Setting Life Goals: 50 Ideas & 3 Methods for Success

When it comes to goal-setting, we’ve all looked for inspiration at one point or another. A lot of times all it takes is a good story, role model, or a remarkable idea to let our imaginations run wild. When we feel inspired by something, we feel compelled to make a change in our own lives by setting life goals.

There are two unique challenges that we face when approaching our goals. A lot of times we don’t know what to set for ourselves. The combination of questioning our passions along with the scope of our goals causes us to keep stalling and never achieve anything.

Secondly, we may not know how to approach our goals in such a way that makes them more attainable. While everyone’s path to their life goals is unique, there are methods that have been proven to work for all kinds of different goals.

If you’re struggling with one or both of these problems, we’ve got 3 different goal-setting methods you can try, along with 50 different life goals you can set for yourself. A successful approach is all about combining passion with the proper work ethic to get you there. All of these methods can help you get where you want to go.

Method #1: SMART Goals

SMART is perhaps the most well-known technique for goal-setting. Created by George T. Doran in 1981,  SMART brings all of these components together to give individuals and teams a much larger chance of success when setting their goals. Here’s a breakdown of what the acronym stands for with an explanation of how each component can help you achieve your goal.

Specific: When setting a goal, you need to make it as specific as possible. This will help give you an idea of exactly what you’re after, and help give the goal more significance in your life.

Measurable: You need to be able to easily manage your progress throughout the goal-setting process. This will give you an idea of what you’re doing well, and where you may need to adjust. Also, the benchmarks you set through measurables can help the goal not seem so intimidating.

Achievable: Using all of the other components of SMART as an aid, you have to make sure that your goal can be attained. This comes from making sure you know the specifics, how you can measure your success, how much time you have, etc.

Relevant: When you determine the relevancy of your goal, you’re deciding essentially if the goal can be fit into your life. Do you have the resources around you to achieve this goal? How will the goal change your life for the better? Why is this a life goal you should be focusing on right now?

Time-Bound: Of course, when setting a goal, you need to give yourself a timeframe to create a sense of urgency to properly motivate you to go after it. The deadline itself should be set based off all of the other components of SMART that you evaluated already.

Why SMART works

SMART works because it takes all of the helpful components of any goal, whether it’s big or small, and makes it seem more accessible. The detail one can derive from this method can tell them everything they need to know from beginning to end. The best thing we can do when chasing our goals is giving them the attention they rightfully deserve. Approaching your goals the SMART way helps you discover all the finer details of your passion, progress, and motivation.

Life Goal Ideas 1-15

1. Travel to a different continent

2. Run a half-marathon

3. Read two books a month

4. Get a college degree

5. Have 20% body fat or less

6. Cut down Smartphone/TV Entertainment  consumption by 50%

7. Find out what gives you true inner peace

8. Teach someone a valuable skill

9. Learn to speak a new language

10. Learn to play an instrument

11. Go see your favorite musician/group play in a city different than the one you live in.

12. Complete a full workout course

13. Make amends with someone

14. Learn to cook

15. Live debt-free

Method #2: CLEAR Goal Setting

A more modern take on goal setting, CLEAR goal setting is another technique that can help you break down your goals more effectively. This method was created by Adam Kreek and has used effectively by individuals and companies alike. Let’s break down CLEAR stands for and how you can use it to achieve your goals.

Collaborative: How can you use others to achieve your goal more effectively? What can you learn from others? What roles need to be given out? A goal can still be personal and collaborative at the same time. The key is to identify people who can help you succeed. A good start at this would be finding someone who could help you become accountable for your actions.

Limited: The sky can certainly be the limit for us, but we need to work our way up there. This means that when we set a goal, it needs to remain within scope so that we can lock in on it. You can always set the bar higher once you’ve maxed out on all the limitations of the goal you set.

Emotional: One thing of the most important things to measure when chasing your goal is the attachment to it. Whether you’re working by yourself or with a team, you have to figure out how much emotional resonance the goal has within you. Are you giving enough? Are the people you’re working with giving enough?

Appreciable: In order for your goal to be less daunting, you should have the ability to break it down into more actionable steps, hitting the milestones you’ve set along the way. If you go a long time without noticing the progress you’ve made, you’re bound to become more discouraged. By having smaller steps, you make that progress more noticeable and are able to see the bigger picture.

Refinable: We’re all bound to hit many obstacles on the road to our goals. This is why it’s essential to be able to revisit the drawing board while working through the goal setting process. If you can’t change course to work around challenges, then you’re bound to become more frustrated and unable to achieve your goal. Remember, there’s no one right path to success.

Why CLEAR Goals Work

CLEAR goals work because it’s so comprehensive. You can use the CLEAR method to assess your goal from beginning to end, and it challenges you to ask really important questions. Your emotions will always be tested, there are going to be multiple steps towards bigger goals, and you’re going to have to constantly adjust course to achieve your objectives. The pertinent questions seem to really work well for teams as well. This helps you figure out how everyone can part, and what needs to get done to make the dream a reality.

Life Goal Ideas 16-33

16. Buy a cheap home and fix it up nicely

17. Save enough money to pay for your children’s education

18. Write a book

19. Volunteer for a cause you care about

20. Spend 20+ minutes a day doing mindful activities

21. Run 5+ Miles a week

22. Be able to properly express yourself in any situation

23. Learn to actively listen

24. Do an extreme activity (rock climb, bungee jump, etc.)

25. Study an obscure subject you know nothing about

26. Start a blog

27. Boost your self-confidence

28. Perform 10 random acts of kindness a month

29. Learn the definition of a new word every day

30. Eat a healthy breakfast daily

31. Make your own piece of furniture

32. Earn passive income

33. Have a home garden

Method #3: DRIVE Goal Setting

Created by Matthew Taylor, the DRIVE method is a combination of passion along with foresight to giving the best approach to your goals.

Direction: The direction of your goal all comes from establishing its purpose and formulating a vision to start effectively. Be prepared for the direction of the goal to change based off the results you experience. Changing of direction is never a bad thing as long as you keep pressing onward.

Reason: In order for you to stick to your goal, you have to make it compelling enough for you to constantly keep you motivated to make it a reality. Having great familiarity with knowing why you’re aiming towards a certain goal will do wonders for you.

Ingredients: In order to make a goal more attainable, you need to break it down into more measured steps. It’s just like forming a recipe. All of these tasks and milestones come together to form a successfully completed goal.

Vehicles: A large part of goal setting is the forming of positive habits and strategies that are going to yield the results you’re looking for. By identifying habits and ideas that will propel you towards your goal, you’re actively creating an effective routine that will work in your favor. Doing these day in day out is what will make you successful.

Evaluation: This stage needs to occur throughout the goal-setting process. By having everything else in place, you should be able to evaluate your progress in any given stage of the pursuit of your goal. This isn’t just about measured progression, but emotional progression as well. Ask yourself how you’re feeling about the pursuit? Are you happier now than you were when you started? What’s changed since you’ve started?

Frequently evaluating yourself while chasing your goals can help you fix mistakes from the past, think presently, and work towards a successful future.

Why DRIVE Works

The DRIVE method ensures that passion and productivity are woven seamlessly into one approach. It acknowledges that you have to be excited about your goals and that a solid vision of a goal can stem from a vibrant imagination, but it also refers back to using tactics that will always help get you there.

Emphasizing the creation of positive habits is a very important step that can be taken for granted when chasing goals. One could even argue that a successful approach to a goal can completely be formed by a string of positive habits we brought into our lives.

Life Goal Ideas 34-50

34. Play in a local team sports league

35. Be able to lift 33% more at the gym in 1 year

36. Provide help in an emergency situation

37. Become the king or queen of parallel parking

38. Visit somewhere that experiences a rare natural occurrence (eclipse, northern lights, etc.)

39. Get six pack abs

40. Go on a road trip

41. Go teach English in a foreign country

42. Create a journal entry every day

43. Quit a vice (coffee, soda, nicotine)

44. Form the world’s best sleep schedule

45. Start your own business

46. Cut down on gas and energy expenses by 50% in 3 years

47. Invest in a savings bond

48. Always manage your stress effectively

49. Don’t judge others until you know them well enough

50. Clean Eating for one year


How we succeed towards our goals entirely depends on how our mind operates. With so many unique skill sets and different success stories out there, it’s really about finding what drives you and the patterns that make you successful.

With that being said, any of these methods are all worth exploring. If you feel that you’re experiencing a constant lack of success, perhaps you need to change your approach. We all have an ability to train ourselves and adapt to a certain way of thinking. It’s a process of identifying positive habits and finding what works.

It’s far too easy to dismiss a certain way of learning when we’ve never tried it before. You may be surprised at just how helpful some of these methods can be. Also, always remember to weave passion with solid routines. If your vision doesn’t compel you, you won’t make nearly as much progress. Even if it seems like you’re doing everything else right, you need to be properly motivated to attain your goals.