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  • Writer's pictureAngela Stratman

Goal Planning for Each Area of Your Life


There are many books out there that can list 4, 5, or even 10 areas or realms of someone’s life. I broke it down to 7. I always liked the number 7. 7 Days in a week, 7 tribes of Israel, 7 Wonders of the World. 7 is also a prime number; for some, it is a lucky number.

When goal setting, try to spread your goals across a couple of different areas. If all of your goals are in the same area, you are more likely to experience burnout in achieving them. Similarly, be varied in the types of goals you establish. What do I mean by types? Here’s a real-life example. One year, I decided I was going to learn how to cook better (Personal Development), learn PowerBI (Professional Development), learn about Investing (Finances), and lose 80 pounds all by the end of the year. Too much learning, not enough doing. A better alternative would have been to cook one new dish a week, learn PowerBI, save $X to invest the following year, and exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. Can you see how mixing up the types of goals can keep things different enough to prevent burnout?


I have included a free PDF for download with examples of goals in each area.


Life Goals Examples Printable
.pdf
Download PDF • 135KB


Area 1 – Family, Friends, Relationships - Nurturing relationships are vital, but expecting perfection is unrealistic. Set realistic goals such as scheduling regular quality time with loved ones, improving communication skills, or resolving conflicts constructively. Building strong connections is a continuous process. I set goals to achieve an undistracted date night once a month with my husband and a night out or luncheon with my friends once a month. I set this goal one year ago, and now it is just a habit; I no longer need to list it as a goal.


Area 2 – Spirituality, Community – This one hits people differently. I have friends of many faiths, and some that will avoid anything looking like religion. But when I say Spirituality, while it can mean a religious or faith focus, it can also mean centering yourself, finding inner peace, and allowing yourself grace when things go wrong. I also grouped Community here because, for many, Community is a big part of their Spirituality. In my life, I have done everything from trying to read the bible cover to cover by the end of the year to volunteering at least once a month to finding new meditation techniques to calm me when stressed.


Area 3 – Finances – This is my second least favorite of all 7 areas. It seems to me that meeting my goals in other areas always caused this one to fail. Even goals in this area can contradict each other. I want to save $1000 this year and pay off my credit card… um… those don’t really fit well together. This is a great area to make shorter goals that piggyback off each other. First, I save $1000 by September and then pay down my credit card afterward. Also, you could do one money-related goal and one learning about money goal. Something like I will pay off one student loan this year and learn about different investment accounts. Either way, financial goals can be daunting, but breaking them down makes them more manageable. These incremental steps lay the foundation for long-term financial stability.


Area 4 – Career Development – For me, setting career goals is easy. The trick is to focus on achievable milestones like acquiring a new skill, taking on a challenging project, or expanding your professional network. Small, strategic steps can lead to significant advancements over time. A lot of people would also include academics here. So, if you are still working toward your career, a good goal may be to volunteer/observe someone in your future line of work. Find a mentor in your career area or join a career-specific networking group. Even updating your LinkedIn profile fits here.


Area 5 – Health – My LEAST favorite area to set goals. For me, it feels like the goals here are always the same and always take the most time.

Eat this, do this, lose/gain this; it’s exhausting. The biggest stumbling block for this area is saying, “I want to lose X pounds by Y.” While that seems like an excellent SMART goal, you lose visibility to the work behind it. You may need to drink more water, eat more veggies, and exercise more often to lose X pounds. We just took that one little goal and turned it into 3 goals that need to be addressed daily for any chance of success at the primary goal. When setting goals in this area, I recommend focusing on 1 goal for physical health and 1 for mental health. An example would be to exercise 30 minutes 3 days a week, and the second goal is to stop using all electronics 30 minutes before bed.


Area 6 – Fun, Travel, Recreation – This is my favorite, but also the biggest competitor to Area 3 – Finances. It doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe your goal is to find 1 new free event, museum, or activity each month. That could work. You will have added gas or parking expenses, but it’s nicer to your finances than attending a concert or sports event every month. “Fun” can mean many things: learning a new hobby, finding a new park to walk in every month (double dipping with Area 5 – Health), or learning a new game. “Travel” can be far away or close by; it can be a big trip that you save for this year to go to next year or a weekend getaway where you try to find free activities. “Recreation” is just doing things that make you happy. Is Fun and Recreation the same? It can be, but while learning a new knock-knock joke every month is fun, I would not consider that recreation.


Area 7 – Personal Development – This area for me overlaps others sometimes. For example, writing in a journal every day for a year could crossover into Spirituality. Reading a book each month, if fiction, could also be Fun, if non-fiction, it could be Professional Development. I use this as the catch-area area, if it doesn’t fit anywhere else, I consider it Personal Development. My favorite is “doing one thing that scares you,” which for me is looking at a snake at the zoo. Silly, right, but typically I can’t even look at them without freaking out, so for me to be able to look at them behind the glass (or even on TV) is huge.


I have included a free PDF for download with examples of goals for each area I mentioned. Download here.

Life Goals Examples Printable
.pdf
Download PDF • 135KB


In conclusion, goal planning is a dynamic and multifaceted process that requires thoughtful consideration of various aspects of our lives. By categorizing our goals into seven distinct areas—Family, Friends, Relationships; Spirituality, Community; Finances; Career Development; Health; Fun, Travel, Recreation; and Personal Development—we create a comprehensive framework for balanced and sustainable growth.


This approach prompts us to distribute our aspirations across multiple dimensions, preventing the risk of burnout that may arise from a singular focus on one area. As exemplified in the cautionary tale of overambitious goals, it’s crucial to diversify the types of objectives we set. Striking a balance between learning, doing, and experiencing ensures a well-rounded and fulfilling journey toward self-improvement.


The downloadable PDF provides tangible examples of goals for each area, serving as a practical guide to kickstart your goal-setting journey. Whether nurturing relationships, fostering Spirituality, managing finances, advancing your career, prioritizing health, indulging in recreation, or embracing personal development, this resource empowers you to define clear and achievable objectives.


Remember, goals are not rigid mandates but adaptable guides that evolve with your journey. The essence lies in the journey—embracing progress, learning from setbacks, and celebrating small victories. Integrating diverse goals across these seven areas will pave the way for a more holistic and fulfilling life. So, embark on this goal-setting adventure with a strategic plan that caters to your dreams and desires.



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