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Turning 30 Blog

Goal-setting in Your 30s: 7 Practical Tips to Thrive

How do you feel about goal-setting?

Are you the type that gets SUPER excited about choosing your goals for the year, and gets straight to writing about them in your shiny new journal?

Or are you more the type that tends to clam up when someone asks what your goals are? While these days you can hear me going on and on about the importance of goals, I actually used to be the second type. I can clearly remember when I first got into the self-development world five years ago - my coach began asking me about my goals and what I wanted to achieve in the next 5 or 10 years, and I totally scoffed at the idea.

I simply didn’t see the point.

While I loved growing and evolving as a person, I didn’t see the value in putting a time frame around or process around my growth.

However, I soon realized that taking the time to set goals can truly change your life. Let me show you how by first defining goals, then talking about HOW they can help you, and ending with some practical tips to get started with goal-setting.

What is a goal?

One of my favorite definitions to truly understand goals is by my coach, Stacey Bateman. She says that a goal is a purpose to create a container for the decision that you make.

I love this definition because it truly encapsulates the work I do as a life coach. Whenever my clients get started, we choose 2-3 goals to focus on throughout our time together. It’s my job to support them in achieving these goals - we map out all of the small actions needed to get there, the decisions that need to be made, and the mindset shifts that need to happen.

Why should you set goals?

Here’s the thing - if you have NO idea where you’re going, you’ll find yourself feeling directionless and lost.

And because of that, it’s going to be pretty tough to actually do the work needed to make real change in your life.

Think of goals as your signposts. They help guide you to create a life that fuels and excites you.

You can start bringing intentionality into your life rather than simply living on autopilot.

Goals don’t have to be huge, either. When you set small goals and achieve them, your confidence will soar, allowing you to set even bigger goals for your future. This positive cycle is what I refer to as the confidence loop.

In my opinion, there’s also never been a better time to set goals. With the craziness of the past year, it may feel like there are so many things out of our control.

Goal-setting is a great way to start working on what’s going on in your life and create intentional results for the things you CAN control.

7 Practical Tips for Goal Setting

1. Figure out the result you desire.

Grab a piece of paper and start taking some notes. This will help clear your head as you think about specific goals that you want to achieve in the next few months.

Let’s think about the next 90 days.

What do you want to achieve in this timeframe?

This is where self-awareness comes into play. While it may seem counterintuitive, a strategy I like to use is to look at things that have been bothering me in order to set my goals.

Look at the negative emotions and where they’re coming from. What circumstances in your life are causing these negative feelings? This is a MAJOR clue to help you figure out what kind of goals you should be setting.

Now, get really clear on what you DO want.

Here are some examples:

Let’s imagine that you feel stuck at work. You know you don’t want to be there and you’d rather be doing something else. In this case, this is a pretty clear indicator that you should set some career goals.

On the other hand, if you’ve recently been promoted or you’re working on something new, it’s normal that you might struggle with imposter syndrome or feeling not good enough. In this situation, you could set a goal to build your confidence so you can truly thrive at work and confidently go after new opportunities.

If you’re struggling with your dating mindset, then set a goal about your self-worth so you can show up in the dating world in a way that feels light, fun, and freeing.

Look at your triggers - or even what triggers you about other people. If you’ve been finding yourself stuck in comparison mode, then take a closer look at what others have that you’ve been comparing yourself against. Use these triggers to inform your goals.

Remember, every single day is a great time to set new goals. Your goals can bring a new sense of self-awareness. They help you with where you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go. Use this time to get clear on what you truly desire.

2. Find the goal-setting sweet spot.

Don’t set goals that are so far-fetched from your real life, but ALSO don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.

Your goal shouldn’t be SO ridiculous that the thought of making any progress towards them in the next 90 days feels next to impossible. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be so small that you could most likely accomplish it in the next two hours.

It’s so important that you’re inspired by the goal. Once you sit down and start to break it into steps, you’ll start to see that your goal isn’t quite as far away as it seems.

3. Be creative.

Even though I think your goals should be spelled out to a certain extent, I also believe that goals can be feelings-based.

And even though these are less measurable and less tangible than most goals, goals that challenge your mindset are also extremely rewarding.

Try to think of more creative goals that’ll help you think and feel differently. Focus on how you want your life to feel rather than simply how it looks.

4. Write your goal down.

Write down where you see yourself in the next 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, and even 10 years.

In the beginning, you may have a lot of resistance to writing your goals down. I know I certainly did! My only experience writing down my goals had been creating New Year’s resolutions that I’d abandon months later.

But trust me, there is something SO powerful about getting pen to paper and journaling about what you envision for yourself.

If it feels too overwhelming to think super far ahead into the future, I recommend setting a goal for the next 90 days.

You don’t need to get ahead of yourself and build out all the action steps either if that’s too hard for you right now.

Remember - it’s natural if your mind pushes back since its primal instinct is to keep you safe in your comfort zone. Getting past your resistance and setting a goal is a huge step in and of itself, so be proud!

5. Think about the future YOU.

Think about what your future would look like if you already achieved your goals.

What would the person who achieved them look like?

She’d probably tell you to stop focusing on the action steps, who else already did it, and when it’ll be finished.

Your mind will help create the results you desire - not just your actions. So while YES it is important to break down all of the action steps you need to accomplish, it’s also important to release limiting beliefs or thought patterns that may keep you stuck in old patterns.

Try channeling your future self and replace limiting beliefs with more empowering ones.

6. Hold yourself accountable.

There are some people who can set a goal and they just make it happen. They don’t need to tell anyone or use any sort of special goal-setting strategy. It’s totally okay if you’re not one of them.

For most of us, an incredible way to actually achieve our goals is to turn to others for accountability.

There are different levels of accountability you can use. Maybe you decide to start small by sharing your goals on social media or invest in accountability at a higher level by hiring a coach to support you.

Regardless of what you choose, you need to hold yourself accountable. This can look like sharing it with a friend, an accountability partner, or someone else who’s working towards a similar goal.

Getting a coach is also an amazing way to make sure you follow through on your goals - they can hold your hand throughout the entire process and be there to help you work through any stumbling blocks!

7. Just get started!

There's no better time to start than now.

Remember, goals are arbitrary. You just made them up for yourself! So remind yourself that there’s no need to get so wrapped up in *exactly* your goals are. What’s more important is that you’re ready to make a change and take the necessary actions to get there.

The end goal isn’t the biggest piece to goal setting, it’s the magic in between and the decisions that you make to reach your results. Each step that you take is so worth it!

Think about the process that you go through and the resistance that comes up.

If you’re scared of failing, then work on positive coping mechanisms until you reach your goal.

Ask yourself, “How will you manage your mind and feelings when the hard stuff happens?”

Work with whichever goal-setting strategy feels right to you. There’s no wrong way with goal setting, it's all about the process to achieve them. Trust me, the next 90 days can be the most transformative three months of your life!

Looking for a coach to help you set and follow through on all of your goals?

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