What are the 3 types of goals you can set?

updated on 30 September 2022

What are goals in general?

It may seem like a silly question to ask, but we all know what goals are, right?

Well, if we look at the definition, a goal is...

A goal is an idea of the future or desired results that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve.

By breaking down and looking at what goals are and how to set them, we can reach higher levels of success in achieving our goals.

Team or personal development is about constantly improving yourself so getting a better understanding of goals is a great way to do that.

Life goal setting
Life goal setting

What are the 3 types of goals?

Most people would be surprised to know there are 3 main types of goals.

  1. Process goals
  2. Performance goals
  3. Outcome goals

Let's take a look at each one of these types of goals in more detail.

Outcome goals

We'll start with the big, long term goals first. When you work top down, the other types of goals make more sense.

These are the specific, measurable goals that make is clear exactly what you want to achieve in the end.

For example, I want to invest $1 million into my retirement account in 10 years. This is the final result that you want and these are your long term goals.

Another example could be to lose 50 pounds or become a doctor. These are the major goals but they don't tell you how to get there.

Process Goals

Process goals which are also referred to as procedural goals are the behavior goals that help us perform better and ultimately reach our desired outcome goals.

For our $1 million retirement goal, a process goal would be to save money from every paycheck and put it in your investment account.

Another process goal in this example could be to reduce your current expenses each month. Maybe you set a short term goal to not go out to eat at all.

These goals aim at the behaviors that build up to the bigger goals.

Performance goals

These are the goals that will set the standards by which we perform our process goals. They are goals that focus on results.

By reaching the performance goals on your process goals, you exponentially increase the success of your outcome goals.

With our $1 million example, you might make a goal to save 20% of your paycheck each month to go towards your retirement fund.

Why do we need goals?

Goals help us to accomplish things in life. Everyone is different and everyone wants different things in life but without goals, we'll never grow as individuals.

If you're reading this, it's safe to assume you're an achiever and someone who wants more from life.

If you don't have goals, or good goals, you'll find yourself constantly doing "busy work" but never making any upward progress in life.

In order to succeed and get ahead, you need to start setting strong goals. Goal setting is the foundation of success.

You cannot set weak goals either, your goals need to be thought out and be SMART goals.

Goal setting for the future every month
Goal setting for the future every month

Setting SMART goals

If you have never heard of SMART goals, you're going to get one of the most important lessons on goal setting now.

SMART goals are the standard of how all goals should be set. It's a system for ensuring you set goals that are achievable and meaningful.


Your goals should be specific. Make sure there are clear guidelines to work towards.

For example, instead of just saying "lose weight", you should say "Lose 30 pounds in 6 months."


Make sure you have a way to prove you're making progress. Making your goals measurable will ensure it's clear when you've accomplished them.


Your goal should be difficult but achievable. If your goal is something that you can't achieve in the timeframe that you've set, you may need to reevaluate the goal. Do you have the skills and resources to accomplish the goal?


Does the goal align with your long term goals and objectives?

Time based

Make sure that your goals are always time based. You want a solid end date to prioritize the goal and motivate you.

These are the basic building blocks of a SMART goal. If you use this method to set your goals, you'll increase your success in accomplishing them.

Goal categories to focus on

In order to have a well rounded life, you need to spread your goals out.

Below we have some of the different categories that you can set your goals. These are just a few suggestions and you're not limited to these categories.

Personal development goals

Personal development will take us through our lives for years to come. It is great because it significantly boosts your performance and the odds of meeting all of your other goals.

Everything starts with yourself. If you can improve yourself first, you'll improve the rest of yourself as a result.

Set different types of goals including short term goals
Set different types of goals including short term goals

Family goals

I know it may sound weird to set goals that are related to your family, but it's worth it to invest in those relationships to see if the bonds become stronger.

Do not become so busy you will have no chance to take care of your family or friends you'd consider your family.

It's always important to realize that one thing you can never get back is time and time spent with your family and friends is something

Health and fitness goals

This is one of the most popular goals to set and for good reason. You only get one body and you need to take great care of it.

Every month you should set a goal to improve your health and fitness. Even small goals will add up over time and have a compounding effect.

Social goals

When exploring all of the different types of goals you can set, this one might be a new one for you.

Social goals are a great way to expand on your personal development and open yourself up. You never know what kind of situations life will put you in so its good to expand your skills.

Business goals

If you have your own business, this one is a must. You need to set really strong business goals to achieve success.

Even if you just want to start your own business, you need to create short and long term goals to focus on.

Career goals

If you don't have your own business and instead focus on a professional career, setting career goals is a good way to go.

You never want to be stagnant sitting in the same position for too long. If you set short term and long term goals around your career, you'll see yourself making faster progress.

Financial goals

Like fitness goals, financial goals are often the most commonly set goals.

Many people struggle with personal finances so it's best to start small and work on short term goals that create good habits.

Most people would agree many problems could be solved by money, or money causes much of the stress in our life. The easiest solution is to improve your personal finances.

Setting financial goals such as paying off debt
Setting financial goals such as paying off debt

3 types of goals final thoughts

If you're interested in improving your life, you need to improve your goal setting skills. Setting basic goals like you've been doing isn't helping.

There are 3 types of goals that you should be focusing on. By creating these goals, you'll cover the fundamentals that lead to self development.

  1. Outcome goals
  2. Performance goals
  3. Process goals

It doesn't matter if you're setting career goals, financial goals, short term goals, or long term goals, you need to add each kind of goal to your life.

Improving your life starts with the goals you set so make sure you're setting the best goals.

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