How to set goals in life

how to set goals for life

How to set goals in life

how to set goals for life

If you want to achieve any level of success in life, I believe that you must first learn how to set goals in life.

After all, if you don’t know where you are going then HOW are you going to get there?

If you don’t start to design your own life, then you are not in control of your own destiny.

You will get trapped in your comfort zone, and one day you will wonder where your life has gone, and why you feel bored and directionless.

Setting goals is the first step to a successful, happy, fulfilling, abundant life.

I also believe that life is all about balance, so you should start by setting goals in three primary areas.

  1. Your Health
  2. Your Wealth
  3. And your Relationships

Just about everything in life comes back to one of these three “big rocks”.

So set aside an hour or so, find some sheets of paper, a pen, and a nice quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed, and start designing your life.

If you don’t design your OWN life, then someone else will design it for you.

Some tips you may want to consider when writing your goals are that they are specific, measurable and timely.

Be Specific

Describe in detail your goal, what will it look like when you have it?

What will you be saying to yourself?

How will you be feeling?

Make it Measurable

How will you know when you have it?

Give it a TimeFrame

Ensure you have a date for when this goal is to be achieved by.

Let’s get started!

Step 1 – Brainstorming

Start with a sheet of paper and write Health at the top, then draw three columns, and write be, do and have at the top of each column. (See below)


How to set goals in life

Then start brainstorming some ideas on what you want to be, do and have in your life in the area of health.

Under the health category could come your general fitness, your weight, mental health, spirituality, lifestyle goals, contribution goals, etc.

For example you may have a goal to “be” healthy, fit and energised.

“Do” a five Kilometre fun run.

“Have” a Health and fitness blog.

Spend ten minutes or so and brainstorm some goals you want to achieve over the next several months to five years.

Dream big and shoot for the moon, this is no time to be “realistic”.

Write down anything that enters your mind.

Even if you miss you will land amongst the stars!

Next, you can do the same thing with your wealth and relationship goals.

In the area of Wealth, think of income goals, net worth goals, asset goals and business goals.

In the area of relationships, consider the relationships with your spouse, children, family, friends, the community and even the relationship you have with yourself.

Now you have a list of goals we can proceed to step 2.

Step 2 – Create a timeline

Now go through your list of goals and select a timeline of 1, 3 or 5 years for each one and write that number next to each goal.

5 year goals are generally far enough into the future that we can still comprehend the timeframe and set defined action steps.

Step 3 – Pick out your number one goal

Now pick out your number one goal that you absolutely MUST achieve in the next three to five years.

What is going to have the biggest impact on your life and for the people around you?

Now write it down.

For example in the area of wealth, your goal could be: “By December 31 201… (3 Years time) I will create time and financial freedom by becoming debt free and having a residual business income of $20,000 per Month”

Do the same for your health goal and relationship goal.

Step 4 – What is your “Why”?

Not only do you need to know what it is that you want, you have to know “why” you want it.

The bigger the why the easier the how.

Below each of your goals write a statement about all the reasons why you absolutely MUST achieve that goal.

If your why isn’t strong enough you will give up when things get tough, or not even get started in the first place.

If you can’t find a big enough why, then maybe you need to find another goal.

Remember: The bigger the “why” the easier the “how”!

Another good thing to do is called the rocking chair test.

Just imagine that you are an old man or women sitting in your rocking chair, and imagine that you have already achieved the goal.

Imagine what you would have experienced by achieving it and how that would make you feel.

Then imagine how you would feel if you DIDN’T achieve the goal.

What would you have missed out on, and how would that make you feel about yourself now that your days are nearly over?

Do you regret it?

Remember: The bigger the “why” the easier the “how”!

Now that you have decided on your three long-term goals in the three main areas of your life, and you know WHY you want them, we need to chunk them down so that it doesn’t become so overwhelming.

how to set goals for life

Step 5 – Chunk it down!

Now you have worked out your big vision, it is now important to chunk it down into smaller, achievable action steps.

Start by working out want you want to achieve in the next twelve months.

Decide on three to five goals that you want to achieve in the next year that will progress you towards your three to five year plan.

It is important to do this initially, but once you have been goal setting for a while, you also may like to do this at the end of December to work out your goals for the following year.

Next, chunk your goals down even further and set in place a 90 day or three Month action plan.

Then you can chunk them down further still to a weekly action plan, with what you need to do each week to take you a step further towards your goals.

What are the daily and weekly actions you need to do that will lead to achieving your ultimate goal?

Chunking your goals down like this eliminates overwhelm and frustration.

All you have to do is concentrate on the next step.

And you can always see the next step.

Below is a free downloadable example that you can use to create your own action plan – no opt-in required.


Once you have completed your goal target statement, print it out and read it daily.

The best times are as soon as you wake up and right before you go to bed.

Also pin it up where you will see it several times a day, on your bathroom mirror or the fridge

Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind and visualise yourself as if you have already achieved the goal.

What would you be experiencing and how does it make you feel?

It works!

Step 6 – Take action

Now you have the plan, it is time to take action.

In the words of one of my mentors, Tony Robbins: “Never, ever, ever EVER leave the site of setting a goal without doing SOMETHING towards it’s attainment!”

Take action NOW!

Whether it’s making a phone call, researching something, opting in for some training, making an appointment, hiring a coach, whatever it is, do something NOW towards achieving your goal!

Action leads to momentum which leads to results.

Inaction leads to doubts, fears, worries and procrastination.


The power is in the NOW!

Everyday, do something that moves you closer towards your goals.

Unleash your power and live your dreams!

Step 7 – Measure, monitor and adjust

How to set goals in life


You have set your goals for life and started taking action, but something isn’t working.

Measure, monitor and adjust!

Your going to mess up!

Your going to fail!

Things won’t work or it takes too long!

This is all part of the process.

At the end of every 90 days you will need to review the action plan.

What worked, what didn’t and why?

Whatever worked, keep doing it and step it up!

What didn’t, discard it or do it differently.

What else can you do this next three months?

What other resources or help do you need?

Setting and achieving goals is a work in progress.

Continually measure, monitor and adjust along the way.

This is why I call this a goal target statement.

You line up the target, fire, then keep readjusting your aim until you hit it!

Remember, you only ever really fail if you quit!

This is why your “why” is so important.

It will keep you going through the inevitable ups and downs.

Never give up on your dreams!

The most important thing to remember is that the purpose of the goal is not to get the goal, it is what it makes of us in the process that is what really matters.

So enjoy the journey along the way!

Learn how to set goals for life and set yourself up for success!

If you have any questions or comments, leave them in the comments section below.

To your success,

John W. Newman

Lifestyle Entrepreneur and Online Business Mentor

Dream It, Believe It, Then Achieve It!

Love social media? Join me on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

To learn more about achieving your financial goals click here for a free video training series.


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John newman

My name is John W. Newman. Property investor, Internet entrepreneur, husband and father of four beautiful daughters. Join me on my road to financial freedom! Dream It...Believe It...Then Achieve It!


  1. Hi John,
    Great post and as an Occupational Therapist, I have set goals for people on a daily basis and you’ve really made some excellent points for people to follow in order to achieve the goals they set in life. The main point I liked about your post is making sure your goals are measurable and put them on a time frame.

    This really makes ourselves accountable for our goals and then gives us solid feedback as to how our daily actions are effecting our long term goals.

    One other thing we do in the therapy world is make long term and short term goals that are related and that build to the overarching goal for whatever we want in life.

    Great post and way to get the word out to help people live better lives.

    • Thanks Todd, glad you liked the post!
      Being accountable is so important to achieving your goals, that is why having a coach, mentor or a mastermind of like-minded people is so important!
      Thanks again 🙂

  2. Hi John. That’s a great plan. I like it that you included the “why” for your goals. Most people leave that out and I think it’s the most important part. I have often found that when I identify my “why” for a goal, the goal changes. A lot of times it’s because the goal was superficial and not really important to me, or the goal was too small and actually more of a stepping stone to the real goal.

  3. Hello John! Great post! I especially emphasise on the “why” you mention. Why is your motivation that can put you in action. This is what I mostly tell to people when they tell me that they want something but they believe they cannot do it or find it hard to take action. Thank you for writing this post!

    • Totally agree Effie, having a strong why is just so important!
      A lot of people miss this step and then wonder why they are left unfulfilled!
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  4. Hey John,
    Loved your article on How to Set Goals in Life”. As a person who has always flown by the seat of my pants, I find the whole setting goals thing quite daunting. I understand what you’re saying…if you don’t have a plan, you don’t know where you’re going, but I just can’t seem to think 12 months, 2 years or 5 years out.

    Should a person start with say a 1 week goal and then a 1 month goal and gradually increase to the 2-5 year goals?



    • Thanks for your comment Cherie!
      The problem with starting with a short term goal is why are you doing it?
      How do you know it is what you really want?
      Most people have short term goals like going to work, paying bills, watching Television and catching up with friends on the weekend.
      The only long-term goal they have is planning for a two week holiday every year.
      You have to begin with the end in mind.
      This is why taking some time and brain-storming where you want to be, do and have in 5 years time is so important.
      If 5 years is too long, at least think ahead 12 months.
      When you know what you REALLY want AND why you want it, you can work out smaller action steps that will help keep you on track.
      There is nothing worse than climbing the ladder of success, only to discover that it was the wrong ladder!
      Good luck 🙂

  5. I’ve always been a fan of motivational speakers and I wanted to be one. Unfortunately it didn’t happent. I think you have a great plan and the fact that you are willing to share it with us means that you are really trying to help.
    I would also like to add that success is not an event and that you have to build it every day little by little.

    Thank you again and I wish that you will accomplish your goals.


    • Thanks for your comment Constantin, and I agree success is definitely built day after day!
      If you still dream of being a motivational speaker though,I wouldn’t rule it out.
      Maybe you could set that as your 5 year goal, and work out some action steps along the way to help get you there?
      A first step could be to research public speaking groups such as Toastmasters in your local area.
      Never give up 🙂

  6. Hi John, this is a great article.
    My own personal stumbling block is looking too intently at the ‘now’.
    That is, I often struggle to see past the end of my nose and invariably, this causes me great anxiety because the ‘now’ is a million miles from where I want to be!
    In this instance I try to ‘zoom’ out and look at the bigger picture and as you suggested – not only visualise – but ‘feel’ what the accomplishment is like.
    Once I have this grounding, I can then set to work on the practical goal-setting side of things.

    • Thanks for your comment Dan!
      People, including myself, can often get impatient when striving for goals and want success to happen right away.
      That is why it is so important to chunk you goals down to small manageable action steps so you don’t get overwhelmed.
      It is important to reflect back as well, as sometimes we don’t realise just how far we have already come!
      Good luck 🙂

  7. Hey John

    Excellent how to my friend and much appreciated. Well done and very informative with something to help us all. Thanks so much and my best wishes to your business!

  8. John,
    Your list of ways to get organised is really good and I would love to use them, I am still worried that I will make mistakes and fail. How do you find the ways to keep yourself inspired. And where do you find your inspiration and support?

    I am sure if I had the support I could start my own online business.

    Thanks for getting back to me


    • Thanks for your comment Carl, you ask some very good questions.
      One thing that you must understand is that mistakes are part of the process.
      For example how many times did you fall down before you walked?
      You weren’t born knowing how to walk,or how to read, or ride a bike, or drive a car, you failed your way to success.
      People that have built HUGE online businesses didn’t do it overnight.
      It took years and they had heaps of struggles, made mistakes and had things that failed and didn’t work.
      They just didn’t give up.
      You didn’t witness their struggles though, you only see the success.
      Building an online business is the best way to fail as it’s won’t cost you too much and won’t bankrupt you in the process.
      Just do it, make mistakes, learn from them and keep going!
      Don’t get so hung up on the outcome, just enjoy the process.
      If you really want support for building an online business, then try Wealthy Affiliate. They have awesome training, tools and support and everything you need to succeed online… and it’s free to start!

  9. Hi,
    I was needing this article. This is really helpful as I’m just starting to write down my goals for 2016.

    Should i also include non-financial goals?

    • Most definitely Kevin, Life is all about balance, and you should include health, relationship and lifestyle goals as well as financial goals.
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  10. Hi John,
    I have really enjoyed reading your 7 steps on how to set goals in life. I have always been a very goal orientated person and my goals are what drive me. So I can relate to all the steps you have outlined. The one goal I tend to forget is the Health one .. Im going to use your steps to make this one of my big goals for this year. Thanks again

    • Health can often take a back seat when we are striving for success, that it is why it is so important to have it as one of our main priorities!

      Thanks for your comment, glad you liked it 🙂

  11. Hi John,

    Really enjoyed this and found it really useful. Love your ideas about “chunking” goals and making sure you make things achievable with one step at a time. I think this needs to be a big priority for people – each tiny step completed is progress, and progress motivates you to do more!

    • Thanks for the feedback Dave!

      If you don’t “chunk” your goals down into small bite size pieces, it is so easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed, and that is why people often give up and procrastinate!

      Baby steps, one at a time over an extended period can really add up!

      The trouble is a lot of people over estimate what they can achieve in a year, but under estimate what they can achieve in 5 years!

      Thanks again:-)

  12. I loved what you said, the bigger the why, the easier the how. When we have a why for what it is we do, we’re giving ourselves the reasons and the motivation to take part on something we wouldn’t have done before because we didn’t have a why. Keep up the good work. Really liked the post.

    • Glad you liked it JP!

      It all comes back to your reasons why!

      If you are just in it for the money, reaching you goals can feel pretty hollow! There has to be a bigger deeper reason behind your goals! 🙂

  13. Health, Wealth & Relationships are 3 very important areas of our lives to set goals and have a clear picture of what success in those areas looks like to us.

    I believe that to love, be healthy and have the ability to work around our lives instead of living around our work is the key.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed learning by reading your steps of my road to financial freedom posts my Friend.

    Thank You John for sharing with us the 7 very vital steps in setting goals in our lives and also the ability to modify and grow our goals as we progress.


    • Thanks for you comment Tony, glad you liked the post!

      Life is all about balance for sure 🙂

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