There’s a lot of talk these days around ‘goal setting’, but what does this really mean from a personal perspective? Setting achievable goals doesn’t just apply to business – having clear objectives on what you would like to get out of life and how to plan your future are just as relevant as commercial goals. Otherwise, what are you working towards? From a lifestyle viewpoint, we have listed a few important questions for you to answer when you come to set your own personal goals.
1. Where are you right now?
This is the first step towards setting your goals. Are you enjoying your current lifestyle? Would you like greater comfort in terms of a better home, car, or more frequent holidays? Do you currently enjoy buying luxury food, household items and clothing? Are there things that you worry about? Assessing your current lifestyle and concerns will help you plan for the future and set relevant goals. Some people choose less in one area to gain more in another, e.g. a smaller house and more luxury holidays. This is purely an individual choice – but if you have a husband or wife, children or other dependants, then a compromise must be found. If you are currently paying an expensive mortgage, or for your children’s education, these are considerable outgoings in your present day-to-day life. What are you paying out for now that may possibly change in the future? To reflect further on this, see our Big Life Events page.
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score”
2. Where do you want to be in the future?
What do you want to achieve in your life? Is it a Ferrari and 5-star holidays, or more security and a few simple comforts? Think about what you would like to have in the future. This could be material in terms of possessions, or it might be more of a lifestyle change, e.g. you might decide you want to retire and write a novel. If you have young children, you could be planning to spend an amount on their future education. You might want to set a goal to pay off your mortgage quicker and become debt-free. You might have a burning desire to eat at the world’s top listed restaurants! Again, this is a purely personal choice that will only apply to your individual set of circumstances – your ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Write a list of everything you would like to achieve in terms of personal gain, and the way you would like to live your life – these are your goals.
“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.”
Mark Victor Hansen
3. Do you have any worries?
Now you have started to write an outline of where you are and where you would like to be, is there anything holding you back? This might be financial restraints, e.g. a high mortgage or the cost of educating a child. Or, you may have very sensitive, personal commitments, such as having a child with a disability or an ageing parent with care needs. If you do have children, dependants or relatives with specific needs, then it is likely there will be a cost implication in terms of making sure they have access to a decent standard of care. Unfortunately, costs for care and care homes, as well as schools for special education will tend to increase if a child or adult has increasing needs. It is important to factor this into future plans, as well as how you will cope personally with such changes.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
By painting a clear picture of your desired future, as well as identifying any constraints, will help you create an achievable list of goals. You are far more likely to reach lifestyle targets, once you have created a realistic vision to work towards. Once you have confirmed what you want to achieve in life, you can then apply a suitable financial strategy to help you get there.