The content of this article is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Please read my Terms And Conditions for more info.
Whether you are looking for goals to set for yourself as New Year’s resolutions or to take meaningful steps towards improving your life, you are in the right place.
So many times, I thought about how life could be if I was doing things differently. However, I was just dreaming because I was not acting on those thoughts.
Don’t get me wrong, dreaming is powerful, and I love dreaming. But I love even more to make my dreams come true by achieving my goals.
As soon as I realized it back in November 2018, my life changed for the better. Then, I became goal-oriented and started to act on my thoughts.
24 Goals To Set For Yourself To Improve Your Life
If you want to successfully set goals for yourself, you need to get organized. As a result, the more organized you are, the better.
This article is no exception! You will find 24 goals categorized into 3 topics for a total of 9 types of goals to set for yourself.
- Financial Goals
- Beginner (#1, #2, #3)
- Intermediate (#4, #5, #6)
- Advanced (#7, #8)
- Self-Improvement Goals
- Learning (#9, #10, #11)
- Organization (#12, #13)
- Mindful (#14, #15)
- Health Goals
- Sleep (#16, #17, #18)
- Health (#19, #20, #21)
- Fitness (#22, #23, #24)
If you have more ideas, feedback, or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Financial Goals To Set For Yourself
As a financial coach, I had to emphasize on financial goals. If you think about it, money is often at the center of all other problems.
That is why the first 3 types of goals to set are reserved for the financial topic. They are also great as New Year resolutions.
Beginner Financial Goals
“Before learning how to run, you learned how to walk.” A similar concept applies to personal finance. Your financial foundations need to be reliable before you can build on top of them.
1. Create A Monthly Budget
Rule #1 of personal finance is to not spend more than what you earn. In other words, if you don’t know where your money goes, you won’t go far. It is time to take control back over your finances.
If you don’t follow a monthly budget yet, you can write it down as the first goal to set yourself for 2021. The steps are simple.
- Create meaningful budget categories
- Determine a monthly budget per category
- Track your monthly expenses
- Review your budget periodically
For example, home, utilities, subscriptions, medical, food & drinks, auto, fun, and finance are great budget categories.
2. Build An Emergency Fund
Rule #2 of personal finance is to protect yourself financially against the unexpected.
An emergency fund is like the auto insurance of your finances. You hope to never have to use it, but in case you need it, it is right there waiting for you.
Unfortunately, 2020 has been the perfect example of why you absolutely need an emergency fund.
Financial experts recommend between 3 to 6 months of expenses. I’m leaning towards 6 months because it offers more protection.
However, if you start with a $0 emergency fund, you should have divided this big financial goal into multiple little ones.
Here are examples of goals to set yourself for building your emergency fund.
- Open a High-Yield Savings Account
- Transfer money to your emergency fund whenever you receive a paycheck
- Start with a $500 goal
- Continue with a $1,000 goal
- Follow by a 1 month of expenses goal
- Keep going with 3 months of expenses goal
- Fully fund it with 6 months of expenses goal
- Review your monthly expenses from time to time to update your emergency fund balance
If you want to learn more about emergency funds and what unexpected expenses are, then read this article.
3. Get Out Of Consumer Debt
Consumer debt is the worst debt to carry around due to its high-interest rate. Most people end up paying more in interests than the balance borrowed.
There is another disadvantage that you should be aware of regarding consumer debt. If you pay the minimum amount of money per month, it will take you forever to get out of debt.
Set a goal for yourself to get out of consumer debt as soon as possible! There are 2 popular ways you can just do that: avalanche and snowball strategies.
The goal is to make as many extra payments towards your debt as possible. Whenever a debt is paid off, use its minimum payment to pay down the next debt.
If you want to learn more about them, then you can head over to my “How to become debt-free in 7 steps” article.
Intermediate Financial Goals
Now, you have a monthly budget, an emergency fund, and a strategy to get out of debt. So what are the next financial goals to set yourself?
There are no secrets! You have to reduce your expenses or increase your income!
4. Do I Need This?
“Do I need this?” is the magic question! Every time you are about to buy anything, ask yourself this question.
This goal to set yourself for 2021 doesn’t seem that difficult to execute. But it really is because it is a new habit that you have to include in your daily routine, and it is not simple to do.
Also, a thin line exists between what we want and what we need in life.
For example, do you need a new car? Yes, you need it to go to work. However, you could buy a used car instead.
At the end of the day, every decision we make impacts our finances and happiness. You have to make tradeoffs to reduce your monthly expenses.
5. Start A Side Hustle
One way to increase your income is to start a side hustle. However, it is not as easy as people advertise it online.
It takes time, dedication, determination, motivation, and passion to succeed at it.
A side hustle is a big goal to set yourself, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost you much. Forget about the get rich quick scheme.
You are trying to supplement your current income, not playing roulette or blackjack at a casino. So start small and plan for the long term.
Make a list of the things you love to do in life and figure out how you can make money with it.
6. Revisit Career Goals
The other way to increase your income is to literally increase it! There are 4 ways you can do just that.
But no matter which way you choose, you need to start by revisiting your career goals. As they might change over time, you should review them periodically.
The first way is to ask your manager for a raise. However, you can’t just go and ask for one out of the blue and without doing your homework. Know your worth, and prepare your arguments.
The second way is to ask your manager for a bonus. Let him/her know how hard you worked, and hopefully, he/she saw it too. Don’t use your bonus to buy things you don’t need. Use it to improve your finances.
The third way is to ask your manager for a better income package. A raise or a bonus would be amazing. But a retirement plan, insurance, vacation, hardware, and services are also worth looking into.
Advanced Financial Goals
Time to talk about the advanced financial goals to set yourself this year.
Even if math is not your favorite subject, it can help you save a lot of money. I mean enough money to retire before they have to.
7. Big Financial Decisions
We all have big financial decisions to make all the time. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it because of what people say, but there are always different options to choose from.
- Should I buy a new car or a used car?
- Is buying a house better than renting one?
- Should I go to a private or public school?
- Should I live in the city or in the suburbs?
- In which state should I live?
Before going any further, I want you to be careful with the financial advice you receive from people that don’t know how to manage their own money.
We all have a friend or a family member that gives financial advice without knowing why.
It is always recommended to do your homework before making any significant financial decisions. That way, you can explain why that decision was best for your situation.
8. Track Personal Finance Metrics
Once you are confident with your financial plan and strategy, it is time to track your progress with the right personal finance metrics.
This financial goal to set yourself is by far the hardest one to achieve. It is not something that you have to set up and forget about.
Personal finance metrics on their own are useless. However, analyzing those metrics to determine what can be improved is what really matters.
Here is a list of personal finance metrics you should track to make meaningful financial improvements in your life.
- Savings Rate
- Inflation Rate
- Net Worth
- Emergency Capacity
- # of Incomes
- Investment Fees
- Debt To Income Ratio
- Debt To Asset Ratio
- FI Number
- FI Ratio
- Passive Income
- Tax Rate
Self-Improvement Goals To Set For Yourself
Self-improvement goals are underrated! Everyone knows their importance, but only a small group of people add them to their list of goals to set.
Add the next 3 types of goals to set for yourself to your list, if you want to strengthen your mind and improve your life in 2021.
Continuous learning is the key to success. From the day we were born to the day, we will die, we would have learned more than a million things.
Learning plays a significant role in our personal development as individuals. Nobody should ever stop learning!
9. Learn New Skills
Skills allow us to quickly adapt and solve any problems that arise in our lives. No matter the situation, we always use our skills to find a solution.
A great New Year’s goal to set for yourself is to find a way to learn new skills every day. Most people only focus on work skills, but personal skills are as important if not more important.
For example, learning how to play soccer might not have anything to do with your work. But it can help improve your teamwork and communication skills.
Here is a list of skills that anyone should learn at some point in their lives.
- Money Management
- Tax Filing
- Basic First Aid
- Home Repair
- Car Repair
- Problem Solving
- Protect Passwords
10. Read Books
For the longest time, I didn’t read any books because I hated them. It actually took me 28 years before to enjoy reading books.
I was not a fan of how my schools pressured me to read books that I didn’t like. So I guess I developed a hate for all kinds of books and even for reading.
Anyway, I was wrong! Books are great and worth reading. As long as you read a book about something you like, you will go through the pages in no time!
That is how it started for me. I was always interested in personal finance. So one day, my wife handed me a financial book, and I finished it in a week.
That same year, I ended up reading 24 books in a year or 2 books a month. I’m not telling you that you have to read that many books, but you could start with 1 book every two months.
Here is a list of books I recommend anyone to read.
Ramit Sethi – I Will Teach You To Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just A 6-Week Program That Works
Erin Lowry – Broke Millenial: Stop Scraping By And Get Your Financial Life Together
Dave Ramsey – The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist
Mitch Albom – The Five People You Meet In Heaven
Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
Eckhart Tolle – The Power Of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment
Mark Manson – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life
Gary Chapman – The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts
11. Listen To Podcasts
I started listening to podcasts back in 2018, and that was one of the best decisions I took that year. It is amazing to see how knowledge is shared so easily via podcasts.
The best part for me is the ability to multitask. I can learn about anything I want and do something else at the same time. My favorite places to listen to podcasts are in my car and at the gym.
There are podcasts about everything you could imagine. Just make a list of subjects that you are interested in and start a podcast!
I don’t know what my life would be without organization, and frankly, I don’t even want to know. I love being organized because it allows me to do more things during the day.
The best part of it is that you don’t need to organize or plan every single minute of your day to get the most out of it. The next two goals are a great place to start.
12. Create A Morning Routine
It is no secret that we are creatures of habits. That is how we become so efficient at doing the things we have to do in life, like driving a car.
Morning routines are a great source of motivation to keep going. That is why I love my morning routine so much.
I accomplish so many things during the first hour of my day. And the best part is that it motivates me to keep pushing throughout the day.
Your morning routine will be different than mine because you want to choose where you spend your energy. But as an example, here is my morning routine.
- Make the bed
- Drink water
- Brush teeth
13. Make Lists To Get Things Done
Unless you have an exceptional memory, it is impossible to remember everything you need to do all the time. That is why lists are the best tools to get things done!
It won’t take long before you see the benefits of making lists. And the best part is that you don’t need much to start a list. You can simply use a piece of paper and a pen or an app on your smartphone.
No matter which strategy you want to use, make sure you come across your lists multiple times a day. It won’t be easy at first, but it will become a habit pretty quickly.
Personally, I’m using both strategies. A pen and paper for urgent tasks because I can physically see the list on my desk. A smartphone app like “Reminders” for non-urgent tasks.
I literally put everything on my to-do list. From filing taxes to take out the trash, there is no way I can forget what I need to do to get things done!
I set the following two goals for myself back in 2019. After reading an astonishing book by Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now, my life changed for the better.
I tried to meditate in the past by attending a yoga class, but I was not ready for it. I felt like I was trapped in a silent room because I didn’t know what to do. The only thing on my mind was to run away.
However, once I understood the benefits of meditation and how to control my mind, it felt like I won the lottery!
There are a lot of different ways to meditate. What really helped me was to focus on my breath and listen to my mind.
I highly recommend that you add meditation as a goal to set for yourself in 2021!
15. Be Grateful
Another great goal to set for the New Year is to be grateful. Not only saying it in your head but letting your family and friends know.
Practicing gratitude every day has a lot of great benefits. It helps you shift your focus, reduce stress, reach your other goals, feel happier, get over your inner fears, and improve the quality of your life, to say the least.
There are no rules around what you should or should not be grateful for. So here is a small list of things that people could be grateful for.
- Ability to read
- Money in the bank
- Clean water
- Waking up
Health Goals To Set For Yourself
Health is one of the most important things in life. It doesn’t matter what you own. If your health is going south, you won’t be able to enjoy what you have.
In my opinion, if you are lucky enough to read this article, you should set for yourself at least 6 out of the next 9 goals.
The quality of your sleep affects your mood. On a night where you don’t sleep well, you might feel stressed and more irritable during the day.
Don’t let sleep be the reason that you don’t feel 100% all the time.
16. Wake Up Early
I know what you are thinking: “I’m not a morning person.” You might not like what I am about to say, but there is no such thing as being a morning person or being a night person.
On average, healthy adults sleep between 7 to 9 hours. It only depends on when you go to sleep and the activities you do during the day.
If you were to go to sleep at 3am, with 8 hours of sleep, you would wake up at 11am. If you were to go to sleep at 10pm, with 8 hours of sleep, you would wake up at 6am.
There are so many benefits of waking up early. Since I started to wake up at 6am, my stress level has never been that low because I don’t have to rush to get ready anymore.
I have more energy to get things done, and I can tell you that I am doing much more than before.
Just try it out for a week or two, and you will see the benefits for yourself.
17. Set A Bedtime
This goal to set yourself is linked to waking up early. We already talked about it, to wake up early, you need to go to bed early. There are no secrets.
That is why it is so important to set a bedtime. Just think about it. Why do we do just that for babies and kids?
Because if we don’t, they won’t go to sleep on their own, and you don’t want to deal with a cranky baby the next day.
Having a regular time to go to bed will create a new habit. Your body will know when it is time to go to bed and it will let you know.
18. Reduce Screen Time
Reducing screen time, especially at night, will help you sleep better. We are always on our phones, laptops, tablets, and TVs, so how can we do that?
I personally don’t allow myself to bring my phone to my bedroom. That way I am not tempted to check notifications when I am in bed. I also don’t have a TV in my bedroom.
Another great trick is to simply disable most of the notifications on your phone or use the “Do not disturb” mode.
Regarding TV, as most people do with their kids, you could set up a timer to not watch too much TV at night. You can also watch only one movie or one tv show episode.
- “The greatest wealth is health” — Virgil
- “The groundwork for all happiness is good health.” — Leigh Hunt
- “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live” — Jim Rohn
- “Health is not valued until sickness comes” — Thomas Fuller
19. Eat Healthier
Eating healthier is easier said than done! A couple years ago, I did the exercise of logging everything that I was eating every single day for a month.
Let me tell you that I got surprised by what I saw. It is crazy the amount of unhealthy food we can eat without even enjoying it.
It felt like an impossible task to replace all those bad eating habits with healthy ones. However, as we like to say, everything is possible.
Slowly but surely, I reduced my sugar intake by stopping to drink soda and alcohol. I ate more and more fruits and vegetables. And I also replaced my fatty and sweet snacks with healthier options.
20. Drink More Water
Up to 60% of our body is water, and we need it to stay healthy. That is why it is so important to drink plenty of water during the day.
If you don’t drink enough water as of today, here are some of the best water habits to create.
- Drinking one glass of water after waking up and before doing anything else
- Hydrating yourself before, during, and after working out
- Drinking one glass of water before and after each meal
- Bringing one glass of water to your beside when going to sleep
Including this healthy goal in your daily life will provide a lot of great benefits to your body.
21. Take Deep Breaths
I started to take deep breaths because my watch was telling me to do so. It is crazy how simple things can make such a big difference.
Just try it out now! Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. I don’t know about you, but I feel so much relaxed every time I do it.
Also, taking deep breaths have a lot of benefits.
- Reduces stress
- Helps you sleep better
- Increases energy level
- Detoxify the body
- Increases calm
- Relieves pain
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve digestion
It is probably not a surprise to see fitness goals in a list of goals to set for yourself. But, I really believe that these three fitness goals should be part of everyone’s life.
22. Go For A Walk
A few months ago, I came across an Australian article. It goes over the health benefits of walking.
I was already trying my best to go for a walk every day. But since I read the article, my goal has been to walk 30 minutes per day and reach 10,000 steps.
I found that the best times to walk for me were in the morning and after eating dinner.
- Walking in the morning doesn’t only give me energy for the rest of the day, but it also wakes me up
- Walking after eating dinner improves my digestion and helps me sleep better at night
I highly recommend that you try it out for yourself to find out when your best time to go for a walk is.
I also really like weekend hikes. They usually take more time than 30 minutes, but I love walking in nature! It makes me think about life and be grateful.
Exercising is one of the most popular goals to set for the New Year. After eating so much during the holiday season, the only thing that our bodies want is to exercise to feel better.
So many people start exercising in January, but how many are still exercising 3 months later? I don’t have the exact answer to this question.
However, in my personal experience going to the gym, only one-third of people are still exercising after a few months.
That is why, exercising with a friend, finding a sport that you like, and creating a routine are the best ways to stay motivated and get the most benefits out of it.
Stretching is on top of my list of goals to set for myself in 2021. I never liked it, not that I like it now, but I feel that my body really needs it.
However, I don’t believe that you have to stretch for an hour to start seeing its benefits. My goal is to stretch 15 minutes every morning. So I actually included it in my morning routine!
If you don’t know where to start or which stretches you should do, you can head over to WikiHow to check a few examples.
Conclusion – Goals To Set For Yourself
In conclusion, remember that starting is the hardest part. So don’t wait any longer, and create your list of goals to set for yourself today!
Thus, don’t forget to include a few goals from this list to be on the right track. If you need any help or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.