This is article is part of a series. See all of them here.
This 30-Day Challenge is meant to help you set better goals, create better habits and ultimately achieve success in your pursuit. But what should you do if you don’t know what goals to set? What should you do when you don’t even know what you want? I think this article will help you set a worthy goal for yourself – or, at least, show you the way you can do that!
Are you ambitions but have no goals? You’re not the only one!
Believe it or not, but you’re not the only one with this problem. I was just in this spot a few years ago and it was a really tough period for me. I always considered myself an ambitious person and I always wanted to improve and have something to strive for. But when you are just starting to focus on your personal development it can be hard to figure out what you want and what you should do.
I also think this happens to more people than you think. Ever since then, I noticed that there are other people who want to find their passion or find out what to do with their time. Some people were already engaged in pursuing their goals or dreams and yet, they were questioning their decisions because it was not a fulfilling path.
While I cannot promise you that you will definitely find your path after reading this article, I can promise you that I will share the best advice I have found regarding this. And I think that these ideas are likely to spark your interest and give you some food for thought.
Set a goal that is meaningful to you
You can set whatever goal you want. In fact, I’m sure that some people may say that the goal itself is not even that important. But I think you should not set just a random goal. Having a goal means that you will devote your time and energy to it, so you’d better make sure you focus on something that matters.
Choosing a goal that matters will have many positive effects:
- you will be much more invested in it
- you will be more excited to work on it
- you will experience more meaning and happiness
- you will push through even when it gets difficult
- you are more likely to make a difference
Alright, so you don’t want to choose just a random goal. You want to set a goal that gives meaning to your life and makes you happy. But how do you do that? I will share 5 big questions that will help you discover some meaningful pursuits. Then it’s up to you to set a goal and work on it!
1. What do you love to do?
This is probably the most obvious point. If you already have a passion, choose a goal that is related to that. Some people are already aware of what their passion is, be that painting, singing, running and so on.
Maybe you think you don’t have passion. This does not necessarily mean you do not have one. There is a high chance that you are passionate about something. But we often think that passion is that magical thing that consumes you every day and keeps you up at night. It’s that thing that makes you jump out of bed with excitement every day, right? Not necessarily.
Passion does not always manifest itself as you see in movies or motivational videos. Your passion may be less intense or less well-defined. This does not mean you don’t have one.
Think about this:
What do you love doing in your spare time?
What do you love talking about?
What are you passionate about?
What do you naturally do?
What is the activity that makes you lose track of time?
Write down the answers to these questions.
2. What are you good at?
Most of us are better at something than other people. We naturally feel good while doing what we are good at. And if you have a talent or skill, it is a good idea to focus on honing that skill and becoming better at it.
Think about this:
Do you have any talents (singing, painting, writing)?
What are you skilled at?
What do your friends ask your help with?
What can you do much better than most of your family or friends?
What do other people praise you for?
What is it that you can do better and faster than someone else?
If you already have a skill or talent, I think working on that is a great goal. Don’t think only about conventional abilities (like dancing or writing)? Maybe you are great at listening to people, taking initiative or taking great pictures. Whatever it is, think about that.
3. What do you hate?
This may sound strange, but let me explain. The things that we hate or that make us angry often reveal what we truly care about. This can apply to the behaviours of others, things that happen in the world and so on.
Think about this:
What is it that regularly makes you angry with others?
What type of people do you despise? Why?
When are you jealous of others?
What is that one thing that makes you sad about the world?
What makes your blood boil?
What would you ban if you could control the world?
I think questions like these are bound to reveal what your values are. For example, if you are very angry when men mistreat women, you probably care about equality or fairness. If you despise the people who spend all their time partying and watching TV, maybe you care a lot about productivity and doing something meaningful with your life. And if your blood boils when you see that other people are conned by others, maybe you care about justice, fairness and equality of opportunity.
I know that this is less conventional, but I think reflecting on what you hate is likely to reveal what you truly care about.
4. What is important in the world?
While we usually pursue the goals we want and we do that to our benefit, that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s also a good idea to think about others because we are all part of the same world. If you can make the life of someone better, the world you live in gets better. And you’ll also experience more meaning.
Think about this:
What does the world need?
What are the crises of the world?
What do people struggle most with?
What type of problems are you most interested in?
What cause are you most drawn to?
What do you want to change in the world?
There are many things that can be fixed or improved in the world. If you often think about the state of the world or other people, maybe this is something you can/should work on. We need people that care about the big problems and want to work on them.
5. What is good for you?
Maybe you read the article, you spent time thinking about these questions but you still couldn’t find anything you want to focus on. If that is the case, my advice is this: until you find something else that is more meaningful for you, set a goal that is good for you.
Think about this:
What goal or habit would make you healthier or happier?
What part of yourself has been neglected?
What are of your life can be improved?
What problem do you deal with in your life?
In case nothing else comes to mind but you still want to set a goal and become a better version of yourself, try to think of these habits that are good for you:
- work out 1-3 times/week
- eat a home-cooked, healthy meal once a day
- eat more vegetables and fruit
- walk for 10 minutes every day
- read 10 pages every day
- journal every day
- write down 3 things you are grateful for a few times every week
- listen to podcasts
- do some cleaning every day for 10 minutes
- meditate for 10 minutes every day
These are just a few examples of habits that are likely to make your life better if you stick to them. So if you still don’t know what goal to set, choose one of these habits (or another equally healthy habit) and focus on that for a few weeks. This will also help you build the necessary discipline to work on other goals when you decide to.
To sum it up, if you want to set a goal but do not know what you want to achieve start by thinking about:
- What you love
- What you are good at
- What you hate
- What the world needs
- What is good for you
In case you think about these questions and you realize that there are many things you truly care about, my advice is to only focus on one for the time being – especially if you are just starting to set goals for yourself. Choose the one goal you care about the most.
Once you identify your mission, you can set a measurable goal and start working on that! I’ll share more about how to set a measurable goal based on your interest/mission tomorrow. I’ll also share more articles about goal setting, habits and success throughout this 30-Day Challenge, so be sure to read the other articles too.
This article is part of a 30-day series where I’ll share an article every day. I will mainly focus on goals, success and habits and I hope this series will help you have a higher chance of achieving your meaningful goals in 2020!