initially so don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

That right there is the secret key to identifying the right life goals for yourself – consider where you want to end up, but don’t forget the stepping stones to making that a reality. Honestly, awareness of this might be able to be inferred from the term “life goal” – it is not a weekly goal or a New Years resolution. A life goal is a product of hard work over a period of years and years. Therefore, it stands to reason that you will need to continuously toil away at the next item on the agenda before reaching that point.

“Life goals can be complex or basic, it’s just a matter of perspective,” said Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce. “Breaking them down to something resembling a checklist might help you decide if you’re going to commit or not. ”

Keep it personal

As referenced earlier, people are full of opinions for how you should spend your life and what you should accomplish by retirement. Unfortunately, the line of opinions does not stop with individual human beings as there are societal norms that you may also feel a little pressure from. A specific dollar amount on your paycheck, that fancy house just around the corner, or some other arbitrary measurement are examples of this. But who is to say these should be life goals of your own?

“You are the captain of your own ship, so to speak,” said Patrick Robinson, CEO and Founder of Paskho. “Take your life in your own direction even if it involves going against the flow. ”

It might be the most cliché way to get the message across but follow your heart. You only get one life so it only makes sense that you strive for things which will bring you contentment once achieved. Think long and hard. What is it about you that makes you who you are? Whatever the answer to this question is should be the starting point of your life goals. Your efforts in this regard should aim to amplify this answer across your life and existence.

“Life lived on your own terms is a life lived to the fullest,” said Dr. Minhas, Founder and CEO of GerdLi. “Identifying life goals is tough to be sure but pursuing your interests will be the most rewarding.”

Dream about your future

Up until this paragraph, there has been a heavy emphasis on practicality. Rightfully so, your life goals are nothing to be trifled with because of the level of impact the efforts or results can be. But sometimes, that head-in-the-clouds approach to discovering what you want to make of your life is an excellent boost of creativity.

“Most are familiar with the phrase ‘if you can dream it you can do it, ‘” said Michael Bell, CEO of Manukora. “While it isn’t an absolute truth, there’s no one stopping you from setting noteworthy goals.”

Obviously, there are certain life circumstances which will prohibit some desired events from ever being reality. For instance, it is literally impossible for a non-US citizen to become president of the country. That’s simply the nature of how the system operates. But supposing you’re aware of what you’re venturing into, you should know that you can demand greater things from yourself than you might expect.

“Life goals should push you to your limits,” said Adam Bém, Co-Founder and COO of Victoria VR. “Growing is an inherent part of life so I advise you to meet this challenge head on. I think the results will surprise you.”

To sum everything up, identifying life goals is a multi-part process. Which is why some people never make it past this point. But author and philanthropist Tony Robbins offered advice to anyone facing this,“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”