Setting Life Goals: 50 Ideas & 3 Methods for Success

Why do we feel more productive when we’re inspired? Inspiration opens our eyes to new possibilities through a mental expansion of experiences that surpass our usual limitations. We can gather inspiration through virtually any source, and often all it takes is a good story, role model, or remarkable idea to provoke our imaginations. When we're inspired, most of us feel compelled to improve our lives by setting life goals.

There are two common challenges we may face when approaching our goals. Sometimes we have trouble determining what our passions are, therefore it can feel daunting to identify which specific goals we should set. Not knowing what our passions are can cause us to stall and eventually never reach any achievement. Yet another challenge we face is setting unrealistic goals.

A successful approach to setting life goals is all about combining your passion with a proper work ethic. If you’ve struggled with one or both of the issues above, we recommend following the three goal-setting strategies below. To further help you along, we've provided 50 specific life goals you can set for yourself.

Method #1: SMART Goals

When it comes to setting life goals, we recommend using SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-bound). Created by George T. Doran in 1981, SMART refers to a technique that helps individuals and teams improve their chances of success. Here’s a breakdown of what the acronym stands for with an explanation of how each component can help you achieve your goals.

Specific: Your goals should be clearly defined. This will help you know exactly what you’re trying to achieve.

Measurable: You must keep track of your progress. Measurables will help you recognize what you’re doing properly and what adjustments need to be made. This will make the process feel less 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: Is achieving your goal relevant to you? Can you realistically achieve this goal with the resources you have on hand? 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: Set a timeframe or deadline for your goals. A sense of urgency will help motivate you.

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 them? What roles need to be given out? A goal can 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 a 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 your 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

Whether it’s a personal or team goal, CLEAR goal-setting work because it’s so comprehensive. This process will help you asses your goal from the beginning to the end, and it really challenges you to ask the tough questions. You’re going to have to constantly adjust the coursework to achieve your objectives, as there are multiple steps needed to be taken in order to get to the final goal. But by using CLEAR goal-setting, it will help you evaluate out how everyone can be collaborative with turning the dream into 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. It's important to weave your passion with solid routines and even create an online to do list.

Why DRIVE Works

The DRIVE method ensures that passion and productivity are woven seamlessly into one approach. It taps into your emotions, pushing your excitement and imagination into overdrive. By channeling a positive mindset, a solid vision of your goal will stem from a vibrant imagination. Emphasizing the creation of positive habits is a very important step that is often 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 energy.

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


Our success is determined by how our mind operates. In short, it all comes down to your attitude. By maintaining positive, we can push ourselves through the journey of reaching our goals. But at times we feel stuck and want to throw in the towel. This is where finding inspiration can play a big role in not only overcoming the obstacles at hand but also deciding what goal you should tackle.  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 the ability to train ourselves and adapt to a certain way of thinking. It’s a process of identifying positive habits and finding what works best for us.

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