Setting goals in the right areas of your life that align with your priorities is critical to your success. You cannot balance all aspects of your life if you do not stop for a moment and think about what is important to you – both in the short term and a long run – in all areas of your life. While you can pick and choose where you want to concentrate most of your energy, it’s important to not ignore the other other parts of your life.
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What are Life Areas?
Life areas are basically the important aspects or categories of your everyday life. While we all have different lifestyles and family dynamics, we all have the same life areas.
The difference is the importance or priority of each life area to each of you. And that priority will change as seasons of your life change.
For example, when you are working on a promotion at work, your career life area might be a priority for that season of life, while you put less emphasis on things like household chores of volunteer work.
How to Categorize Your Life?
In order to categorize your life you need to think about how you spend your time on day to day basis. What types of activities consume most of your time an energy. You also want to think about things that are important to you but you never seem to find time to do them.
Think about your lifestyle in terms of both the ‘as-is’ state and ‘to-be’ state. You want to create categories that are both important and necessary for you to have a well balanced life.
10 Important Areas of Life
The life categories listed below are designed with the working moms in mind. Therefore, if you are not a working mom, you might need to adjust a few of them to fit your lifestyle.
Here are 10 life areas in which you should set goals:
|HEALTH||Health life area is about your physical and mental health. Think about your diet, preventative care, and self care.|
|FITNESS||Fitness category is simply about your habits when it comes to moving your body. The health and fitness categories are often combined; however, because we are often doing better with one but not the other, it makes sense to keep them separate. Think about the frequency of your workouts, the amount of time you spend with your family on physical activities, and your overall satisfaction with the types of exercise you do.|
|FAMILY||Family category is about your spouse, kids, and other close family members. This life area is family dynamics, communication skills, quality time together, and making sure the mom guilt is eliminated.|
|HOUSEHOLD||Household life area is about how you run your household. It is about cleaning routines, morning and evening routines, meal planning, house organization system, and decluttering.|
|SPIRITUAL||Spiritual life category is about your relationship with God. Think about church attendance, practicing gratitude, learning God’s word, and your overall connection to Him.|
|PERSONAL GROWTH||Personal growth or personal development is about continuous learning about yourself. Getting to know and addressing your weaknesses and learning how to capitalize on your strengths. It is also about dedicating time to vocalizing and going after your dreams.|
|CAREER||Career life area is about satisfaction with your job, career choice, and professional development. It is also about workload and your employer’s view on work-life balance.|
|SIDE BUSINESS||Side business category is about your satisfaction, profitability, and the level of fulfillment it brings to your life. (While not all working moms have side business, many do, which is why it is included here.)|
|FINANCIAL||Financial life area is all about your money. Think about your financial goals, any debt you may have, household budget, retirement plans, and the overall money habits.|
|COMMUNITY||Community category is about the social aspect of your life. It includes school and church events, volunteer work, and your relationships with friends and community members.|
Defining Your Priorities
The best approach to the goal setting process is to define your priorities. Take out a piece of paper, or use the FREE Goal Setting and Tracking worksheet and list your priorities, as they relate to your vision, for the near future.
Your near future timeframe may vary, depending on your specific situation. However, I recommend starting with the next 3 or 6 months to see what works for you.
Think about the next few months and decide what will be most important to you during that time. Do you have an important project at work? Are your kids starting a sport season? Are you launching a new product for your side business? Or perhaps you are at a place where your house is so out of order that it is causing you to constantly feel overwhelmed and you want to finally declutter and organize?
If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time – Zig Ziglar
Remember, we are not trying to define your long term goals or your vision board here. But rather address the areas of your life that need most attention for you to find your life balance.
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Importance of Setting Goals in Your Life Areas to Life Balance
Many of us are guilty of concentrating on accomplishing a goal in a single area of your life while completely ignoring the rest. And that never works out. Because in the end, the neglected areas start negatively impacting all other areas of your life. Including the one that you have been concentrating on.
For example, you might have created a goal for yourself to get a promotion at work. And you worked long hours, volunteered to participate in all after hours events, and even spend some time on the weekends doing extra work. However, as you were doing that you completely pushed your health and fitness areas of your life to the side.
Where would that lead?
To a lot of mental and possibly physical health deterioration.
This is why it’s important not to neglect other parts of your life as you are working on a particular goal. It will be impossible for you to find a balance in your life if you put all the weight on just one side.
How do You Set Goals in Different Areas of Your Life?
Let’s dig a little deeper into the technique you should use to set goals in all your life areas. The basic strategy here is to prioritize your goals in one of two specific areas that you want to work on, but at the same time set some baseline goals in the others.
The priority goals will come directly from the priorities you have decided on for the next 3 to 6 months.
Areas of Life to Improve
What if you are in a place where you really don’t know what to concentrate on? Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed by everything that you currently have on your plate and it’s difficult to decide where to start?
This is the time where you need to evaluate and decide what area of your life is out of balance the most. What is causing you the most stress in your life. Ask yourself some hard questions or fill out the Life Balance Workbook to help you determine your biggest pain points.
Those are the areas you want to focus on first.
Goal Setting Tips
Now let’s move to the fun part, which is goal setting. Goal setting is not just about saying ‘this is my goal’. You actually need to set a plan on how you will accomplish it!
A goal without a plan is just a wish – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
You don’t want to dream here, you want to go after your goals. And in order to do that, you need to create a plan of action. Under each goal that you have set, write down the tasks or activities that you need to accomplish.
To help you set the goals in the most effective way, you should follow the SMART guidelines.
|SPECIFIC||Be as specific as you can with your goals That means that if your goal is to eat healthier, your goals cannot be ‘I will eat healthier’. Instead, it should be more specific with respect to how exactly are you going to be doing to eat healthier? Are you eliminating sugar from your diet? Will you be eating a specific number of servings of fruits and vegetables each day? Or will you be following a specific diet plan?|
|MEASURABLE||Measurable goals are the ones that you can actually measure. Basically, you need to be able to tell whether or not you have achieved your goals.|
|ATTAINABLE||The goal must be something that is possible to achieve. In other words, you have to be realistic. Saying that you will declutter the entire house in 1 week while working full time and having a full schedule of after school activities with your kids is something that you are highly unlikely to actually achieve.|
|RELEVANT||The goals must be relevant to what you are trying to achieve. If your priority is to spend more quality time with your kids, don’t set a goal of leading two new projects at work. Working towards that goal will hinder your ability to work towards your priority.|
|TIMELY||Finally, each goal needs a time frame associated with it. You need to have a deadline for when you want to have the goals accomplished.|
Finally, the last step is to track the progress. If you set a goal, create action steps, but don’t follow them and measure progress – nothing will change.
Many times we set a goal, even write it down, but forget all about it in a matter of weeks.
And the main reason is because we don’t track them!
Check in on a weekly basis on how you are doing with your goals. Are you making progress or did you encounter some challenges? Do you need to update your timelines?
You might also come to a conclusion that your goals need to be changed altogether because your priorities have unexpectedly changed.
That is life. Things like that will happen. Which is why it’s important to check in and evaluate on a regular basis.