5 Little-Known Benefits of Setting Life Goals

Have you ever tried setting goals for your life, only to fall off the wagon and drift back to your old habits? Have you ever wondered why goal-setting doesn’t seem to impact your life as much as it impacts the lives of certain successful people you know?

Like everything else in life, goal-setting is not just about knowing what your biggest goals are. It’s also about knowing where to set them, and how to achieve them. So if you’re currently stuck in a frustrating loop in your life, this article will help you fine-tune your goal-setting and goal-pursuing skills, so you can finally get that breakthrough you want.

Let’s start with the basics:

What Are Life Goals, Anyway?

Life goals aren’t those wishful, “would-be-nice-to-have” goals you set while daydreaming. Life goals are born out of pain, frustration, lack, and hurt. They drive you towards success, achievement, abundance, and happiness.

Simply put: If your goal doesn’t involve some sort of struggle, it’s just a pipe dream.

What Areas of Your Life Should You Have Goals In?

The key is to have goals across all important areas of your life, because let’s face it – there’s no sense winning in a few areas and losing in all the rest. While no two people are exactly alike, I believe we can all agree that the following areas of our lives are important enough to set our goals in. Although the specific goals I have included may not be something you are interested in, they are there to get you started.

  • Health (To hit an ideal weight; To bench-press 300 lbs.; To run a marathon)
  • Career/Financial (To retire comfortably; To become a CEO; To run your own business)
  • Spirituality (To become a saint; To lead a ministry; To discover the meaning of life)
  • Knowledge/Wisdom (To read 10 books a year; To earn a Ph.D.; To teach)
  • Contribution to Society (To volunteer; To train millionaires; To feed the hungry)
  • Family (To help my kids through college; To be the best spouse ever; To never divorce)
  • Relationships (To get married eventually; To travel the world with friends)

The great thing about setting life goals is that it brings a host of benefits into your life the moment you set them. Here are five of the best ones:

1. You Find What Makes Your Heart Sing

Goal-setting helps you find those achievements and activities that make you truly, completely feel that you have a place in the world. In all areas of our lives, we have our “bare minimums” in order to truly be happy. Your life goals should revolve around achieving those bare minimums to bring you maximum happiness.

2. It Gets Rid of the Junk in Your Life

Why do many people stay poor and unsuccessful? Answer: It’s because of the “junk” in their lives. These are the things, activities, and relationships that do NOT push them closer to their goals, but instead bind them to failure, fear, and frustration. Your life goals will help you identify the “junk” in your life so you can get rid of them – fast.

3. It Fills You With Unbreakable Confidence

No matter what you do in life, there’s a simple guarantee, “You’ll do it better, and you’ll enjoy it more, when you have confidence.” And life goals will fill you with that intoxicating, unbreakable kind of confidence. Suddenly, life’s no longer about what other people say or think about you – it’s about your goals, and nothing more.

4. It Gives You a Much-Needed Sense of Urgency

When you have specific goals in your life, you’ll soon realize how little you have to work with. You have limited time, limited resources, and limited energy. It fills you with a sense of urgency, giving you the motivation to drop the junk in your life, make the necessary adjustments, and give it everything you got, every single day of your life.

5. You Make Smarter, Rock-Solid Decisions

Another critical flaw that unsuccessful people have is indecision. They’re bogged down by all the options around them that they end up not making decisions at all. But when you have goals, you’ll know immediately what comes first between your family, your work, your friends, your church, and so on.

How to Set Goals

Most experts will tell you to set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Time-Bound goals. In other words, they have to be realistic and achievable, and set with a deadline.

A good way to ensure your goals are as SMART as they can be is to make sure your big goals are breakable. You want to be able to break the bigger goals down into to smaller goals and the concrete processes needed to achieve them. It’s one thing to have goals – and it’s another thing to have a detailed plan of action to achieve them. Be sure to have both!

Bonus Tip: It’s Okay to Fail

One last tip about goal-setting: You’re going to fail sometimes, and that’s okay.

Two things trip many unsuccessful goal-setters in the long-run: the sheer pressure to achieve their goals, and the sheer disappointment they feel when they fall off the wagon. And yes, it does get frustrating sometimes.

But that’s precisely why we need to break our goals down into to smaller, ridiculously easy ones, and then fall in love with the processes necessary to achieve those goals. That way, when you do fail, you’ll fail quickly – and you’ll also get back up quickly.

As you travel closer towards your goals, remember that the road is never a straight one. At best, it’s a meandering path. And your goals may change when your life situation changes, such as when you suddenly have to raise a new family or have to lead a new company.

That being said, goal-setting is still one of the most empowering, and indeed most noble, undertakings we can ever make in life. As a wise man once said, “We were not made for comfort – we were made for greatness.”

Step towards greatness now. Set your goals, make a plan, and be great!

Tom Casano is the founder of Life Coach Spotter.  To learn more about reaching your goals, see our complete guide to finding your life coach.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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