How to Set Personal Goals

Assess Your Life - The First Step To Changing It!

It can be quite difficult for people to figure out how to set personal goals or relaunch their lives in the best way.

Often we focus in on a couple of areas in our lives that we are not happy with.

'I've had enough' we say. 'I'm losing weight'. I'm going to find a new job'.' I'm moving' and off we go!

What's much more useful however, is to take an overall 'helicopter' view of your life , to define all your goals and then to determine which ones are most important.

This way you don't rush headlong into taking a bunch of action steps in one area that might do more damage than good in the long term.

So here's a simple step by step process that takes you up on that helicopter so that you can get the big picture view you need.

Enjoy the journey...



In my experience most of life’s busy-ness falls into one of the following nine areas:

1.Health & Fitness

2.Career & Work


4.Social Life

5.Personal Development


7.Quality of Life



So, the starting point, before you learn how to set personal goals and begin the process of change, is to assess ALL of these nine areas in your OWN life.

Print off this page to help you do this:Life Assessment Overview

Once you have printed this page, grab a pen and get ready to give each of these nine areas in your life a score on a scale from 1 to 10.

So, for example, if you feel your work situation couldn't be better, you might give yourself a score of 10; if you feel it couldn't be worse you might give yourself a score of 1, and so on.

Remember each score is independent of the others. There is no ideal total or average – just as in real life!

Don't write your answers yet though.

Read the questions below and take the time to think about each of these nine areas in your own life first .

Read each of the sections below one at a time. When you have completed the section on one life area write down your score on a scale of one to ten for that area. Then move on to think about the next life area.

So let's get going. Enjoy!

1.Health & Fitness:

How well do you eat? How much exercise do you do (recall the last 5 days)? How much rest/sleep do you allow yourself? Are you ‘running’ on empty’? (What’s a normal bed time)? Are there changes you’ve often considered but not made yet? What do your statistics tell you – height to weight ratio, cholesterol, size, and shape? What’s it like to look in the mirror and see yourself? How would you react if a good friend invited you to run a marathon for your favourite charity or to go on a two-week cycle tour?

Score yourself now and write that score beside the words 'Health and fitness'.

2.Career & Work:

How is your current work situation? Is it fun? Satisfying? Frustrating? What’s important about it? Is it what you always wanted to be doing? How do you feel at mid-day each day? How do you feel at the end of each day or at the end of each week? Do you have a career that you are happy with? Where are you heading?

Score yourself now and write that score beside the word 'Career'.


Think about the relationship that you have with your partner - if you have a partner. How well do you get on together? How much do you appreciate his/her company? How much do you love your partner? Is this relationship the relationship of your dreams? Could it be better?

Think about the other important relationships in your life.Your family, your relations, your friends. What is the quality of those relationships? Do they vary? Are there some people with whom you'd like to have a higher quality relationship? Are there some that you would like to spend less time around? Are your family & friends what you had hoped for in your dreams?

Score yourself now and write that score beside the word 'Relationships'.

4.Social Life & Leisure:

How do you spend your non-working hours? Do you put aside time for the hobbies & interests you have? Are there things you care about but have yet to get involved in? How much are you learning about life outside of your work? Would you like to travel more/less? How is your relationship with the TV/Internet? Do you value your leisure time the same as your work time, and are you pleased with your leisure activities at the end of each week?

Score yourself now and write that score beside the word 'Social Life'.

5.Personal Development:

Are you constantly learning? Are you happy with the amount of time you give to new learning? Are you expanding what you learn on two fronts: Firstly on an intellectual level - are you constantly seeking out more information in certain areas? Secondly on an emotional level - are you continually learning how to manage your feelings and emotions.

Score yourself now and write that score beside the word 'Personal Development'.


How much do you earn currently? Think about your bank balance today. Think about your savings and pension. What assets do you own? How secure is your income stream? Is this enough? How comfortable do you feel about your financial situation? If anything happened to you what kind of 'cushion' do you have?

Score yourself now and write that score beside the word 'Financial'.

7.Quality of Life:

Take a virtual tour of your home. Is it how you’d like it to be? Is it welcoming, relaxing, fit for purpose? What’s it like to come home? Are you proud of where you live?

Think about your possessions. Do you have what you want? Are you proud of what you have? Maybe you have too little. Or too much.

Do you travel as much as you'd like? Do you have as much fun as you want? What score best reflects your quality of life?

Score yourself now and write that score beside the word 'quality of life'.


You may or may not believe in a higher being. If you do, what kind of relationship do you have with this higher being right now? How important is this relationship to you? Is the relationship as important to you as you would like it to be?

Score yourself now and write that score into your journal beside the word 'spirituality'.


In life we have to leave all the tangible stuff behind, but an invisible legacy remains - the stories, memories and experiences others have of us. How well will you be remembered by your family, your neighbours, your community, and the world at large? Do you invest time using your talents to help others? Could you? Should you? To what extent does contributing to others feature at all in your life right now?

Score yourself now and write that score into your journal beside the word 'contribution'.

Well done! You have just looked at your life from the 'helicopter perspective' Wasn't too difficult was it? Interesting too, isn't it?


As you think about your scores right now how do they seem to you?

What areas are you pleased with?

What areas are you less pleased with?

Don’t worry. Whatever scores you gave yourself simply reflect where you are in life at this moment in time. Each one of us will have a different set of scores. Some areas of your life will please you. Some, you will want to improve or change.

So, this is your life right now. Is it how you want it to be?

On the back of your page now write down the heading 'Pleased With' and below this, write which are the ten areas of your life you are 'pleased with'.

Now write down the heading 'Less Pleased With' and below this, write which of the ten areas of your life you are less pleased with.

Now you know where you are and have a clear picture of the foundation upon which you can build.

The next question of course is what would you prefer instead?

It's a good idea to identify the top three areas you would like to do something about.

It may be health, work and your relationship with your partner for example.

Once you have selected these three areas you must learn about goal setting. It's a science, and one that most of us have never been taught.

Of course you do not have to limit yourself to just three areas, but this is a useful starting point if you want to know how to set personal goals. You do not want to be overwhelmed on day one!

Take time to do this and to do it well. You are about to change your life....

So there you have it. We have just covered the first step required on how to set personal goals. Let me repeat. How to set personal goals. How to set personal goals. How to set personal goals. How to set personal goals. How to set personal goals. How to set personal goals. How to set personal goals.How to set personal goals!

Sorry for the repetition , but knowing the first step to answer this question is something worth shouting about!

Recommended next step?

10 Questions To Discover Your Passions & Improve Your Life

Step 2 of the Smart Goals Success Formula™:

Learn about goal setting - a mini course

Learn how to set SMART goals!

Return to Smart Goals Home Page From How To Set Personal Goals

How To INCREASE Your CHANCES Of Achieving Any Personal Or Professional Goal Right From The START EBOOK & GOAL SETTING WORKSHEET - $7 OFFER


What People Are Saying:

"I would have told you I had clear goals, but as a result of the tools I saw they were not nearly as tight as they need to be if I want to quickly build my dreams".

E. Alana James

Founder - Doctoral Academy

I would highly recommend this process to think through any task that is important to you but may seem unattainable."

Myriam Cronin
Gateway Incubation Centre
University College Cork

"The discipline of working through the steps and key questions in the Smartest Goals process brings exceptional clarity and focus allowing me to achieve much more in a shorter time than I hertofore thought possible.

I would highly recommend this approach to anyone who wishes to achieve their dreams."

Helen O’Dowd
Virginia Health Foods

"I am delighted with My Smartest Goal!

I was at a bit of a crossroads in my business and I found the entire process most helpful, insightful, and inspirational!"

Fiona Foley- Gaffney
Colour Me Beautiful