What to do if you don’t know what goals to set

You’ve probably read this before: “To achieve something, you have to set goals. Here are the best techniques on how to overcome the barriers on how to get from point A to point B.”

But wait. What if you don’t have clarity on what your point B should be? What if you don’t know what you want to achieve? What if you don’t know what goals you should set for yourself? Nobody has stopped to ask you if you know what you want in life in the first place.


We’ve all been there

You feel like you have no direction in life. You have no idea what to do with your life and that makes you feel unmotivated. You know having something to aim for is good for you, but you can’t seem to decide what you want. And the lack of that internal compass makes you feel like your life is passing you by. Just living day to day, aimlessly.

Have you felt similar? Do you want to get out of this rut?

Going through this goal setting exercises when you don’t have any goals in mind really sucks. You are not weird because you freeze when people ask you what your short-term and long-term goals are. You just lack some clarity.

Everyone has things that drives them, things they like or dislike. They are just not so explicit for yourself as they are for others.

We’ll give you advice on how to go through this process and know what you want out of life. You’ll be able to tell what really matters to you and identify what you want to change to be where you want to be in the future.  


“Know thyself”

Self-knowledge is a key skill in any development process. And it is a lifelong journey. Your identity and preferences change as you gain new experiences. If you have suffered food poisoning you know what I’m talking about. You most likely won’t stand to see the food that caused you to feel bad for a period of time after eating it.

Learning what you like, what your dreams are, and what you’re struggling with can tell you a lot about why you do what you do every day. And it can tell you in which direction to make changes in order to be more satisfied with your life. That’s why setting goals is a very personal notion and they should be determined by the one who is willing to pursue it. Not by someone else.

Understanding what drives you can give you hints about which goals matters enough to you, so you can actually put all of your effort into meeting them.


The Exercise

Below is a set of 36 questions that will let you discover yourself. Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer them all. Set some time aside to go through the list and see which one clicks with you.

Remember to have fun while answering these questions. There are no wrong answers.


1. Your interests

The first step on figuring out what goals you want to reach is to know what your preferences are.

Find out what are the things that excites you and you enjoy doing.

  • When you have free time, what do you like to spend your time doing?
  • What’s something that makes you feel energized?
  • If time and money weren’t a constraint, what would you do?
  • What’s something you would do for free?
  • What’s something you enjoy doing in your job?
  • What were your favorite subjects in school / college / university?
  • What’s something you enjoy helping others with?
  • What topics do the accounts you follow on social media talk about?
  • What do the books you read talk about? What are the topics you most enjoy?
  • What are your favorite hobbies?
  • What would you like to experience more of? Is there something you did that you’re eager to try again?

2. Your aspirations and desires

These are the things you would like to do or have. They are deeply connected to your values and wishes.

  • What are your values? What do you see as worthy?
  • What does your ideal life looks like? What does your ideal you would look like?
  • Is there something you want to be known for? What is something you want people to think about when they say your name?
  • Is there something you admire about your role models?
  • What achievement do you admire other people have achieved?
  • What new skills would you like to develop? Why would you like to develop them?
  • Is there something new you would like to try? What would you think you would like about trying that?
  • Is there something new you would like to learn? Why would you like to learn it?
  • Is there a place you’ve always wanted to visit?
  • Is there a dream you’ve had for a long time? Something you’ve always wanted to achieve?
  • What’s something you could do that could make you feel proud of yourself?
  • What would be a purpose or mission in life you would like to pursue?
  • If someone could grant you three wishes, what would these be?
  • What would be a dream job for you? What part of it would you think you’d enjoy most?
  • What do you find yourself daydreaming about?
  • What supernatural power would you like to have? What would you do with it?

3. Things you would like to improve

You can turn something you’re struggling with to a goal. The purpose is to identify areas of your life you could improve. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, focus on what the opposite would be. For example, if you don’t like your job, you can set “get a new job” as a goal. You must see this as problems to be solved, instead of just mere things you hate.

  • What skills are you developing? What can you do to improve them?
  • What could you do to reinforce your values?
  • What’s something you want that you haven’t done it because of fear?
  • Is there something you feel is missing in your life? Is there something you could do to fill that void?
  • What would you change about yourself?
  • What could you do to improve your health?
  • What could you change about your environment?
  • What would you modify in your career or current job?
  • What would you want to improve about your relationships?

What to do next?

If you feel the inspiration flowing through your veins, you can set your goals right now.

Choose the 5 answers you find most relevant from each section and try to state them as a goal. For example, “I like to read” would be translated as “read more books this year”.

Then, choose just 3 you would like to achieve and write them down somewhere visible.

If you keep motivated… First, borrow me some of that energy! and second, set one thing you can do to reach each goal RIGHT NOW. Doesn’t matter how small. For example, if you want to start eating healthy, go do a grocery list for your next shopping trip.

Be sure to keep that list in hand. That way, if you see yourself stuck on a rut again, you can come back and review your answers. You’ll never run out of ideas.

Now that you have more clarity about what drives you, you can start designing your life on your own terms. You can start living according to your interests and strengths, which will make you enjoy more your life.

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