8 Types of Goal Setting that will work best for you

In this post, we will go through the different types of goal setting that we have and the different strategies that can be used to accomplish a goal.

achievement quote types of goal setting

If you’ve ever set a goal before, you would have discovered that setting goals is the easiest part of the whole process.

And yet, having the discipline to stick with that goal, so as to achieve it is a different thing entirely.

But as hard as achieving the goals can be, the type of goals that is set in relation to the type of person you are is crucial to achieving the goals.

The 8 different types of goal setting

Goal setting types can be classified into two distinct categories. These categories are Time-based goals and topic-specific goals.

It is under these two categories that we have several types of goal setting which are listed and explained below;

Time-based goals

  1. Short-term goals

This is my favorite form of goal setting.

In my opinion, this is where you have the most control when it comes to setting goals.

You have the liberty to be realistic and precise. You also have the flexibility of changing course when you feel like things are not going according to your plan.

With this type of goals, the time-frame and deadline imposed on them are crucial in achieving those goals.

a schedule calendar on a tablet

Short-term goals are goals that are stipulated to be completed in less than A YEAR. Short-term goals can be daily, monthly, three months, or yearly goals. Anything past a year is not a short-term goal anymore.

The best forms of short-term goals are usually smaller and manageable.

Also, short-term goals are often used as stepping stones to achieving more robust longer-term goals.

The mistake that most people make when they are setting short-term goals is that they usually don’t make them simple enough to be easily achieved.

People do this in two forms. They either put a very unrealistic deadline on their goals, or they set TOO MANY goals, which is a recipe for not doing anything at all.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some people that can get away with setting a lot of short-term goals at once, but from experience, when it comes to short-term goals, simplicity and precision is king.

The Fast and Furious Semester

For instance, I’m a guest lecturer at a college in my state. So, there was a semester that due to some administrative problems, I started the semester late.

The class was already 5 weeks behind schedule. So, for me to catch up, I had to create a crash course around the syllabus.

I had the GOAL of finishing the syllabus with the little time remaining. So, I began a fast and very furious race with the class.

To cut the story short, I ended up exhausting myself, exhausting the class, and we all burned out all the motivation and fuel we had for the course.

The end result was that we didn’t cover what we were supposed to at the end of the semester. The most surprising thing I noticed was that we would have covered more than we did if we had taken it one week, one topic at a time.

The moral of this story is that if your short-term goals are not TOO MUCH, TOO FAST AND FURIOUS, there is a greater probability of achieving them. Also, there might be room to pile on at the end of the day.

Examples of short-term goals can be;
  • Lose 30 pounds in three months
  • Eat a low carb diet every morning for a week
  • Do 100 push-ups daily for one month
  • Speak to a stranger every day for two weeks
  • Cold call a new potential client every working day for a year
  1. Long-term goals

This type of goal setting is when the time you are allocating to that goal is a long time. Usually more than one year.

When it comes to long-term goals, the time-frame is relative. Some people have long-term goals that will last for the rest of their lives, while some people have long-term goals that are just supposed to be completed in two, three, or five years.

Also, some people use the different stages in their lives to set long-term goals. For instance, when you were a teenager, you might set subconscious goals to become financially free before you get married.

When it comes to long-term goals, the willpower and the purpose for setting the goal is quite important in determining if the goal will be achieved or not.

Some people thrive with this type of goal setting because they have a HUGE reason for setting the goal and this in turn, fuels their motivation circuit which in turn, fuels their willpower.

If you are not sold on why you should start setting goals in the first place, chances are that you will not stick with your long-term goals.

When it comes to long-term goals, aside from the purpose and willpower factor, having a bunch of short-term goals leading up to the long-term goal will greatly increase the chance of succeeding at the long-term goal.

If we were to extract the long-term goals that might be associated with the short-term goals listed above, we can come up with;

  • Have a great bikini body by the next 5 years
  • Become an expert in public speaking by the next 3 years
  • Become financially free by the age of 40.

Topic-specific goals

There are different aspects to our lives that we can set specific goals around. These aspects can be financial, health, relationships, and so on.

The only question to ask yourself before setting topic-specific goals is this; “Is this aspect of my life important to me RIGHT NOW?”

types of goal setting writing set goals on the board

If you’ve been paying attention to life, you would have observed that life is in stages.

There was when you were a toddler, to when you were a teenager, to when you were an adult, and so on.

At these different stages, different aspects of your life will mean more to you than other aspects.

Teenage Fever

For instance, when you were a teenager, your health would probably not mean much to you. Heck, you were still young and wild.

For most boys this age, for instance, their life’s goal at that moment would probably be to get the most beautiful girl in class to talk to them (I’m not judging, I’ve been there!!).

Trying to get a teenager who is at this stage to start following a diet plan would be very difficult. Unless the result of the goal is directly tied to getting laid.

As you grow older and become an adult, it would probably be that it’s your finances and your career that would be your priority.

As you grow older still, you’ll probably start prioritizing your health and the relationships in your life.

If you set goals that are MISALIGNED with where you currently are in your life, it would be difficult to surmount enough motivation to achieve those goals.

It’s human nature to NOT do what is required to achieve a goal unless the pain of not taking action far outweighs the pain of taking action.

So, if you are struggling with achieving a goal in a particular aspect of your life, unless you find enough reasons why that aspect of your life is something you MUST achieve the goals you’ve set in those aspects, you’ll continue to move in circles.

The following are some goal types that are based on the most common aspects of our lives;

  1. Health goals

These are goals that are health-related. These goals often spring up as we get older and our body isn’t functioning as it should.

It can also start coming up when we are prompted, and also convinced by our environment that we should start making better and smarter health decisions.

Some common examples of health goals are;

  • Drink 2 liters of water daily
  • Eat 5 fruits daily
  • Do 100 push-ups daily
  • Cut out junks from my diet permanently
  1. Career goals

Career goals can be set by people with jobs, professionals with their own practices, and literally anybody that is in the business of earning money. Some examples of career goals are;

  • Become COO of my company by the next 6 years
  • Get a certification course to enhance promotion by the next 6 months
  • Change my job by the end of the year
  • Improve my sales skills by attending a sales seminar at the end of the month
  1. Business goals

These sorts of goals are peculiar to business owners. The business might be a small-scale business or a large business.

Also, this type of goals can be set by people that are not business owners at the moment but looking to start their own business one day.

Here is what business goals might look like;

  • Get a business model done by a professional by the end of the year
  • Get two leads for my business daily from Facebook advertising.
  • Launch two products by the end of this year
  1. Personal development goals

These are goals that are centered on making you a better version of yourself in any aspect of your life.

These goals are mostly there to self-improve and keep expanding in knowledge as a human being. Some examples of self-development goals are;

  • Read a page in a book every day
  • Learn how to play the guitar this year
  • Wake up at 5.30 am for a month
  1. Relationship goals

These types of goals can be your romantic relationships, your business relationships, your family and friends, and so on.

It comprises of all the people in your life. Relationship goals can look like;

  • Always stay in contact with my mentor for the whole of this year
  • Get married before the end of this year
  • Always take my spouse to a fine dining every Tuesday evening
  1. Financial goals

These are goals that are specifically about money. How much you earn, how much you save, how much you spend, and anything that has to do with money.

Financial goals can be in the following form;

  • Save 20% of everything I earn every month
  • Earn $15,000 monthly
  • Donate 10% of everything I earn to my favorite charity
  • Cut the use of credit cards out of my life

Final words on the different types of goal setting

I want you to know that a single goal you set is rarely a single type of goal.

For instance, if you have a goal of losing 30 pounds by the end of the month, this goal is a personal goal, a short-term goal, and also a health-related goal.

Overall, make sure that the goals you are setting are yours and not your parents’, not your teachers’ and most definitely, not the societies’.

What I mean by this is that when the goals you have belongs to someone else, it will be hard to get motivated enough to achieve those goals.

Also, if you find that you are struggling with keeping up with long-term goals, by all means, make the majority of the goals you set short-term.

And if you feel like you have a goal that is not in line with the aspect of your life that is of priority to you now, then put those in a to-do later category, and focus on what you’ll be motivated enough to stick with.

If there’s anything you’d like to add, or share about your experiences with goal setting, use the comment section below.