We all have our dreams, hopes and ideas about how our future should look like. Some dreams are professional, others – entirely personal and maybe even secret.
Whatever your dream is, this list of goals will help you reach it in a faster, healthier, and more pleasant way. All of these goals are very different, and some may not even seem to be directly connected to realizing your dreams.
But if you look deeper, you’ll find that these are important milestones in the road to meeting a better version of yourself – someone you’ve always aspired to become.
1. Stay fit and healthy
“A healthy mind in a healthy body” is one of those age-old quotes that’s just 100% true. It’s never too late to start a healthier lifestyle – what’s paramount here is to have a clear goal to follow.
Think about what kind of goals motivate you better. Some people feel that reaching small milestones every week or month is the best strategy for motivation because they can continuously notice the results of their effort.
For others, a grander aim like “running a marathon next year” works better. Who knows – you might end up like Kaspars Drikis, a commercial director from Riga, Latvia who went from being called “the big guy” to riding nearly 14 hours on an average week and participating in international races.
Some simple goals to help you start leading a healthier lifestyle:
Eat healthy food at least 3 days a week
If you have the willpower to switch to a healthier diet every day – great!
However, if you are struggling with it like most of us are, start by choosing only healthy and lean food 3 days of the week (or any other pattern that suits you better). This way you’ll do your health a favour while still being able to enjoy some snacks at a birthday party or Saturday night movie night.
Find a physical activity that you love
Whatever is your relationship with sports and active lifestyle, there’s definitely something more you can do – or something new that you can try out.
There is an ideal type of activity for everyone – you just have to find it. Even if sports is not your thing altogether, taking long walks or starting gardening more often can help to get your energy flowing.
Get a fitness watch
From cheap pedometers to advanced fitness computers on your wrist, these tiny accessories can serve as excellent motivators to move.
Soon you’ll be likely to catch yourself climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator or walking to work instead of driving just to catch up with that recommended daily step count, or set a personal step record.
Take frequent breaks at work
In case you haven’t heard – sitting is the new smoking. Being seated in front of your computer for hours on end can cause a myriad of health problems in the long run.
So make sure you find a way to take regular quality breaks – exercise, take a walk, grab a healthy snack or chat with your colleagues.
Short breaks from work actually improve your productivity and restore your energy levels; therefore your employer should also encourage them.
Set a reminder to drink water
Scientists never tire of stressing the importance of drinking enough water every day. In addition to all the health benefits, like weight loss and flushing the body of toxins, drinking lots of water is also healthy – and 100% effective – way to take frequent breaks at work (to visit the bathroom).
The easiest way to make a habit of drinking water is to set a reminder. You can simply set a recurring notification on your phone, computer or wristwatch. Every time you hear the reminder, drink a glass of water. Alternatively, follow these 7 original ways to drink more water.
2. Become your own boss
This may be easier said than done, but changing your life always starts with a decision.
Once you’ve really decided that you want to be your own boss, there are plenty of possibilities available – starting from freelancing and taking up flexible online jobs to pursuing your dreams in an entirely new area.
Become a freelancer
It’s true that a freelancer’s life has many advantages, like choosing your working hours and reporting only to yourself.
However, there are things to consider before you jump into self-employment. For instance, are you able to discipline yourself and follow deadlines? Can you accept that your income will probably differ from month to month?
If you are nodding in agreement right now, then follow these steps:
- Find an area where you’re good at. It can be something broad (like drawing) or a niche (like knitting clothes for pets).
- Think about where your potential customers can be met. Do they follow certain social media groups, are they members of any forums or maybe you can meet them face-to-face in your professional or personal circles?
- Offer and promote your services – in your neighbourhood, social media profiles, freelancer platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, etc.
- Make use of various helpful tools and resources for freelancers. Numerous apps, online platforms, and communities are there to help you in your freelancing efforts.
Start your own business – online or offline
Starting a business is an even more responsible occupation than freelancing. Depending on what you want to sell, consider investing in a good-looking website and online shop (unless your business is strictly offline and local).
In general, starting a business online is a cheaper and a less risky way to start test your entrepreneurial skills. For example, online jobs like reseller, blogger and affiliate marketer don’t require huge expenses and let you evaluate if you like the responsibility.
Also, you don’t have to quit your job right away – find a side project that brings you joy and passive income. For example, Dionna Dorsey, a 36-year-old graphic designer/creative director from Washington, DC. works full-time in her creative design boutique and also sells design clothes via print-on-demand service Printful.
Do something that you’ve always wanted
Have you ever dreamed about doing something and always postponed it for “some time in the future”? Chances are, there is something you’d do rather than your present occupation.
Ever thought about finding a job that doesn’t require staring at a computer screen all day? Maybe you even have an idea of something you can produce yourself and sell on craft or eco food markets?
Ever wanted to volunteer or use a unique talent that never seemed financially feasible? Start it as a hobby and dedicate some of your free time to it. You never know – it might turn into something more when you meet the right people or stumble upon an opportunity.
Ask yourself and answer truthfully:
What are the real reasons why you haven’t done it yet? Maybe your circumstances have changed over the past years and now you can finally fulfil this dream?
If you still decide to postpone this goal, set a clear deadline when you’ll start achieving it. For example, “I will launch my online store when my kid starts kindergarten”. Or, “I will start building my house in 12 months when I will have saved at least $15 000.”
3. Be present
In these hectic times, we often struggle to be in several places at the same time. But in reality, we are not fully present in any of them.
Often we realize the importance of being mindful only when we’re already experiencing problems – like insomnia, anxiety, and depression. But there’s so much that you can do to prevent these feelings – and gain more power to pursue your dreams.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness is the act of deliberately being aware. When we are mindful, we have an open mind, and we are actively experiencing everything that we see and feel happening around us right then and there. Mindfulness allows you to see yourself and the world around you just as it is – without any expectations or notions of what it “should be.”
You can practice mindfulness at any given moment of the day – for example, observe and enjoy the park as you’re walking your dog (instead of planning the dinner, dwelling on problems, or replaying the workday in your head).
However, meditation is probably the most direct way to mindfulness and achieving inner peace, balance, and happiness. Find out the basics of mindfulness and meditation in Lifehack’s Mindfulness Meditation Mini Guide.
Think of your attention as an asset
In today’s digital age, attention is the most valuable skill that can guide us through the jungle of distraction and help us achieve our goals. Think of your attention as a superpower that you should use wisely.
First, think about those people in your life that deserve your attention, like your family, closest friends, and people who help you grow personally and professionally.
Then make sure you spare enough time and attention to the things you want to achieve in life. For example, designate an hour every day for reading books that will help you realize your dream. Or promise to spare at least three hours a week to doing something that takes you closer to your life goals.
Block distracting apps
If you are like most people, you probably struggle to keep the focus on longer tasks or conversations. There’s just too much going on in the world, right?
Our short attention span owes a big “thanks” to social media. But, if we use social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way, it can serve as a valuable resource of information and contacts.
If you feel that social media is taking too much of your time, try blocking it for several hours every day. It’s very likely that you’ll see your productivity and mood improving.
Travelling is an eye-opening experience that will always leave you wanting more. Even if it doesn’t seem linked to achieving your life goals, I promise you – it is.
Because travelling means leaving your comfort zone and opening yourself to new ideas, actions, and experiences.
If you haven’t travelled much previously, you don’t necessarily have to make your first trip to another continent. You can pick a scope and format that you find comfortable, but still interesting – e.g. start by exploring your surroundings, nearby cities, countries or states.
If you have already travelled before, but feel that you want a different kind of experience, try these tips.
This sounds scary at first, but you may actually find it very liberating – and much more adventurous than travelling with your partner, kids or friends.
As you embark on your solo journey, you can decide if you want to spend this time entirely alone or if you’d enjoy socializing with locals and other travellers you meet on the way.
Either way, you’ll learn a thing or two about yourself and have a different perspective on travelling – and life, for that matter. Who knows – you might actually fall in love with the sense of freedom!
It doesn’t matter if you travel alone or with others – you can always find new ways to spice up your trips.
For example, staying in a camping instead of a hotel could be fun even if you travel with kids. Or, try Couchsurfing that’s all about meeting locals and staying in their homes. For longer trips, consider programs like Workaway that unite volunteers and hosts from around the Globe.
You can also change other things about how you travel. If you’re used to relaxing in tourist resorts, go on a city break or a nature holiday in the mountains. If you’ve always taken guided tours, go on a self-arranged trip for a change. If you’ve mostly travelled by car, consider renting bikes or hiking.
5. Manage your money smarter
When working towards our life goals, you’ll probably need some funding, or at least a safety net if the road gets too bumpy. Learn these simple, but effective money management tips to help you save up for realizing your dreams.
Think twice before you make big purchases
Time after time we all need to make purchases that require us tightening the belt. Some examples are home appliances, baby equipment, furniture or a car. Often buying a new item in your nearest store seems like the obvious thing to do.
However, you can save a lot of money if you answer these questions before you buy:
- Can I find it cheaper at another store or distributor?
- Can I buy it used?
- Can I borrow or rent it?
- Can I wait until the sale?
Only when none of these options are possible – or sensible – opt for buying a new product.
Keep an emergency account
Everyone faces emergency expenses at one time or another. Some examples of these are car repairs, sudden medical expenses, losing a job, etc. Savings will prevent you from having to borrow money or maxing out your credit card.
Some tips for your emergency savings:
- Experts generally advise having savings that equal your 3, 6 or 9 months salary to cover your basic needs and pay bills in case of emergency.
- Set a savings goal – for example, save $1000 in six months. It’s important to keep the goal realistic and not too aggressive for your budget.
- Set an automatic transfer on payday to your savings account – this way you won’t have to remember to do the transfer yourself.
- Don’t make exceptions. Stick to your savings plan at all times. Don’t skip a month because you spent too much money on entertainment or clothes.
- If you have a partner, you can agree to maintain the savings account together. Even if each of you sets aside only $10 every week, you will have saved more than $1000 in one year. If you can afford to double this amount, your savings will amount to more than $2000 per year. However, you can also make your individual savings and set aside as much as you can every month.