How to Set Life Goals: 15 Steps

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How to Set Life Goals: 15 Steps
How to Set Life Goals: 15 Steps

Almost everyone has a dream in life, which is a vision of who they are or what they want to become in the future. At least, everyone has interests and views of life that determine what he wants to get in life. However, setting goals that you want to achieve in the next few years can be quite challenging at times. Maybe you are confused about where to start, especially if your desire seems impossible to achieve. But, with good preparation, you can set fun life goals to strive for and achieve.


Part 1 of 3: Setting Life Goals

Set Goals for Life Step 1
Set Goals for Life Step 1

Step 1. Think about what you want

Many people don't know exactly what they want in their life. In this first step, you must turn your ideas of “happiness” or “security” into things you want to do.

  • Get a pen and paper ready and start writing down the things you think are important in your life. For now, it's okay to write general things, but don't be vague.
  • For example, if the first word that comes to mind is "happiness," that's okay. But, try to explain what “happiness” means to you? What does a happy life look like to you?
Set Goals for Life Step 2
Set Goals for Life Step 2

Step 2. Write about yourself

One way to explain general things to be more specific is to write about yourself. Start by identifying your personality and interests to find out what matters to you.

  • Write down how you enjoy your free time. Start looking for inspiration by writing down all the activities you enjoy and what makes you happy.
  • Don't limit yourself to activities or experiences that you find useful or “good to do”. The goal of seeking inspiration is to gather as many ideas as possible that may be useful in the next process.
  • Write down things you enjoy and/or want to learn more about. Do you like science? Literature? Music? One of them may be the dream of your life.
  • Write down what aspects of yourself you would like to develop. Do you want to develop the skills to become a public speaker? Become a writer? Become a photographer? All of this can also be the dream of your life.
Set Goals for Life Step 3
Set Goals for Life Step 3

Step 3. Imagine your future

Try to imagine what your future will look like. Ask yourself questions so you can get a more detailed picture. For example, imagine you want to make a long-term career decision. Try asking the following questions:

  • What time do you want to get up early every day?
  • Where do you want to live? In the city? On the edge of town? Abroad?
  • Who is at home when you wake up in the morning? Do you want to have a family? If so, a workplace that is located far from home may not be the right choice.
  • How much income do you want?
  • The answers to these questions may not be enough to choose a particular job of your dreams, but you can use them as a guide.
Set Goals for Life Step 4
Set Goals for Life Step 4

Step 4. Define specific goals

After looking for inspiration, surely you have got an idea about what you want in life. There might even be some wishes! Now, state your wishes specifically.

  • For example, at this time the idea may arise that you want to become a scientist. A good start! But, think about what field of science you want. Do you want to be a chemist? Physicist? Astronomer?
  • Define the most specific goals. Imagine that you have chosen the most appropriate way of life by becoming a chemist. Now, ask yourself what do you want to do in this area. Do you want to work in a private company to develop new products? Or, do you want to teach chemistry at a university?
Set Goals for Life Step 5
Set Goals for Life Step 5

Step 5. Think about why

Right now, you may be facing some major opposition to your life goals. Test them one by one and ask yourself the question: “Why did I choose this goal?” The answers that appear can change the goals you have set earlier.

For example, say you've decided you want to "become a surgeon." You've also asked why and the answer, because surgeons are well-earned and respected. That reason is good. However, if you decide for just that reason, there are other jobs that are just as good. You have a lot to learn to become a surgeon. This job will require you to work without a fixed work schedule. If these reasons don't appeal to you, consider other plans so that you can achieve your goals that are the same in terms of wealth and rewards

Part 2 of 3: Creating an Achievement Plan

Set Goals for Life Step 6
Set Goals for Life Step 6

Step 1. Determine the destination rating

If there are several (or many) goals in life, you need to have a good plan for achieving them. Start by setting priorities.

  • By determining the most important goal or goals, you'll know which goal you must achieve first.
  • At this time, you may also have to cross certain goals off the list, for example if there are several goals that are impossible to achieve at the same time. For example, you can't be a doctor and an astronaut and you can't be a famous rock musician. There are certain goals that must be pursued for life and are impossible to achieve at the same time.
  • There are several goals that can be combined. For example, if you love to cook Padang food and want to open a restaurant, combine the two things into a new goal: opening a Padang restaurant.
  • One of the purposes of this ranking is to assess your commitment to each goal. Long-term goals will not be achieved if you are not committed to achieving them, especially if there are other goals that you think are far more important.
Set Goals for Life Step 7
Set Goals for Life Step 7

Step 2. Gather supporting information

Once you've defined one or more mutually reinforcing goals, start figuring out how to achieve them. Ask the following questions:

  • What skills should you master?
  • What are the criteria for the field of education you need?
  • What resources should you have?
  • How long do you have to fight?
Set Goals for Life Step 8
Set Goals for Life Step 8

Step 3. Define intermediate goals

The struggle to achieve the goal is a long and complicated process. Based on your knowledge of the things needed to achieve the goal, the next step is to break down the goal into several intermediate goals.

  • With intermediate goals, you can more easily manage the process of achieving goals by determining a step-by-step plan to achieve the final goal.
  • Set goals between measurable and tangible. In other words, there should be a clear definition of each intermediate goal so that you can easily determine whether these goals have been achieved.
  • For example, if your goal is to open a Padang restaurant, the intermediate goals you have to set are saving a certain amount of money, finding a location, designing the interior of the room, preparing furniture, buying insurance policies, managing various permits and licenses, recruiting employees, and finally, holding opening ceremony.
  • When trying to achieve long-term goals, sometimes you feel like you are walking in place. However, with a list of goals that are easy to do and clear, the progress that has been achieved will be easier to see so you don't give up easily.
Set Goals for Life Step 9
Set Goals for Life Step 9

Step 4. Set a deadline

Once you have detailed the steps to achieve your goals, set a deadline. Make a reasonable estimate of how long it will take to reach the intermediate goal and set a deadline for achieving it.

  • Setting a deadline can be a source of motivation by making you feel a sense of urgency. Plus, you'll feel responsible for achieving your goals at a given time, instead of letting this mess with your priority list.
  • Using the example of opening a restaurant earlier, if you want to save IDR 100 million in three years, divide that amount into IDR 2.8 million per month. That way, you will always remember to set aside the money every month, instead of using it for other needs.
Set Goals for Life Step 10
Set Goals for Life Step 10

Step 5. Make a plan for dealing with obstacles

In the end, try to imagine there are things that could get in the way of achieving your goals. Anticipating possible obstacles that you will have to face will help you prepare a plan for dealing with them, if they do occur.

For example, imagine that you have decided you want to become an expert in chemical research. For that, you will register to take chemistry courses at a well-known university. What happens if you are not accepted? Are you going to register elsewhere? If so, you may have to apply to another university before the announcement from the first university. Or, you just want to register again next year. If so, what will you do during this year to make your application for registration better?

Part 3 of 3: Striving for Goals

Set Goals for Life Step 11
Set Goals for Life Step 11

Step 1. Create a supportive environment

Whatever your goals, there is a more suitable environment to support the achievement of goals. Do your best so that the people and environment around you don't create obstacles.

  • For example, if you want to study medicine, you have to study for a few hours and concentrate fully on studying. If you have a friend where you live who loves throwing parties and asking you to join, it would be better if you moved.
  • Look for people who also want to achieve your goals to keep you feeling responsible and motivated.
Set Goals for Life Step 12
Set Goals for Life Step 12

Step 2. Get to work

Set a date to start achieving the intermediate goals you've set. After that, carry out your plan!

  • If you're not sure how to reach your first intermediate goal, it's still too big to be an intermediate goal. If you can't figure out the first step, find more information and/or subdivide this goal into smaller intermediate goals.
  • Set a start date at least a few days in the future. If you can't wait to get started, the anticipation you make will keep you motivated and enthusiastic as you get started.
  • Set aside a few days of free time before starting your plan so you can adjust your plan, seek advice, or prepare the tools you need.
Set Goals for Life Step 13
Set Goals for Life Step 13

Step 3. Strive to achieve goals consistently

Once you start, the key to success in achieving your life goals lies in persistence and consistency. You have to go through this process step by step and it takes a long time. Therefore, you must keep trying to make progress.

  • Many people immediately jump in with enthusiasm after setting a goal. They spend a lot of time and effort at this early stage. Enthusiasm is a very good thing, but don't let it run out of steam in the first few weeks or months. Don't set standards that you won't be able to meet in the long run. Keep in mind that you will be going through a long process. Life is a journey, not a race.
  • One good way to ensure consistent progress is to work time into your daily routine. For example, if you are studying to become a chemist, set aside a specific time each day to do your homework, for example from 3pm to 7pm. Also set aside time to do research, for example from 07.30 to 09.00. Try to use this time according to the goals you have set, unless you really have to deviate from this schedule. However, stop studying at 9 pm to rest.
  • Remember that to achieve any goal, the only way is to invest a lot of time and effort. Putting in a lot of time and effort is the way to reach the goal.
Set Goals for Life Step 14
Set Goals for Life Step 14

Step 4. Stay motivated

You have to stay motivated because consistency is very important.

  • The existence of intermediate goals that can be achieved is very important to support motivation. You will remain enthusiastic and committed if you make progress.
  • Use reinforcement as an incentive. Positive reinforcement will make your life more enjoyable. Negative reinforcement is a way of getting rid of what you don't like. Both can keep you motivated. If you're focusing on filling out a permit application form to open a restaurant and feel distracted, give yourself a treat. When you're done filling out the form, you might be able to eat ice cream or watch your favorite movie at the cinema. Either way, reinforcement will keep you motivated.
  • Punishing yourself for failing to achieve an intermediate goal is not as effective as reinforcement for good behavior. If you want to experience unpleasant consequences, make sure you give yourself a gift as well.
Set Goals for Life Step 15
Set Goals for Life Step 15

Step 5. Record the progress that has been achieved

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to keep track of your progress and read it regularly. Depending on your goals and preferences, you can use apps, journals, or calendars.

  • All of these ways will remind you of the intermediate goals that have been achieved. In addition, you will also remain responsible for working according to the schedule that you have set yourself.
  • Journaling regularly can also relieve stress and anxiety that comes with struggling to achieve long-term goals.


Goals often change as life events occur. Make an effort to consciously and regularly reconsider your goals, rather than subconsciously wanting to achieve the goals you set a few years ago. Revision is a natural thing


Don't set a "negative" goal. This goal focuses on what you don't like, not what you like. For example, "no longer in a failed relationship" would be less effective than "a happy relationship."

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