Goal-Setting Activities for Adults

Setting goals focuses your mind on the future results of what you do today. Adult goal setting can apply to anything -- from your career and relationships to exercise routines and money management. The key is to break down your goals and develop plans for the near and long term.

Write Down Specifics

Writing down specific goals achieves two key things. Whenever you write something down, it helps make that thought more definite. You're more likely to stick to your aim. Writing down specifics also helps you avoid vague goals. Poorly defined aims are harder to accomplish. For example, writing "Get a better job" is too vague to act upon. Instead, write several key steps such as "Update resume," "Join Wednesday computer club to learn touch-typing" and so on.

Discuss Your Goals

Talking about your goals with friends, family members or colleagues helps you focus on what you want. It can also help you identify any opportunities or challenges ahead. Perhaps most important, it gives you a sense of accountability. By telling people close to you of your plans, you're giving yourself extra incentive to follow through. If you don't act on your plans, you then have to explain to those around you why you didn't make any progress.

Set Goals Based on Timescales

Goals come in different timescales. Short-term goals may lead to longer-term goals. However, until you map out what your plans are, it's hard to know how they fit together. Career advice from the University of Hawaii suggests breaking down your goals by timescale. Write down your lifetime goal, your goal for the next five years, your goal for next year and your goal for next month. Look at how these fit together. For example, make sure your goal for next year relates to your lifetime goal. If it doesn't, ask yourself how you could change your aim.

List Goal Requirements

Writing down short- and long-term goals is a good start. However, you need to have some general idea of what achieving these goals might require. An exercise from the University of Hawaii starts with writing down your goals. Underneath each goal write down the education, skills, training, contacts and finances you might need to accomplish the aim. For example, if your goal is to change careers and become a vet, you need to go to veterinary school. That means you may need savings to pay your way through school, time to study and contacts in a vet clinic. In every case, look for the sacrifices and steps you need to take to progress.