It is important to remember, when thinking about what you would like to achieve in your life, that change is inevitable. Your circumstances and priorities will change through your life, you may realise, at the age of 40 that you are never going to be a concert pianist – as you had planned when you were 19. However if you take the right steps from the age of 19 then there is nothing to stop you achieving this potential goal.
When thinking about your lifetime goals, make them challenging and exciting, base them on your strengths but make them relevant to you and ultimately achievable.
It may be useful to categorise life goals:
- Academic goals – what knowledge and/or qualifications do you want to achieve?
- Career goals – where would you like your career to take you, what level do you want to reach?
- Monetary goals – what do you aim to earn at given point in your life?
- Ethical goals – do you want to volunteer some of your time to a good cause or get involved in local events, politics etc.?
- Creative goals – how do you want to progress creatively or artistically?
- Domestic goals – how would you like your domestic life to be in the future?
- Physical goals – do you want to develop you skill in a certain sport or other physical activity?
Once you have thought about your life goals you can start to plan how best to achieve them. Set yourself smaller goals for the future. In ten years I will be… in five years I will be… etc. Work out plans of action with smaller and smaller sub-goals until you can arrive at an action plan that you can start working on now.
Making Your Goals SMART:
It can be useful to make your goals and sub-goals fit the SMART criteria.
That is goals should be:
- S Specific – make each goal specific, so you know exactly what it is.
- M Measurable – make each goal measurable so you know how you are progressing.
- A Attainable – don’t set impossible goals, make sure each goal and sub-goal is attainable.
- R Relevant – make your goals relevant. Ensure your sub-goals are relevant to your life goals.
- T Timed – set time-limits or deadlines for when to achieve each goal.
Finally it is important to keep track of what you want to achieve and stay motivated to do so. To keep your motivation levels up try to:
- Learn and Acquire Knowledge. Read, study and talk to people – knowledge and information are key for feeding your mind and keeping you curious and motivated. See our section: Study Skills for some tips on how to make your learning more effective.
- Keep the Company of Enthusiastic People. Try to avoid negative people and seek out positive, well-motivated people. It is a lot easier to be motivated if the people around you are.
- Keep Positive. Keep a positive attitude, see problems and set-backs as learning opportunities.
- Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses. Work on ironing out your weaknesses and building on your strengths.
- Do it. Try not to procrastinate, assess the risks but keep working towards your goals.
- Get Help and Help Others. Don’t be afraid to ask other for help and don’t hold back if you can help them. Seeing other people succeed will help to motivate you to do the same.