Personal Goals

If you want to improve your life but are unsure where to begin, setting personal goals can help. Goal setting helps you to identify where you are right now and put the right plan in place to get to where you want to be. If you set clear goals, you are more likely to follow through on what is needed for each step of your journey. If done properly, setting personal goals can bring increased happiness and fulfilment to your life.  

The Importance of Setting Personal Goals

Setting personal goals matters. It is often closely associated with contentment, joy, and stress management. Goal setting helps you to manage your responsibilities and plan for the future as best as you can. Recent research in the field of positive psychology suggests meeting personal goals leads to increased confidence, satisfaction, and resilience to stress. 

    Stress Management

Stress is the way your body, mind, and emotions react to any adjustments or demands in your life. The way you think and feel about your stressors may trigger a stress response in your body. Physical signs of stress include a faster pulse, increased blood pressure, increased energy levels, and the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.

Examining the way you think about your stressors is a major part of stress management. If you can change the way you perceive your stressors, you can change your feelings about them and change your body’s stress response. Goal setting gives you more control over the things you have to do. When you believe you are in control of your life, you will have a more positive view of your responsibilities and experience far less stress.

    Personal Growth

Personal growth involves your physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual development. It helps you to live a satisfying, productive life within the regulations and expectations of your society. Setting personal goals is very important for personal growth and successful living. It helps you to improve your qualities and sharpen your skills so that you can reach your full potential.

Kinds of Goals

You can set and work towards many different kinds of goals. For example, you may set goals to help reduce stressors, manage the stress you already have, build resilience, develop stress-relieving habits, and increase happiness. You can also establish goals that are targeted to specific areas of your life. This may include personal goals, professional goals, and life goals.  

    Personal Goals

Setting and reaching personal goals can help you grow as an individual. You can improve the way you feel about yourself and develop positive life skills. Some of the life skills you may hone include expressing your feelings, giving feedback, receiving criticism, and employing new problem-solving strategies. If you master these and other related techniques as you pursue your personal goals, you will likely improve your relationship with your friends, family members, work mates, and yourself.

    Professional Goals

Professional goals help you to become a better worker or employee. They help you to increase your professional knowledge, skills, and work practices. Common professional goals include learning more about your job, improving your work performance, gaining new work experiences, getting a higher position, improving your presentation skills, strengthening your work relationships, and increasing your earnings. If you set professional goals, you are very likely to improve your work performance and productivity.

    Life Goals

Life goals are the things you want to achieve or work on so that you are happy in the future. These goals may be related to your personal life, social life, or professional life. Examples of life goals include traveling around the world, building a successful business from the ground up, writing a best-selling novel, or improving your long-term health. People typically pursue their life goals for many years.     

Setting life goals is important because it gives you purpose and direction. This is especially helpful if your daily routine is usually monotonous, boring, or exhausting. They also help you to make wise decisions when you are faced with potentially life-altering choices. Life goals help you to remain focused on the things that really matter to you in the long run. 

How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Some people avoid setting goals because goals can be a source of stress if you fail to achieve them. Other individuals may establish meaningful goals but refuse to put in the necessary work. You can have more success and less stress if you set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific.


You are more likely to reach your personal goals if they are specific. When your goals are vague or unclear, it is more difficult to determine the best steps to take to achieve them. If you set goals that are specific, you will know what you need to do and how best to adapt to any changes that pop up. You will also be aware of the exact moment you actually accomplish your goals. 


It is best if you set personal goals that are measurable. This is because some goals will require continuous effort or multiple efforts before you can reach them. Having measurable goals helps you to keep track of your progress over time. You are also more likely to keep working if you know how far you are from the finish line.  


You need to set personal goals that are achievable or attainable. If you set goals you believe are unreachable, you will not be motivated to keep working. If your personal goals are not achievable right now, you do not have to give up on them. Instead, it may be best to scale them back to targets that are more manageable. 


You have a better chance to reach your personal goals if they are appropriate to your circumstances and abilities. Relevant goals are usually closely connected to your relationships, career, school, finances, lifestyle, health, or personal development. Although other people can help you to set personal goals, it is important that you share their ambitions. You are far more likely to pursue your goals if they really matter to you.


If your goals are time-specific you are more likely to achieve them. This is because you know exactly when you want to reach your targets and how long the process should last. Determine a start time and an end time for your goals and try to stay on schedule for each step of your journey. If you know when you should get things done, you are far less likely to procrastinate.

What to do When You Miss Your Goals

Failing to reach your personal goals can be disappointing. You may be particularly discouraged if you are unable to reach your goals after multiple attempts. Nevertheless, failure often highlights the changes you need to make to improve your performance. But before you can taste success, you first need to identify your roadblocks, forgive yourself for past failures, and get started again. 

    Identify Your Roadblocks

Before you can accomplish your goals you need to identify the issues that are standing in your way. Only after these roadblocks have been properly identified can you put measures in place to avoid or overcome them. If your personal goal is simply out of reach at the moment, you may need to reevaluate your strategy. In many cases, challenging long-term goals can be broken down into realistic mini-goals that can keep you on track for your main target. 

    Forgive Yourself

When a mistake is made, it is sometimes easier to forgive someone else than to forgive yourself. However, self-forgiveness is necessary if you want to put previous failures in the past and focus on the present. Self-forgiveness is characterized by sincere compassion for yourself and acceptance of the person you are. If you are unable to forgive yourself, doubt and anger may resurface at critical moments in the future and compromise your success. 

    Get Started Again

Once you have identified your obstacles, regained your mental focus, and reworked your action plan, it is time to work towards your goal once more. In many cases, reaching a personal goal is simply a matter of learning from your errors and pressing forward. If you are tempted to give up on your goal, it may be helpful to reflect on the reason you want to reach your target. You can also cultivate resilience and improve your problem-solving skills if you are willing to get up and start again after you experience a fall.  

Setting personal goals is key to managing stress, improving your productivity, and boosting your personal growth. You can also strengthen your relationships with the people you love. These benefits are especially evident when you work with SMART goals. By diligently working towards your objectives you will develop useful life skills that promote real happiness for many years to come. 

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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