Stop Setting Random Goals — Create Goal “Categories” Instead

Rachael Kable
Feb 24 · 5 min read
A woman walking across a rocky creek, holding a bunch of hydrangeas
A woman walking across a rocky creek, holding a bunch of hydrangeas
Photo by Declan O’Leary and Rachael Kable

Quick question…

Do you feel like your goals are well-balanced and help you live your most fulfilling life?

If your answer is “no”, don’t be alarmed.

A few years ago, I would have said the same thing.

I set plenty of work-related goals and health goals and I pushed myself to achieve them (often, with success), but I didn’t feel like my life was well-balanced or particularly fulfilling.

Here was the main problem; my goals helped me achieve things in a few different areas of my life but left other important aspects (like relationships and self-care) neglected.

And if you’re in the same boat, it’s time to change that.

Stop setting random goals and use goal categories, instead!

If you focus too much on work goals, you might miss opportunities to improve your health and relationships.

Set too many challenging health goals and you might find yourself sacrificing self-care.

It’s time to take a look at your life overall and set a small goal (or two!) in each. important. category. of your life.

Now is a great time to start thinking about the areas of life that are most important to you.

Here are my top 5: self-care, health, relationships, work, and fun.

You might be curious to see how this goal-setting process actually works, so below you’ll find my top 5 goal categories, why they’re important and the types of goals I like to set (hint: realistic, meaningful, and trackable).

A woman holding a bunch of hydrangeas on a cool day
A woman holding a bunch of hydrangeas on a cool day
Photo by Declan O’Leary and Rachael Kable

Self-Care

Let’s start with self-care because I think this category often gets overlooked. Personally, I’ve found that when I’m not engaging in good self-care, it’s harder to show up as my best self in other areas of my life.

Without proper self-care, I tend to be more tired, stressed, and irritable.

Here are my two main self-care goals this year:

  • Turn out the light before 10.30 pm (unless it’s a special occasion).
  • Meditate four times each week for at least 10 minutes.

Health

There are so many different options here and sometimes, I think the problem with health goals is that we set our expectations too high and feel disappointed when we don’t reach them.

If this is one of your goal-setting categories, too, I’d really encourage you to be realistic.

What do you feel excited to achieve in terms of your physical health and what would also be possible to achieve?

Here are my main health goals this year:

Relationships

I spent some time thinking about what I could do this year to genuinely improve some of the relationships in my life (even if I just made some small changes).

I think this is another goal-setting category that tends to be overlooked, but it can be one of the most impactful. I love feeling more connected with the people I care about and having meaningful conversations. I want to nurture my relationships and help them thrive — that’s why I set goals in this area of my life.

Here are my two goals for the year:

  • Go on at least one active adventure with my partner every month. We both decided we’d really like to spend more time exploring our local area and doing fun things together, like bike riding, hiking and maybe cross-country skiing (since we live fairly close to the snow in winter).
  • Spend time with a friend in person each week.

Work

This year, my work goals focus on productivity and creativity.

I’ve been using a few apps and systems to keep track of my projects and time, like Trello, Asana, and a list-making app called MinimaList. I plan to continue using these and finding a nice flow between being productive on my work and taking meaningful breaks.

My two work goals for the year include:

  • Using productivity apps to make time management plans and goals at the start of every week.
  • Taking a 5-minute mindful break for every 25 minutes of creative work (this helps me feel refreshed and gives me space for new ideas to drop in).

Fun

Sometimes, I think goal setting can be a bit too serious and borders on the overwhelming. We can simply forget to factor in the importance of fun!

At least, that’s what usually happens to me. I tend to become overly focused on work or health goals and it’s the fun aspects, like self-care and hobbies that I’ve forgotten to prioritize in the past.

So, could you make time every week for your favorite hobby? Make a bucket list of interesting activities to do before the end of the year? Go to your favorite place once a fortnight, like the beach or the movies?

Here are my two goals for having more fun:

  • Try at least one new recipe every week (because I love to cook and experiment with new recipes!)
  • Once a month, spend a whole afternoon reading a good book

Feeling stuck with this goal? Check out episode 160 of my podcast, The Mindful Kind, about making a list of things to do for fun for inspiration.

Now, it’s your turn.

Choose some important categories of your life and set one or two goals for each. Write them down, schedule them into your calendar, and good luck!

Rachael Kable

Written by

Published author, coach and host of The Mindful Kind podcast. Bachelor of Psychological Science. Mindfulness and stress management tips at www.rachaelkable.com

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