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How to End a College Essay: The Do’s and Don’ts

Last Updated: January 16, 2024 Fact Checked

Strategies to End Your College Essay

  • Things to Avoid

Expert Interview

This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed. and by wikiHow staff writer, Sophie Burkholder, BA . Alexander Ruiz is an Educational Consultant and the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute, a tutoring business based in Claremont, California that provides customizable educational plans, subject and test prep tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while achieving skills and the goal of achieving skills and higher education. He holds a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources.

Deadlines are whizzing by, primary-colored pennants are waving, and keyboards are clicking and clacking…it’s college admissions season! Beyond the test scores and grade point averages, your personal statement is your one chance to show colleges who you are—and for some reason, wrapping up that essay can be the hardest part. We spoke to expert academic tutor and educational consultant Alexander Ruiz to give you strategies for concluding your college essay, along with the examples included in this comprehensive guide to college essay conclusions.

Things You Should Know

  • End your college essay by returning to an idea or image you included in your intro or as your hook. This callback satisfies your reader with a full-circle effect.
  • Look to the future to conclude your college essay on a positive and hopeful note. Describe your goals and the impact you’ll have on the world.
  • Finish your college essay with a lesson learned. After sharing life experiences, describe what you’ve learned and how they’ve prepared you for your next step.

Ask the wikiHow College Coach


  • As expert educational consultant Alexander Ruiz explains, universities are “trying to understand ‘How do you see that you fit within our school?’ Even though the prompt is asking ‘Why did you choose the school?’, it really is truly asking ‘How do you fit within the student body? How do you fit within our campus?’”
  • Example of a “college address” conclusion: I want to be part of the long legacy of civil rights activists and leaders, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have studied within the walls of Boston University. I’ve planted the seeds of this work through my two years of volunteering and campaigning in local elections. If admitted to your globally renowned Political Science program, I will be thrilled to grow my skills in Public Policy Analysis and ultimately serve the dynamic and deserving communities of Greater Boston.

Step 2 Bring the reader full circle.

  • Example of a “full circle” conclusion: This year was a challenge in many ways. But I know that when I drive across those state lines again next fall, I’ll be looking back at the swirling blues and grays of the Boise sky, already anxiously awaiting the next time I get to come back home.
  • Example intro hook for above conclusion: As my parents drove us across the Idaho state line, I looked out at the cloud-covered sky and thought: Well, this sure doesn’t look like home.

Step 3 End on a lesson you’ve learned.

  • Example of a “lesson learned” conclusion: Having the opportunity to travel around Latin America—bouncing between coastal towns like Sayulita and sprawling cities like Buenos Aires—I learned the importance of understanding other cultures and their perspectives. In expanding the limits of my physical world, I also had the opportunity to expand my worldview.

Step 4 Point toward the future.

  • Example of a “look forward” conclusion: When my great-great-grandchildren fasten their shoes with a futuristic version of Velcro and head down the road to school, they will do so with excitement and purpose. They’ll look forward to the day’s tasks of digging in the garden for Biology, journaling on their socio-emotional well-being in Health class, and debating the issues of their times in Social Studies. An education system built around students, their needs, and their futures—as a hopeful member of your teaching college, that is a future I am enthusiastic to have a hand in.

Step 5 Reveal the main point at the very end.

  • Example of a “last-minute reveal” conclusion: After multiple paragraphs of stories from swim meets throughout the writer’s life, they conclude with, I wasn’t just swimming to beat the stopwatch hanging around my coach’s neck. I was swimming because it gave me freedom, a place to reflect, and an ability to push back against even the strongest currents.
  • This strategy is difficult to pull off, as our instinct is to put our thesis right at the top. However, when it comes to college admissions, academic tutor Alexander Ruiz warns against “the five-paragraph format, the intro, body, body, body, conclusion.”
  • As Ruiz continues to explain, “When it comes to telling your story and sharing how valuable your experience will be to a school, [the five-paragraph format] is not going to be able to portray that in a way that's going to be very attractive. So I think that one of the main mistakes that people make is saying these quantitative measures are going to speak for themselves, and they don't put enough work into being able to tell their story in their essays.”

Step 6 End your essay with a plot twist.

  • Example of a “plot twist” conclusion: Every law office I interned at over the past four years, despite their intensity, was instrumental in shaping my path and who I am. They prepared me for college and a career and gave me a clear view of what I wanted to do: not study law. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of learning about the inner workings of our legal system, but now I want to put that knowledge toward my true passion: helping foster kids via a social services career.

Step 7 Pose a question to the reader.

  • Example of a thought-question conclusion: After all, with no other world to compare ours to, who are we to say a better world isn’t possible?
  • Example of a “call to action” conclusion: Now that I’ve spent some thousand-odd words advocating for voter rights, voter registration, and rattling off anecdotes of my door-to-door campaigning, I just have one question left: are you registered to vote?

Things to Avoid in Your College Essay Conclusion

Step 1 Avoid repeating or summarizing your points.

  • Don’t: In conclusion, my family’s struggle with poverty over the past five years taught me much about resilience.
  • Do: Tonight, my dad will put food on the table, as he always manages to. My mom will kiss him on the cheek as soon as she walks in the door from work, sighing as she finally sits down for the day. Despite all the challenges of the last five years, I’ve watched my parents overcome every obstacle with resilience and grit—and what I’ve learned from them is something I wouldn’t give up for the world.

Step 3 Avoid stating the obvious.

  • Don’t: I’m a hard worker.
  • Do: Juggling rigorous academics with grueling morning soccer practices has taught me the value of hard work and discipline.
  • Don’t: Climate change is a problem.
  • Do: My generation is already suffering the real-time effects of climate change, like our snow days turning to smoke days as wildfires burn around our homes.

Step 4 Avoid overly-emotional appeals for admission.

  • Don’t: Please consider me.
  • Do: As shown by the four years I volunteered at my local children’s hospital, community service is a priority for me in my future personal and professional life. Seeing what your university does for its surrounding neighborhood and the people there, I feel confident I would be a natural fit at your school.

Step 5 Avoid cliché quotes or generic statements.

  • Don’t: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
  • Do: In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I would be the lead in my senior play. Cut to now, and I’m singing my heart out to an applauding audience of parents and peers. From this moment forward, I will always understand and uphold the value of betting on yourself, even when you don’t know the outcome.
  • Don’t: College will help me reach my dreams.
  • Do: I’m enthusiastic about starting my next chapter—attending a school that will help me grow, learn, and take my next step toward my dream of becoming a doctor.

Expert Q&A

  • Be specific in your essay—admissions officers want to hear about you and your life, so tell details about who you are and your experiences. [10] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Be authentic—admissions officers have read enough college essays to know when someone is phoning it in. Be true to yourself, write how you speak, and let your personality shine through. [11] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Show enthusiasm—if you’re talking about the school or your future, show excitement for what the next four years will hold for you. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to end a life goals essay

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Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about preparing for graduation, check out our in-depth interview with Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed. .

  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/conclusions/
  • ↑ https://www.collegeessayadvisors.com/write-amazing-closing-line/
  • ↑ https://essaypro.com/blog/how-to-write-a-conclusion
  • ↑ https://students.tippie.uiowa.edu/sites/students.tippie.uiowa.edu/files/2022-05/effective_claims.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/how-to-write-your-best-college-application-essay-493692/

About This Article

Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed.

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How to Write a Personal Essay for Your College Application

how to end a life goals essay

What does it take to land in the “accept” (instead of “reject”) pile?

How can you write an essay that helps advance you in the eyes of the admissions officers and makes a real impression? Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Start early.  Do not leave it until the last minute. Give yourself time when you don’t have other homework or extracurriculars hanging over your head to work on the essay.
  • Keep the focus narrow.  Your essay does not have to cover a massive, earth-shattering event. Some people in their teens haven’t experienced a major life event. Some people have. Either way, it’s okay.
  • Be yourself.  Whether writing about a painful experience or a more simple experience, use the narrative to be vulnerable and honest about who you are. Use words you would normally use. Trust your voice and the fact that your story is interesting enough in that no one else has lived it.
  • Be creative.  “Show, don’t tell,” and that applies here — to an extent. The best essays typically do both. You can help your reader see and feel what you are describing by using some figurative language throughout your piece.
  • Make a point. As you finish your final body paragraphs ask yourself “So what?” This will help you hone in on how to end your essay in a way that elevates it into a story about an insight or discovery you made about yourself, rather than just being about an experience you had.

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Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .

We’ve all heard about the dreaded “college essay,” the bane of every high school senior’s existence. This daunting element of the college application is something that can create angst for even the most accomplished students.

  • AA Amy Allen is a writer, educator, and lifelong learner. Her freelance writing business,  All of the Write Words , focuses on providing high school students with one-on-one feedback to guide them through the college application process and with crafting a thoughtful personal essay. A dedicated poet, Amy’s work has also been published in several journals including  Pine Row Press ,  Months to Years,  and  Atlanta Review .

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So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.

The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.

To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
  • Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
  • Conclude with a sentence that's compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.

To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you're writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point. For example, you might conclude an essay on the idea of home in James Joyce's short story collection,  Dubliners , with information about Joyce's own complex feelings towards Dublin, his home. Or you might end with a biographer's statement about Joyce's attitude toward Dublin, which could illuminate his characters' responses to the city. Just be cautious, especially about using secondary material: make sure that you get the last word.
  • Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like  60 Minutes .
  • Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument. For example, an essay on Marx's treatment of the conflict between wage labor and capital might begin with Marx's claim that the "capitalist economy is . . . a gigantic enterprise of dehumanization "; the essay might end by suggesting that Marxist analysis is itself dehumanizing because it construes everything in economic -- rather than moral or ethical-- terms.
  • Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, or involve, or suggest? For example, an essay on the novel  Ambiguous Adventure , by the Senegalese writer Cheikh Hamidou Kane, might open with the idea that the protagonist's development suggests Kane's belief in the need to integrate Western materialism and Sufi spirituality in modern Senegal. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible.

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:

  • Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
  • Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up." These phrases can be useful--even welcome--in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
  • Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay. As a result, by the time you've finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you've produced. (And if you haven't immersed yourself in your subject, you may be feeling even more doubtful about your essay as you approach the conclusion.) Repress those doubts. Don't undercut your authority by saying things like, "this is just one approach to the subject; there may be other, better approaches. . ."

Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

How to Set and Achieve Life Goals The Right Way

Fulfilling life goals

So, can we take this premise and apply it to the biggest, most meaningful objectives we could possibly set for ourselves—our life goals?

And what would that really mean, in terms of planning and getting on with it?

Locke’s seminal research has given us a good deal to go on when it comes to effective goal-setting. But understanding goal-setting theory is only one step toward crafting personal life goals. In this article, we’ll take a closer peek at some ideas and resources that will help you set out on the right path, and stick at it for success.

Whether you’ve got no clue what you want, or you have a mile-long bucket list, hopefully, there will be something in here to get you motivated.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients create actionable goals and master techniques to create lasting behavior change.

This Article Contains:

What are life goals, why should we set goals in life, 5 examples of setting life goals, life goal ideas: a list of goals to achieve in life, the process and steps of setting life goals, how to find and determine personal goals in life, healthy goal setting objectives and guidelines, planning life goals and how to prioritize them (incl. planner), 5 worksheets for creating and setting life goals (incl. pdf), how to track and evaluate the status of your life goals: the role of accountability, 11 strategies and techniques for achieving success, a look at life without goals, 3 life goal apps, 6 books on the topic, 17 inspiring quotes, a take-home message.

Life goals are what we want to achieve, and they’re much more meaningful than just ‘ what we need to accomplish to survive ’. Unlike daily routines or short-term objectives, they drive our behaviors over the long run. There’s no single psychological definition for them, and they aren’t strictly a clinical construct, but they help us determine what we want to experience in terms of our values .

And because they are personal ambitions, they can take many different forms. But they give us a sense of direction and make us accountable as we strive for happiness and wellbeing—for our best possible lives.

Lots of us have dreams. We know what makes us happy, what we’d love to try out, and we may have a vague idea of how we’d go about it. But setting clear goals can be beneficial in several ways, above and beyond wishful thinking: here are a few.

1. Setting Goals Can Clarify Our Behaviors

First and foremost, Locke’s Theory of Goal-Setting puts intentions squarely at the center of our behavior (Locke, 1968). The act of setting goals and the thought we put into crafting them directs our attention to the why, how, and what of our aspirations. As such, they give us something to focus on and impact positively on our motivation.

Of course, there are limitations to the generalizability of this finding—simply setting goals won’t drive the actions that lead us to success.

We’ll look at this shortly, but for now, suffice to say that they give us something to commit to. It may not be easy to switch careers, but acknowledge that it’s your goal and you’ll at least be able to choose some appropriate actions (Ajzen, 1991).

2. Goals Allow for Feedback

If and when we know where we want to be, we can assess where we are now, and essentially, we can chart our progress. This feedback helps us adjust our behavior accordingly (and when it’s rewarding feedback, our brains release dopamine, e.g. Treadway et al., 2012). By allowing for feedback, goals let us align or re-align our behaviors, keeping us on track with our eyes on the prize.

3. Goal-setting Can Promote Happiness

When our goals are based on our values, they are meaningful. Meaning, purpose, and striving for something ‘bigger’ is a key element of happiness theory in positive psychology, and the ‘M’ in Seligman’s PERMA model (Seligman, 2004).

Along with positive emotion, relationships, engagement, and accomplishment (which goals allow for), it makes up what we’ve come to known as ‘The Good Life’.

In other words, life goals represent something besides the daily grind. They allow us to pursue authentic aims of our own choosing and enjoy a feeling of achievement when we get there. That said, even striving to be the very best we can sometimes lead to happiness in itself, according to eudaimonic wellbeing research (Ryan & Huta, 2009; Huta, 2016).

4. They Encourage Us to Use Our Strengths

When we consider what matters the most to us, we can get more attuned with our inner strengths as well as our passions. Charting a course for ourselves is one thing, but using our strengths to get there comes with a whole set of other benefits.

Studies show that knowing and leveraging our strengths can increase our confidence (Crabtree 2002), boost our engagement (Sorensen, 2014), and even promote feelings of good health and life satisfaction (Proyer et al., 2013).

Using them in pursuit of our goals, therefore—even discovering what they are—can be a good thing for our wellbeing.

how to end a life goals essay

As you may have seen elsewhere in our goal-setting articles, positive psychologists tend to draw on (at least) four main findings from his original work and the literature that followed (Locke & Latham, 2002; 2006).

We can then take a ‘nice idea’ and create some examples of setting goals from it. Let’s assume, therefore, that Jamie wants to set goals based on her passion – teaching.

  • The more difficult Jamie’s goal, the greater the accomplishment. Challenge, in other words, is important. Jamie could approach her goal-setting with an easy task like “ Helping my brother with his homework “, but she will derive a greater sense of achievement if she sets the bar a bit higher. An example here would be, “ Become a certified teacher ”. At the other extreme, she might try to avoid overly excessive and potentially unattainable goals, like “ Starting my own boarding school by the end of the year .”
  • The more explicit Jamie’s goal, the better she will be able to regulate her performance. Here, she could specify exactly what she wants to achieve in greater detail: “ Become a certified K1 teacher for asylum seekers in Svenborgia ”. With more precise details, Jamie can get more explicit feedback on her progress and align her performance accordingly—helping her on the path to achievement.
  • High goal commitment comes from setting important, attainable goals. At this point, Jamie has addressed challenge and clarity (or difficulty and specificity) (vanSonnenberg, 2011). She will need to reflect on whether it really matters to her and whether it’s realistic. This is more of a principle and less of a ‘step’. Does she understand what it involves and does it align with her values?
  • Jamie needs to ensure she can get feedback to stay motivated. In other words, she needs to be able to look at where she is along the way and compare that to her goal. Has she enrolled in the relevant academic pathway? Has she signed up for professional experience? Or has she achieved those and now she’s getting her Svenborgia work visa? Even better, she could see if someone might mentor her, allowing her more regular feedback on her progress.
  • Jamie’s goal should not be overly complex. As life goes on, our goals may change. Jamie might realize at teacher’s college that she wants to redefine the goal. Maybe she now wants to teach in another country and decides to learn another language. Although there’s no harm in reassessing her goals, the main takeaway is that she should not increase the difficulty of her task(s) beyond what is achievable or realistic—or she may become overwhelmed.

how to end a life goals essay

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Inherently, life goals need to be meaningful, and meaning is subjective. In that respect, it’s probably more useful to think about categories or types of life goals before reeling off potential bucket list objectives.

According to Kasser and Ryan (2001), therefore, there are two types of life goals, and these relate to our wellbeing in different ways:

  • Intrinsic goals relate to emotional intimacy, personal growth, and helping others. They are believed to be aligned with our needs as humans, reflecting our inherent desire for self-knowledge and more fulfilling relationships (Maslow, 1943).
  • Extrinsic goals  are more culturally defined and less about our nature as human beings, encompassing things like our physical appearance, social standing, status symbols, and wealth.

Research suggests that intrinsic life goals are related to greater happiness, self-actualization, vitality, and satisfaction with life, compared with extrinsic life goals (Ryan et al., 1999; Niemiec et al., 2009).

But at the end of the day, evidence also shows that the content of our goals may be less important to our wellbeing than our reasons for pursuing them. Having the ‘right’ reason for goal pursuit—irrespective of the aspiration itself, that is—has been found to contribute to our wellbeing, and the opposite applies (Carver & Baird, 1998).

Intrinsic Life Goals

These satisfy the needs that stem from being human—including our psychological and self-fulfillment needs, as shown below in Maslow’s Hierarchy (1943).

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

Life goals based on the former might include:

  • Having a loving marriage or a trusting relationship with your significant other;
  • Finding and keeping a healthy work-life balance, with time for friends and family;
  • Living with integrity, being honest and open with others;
  • Inspiring others through your beliefs and actions;
  • Being a great listener so that others can turn to you; or
  • Becoming an expert in your field and helping others.

Self-fulfillment needs-based goals could entail:

  • Coming up with a new invention that reflects your creative abilities;
  • Being a successful entrepreneur and running your own business;
  • Creating your own personal brand for your work;
  • Graduating with a Master’s or Ph.D. in something;
  • Learning a new language; or
  • Picking up a ‘hard skill’ and mastering it.

Extrinsic Life Goals

Extrinsic goals aren’t necessarily material, but because they are generally ‘wants’ rather than human needs, they are easier to come up with. They require less self-reflection, for example:

  • Owning the very latest Tesla;
  • Becoming a millionaire;
  • Getting a big promotion or being in a senior position at work;
  • Starring in a movie;
  • Having your own workshop/studio or
  • Visiting every country in Europe.

At the end of this article, I’ve also included some recommended books on setting life goals. Miller and Frisch’s Creating Your Best Life , for one, has many more examples that you’ll hopefully find useful.

You can (and easily will) find countless models for goal setting in the self-help literature. But what does positive psychology say about the process and steps of goal-setting? The following framework is taken from the well-known psychological capital intervention (PCI), and it uses three steps: goal design, pathway generation, and overcoming obstacles (Luthans et al., 2006).

1. Goal Design

The first step is to design our goals. When crafting goals, we need to remember the key premise of goal-setting theory—that they are intentions which guide our behavior. They are “targets for mental action sequences” (Synder, 2002: 250).

Ideally, by design:

  • Goals should be concrete endpoints. That is, we should be able to measure our success because they are clear and detailed;
  • They should be approach-based. This means we should easily be able to focus on moving positively towards their accomplishment, rather than on away from negative outcomes. (“Working toward” rather than “avoiding” something) (Coats et al., 1996); and
  • We should be able to break them down into sub-goals if necessary so that we can celebrate little successes along the way (Snyder et al., 1991).

2. Pathway Generation

We now have personally meaningful life goals designed and we can start thinking about different potential pathways for achieving them. Luthans and colleagues’ PsyCap Intervention invited participants to brainstorm multiple pathways without worrying at first about their feasibility. ‘As many possibilities as they could think of’, essentially, and not unlike ‘there are no bad ideas in brainstorming’.

Participants then invited others to weigh in and add to their potential pathways. In the same way, you might ask friends, family, or someone in a mentor-like position to help you come up with ideas on how to pursue your goals. What possible pathways might Jamie take to become a certified K1 teacher for asylum seekers in Svenborgia, for example?

The last part of pathway generation considers inventory pathways: what resources will you need to pursue pathway A, B, or C? Essentially, we refine our potential pathways—we think carefully about what we can realistically expect, and this leaves us with fewer, more viable options (Luthans et al., 2006).

3. Overcoming Obstacles

We have inherent beliefs about our ability to use pathways for goal success—our agency—and these are accordingly termed ‘agency thought’ (Snyder, 2002). This kind of thinking plays a particularly important role when we come up against obstacles, especially unexpected ones, as they can determine whether we pick ourselves up or just disengage.

When setting life goals, therefore, it helps to consider the possible barriers that might arise. Independently, we can self-reflect, thinking about our potential pathways as well as our strategies we might use to deal with them (Luthans et al., 2006). We might do this alone or with others, like in the pathway generation stage, and our focus here is to ready ourselves for contingencies.

Put differently, “ What might prevent me from achieving my goal? ” and “ How could I work through or around this? ”

how to end a life goals essay

We’ve put it further into context using Maslow ’s Needs Hierarchy, and we’ve laid out a 3-step positive psychology framework for the process of life goal-setting, so now it’s about self-reflection.

You will definitely be able to find inspiration all over the place for different possible goals, but because meaning is intrinsic, your answers will be unique.

With the aim of discovering your own values and inspiration, have a look at these self-reflection exercises and see what the right questions might be for you personally.

No matter what you’ve set as your life goals, adopt some best practice guidelines to make the whole journey a positive experience. Based on what we have looked at so far, we can draw a few objectives to keep in mind.

  • Be realistic. Try to keep things in perspective both when designing your goals and as you work toward them. Research indicates that the best goals are challenging, yet achievable (Locke & Latham, 2002).
  • A healthy goal is a positive ‘approach’ goal . Rather than setting negative, avoidance goals that have us working away from certain harmful, averse, or unpleasant outcomes, set yourself positive targets. Depending on whether they are intrinsic or extrinsic, therefore, they might be desirable, enjoyable, or ‘good’ in a deeper sense (Coats et al., 1996).
  • Be ready to fail along the way…but don’t let it stop you . Resilience is the capacity to persevere in spite of setbacks, and obstacles are inevitable in some form or another. So as well as accepting this inevitability first up, resilience is a useful skill to develop throughout your journey. How do you plan to overcome obstacles? Can you brainstorm some alternative pathways?
  • Involve others . As we’ve discussed earlier, family and friends can be invaluable. Not only do they help us generate ideas, but they are social resources that we can reach out to for support along the way.
  • Break them down where possible . Celebrating our wins along the way is the same as celebrating our progress towards a larger life goal. Whether that celebration takes place on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis will depend on your unique aims and the pathway you choose to follow. Nonetheless, research shows that they are critical for momentum and motivation (Amabile & Kramer, 2011).

So, do you have a million things you want to accomplish? Or even just a couple of goals, but lots of milestones along the way? We don’t really need statistics to understand why writing them down adds some organization to the whole thing, but active planning can also boost our motivation.

Personal Strategic Planning

According to Brian Tracy, author of Goals! , getting from A to B is about personal strategic planning. Quite simply, his suggested approach takes organizational management principles and applies them in the personal realm.

Rather than aiming to maximize return on investment (ROI) as we would in corporate settings, we aim instead to boost our efficiency by reducing the physical, mental, and emotional energy we might waste on the journey. He calls it ‘return on energy’ (ROE).

The idea is to think in terms of human capital. If you like, we can think back to the generating pathways step we described earlier in Luthans et al.’s 3-pronged framework. When refining our pathways, we can think beyond just what’s feasible to reflect on what might also maximize our return on energy (ROE).

Unless walking to every EU country is a life goal in itself for you, might it not be more efficient to fly or take a train? Or, could you take a few extra days on your next business trip? Two very logistics-based examples, but hopefully they illustrate the premise of personal strategic planning.

Prioritizing Life Goals

Prioritization is about identifying the most personally important life goals you’ve designed and written down. The following might help (Collingwood, 2018):

  • After you’ve formalized them by writing them down, rank them on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10, or whatever works for you. As long as you systematically apply the same ranking system to all of them, the most important ones should stand out.
  • An alternative would be to categorize them first into whatever domains work best for them, then rank within each category. What’s your most important health goal? Career goal? The PDF goal-setting worksheets below are full of categories you might find useful, but you are unique, and there’s no one best way to go about it.
  • Is it feasible or realistic to focus on the top five goals? Or is three a more viable figure? Highlight, circle, or pick out the ones that are most worthy of your energy—what would make you happiest? What’s most meaningful to you personally, in terms of your values? (Interestingly, billionaire Warren Buffet would have you stick to the top five and avoid the rest.)
  • Get planning. What are the sub-goals you’ve identified? What resources will you need for each stage, and when will you need them? ‘Reverse engineering’ goals and working backward from the finish line is helpful for some people (Collingwood, 2018).
  • Find a good, but not necessarily the best time to start, as the latter might never come around. Then, use a planner to work it all out. When you’re scheduling, don’t forget celebrations as well as milestones.

Some useful planners include:

  • LifeTick – a free or paid online planning calendar;
  • GoalScape – which allows you to share your goals and create projects;
  • This free PDF , which is more of a planning tool than a calendar; or
  • Any of the free Full PDFs here from Passion Planner.

how to end a life goals essay

These life goals worksheets will hopefully be useful to you as a means of getting started.

1. Workbook for Goal-setting and Evidence-based Strategies for Success

Put together by Caroline Miller, The Ultimate Life List Guide author, this is an entire workbook about setting goals and staying on track. It is based on six concepts that come together as a strategy for designing goals and creating optimal conditions for success:

  • Finding what enables you to create a happy life;
  • Envisioning your best potential self, an intention which will motivate your actions;
  • Designing short- and longer-term life goals;
  • Cultivating an environment that facilitates your success;
  • Developing willpower and habits that support this; and
  • Encouraging a mindset conducive to long-term change.

3 particularly useful worksheets in here include:

  • The Mission and Purpose Worksheet – this guides you through creating your own personal purpose statement (p. 36);
  • The Evaluating Goals Worksheet – over several pages, you can assess how or whether your life goals meet certain criteria for success (p. 40); and
  • The Ifs, Ands, and Buts Worksheet – which focuses on overcoming obstacles (p. 67).

2. Goal Exploration Worksheet

Breaking down life goals into different areas can be helpful, and this Goal Exploration exercise provides you with 7 different categories that might stimulate your thinking. With useful prompts, a few tips, and some examples, the layout of this sheet includes spaces for 5-year, 1-year, and 1-month goals.

  • Social goals;
  • Career goals;
  • Physical goals;
  • Family goals;
  • Leisure goals;
  • Personality goals; and

3. Goal Setting Workbook

Starting on Page 7 of this Citrus College workbook , you’ll find useful information about long- and short-term goal-setting. There are brainstorming exercise and categories for your inspiration, such as:

  • I want to be…
  • I want to learn…
  • I want to give…

This is followed as you progress by questions about your goals:

  • “Are they achievable?”
  • “Does the goal come with an alternative?”
  • “Do I want to do what’s necessary to accomplish it?” and
  • “Is the goal compatible with my values?”

We write down our goals to formalize them in one respect, and in another, to give us a sense of personal accountability for their outcomes (Schlenker & Weigold, 1989). If we share those goals with others, we create even more accountability, as we’re ‘answerable’ to more than one person (Schlenker et al., 1994).

The first kind of accountability is internal, and psychologists suggest it motivate us to keep going if these goals are aligned with our personal values (Rutledge, 1998). This is all well and good, but how do we track and evaluate our progress?

Tracking Your Life Goals

First, as discussed, we can identify our goals and create clarity around them. Prioritizing them allows us to channel our focus on the top important goals, and one or more of the planners above will hopefully be useful for this.

We can then break down our larger, key goals into smaller sub-goals or objectives. These might be step-wise milestones, or we might have several alternative pathways running concurrently, but breaking down these goals allows us to plan better.

If you want to set deadlines or time frames for accomplishing each small sub-goal, feel free—this adds another layer of personal accountability and is commonly used in project management contexts.

Set realistic, sufficiently challenging time frames, and you’ll also benefit from a healthy amount of pressure— eustress , in other words (Brulé & Morgan, 2018; Mills et al., 2018).

When you have time-bound goals, therefore, you can better evaluate your progress. And from here, we can adapt or adjust our generated pathways accordingly to maximize our chances at success (Snyder, 2002).

Why the secret to success is setting the right goals – John Doerr

If it’s all a lot of information to take in at once—or if you’ve skipped ahead—here’s a neat recap. These goal-setting strategies and techniques draw from the literature we’ve mentioned already, starting with Locke and Latham’s work and moving on to what we know about motivation.

Let’s cover the techniques within the three-pronged strategy we discussed earlier for maximum relevance.

Goal Design

Based on what we know, the following techniques help us craft well-designed goals.

  • Set intrinsic life goals as well as extrinsic ones . This requires self-reflection on your personal values, as well as your psychological and self-fulfillment needs as a human being (Maslow, 1943). Aligning your goals with what you really consider important will make them more meaningful (Kasser and Ryan, 2001), and meaning is considered a key part of happiness in positive psychology (Seligman, 2004).
  • Set approach, rather than avoidance goals . Aim for positive outcomes rather than focusing your psychological, emotional, and physical energy on avoiding negative ones (Locke, 1968; Tracy, 2003; Locke & Latham 2006).
  • Make them clear and actionable . Ideally, you should be easily able to break these down into sub-goals after some thought on potential pathways. If you can create concrete steps that lead toward a positive vision of the future, it will be easier to start thinking about resources you might need (Luthans et al., 2006).
  • Make them challenging, but keep them realistic . When it comes to outcomes, excessively easy goals won’t motivate you enough and could be boring. Overly challenging aspirations, on the other hand, can lead to stress and overwhelm you (Locke, 1968; Luthans et al., 2006). Similarly, don’t rush yourself in terms of getting started if it’s not necessary, but don’t wait until the time is perfect, either.

Generating Pathways

These include some brainstorming techniques and ideas about creating the ideal conditions that support your goal pursuit (Miller & Frisch, 2009).

  • Brainstorm as many alternative pathways as you can . Think about all the potential ways you might go about achieving your goal and don’t be too quick to discount them. Give your creative brain a workout and record them as you go. This will keep you from forgetting them later down the line.
  • Identify the resources you’ll need . What is absolutely necessary for each step along the way? Then, what will make things easier for you? Consider people who might support you as well as more tangible resources (Emmons, 2003).
  • Plan out your progress if it helps . Think motivation and accountability, this time applying the eustress principle to the goal pursuit process rather than its outcomes (Frink & Ferris, 1998). Use a planner, an app, or whatever else you find most valuable, and don’t be afraid to adapt your pathway if it’s necessary.

Overcoming Obstacles

Here, some planning techniques and useful resources from elsewhere on this site, to help you stay on track.

  • Plan for potential obstacles . Part of being realistic means planning for contingencies (Luthans et al., 2006). What might stop you from pursuing one pathway and force you onto another? How can you avoid or overcome obstacles through proactive strategizing?
  • Use positive self-talk . Our self-talk is very powerful. Preparing proactively for worst-case scenarios helps counter pessimistic self-talk, but your perceived self-efficacy is also critical to goal accomplishment (Schunk, 1990). Hope is very important and positive self-talk plays a key role in overcoming obstacles (Snyder, 2002).
  • Develop resilience . Setbacks can take their toll emotionally and lead to disengagement (again, if we let them). It’s possible to develop your capacity to deal with setbacks through resilience training and exercises, so why not try some of these approaches ?
  • Evaluate your progress . Remember that your priorities might change along the way, so evaluation is not necessarily about success or failure. If you like, tweak your goals—make them more or less challenging, or change their nature as you see fit.

Empathy and sadness

But while there are real benefits to goal-setting, is the absence of goals really so terrible?

Essentially, this dives into a more complex philosophical debate. To put it succinctly, though, we can think of happiness as both subjective wellbeing ( SWB ) and eudaimonic wellbeing ( EWB )—or hedonic vs eudaimonic happiness .

The first is related to feelings of life satisfaction and the predominance of positive over negative affect, the second premises that life is about the pursuit of virtue and fulfillment of one’s own potential (Ryan & Deci, 2001; Diener et al., 2002).

What do you think?

Some apps will help you store your short-term goals in one place, and can be pretty handy if you’ve got objectives you’d like to stay on top of daily.

Goalify is an Android and iOs app that lets you log and review your objectives regularly. As well as sending you updates and reminders, you can compare your accomplishments against friends with identical goals. With this app, you can categorize, tweak, and get tips on how to better accomplish them. And let’s face it, gamification has its merits.

2. Coach.me Habit Tracker

This nifty app lets you do more than just list your goals—it’s pretty effective at keeping you accountable and is simple to use. You can log your targets and view your stats, ask questions of the community, and sync it with other gizmos. The free version is enough if you simply want to start creating a habit, but paid users can also get advice from pro coaches.

It’s only available for iOs devices, but Strides is quite popular nonetheless. This lets you stay on top of your progress for short-term or daily goals, with a calendar function and some more sophisticated stats. If you want to see your progress as averages or celebrate the small wins with time-bound targets, they are all easily accessible from one straightforward dashboard.

Here are some of the titles we have already mentioned, as well as a few more books that you might find insightful. Some are more ‘how to’-focused, and others cover the psychology of goal-setting theory.

  • Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide by Caroline Adams Miller and Dr. Michael Frisch ( Amazon )
  • Think Small: The Surprisingly Simple Ways to Reach Big Goals by Owain Service and Rory Gallagher ( Amazon )
  • Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want – Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy ( Amazon )
  • A Theory of Goal Setting & Task Performance by Edwin Locke, Gary Latham, Ken Smith, and Robert Wood ( Amazon )
  • New Developments in Goal Setting and Task Performance by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham ( Amazon )
  • Goal Setting: A Motivational Technique That Works! by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham ( Amazon )

how to end a life goals essay

World’s Largest Positive Psychology Resource

The Positive Psychology Toolkit© is a groundbreaking practitioner resource containing over 500 science-based exercises , activities, interventions, questionnaires, and assessments created by experts using the latest positive psychology research.

Updated monthly. 100% Science-based.

“The best positive psychology resource out there!” — Emiliya Zhivotovskaya , Flourishing Center CEO

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.

Albert Einstein

By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.

Mark Victor Hansen

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Robert Schuller

The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

Michelle Obama

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

William Jennings Bryan

You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.

C. S. Lewis

If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.
You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.

Edmund Hillary

A goal is a dream with its work boots on.

Rachel Hollis

You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.

Wayne Gretsky

Goals transform a random walk into a chase.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The important thing isn’t where you’ve been, or where you are, but where you want to go.

Dean Bokhari

Goals are the road maps that guide you to your destination.

Roy Bennett

An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding.

Robert Louis Stevenson

When you know what you want and you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it.
The question I ask myself like almost every day is, ‘Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing?’

Mark Zuckerberg

It doesn’t matter where you came from. All that matters is where you are going.

Brian Tracy

We all have dreams, but some merit more of our energy than others. When we reflect on the second type of aspiration along with our personal values, we’re already on the way to setting life goals. In this article, we have considered goal-setting theory and some actionable strategies that use positive psychology concepts to frame the whole concept.

We’ve also looked at how human nature leads to intrinsic goals, and how the whole idea fits into wellbeing. Have you discovered any ideas that you find useful? Or how do you motivate yourself to keep on track?

More importantly, why not share some of your life goals with us in the comments? Let’s get those ideas flowing!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free .

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  • Lopez (Eds.), The Handbook of Positive Psychology (pp.63- 73). New York: Oxford University Press.
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  • Frink, D. D., & Ferris, G. R. (1998). Accountability, impression management, and goal setting in the performance evaluation process. Human Relations, 51 (10), 1259-1283.
  • Huta, V. (2016). An overview of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being concepts. Handbook of media use and well-being: International perspectives on theory and research on positive media effects, 14-33.
  • Locke, E. A. (1968). Toward a theory of task motivation and incentives. Organizational behavior and human performance, 3 (2), 157-189.
  • Locke, L. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation. American Psychologist, 57 (9), 705-717.
  • Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2006). New Directions in Goal-Setting Theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15 (5), 265-268.
  • Luthans, F., Avey, J. B., Avolio, B. J., Norman, S. M., & Combs, G. M. (2006). Psychological capital development: toward a micro‐intervention. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 27 (3), 387-393.
  • MacLeod, S. (2018). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
  • Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50 (4), 370.
  • Miller, C. A., & Frisch, M. B. (2009). Creating your best life: The ultimate life list guide . Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Mills, H., Reiss, N., & Dombeck, M. (2018). Types of Stressors (Eustress vs. Distress). Retrieved from https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/types-of-stressors-eustress-vs-distress
  • Niemiec, C.P., Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2009). The path taken: Consequences of attaining intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations in post-college life. Journal of Research in Personality, 43 , 291–306.
  • Proyer, R. T., Gander, F., Wellenzohn, S., & Ruch, W. (2013). What good are character strengths beyond subjective well-being? The contribution of the good character on self-reported health-oriented behavior, physical fitness, and the subjective health status. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8 (3), 222-232.
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  • Snyder, C. R. (2002). Hope theory: Rainbows in the mind. Psychological Inquiry, 13 (4), 249-275.
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  • Tracy, B. (2003). Goals!: How to get everything you want-faster than you ever thought possible . Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • Vansonnenberg, E. (2011). Ready, Set, Goals! Retrieved from https://positivepsychologynews.com/news/emily-vansonnenberg/2011010315821

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3 Goal Achievement Exercises Pack

Become a Writer Today

Essays About Goals: Top 5 Examples Plus 10 Prompts

Goals could be a one-time event or a lifelong growth process. Write effectively with the help of our essays about goals and writing prompts in our guide . 

Having goals helps us have a sense of purpose. We find our determination, discipline , and strategic thinking tested to their limits . The road toward any goal , especially ambitious ones, is full of thorns and spikes. Some walk away and accept that these goals are not destined for them. Some, however, keep pressing forward, determined to achieve these goals. Gaining confidence in writing can help you achieve your goals by putting pen to paper and starting a plan .


5 Essay Examples

1.  are you goal or growth conscious by katherine beneby, 2. how to help an employee figure out their career goals by dorie clark, 3. no goals: why is it so hard to do something for enjoyment’s sake by jenny valentish, 4. get inspired: how four hikers accomplished their 2021 hiking goals by anna roth , 5. does sharing your goals on social media make you more likely to achieve them by kristan russell, 1. my goals in life, 2. travel goals, 3. the goal of forming better study habits, 4. climate goals: are we progressing, 5. importance of fitness goals, 6. fiscal policy goals, 7. failing at your goals, 8. setting lofty vs. light goals, 9. poverty reduction goals, 10. my academic goals.

“The difference between goals and growth is that goals are seasonal, while growth is lifelong. Goals focus on a destination while growth focuses on a journey.”

In this essay, the writer discusses how achieving our goals may be possible if we reframe our minds to think of them as a growth process. This essay enumerates the difficulties of achieving our objectives and offers guidance on what will help put structure in how we formulate our growth plans . You might also be interested in these essays about bad habits .

“It’s not always possible to help the people we supervise identify and work toward their career goals… [S]o when we can assist our employees in getting there, it’s a meaningful way we can make a difference in their lives and their professional success.”

As per our list of topics to write about , this essay looks at how managers must realize their critical roles in the lives of the employees they handle. Their biggest contribution to the development of their employees is helping them achieve their tasks at work while ensuring these victories lead to their broader career goals. You might also be wondering, why write goals down?

“Once, to stave off depression, I set myself the goal -tastic mission of doing something new every day for a year – from flying in a glider to blowing things up – and blogging about it. Right from day one, the sense of focus lifted my mood, and there was frankly no time to overthink.”

In this essay, the writer looks at how atelic activities, or those we do for fun, positively influence our outlook. Our goal -driven world, however, hinders us from seeing the pure joy of doing things without goals. You might be interested in these essays about dream jobs .

“Last year, she set a goal to simply go hiking at all. And she’s thrilled to have made it happen, saying it was one of the best things she could have done for herself and her family during such a challenging year.”

This writer describes points to inspire people to start hiking and to set personal fitness goals. Look no further and turn to the inspiring stories of people who have targeted to hike across states, hike for the first time, hike once a month for health purposes, and hike a hundred miles yearly. For more inspiration, check out these essays about achievement .

“Wellness gurus and fitness bloggers seem to be divided between whether sharing goals on your social media sabotages you or holds you accountable.“

This essay revolves around a nascent study that aims to see if sharing your goals on social media make them more attainable. While initial results show that those who posted made significant progress compared to people who did not post, more questions need to be explored. You might be inspired by these essays about success .

10 Prompts on Essays About Goals

In this essay, delve into your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Before anything else, elaborate on what drew you to set these goals. Then, share your action plans to make them a reality. Discuss the obstacles you’ve faced and how you’ve conquered them. 

Travel goals

What is the one destination you dream of? For this essay, daydream about your travel goals. Direct that excitement and write your travel itinerary, the duration of your stay, where you will be staying, and what daring activities you will dare yourself to plunge into. You can also talk about whom you would like to be with when you fulfill your travel goals or if you prefer going solo.

It is a challenge to hit the books when we live in a world with unlimited distractions. In this topic prompt, share effective study habits to help students focus on their studies. One helpful tip, for example, is designing your environment to be conducive to a habit change. In the case of study habits, this means temporarily eliminating access to social media and other digital distractions. Cite more tips and conclude your essay with a few words of motivation.

Under the Paris Agreement , the landmark international agreement to fight climate change, countries must jointly strive to arrest global warming and cap it to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030. The question is: is this goal still on the table? Read recent news articles on how countries are following through on their Paris Treaty pledges. Listen to what environmentalists say about national efforts and tackle what more must be done to attain the climate goals. 

Fitness is a common new year’s resolution but try convincing your readers to start their fitness goals today. First, help your readers explore the right dietary program and workout schedule based on their daily demands. 

Then, underscore the importance of a fitness goal for gaining self-esteem and improving physical and mental health. Entice them with the idea of gaining a new exciting skill from a new workout activity and motivate them to start unlocking the fit version of themselves today. 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries recorded ballooning debts as governments spent heavily to fight the pandemic and also support struggling sectors. So first, determine whether your country is in a tight fiscal space. 

The fiscal space assessment framework created by the International Monetary Fund may help you identify the metrics and data to gather. Then, shed light on your government’s fiscal policy goals to address debt while spending in sectors that guarantee an economy’s long-term health, such as education and social services. 

How do people receive failures? Write about people’s attitudes and actions when they fail at their goals. Can people develop depression, and how can they recover from the fall? Try to answer these and share your experience of failing at your goals. 

Ask yourself: How did you move forward after that? Then, share your opinions on whether a failure signifies that it would be best for someone to find a new goal altogether or try again with stronger determination and a better-calculated strategy. 

Which is better: aiming for a lofty goal that opens risks of failure, which many fear, or light goals that might do little in stretching out your potential? Answer this by listing the pros and cons of each. Then help readers strike the optimum balance between a loft or light goal . Cite examples of lofty and light goals to help your readers better differentiate the two.

For this essay, take a deep dive into the poverty reduction efforts of your government. First, give an overview of an ongoing flagship poverty reduction program and uncover its outcomes since its implementation. Read through government reports about the breakthrough goals of the program and which ones are gaining momentum. 

Then, look at the other side of the fence by listening to what critics say about the program. Take note of their laments about bottlenecks in the program and what more can be done to attain poverty reduction goals swiftly. 

My academic goals

Start with a descriptive paragraph detailing your academic goals. Writing about it vividly, as though it is the reality, is a creative way to show readers how much you have played out the scenarios of success in your head while helping your readers fully understand your goals. Then snap back to reality and discuss your action plan to realize these goals.

For related topics, you may check our essays about dreams in life . Don’t forget to proofread your essay with the best grammar checkers .

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How to Write a College Essay | A Complete Guide & Examples

The college essay can make or break your application. It’s your chance to provide personal context, communicate your values and qualities, and set yourself apart from other students.

A standout essay has a few key ingredients:

  • A unique, personal topic
  • A compelling, well-structured narrative
  • A clear, creative writing style
  • Evidence of self-reflection and insight

To achieve this, it’s crucial to give yourself enough time for brainstorming, writing, revision, and feedback.

In this comprehensive guide, we walk you through every step in the process of writing a college admissions essay.

Table of contents

Why do you need a standout essay, start organizing early, choose a unique topic, outline your essay, start with a memorable introduction, write like an artist, craft a strong conclusion, revise and receive feedback, frequently asked questions.

While most of your application lists your academic achievements, your college admissions essay is your opportunity to share who you are and why you’d be a good addition to the university.

Your college admissions essay accounts for about 25% of your application’s total weight一and may account for even more with some colleges making the SAT and ACT tests optional. The college admissions essay may be the deciding factor in your application, especially for competitive schools where most applicants have exceptional grades, test scores, and extracurriculars.

What do colleges look for in an essay?

Admissions officers want to understand your background, personality, and values to get a fuller picture of you beyond your test scores and grades. Here’s what colleges look for in an essay :

  • Demonstrated values and qualities
  • Vulnerability and authenticity
  • Self-reflection and insight
  • Creative, clear, and concise writing skills

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

It’s a good idea to start organizing your college application timeline in the summer of your junior year to make your application process easier. This will give you ample time for essay brainstorming, writing, revision, and feedback.

While timelines will vary for each student, aim to spend at least 1–3 weeks brainstorming and writing your first draft and at least 2–4 weeks revising across multiple drafts. Remember to leave enough time for breaks in between each writing and editing stage.

Create an essay tracker sheet

If you’re applying to multiple schools, you will have to juggle writing several essays for each one. We recommend using an essay tracker spreadsheet to help you visualize and organize the following:

  • Deadlines and number of essays needed
  • Prompt overlap, allowing you to write one essay for similar prompts

You can build your own essay tracker using our free Google Sheets template.

College essay tracker template

Ideally, you should start brainstorming college essay topics the summer before your senior year. Keep in mind that it’s easier to write a standout essay with a unique topic.

If you want to write about a common essay topic, such as a sports injury or volunteer work overseas, think carefully about how you can make it unique and personal. You’ll need to demonstrate deep insight and write your story in an original way to differentiate it from similar essays.

What makes a good topic?

  • Meaningful and personal to you
  • Uncommon or has an unusual angle
  • Reveals something different from the rest of your application

Brainstorming questions

You should do a comprehensive brainstorm before choosing your topic. Here are a few questions to get started:

  • What are your top five values? What lived experiences demonstrate these values?
  • What adjectives would your friends and family use to describe you?
  • What challenges or failures have you faced and overcome? What lessons did you learn from them?
  • What makes you different from your classmates?
  • What are some objects that represent your identity, your community, your relationships, your passions, or your goals?
  • Whom do you admire most? Why?
  • What three people have significantly impacted your life? How did they influence you?

How to identify your topic

Here are two strategies for identifying a topic that demonstrates your values:

  • Start with your qualities : First, identify positive qualities about yourself; then, brainstorm stories that demonstrate these qualities.
  • Start with a story : Brainstorm a list of memorable life moments; then, identify a value shown in each story.

After choosing your topic, organize your ideas in an essay outline , which will help keep you focused while writing. Unlike a five-paragraph academic essay, there’s no set structure for a college admissions essay. You can take a more creative approach, using storytelling techniques to shape your essay.

Two common approaches are to structure your essay as a series of vignettes or as a single narrative.

Vignettes structure

The vignette, or montage, structure weaves together several stories united by a common theme. Each story should demonstrate one of your values or qualities and conclude with an insight or future outlook.

This structure gives the admissions officer glimpses into your personality, background, and identity, and shows how your qualities appear in different areas of your life.

Topic: Museum with a “five senses” exhibit of my experiences

  • Introduction: Tour guide introduces my museum and my “Making Sense of My Heritage” exhibit
  • Story: Racial discrimination with my eyes
  • Lesson: Using my writing to document truth
  • Story: Broadway musical interests
  • Lesson: Finding my voice
  • Story: Smells from family dinner table
  • Lesson: Appreciating home and family
  • Story: Washing dishes
  • Lesson: Finding moments of peace in busy schedule
  • Story: Biking with Ava
  • Lesson: Finding pleasure in job well done
  • Conclusion: Tour guide concludes tour, invites guest to come back for “fall College Collection,” featuring my search for identity and learning.

Single story structure

The single story, or narrative, structure uses a chronological narrative to show a student’s character development over time. Some narrative essays detail moments in a relatively brief event, while others narrate a longer journey spanning months or years.

Single story essays are effective if you have overcome a significant challenge or want to demonstrate personal development.

Topic: Sports injury helps me learn to be a better student and person

  • Situation: Football injury
  • Challenge: Friends distant, teachers don’t know how to help, football is gone for me
  • Turning point: Starting to like learning in Ms. Brady’s history class; meeting Christina and her friends
  • My reactions: Reading poetry; finding shared interest in poetry with Christina; spending more time studying and with people different from me
  • Insight: They taught me compassion and opened my eyes to a different lifestyle; even though I still can’t play football, I’m starting a new game

Brainstorm creative insights or story arcs

Regardless of your essay’s structure, try to craft a surprising story arc or original insights, especially if you’re writing about a common topic.

Never exaggerate or fabricate facts about yourself to seem interesting. However, try finding connections in your life that deviate from cliché storylines and lessons.

Common insight Unique insight
Making an all-state team → outstanding achievement Making an all-state team → counting the cost of saying “no” to other interests
Making a friend out of an enemy → finding common ground, forgiveness Making a friend out of an enemy → confront toxic thinking and behavior in yourself
Choir tour → a chance to see a new part of the world Choir tour → a chance to serve in leading younger students
Volunteering → learning to help my community and care about others Volunteering → learning to be critical of insincere resume-building
Turning a friend in for using drugs →  choosing the moral high ground Turning a friend in for using drugs →  realizing the hypocrisy of hiding your secrets

Admissions officers read thousands of essays each year, and they typically spend only a few minutes reading each one. To get your message across, your introduction , or hook, needs to grab the reader’s attention and compel them to read more..

Avoid starting your introduction with a famous quote, cliché, or reference to the essay itself (“While I sat down to write this essay…”).

While you can sometimes use dialogue or a meaningful quotation from a close family member or friend, make sure it encapsulates your essay’s overall theme.

Find an original, creative way of starting your essay using the following two methods.

Option 1: Start with an intriguing hook

Begin your essay with an unexpected statement to pique the reader’s curiosity and compel them to carefully read your essay. A mysterious introduction disarms the reader’s expectations and introduces questions that can only be answered by reading more.

Option 2: Start with vivid imagery

Illustrate a clear, detailed image to immediately transport your reader into your memory. You can start in the middle of an important scene or describe an object that conveys your essay’s theme.

A college application essay allows you to be creative in your style and tone. As you draft your essay, try to use interesting language to enliven your story and stand out .

Show, don’t tell

“Tell” in writing means to simply state a fact: “I am a basketball player.” “ Show ” in writing means to use details, examples, and vivid imagery to help the reader easily visualize your memory: “My heart races as I set up to shoot一two seconds, one second一and score a three-pointer!”

First, reflect on every detail of a specific image or scene to recall the most memorable aspects.

  • What are the most prominent images?
  • Are there any particular sounds, smells, or tastes associated with this memory?
  • What emotion or physical feeling did you have at that time?

Be vulnerable to create an emotional response

You don’t have to share a huge secret or traumatic story, but you should dig deep to express your honest feelings, thoughts, and experiences to evoke an emotional response. Showing vulnerability demonstrates humility and maturity. However, don’t exaggerate to gain sympathy.

Use appropriate style and tone

Make sure your essay has the right style and tone by following these guidelines:

  • Use a conversational yet respectful tone: less formal than academic writing, but more formal than texting your friends.
  • Prioritize using “I” statements to highlight your perspective.
  • Write within your vocabulary range to maintain an authentic voice.
  • Write concisely, and use the active voice to keep a fast pace.
  • Follow grammar rules (unless you have valid stylistic reasons for breaking them).

You should end your college essay with a deep insight or creative ending to leave the reader with a strong final impression. Your college admissions essay should avoid the following:

  • Summarizing what you already wrote
  • Stating your hope of being accepted to the school
  • Mentioning character traits that should have been illustrated in the essay, such as “I’m a hard worker”

Here are two strategies to craft a strong conclusion.

Option 1: Full circle, sandwich structure

The full circle, or sandwich, structure concludes the essay with an image, idea, or story mentioned in the introduction. This strategy gives the reader a strong sense of closure.

In the example below, the essay concludes by returning to the “museum” metaphor that the writer opened with.

Option 2: Revealing your insight

You can use the conclusion to show the insight you gained as a result of the experiences you’ve described. Revealing your main message at the end creates suspense and keeps the takeaway at the forefront of your reader’s mind.

Revise your essay before submitting it to check its content, style, and grammar. Get feedback from no more than two or three people.

It’s normal to go through several rounds of revision, but take breaks between each editing stage.

Also check out our college essay examples to see what does and doesn’t work in an essay and the kinds of changes you can make to improve yours.

Respect the word count

Most schools specify a word count for each essay , and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit.

Remain under the specified word count limit to show you can write concisely and follow directions. However, don’t write too little, which may imply that you are unwilling or unable to write a thoughtful and developed essay.

Check your content, style, and grammar

  • First, check big-picture issues of message, flow, and clarity.
  • Then, check for style and tone issues.
  • Finally, focus on eliminating grammar and punctuation errors.

Get feedback

Get feedback from 2–3 people who know you well, have good writing skills, and are familiar with college essays.

  • Teachers and guidance counselors can help you check your content, language, and tone.
  • Friends and family can check for authenticity.
  • An essay coach or editor has specialized knowledge of college admissions essays and can give objective expert feedback.

The checklist below helps you make sure your essay ticks all the boxes.

College admissions essay checklist

I’ve organized my essay prompts and created an essay writing schedule.

I’ve done a comprehensive brainstorm for essay topics.

I’ve selected a topic that’s meaningful to me and reveals something different from the rest of my application.

I’ve created an outline to guide my structure.

I’ve crafted an introduction containing vivid imagery or an intriguing hook that grabs the reader’s attention.

I’ve written my essay in a way that shows instead of telling.

I’ve shown positive traits and values in my essay.

I’ve demonstrated self-reflection and insight in my essay.

I’ve used appropriate style and tone .

I’ve concluded with an insight or a creative ending.

I’ve revised my essay , checking my overall message, flow, clarity, and grammar.

I’ve respected the word count , remaining within 10% of the upper word limit.


It looks like your essay ticks all the boxes. A second pair of eyes can help you take it to the next level – Scribbr's essay coaches can help.

Colleges want to be able to differentiate students who seem similar on paper. In the college application essay , they’re looking for a way to understand each applicant’s unique personality and experiences.

Your college essay accounts for about 25% of your application’s weight. It may be the deciding factor in whether you’re accepted, especially for competitive schools where most applicants have exceptional grades, test scores, and extracurricular track records.

A standout college essay has several key ingredients:

  • A unique, personally meaningful topic
  • A memorable introduction with vivid imagery or an intriguing hook
  • Specific stories and language that show instead of telling
  • Vulnerability that’s authentic but not aimed at soliciting sympathy
  • Clear writing in an appropriate style and tone
  • A conclusion that offers deep insight or a creative ending

While timelines will differ depending on the student, plan on spending at least 1–3 weeks brainstorming and writing the first draft of your college admissions essay , and at least 2–4 weeks revising across multiple drafts. Don’t forget to save enough time for breaks between each writing and editing stage.

You should already begin thinking about your essay the summer before your senior year so that you have plenty of time to try out different topics and get feedback on what works.

Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit to write a developed and thoughtful essay.

You should aim to stay under the specified word count limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely. However, don’t write too little, as it may seem like you are unwilling or unable to write a detailed and insightful narrative about yourself.

If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words.

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Career Goals Essay For Scholarships (With Examples)

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Find a Job You Really Want In

Scholarship programs often want you to write a career goals essay to see that you have a clear plan for how you’ll apply your education to a specific career path. This helps show a scholarship committee why you’re seeking funds for the next step on the path toward your success.

Answering “what are your career goals” effectively can help increase your odds of impressing landing a scholarship opportunity. If you’re a prospective student applying for scholarships, this article will provide tips on how to write a career goals essay, along with essays on career goals examples to help you get an idea of what scholarship committees are looking for.

Key Takeaways:

When you’re writing a career goals essay, make sure to write about the goals that are relevant to the scholarship.

Be honest and use your own voice to stand out in your scholarship essay.

Go into detail about how the scholarship will help you achieve your goals.

Career Goals Essay for Scholarships

What is a career goals essay?

Why scholarship essays ask about career goals, example career goals essay prompts, career goals essay examples, tips for writing a scholarship essay about career goals, what to write in a career goals essay if your goals have changed, career goals essay for a scholarship faq.

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A career goals essay is a personal written explanation that discusses your background, why you’re interested in participating in the program, and what career you’d like this degree to lead into. A scholarship essay functions to explain why you want to achieve your professional goals and how you intend to get there.

In almost every application process, a portion asks the candidate to answer an essay question. When applying to an educational program, like an MBA, the essay prompt usually relates to your career goals .

Scholarship essays ask about career goals to assess your enthusiasm for the program, learn more about how the scholarship will help you, and ensure that you’ve considered how the program will help you achieve your goals for the future:

Assess your enthusiasm. Passion is important for scholarship administrators, and if you’re able to articulate your enthusiasm for a specific career path , it will show that you’re determined to meet the requirements to reach that goal. The most specific and well-thought-out your essay is, the easier it will be for a reader to understand your devotion and commitment to the program and the field it will allow you to enter.

Learn how the scholarship will help you. Having a firm grasp of your career goals is great, but it’s equally important that you express exactly how the specific program relates to those goals. This shows that you’ve researched the merits of the program and understand exactly how it fits into your professional goals.

Show you’ve considered your future. This goes along with the first two points — show that you know how to set goals and consider the path toward achieving those goals, and you’ll have an easier time convincing the reader that you’ll know how to set goals while participating in the program. They’ll see that you know how to prioritize education because you have a clear vision for navigating your career path.

While some scholarships might come right out and simply ask, “What are your career goals?” most will rework the question into something different that still accomplishes the same goal.

Below are some examples of career goals essay prompts that a scholarship program could pose to its applicants:

Discuss your career goals. Many scholarships prefer the most direct approach when giving an essay prompt to their applicants. This type of question gives the candidate a lot of wiggle room to discuss their passions, motivations, and career goals.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years ? This question is often used as a prompt for a career goals essay because it gives the applicant a timeline to describe their aspirations. It forces them to be realistic about where their career will be and how they will accomplish this within the next ten years.

How will this scholarship contribute to your professional success? A scholarship committee wants to be sure that the money they’re giving will contribute to a student’s overall professional success. This question asks about the applicant’s game plan in the long-term and evaluates how this program is going to assist in their future.

What is your dream job ? Since a dream job is often categorized as a person’s career goals, this is a common question phrasing in scholarship essays. Asking about a candidate’s dream job answers whether this program aligns with the student’s long-term career goals.

What matters most to you and why? Sometimes, a scholarship essay prompt won’t ask about your career or future at all. Instead, they’ll ask a question like this that assesses your motivations , values, and character.

Use these examples of career goals essays for scholarships to help write your own. Pay special attention to how they’re organized, rather than the content, to inspire your own career goals essay:

Career goals essay example 1 – Discuss your career goals

When I was six years old, I was riding bikes with my older sister around our neighborhood. She had just taught me how to ride, and I was excited to have to freedom to explore with her. When she was rounding a particularly difficult bend to see around, a car happened to be coming along at the same time. It struck her. That bike ride changed our lives forever. Over the next year, I went with my sister every Tuesday and Thursday to her physical therapist ’s appointments to help her regain walking strength. Watching her physical therapist patiently assist my sister back to becoming herself awoken something in me. A passion for helping others in the same way eventually turned into a career goal of becoming a physical therapist myself. I decided to get my bachelor’s degree in exercise science. After graduating in 2019, I knew that the next step for me was to attend a graduate program in physical therapy. I was accepted to Lassell University Master of Science in Rehabilitation Services. This presented me with my latest goal along my career path, and I’m eagerly waiting to start. This scholarship would help me afford the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Lassell University class of 2023, allowing me to continue working towards my ultimate career goal of becoming a physical therapist and helping others to become themselves again.

Career goals essay example 2 – Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I will have been successfully running my own construction business for about five years. I’m currently a second-year student at the University of Texas, pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. I decided to get my MBA because I knew it would be a positive asset toward my long-term career goal of owning a construction business. In my high school years, I worked as a construction apprentice for a local business. I loved many aspects of the business, such as building something from nothing. I knew that I wanted to incorporate this work into my long-term career, but I didn’t want to work as an apprentice . This led me to pursue business. In ten years and with the help of this scholarship, I will have graduated with my MBA almost a decade prior . After graduation, I plan to take a business administration internship with a carpentry business to help myself get a footing in the field. After about two years of this, I will have started my own construction business.

Career goals essay example 3 – What matters most to you and why?

The people I surround myself with matter most to me. Whether it be my relatives, friends, or professional acquaintances, I always care the most about the happiness of the people around me. Making the people around me happy matters the most to me because I truly because we find our happiness through others. I believe that this drive to make a positive impression on the people around me is what drove me towards a career as a nurse . I always thought of hospitals as places where people need someone to support them and make their day a little happier. I wanted to be one of those who spend their careers positively impacting people in need. This scholarship will enable me to finally afford nursing school and go after my dream job full force.

Career goals essay example 4 – What are your short- and long-term career goals, and how will earning this degree contribute to achieving those goals? Please provide a minimum of 200 words.

My short-term career goals involve working directly with underprivileged young people to increase the literacy rate in my community. As a student of an underfunded and understaffed school, I’ve seen firsthand how much of an impact early literacy education makes on long-term achievement. It broke my heart to see my peers embarrassed at their struggle with reading at an advanced age, and this shame added another dimension to their lack of opportunity. Being a literacy educator for young people would allow me to serve this community directly to show them not only the necessity of strong written communication skills, but the joy of reading for pleasure. This program focuses specifically on early literacy, and would provide me a direct route to a career in serving the community I hope to serve. As for long-term career goals, I hope to one day create a program where socioeconomically parents can bring their children for literacy education, not only to increase their ability to navigate the world of language, but also to instill confidence and joy in the written word. What drew me to this program was that it also has administrative, legal, and business dimensions that would set me on the path toward achieving this goal.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for writing a career goals scholarship essay:

Write about goals relevant to the scholarship. Although you may have many different kinds of goals for your personal and professional future, a scholarship essay only discusses objectives that are relevant to the program you’re applying for.

Be honest. Applying for a scholarship is stressful because the applicant’s education is usually reliant on receiving these funds in one way or another. Even though it’s tempting to exaggerate your skills or pretend you’re more passionate about something than you are to make yourself a more competitive applicant, it’s a bad move.

Use your own, unique voice. The essay portion of a scholarship application is your chance to stand out by using your voice. Nobody else, regardless of their academic or professional achievements, is you. Make this clear in your career goals scholarship essay by keeping your unique written voice engrained in the words you produce.

Be specific. A big reason that scholarship committees ask applicants to write a career goals essay is to determine how prepared they are in planning their long-term professional goals. They aren’t interested in providing a scholarship to students who aren’t going to follow through with their career plans.

Explain long and short-term goals . Even if the essay prompt asks you to describe where you see yourself in ten years, you still need to tell them the steps leading towards this picture of success.

Include the short-term goals that add up to your larger career objectives in your essay response. Explain how accomplishing the smaller goals gives you an advantage when tackling long-term ones.

Explain how the program and scholarship will help you. Before writing your career goals essay, consider how this program and scholarship will help you in your career. The answer to this question is essential.

Follow the essay formatting guidelines. This may sound obvious, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget this step when your essay is finally flowing and when you’re scrambling to get it submitted on time.

Check, double-check , and triple-check the essay guidelines for content, word count, and formatting requirements. If you miss any of these steps, your essay may be immediately disqualified no matter how good it or the rest of your application is.

Many times career goals essays are written by students who have already completed at least some college or are applying to a post-graduate program and need more money to continue.

There’s a good chance that your career goals have changed since you started or graduated college. For example, say you wanted to be an engineer , so you got your undergraduate degree in engineering but realized you didn’t like it after working in the industry for a few years.

You decided that nursing would be more up your alley, and now you’re applying for a scholarship for a nursing program. While this isn’t unusual, it can make it more difficult to write a career goals essay since your past work doesn’t necessarily match your future goals.

In this case, you’ll simply need to explain why you changed your career path and why this next one is the best choice for you. Share your decision-making process to show that you haven’t taken the switch lightly, and talk about what you’ve already done to try to pursue this path.

How do you write a career goal for a scholarship essay?

You write a career goal for a scholarship essay by sharing your passion, explaining both your long- and short-term goals, and relating your goals to the scholarship.

Explain why you want to pursue the career you’re pursuing, where you hope to be in the future and how you plan to get there, and how the scholarship will help you do this.

How do you describe your career goals in an essay?

You describe your career goals in an essay by explaining what you want to do in your career, why you decided on this career path, and what you’ve done so far to make that a reality.

You can usually work these factors into any prompt you receive, so think through them before you start writing so that you can use them as an outline of sorts.

What are career goals examples?

Examples of career goals include:

Working as a grant writer for a nonprofit organization.

Becoming a department manager and eventually an executive in your field.

Owning your own plumbing company.

Caring for underserved communities as a nurse practitioner .

What are some goals for success?

Some goals for success include growing in your role, building your network, and finding joy in the job. Most careers don’t just happen overnight and require you to set the right milestones that work best for you. Not everyone will have the same goals for success.

How do you start a career goals essay for a scholarship?

You can start a career goals essay for a scholarship by directly answering the prompt. Most scholarship prompts include a word count of between 200 and 500 words, so it’s essential that you immediately respond to the prompt. Attention-grabbing sentences and narratives can be helpful for setting the scene, but an efficient and direct answer will show a clarity of mind that helps enhance the quality of your answer.

BLS – Career planning for high schoolers

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Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Life Goals

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Essay Titles About Life Goals

If you're looking to craft a life goals essay that truly stands out, you've come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the art of creating an impactful life goals essay that captivates your readers and effectively communicates your aspirations. So, let's get started with the essentials!

1. Life Goals Essay Prompt

Before you embark on your essay-writing journey, it's crucial to grasp the nuances of the essay prompt. Let's take a look at some sample prompts to help you get a better understanding:

Prompt Sample 1: "Discuss the most significant life goals you hope to achieve and explain why they are important to you."
Prompt Sample 2: "Reflect on your long-term ambitions and how they relate to your personal growth and development."

These prompts encourage you to explore your life goals, their significance, and how they align with your personal journey. Understanding the prompt is the first step toward crafting a compelling essay.

2. Brainstorming and Selecting a Winning Essay Topic

Selecting the right essay topic is pivotal to your essay's success. Here are some points to consider when brainstorming and choosing your topic:

  • Passion and Personal Connection: Opt for a topic that genuinely resonates with you. Your enthusiasm will shine through in your writing.
  • Specificity: Focus on a particular life goal rather than attempting to cover all aspects. Specific goals make for more engaging essays.
  • Relevance: Ensure your chosen topic is relevant to your life stage and experiences. It should reflect who you are.
  • Uniqueness: Avoid common or clichéd topics. Aim for a unique angle or perspective on your chosen goal.

3. Examples of Unique Essay Topics

To spark your creativity, here's a list of distinctive life goals essay topics that stand out from the ordinary:

  • "Becoming a Published Author: My Journey Towards Sharing My Stories."
  • "From Broken Dreams to Thriving Reality: My Quest to Open a Sustainable Animal Sanctuary."
  • "Overcoming Adversity: How My Goal to Climb Mount Everest Rewired My Mindset."
  • "The Art of Giving Back: Nurturing My Vision for a Non-Profit Organization."
  • "A Symphony of Dreams: Pursuing My Aspiration to Become a World-Class Pianist."

These topics are not only unique but also offer ample opportunities for in-depth exploration and personal connection.

4. Sample Paragraphs and Phrases for Inspiration

Now, let's dive into some sample paragraphs and phrases to ignite your creativity:

Opening Paragraph: "In the quiet corners of my mind, amidst the chaos of daily life, there exists a profound yearning – a vision of a future where I stand triumphant atop my personal Everest."
Body Paragraph (Discussing Obstacles): "As I embarked on this journey, I encountered a formidable adversary – fear. The sheer magnitude of the goal I'd set for myself was overwhelming, and self-doubt became a constant companion."
Body Paragraph (Discussing Personal Growth): "Through this pursuit, I discovered that my journey was not just about conquering physical peaks but also about scaling the internal mountains of resilience, determination, and self-belief."
Closing Paragraph: "In conclusion, my life goals are not mere aspirations but the guiding stars that illuminate my path. As I continue to chase my dreams, I realize that they are not the destination but rather the catalyst for my personal growth and transformation."

Remember, the essence of a compelling life goals essay lies in your ability to convey your passion, determination, and unique perspective. By following these steps and staying true to your authentic self, you'll craft an essay that leaves a lasting impression.

So, go ahead, set your goals, pick up your pen, and let your aspirations shine through your words. Your life goals essay awaits its moment to inspire and captivate your readers!

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The experiences and influences in my life that shaped myself, the real meaning of "lessons in life", graduation speech: ahead of us stands life, the way to overcome fear of failure, my future: my expectations in life, my further career goals: nurse and science tutor, my goal to get a degree in international business, why i want to be a teacher, why i want to become a physician assistant, achieving academic goals for college students, why i want to be a teacher: benefits and rewards, my passion for medicine as a physician assistant, paving the way to my future career trajectory, a major in molecular bioscience – my educational goal, what to do after graduation from university, my motivation to be a physician assistant, a comparison between the life goals and missions of saint augustine and socrates, career research and career goal: college admission paper, a view on the importance of freedom as a factor in the pursuit of long-term goals, relevant topics.

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how to end a life goals essay

How to Write an Awesome Essay About Your Career Goals

  • Before you begin, ask yourself a few key questions like:
  • What are my short-term and long-term career goals?
  • Where do I see myself in ten years?
  • What events in my life have led me to have these goals?
  • What major will help me reach my goals?
  • What skills do I need to reach my goals?
  • What impact do I want to have on society?

Career Goals Essay Template

Need more inspiration.

After you brainstorm the responses to these questions, look for common themes, or pick out the most interesting stories. You can build your main essay “thesis” or idea around this.

Once you’ve got the main idea, create an outline to put your ideas into essay format. This will give you a general idea of structure.

You can use the career essays template below to give you some ideas. But remember that some rules are meant to be broken, so don’t be afraid to be innovative and think outside the box!

Also, when you’re done, head over to Going Merry to apply for the Career Goals scholarship essay bundle (one essay, one application, multiple scholarships!). You might as well make that essay count. Sign up for Going Merry to apply for scholarships more efficiently.

career goals essay

Here’s a paragraph-by-paragraph breakdown:

Paragraph 1 : Establish the main theme of what you’re going to talk about. It should also grab the reader’s attention. For example, instead of starting your essay with something generic (e.g. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a zoologist), get creative with it! Try something like My greatest memory as a young girl was going to the zoo for the first time or While most kids play house or school, I always wanted to play zookeeper.

Paragraph 2 : Elaborate on what inspired your career goals. Perhaps it was a relative, a TV show, or simply an experience that you had. Remember that old writing adage, “Show, don’t tell.” In other words, try to demonstrate your interest with story or description. 

Paragraph 3 : Discuss your short-term career goals and your intended major. How will your intended major help you reach these goals? What skills do you need to learn to reach them? At the end of the paragraph, try discussing how your short-term goals can help you achieve your long-term goals.

Paragraph 4 : Focus on your long-term goals and the impact that you hope to have on society. If you’re not sure what your long-term goals are, don’t sweat it; they’ll probably change anyways. You can instead focus on the difference you’d like to make overall. And don’t worry too much about the size of the impact…remember that just doing what you’re truly passionate about has a massive impact on those around you.

The last paragraph is your conclusion. You can use this paragraph to summarize what you discussed in the previous few paragraphs. If you want to be even more creative, try ending your essay with a question for your readers or a new insight. Good luck!

And now that you’re ready with that essay, put it to good use! You can recycle that same essay, when applying for the Career Goals Scholarship Bundle. We’ve joined together multiple scholarships (all requesting essays on career goals), into just ONE simple application! See more info here , or just sign up to get going.

Check out examples from other students just like you. Here are links to some great career goal essay examples:

  • Example 1  
  • Example 2  
  • Example 3  

Or maybe you’re looking for help with an academic goals essay — we’ve got you covered there too.

Also, check out this helpful list of the 10 most common scholarship essay topics !

Top 10 Most Common Scholarship Essay Prompts Graphic

Sign up for Going Merry today, and upload your career goal essay right to your profile. It’s that easy!

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How To Write A Powerful Essay On Achieving Goals (+ Example)

Goal setting is a useful strategy to get the most out of life and set yourself up for success. However, there are many things to remember regarding proper goal setting and achievement. When writing a blm argumentative essay , it’s important to provide context on the history of the Black Lives Matter movement and the issues it seeks to address. This can help the reader understand the significance of the essay’s thesis and arguments. Let’s get to grips with the process of goal setting and come up with a powerful essay on achieving goals.

Structuring Your Essay on Achieving Goals:

How to write an introduction, how to write the main body of your essay.

There should be a minimum of three paragraphs in your essay. Each one is a ‘mini-essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Each should include:

How to Write a Conclusion

Example of an essay about achieving your goals.

So, let’s put all this information together and check an example essay on achieving goals: Effective Methods to Increase the Likelihood of Goal Achievement Achieving goals can be extremely rewarding and result in a more satisfying and successful life. Many people set goals yet cannot achieve them. However, there are ways to avoid or reduce the likelihood of missing the mark. By ensuring that goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), using visualization techniques, and rewarding goal attainment, the chances of success increase. First, ensure your goals are SMART. This means that goals should be specific and measurable in terms of outcomes, e.g., test scores . Goals should be achievable and realistic to the person’s capabilities and resources available. Also, a goal should apply to the person’s work, education, hobbies, or interests and include a deadline. If there is no specificity of outcome, there’s no real way to see how someone has improved—or how they might be falling short. And if goals are not SMART, they are more difficult to achieve. Second, by imagining and visualizing the feelings and outcomes of achievement of the goal , the likelihood of high achievement increases. The imagination can be a powerful tool. Imagining the feelings of accomplishment helps to increase self-efficacy and motivation. A Canadian study found that imagery skills moderate the effect of mental practice on self-efficacy. The effects of visualization techniques are valuable in goal achievement. Third, once the goal has been accomplished, a reward is required. Getting a reward for hard work will increasingly motivate an individual to set and achieve the next goal. The offer of a reward gives employees and students an extra boost of motivation. Rewards help the cycle of goal setting and goal achieving to continue. In summary, by ensuring the goals set are SMART, visualizing and rewarding success, goal achievement becomes more likely. Achieving goals is a cyclic process that’s possible to master if the right method is in place.

The Basics of Setting and Achieving Goals

Goals should be specific and free of generalizations, or they are unlikely to get done. Instead of stating that your goal is to improve your English skills, make it more specific by stating that your goal is to learn and use one new word every weekday to boost your English vocabulary.

A goal should be measurable because you need to keep your finger on the pulse and know where you’re at. For instance, a test or assessment score can provide evidence that you have reached your goal.

A goal needs to be possible to achieved. If it’s beyond your capabilities or requires resources you cannot access, then you will set yourself up for failure.

You must set a completion date for your goal. If you do not set a deadline, you may lack the motivation to reach it. Once you have your SMART goal, record it clearly on paper or a mobile device and then visualize the outcome of achieving that goal. Imagine how happy you will feel when you achieve it. This vivid mental imagery will provide you with the extra motivation to go for it. Finally, when you reach your goal, it’s time to celebrate! Reward yourself with a trip, an item you desire, relaxation time with friends, or whatever else that will make you feel happy.

Ready to write an essay about achieving goals?

Hopefully, the information in the article has given you the basics to help you write a powerful essay on achieving goals. I also hope that this article has helped you think about how you can work toward achieving your own goals. There are many great books about the science of goal achievement. I especially recommend ones written by Brian Tracy , as they have helped me a great deal in my pursuit of happiness . You can also create an engaging presentation about achieving goals and objectives using this  goal presentation template . Next up, you may want to explore an ultimate guide to writing expository essays .

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Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time entrepreneur building two companies, a digital marketer, and a content creator with 10+ years of experience. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient digital marketer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Explore my journey here , and don't miss out on my AI Marketing Mastery online course.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


What this handout is about.

This handout will explain the functions of conclusions, offer strategies for writing effective ones, help you evaluate conclusions you’ve drafted, and suggest approaches to avoid.

About conclusions

Introductions and conclusions can be difficult to write, but they’re worth investing time in. They can have a significant influence on a reader’s experience of your paper.

Just as your introduction acts as a bridge that transports your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. Such a conclusion will help them see why all your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.

Your conclusion is your chance to have the last word on the subject. The conclusion allows you to have the final say on the issues you have raised in your paper, to synthesize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note.

Your conclusion can go beyond the confines of the assignment. The conclusion pushes beyond the boundaries of the prompt and allows you to consider broader issues, make new connections, and elaborate on the significance of your findings.

Your conclusion should make your readers glad they read your paper. Your conclusion gives your reader something to take away that will help them see things differently or appreciate your topic in personally relevant ways. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest your reader, but also enrich your reader’s life in some way. It is your gift to the reader.

Strategies for writing an effective conclusion

One or more of the following strategies may help you write an effective conclusion:

  • Play the “So What” Game. If you’re stuck and feel like your conclusion isn’t saying anything new or interesting, ask a friend to read it with you. Whenever you make a statement from your conclusion, ask the friend to say, “So what?” or “Why should anybody care?” Then ponder that question and answer it. Here’s how it might go: You: Basically, I’m just saying that education was important to Douglass. Friend: So what? You: Well, it was important because it was a key to him feeling like a free and equal citizen. Friend: Why should anybody care? You: That’s important because plantation owners tried to keep slaves from being educated so that they could maintain control. When Douglass obtained an education, he undermined that control personally. You can also use this strategy on your own, asking yourself “So What?” as you develop your ideas or your draft.
  • Return to the theme or themes in the introduction. This strategy brings the reader full circle. For example, if you begin by describing a scenario, you can end with the same scenario as proof that your essay is helpful in creating a new understanding. You may also refer to the introductory paragraph by using key words or parallel concepts and images that you also used in the introduction.
  • Synthesize, don’t summarize. Include a brief summary of the paper’s main points, but don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper. Instead, show your reader how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. Pull it all together.
  • Include a provocative insight or quotation from the research or reading you did for your paper.
  • Propose a course of action, a solution to an issue, or questions for further study. This can redirect your reader’s thought process and help them to apply your info and ideas to their own life or to see the broader implications.
  • Point to broader implications. For example, if your paper examines the Greensboro sit-ins or another event in the Civil Rights Movement, you could point out its impact on the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. A paper about the style of writer Virginia Woolf could point to her influence on other writers or on later feminists.

Strategies to avoid

  • Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as “in conclusion,” “in summary,” or “in closing.” Although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as wooden and trite in writing.
  • Stating the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion.
  • Introducing a new idea or subtopic in your conclusion.
  • Ending with a rephrased thesis statement without any substantive changes.
  • Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of an analytical paper.
  • Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper.

Four kinds of ineffective conclusions

  • The “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” Conclusion. This conclusion just restates the thesis and is usually painfully short. It does not push the ideas forward. People write this kind of conclusion when they can’t think of anything else to say. Example: In conclusion, Frederick Douglass was, as we have seen, a pioneer in American education, proving that education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
  • The “Sherlock Holmes” Conclusion. Sometimes writers will state the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion. You might be tempted to use this strategy if you don’t want to give everything away too early in your paper. You may think it would be more dramatic to keep the reader in the dark until the end and then “wow” them with your main idea, as in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The reader, however, does not expect a mystery, but an analytical discussion of your topic in an academic style, with the main argument (thesis) stated up front. Example: (After a paper that lists numerous incidents from the book but never says what these incidents reveal about Douglass and his views on education): So, as the evidence above demonstrates, Douglass saw education as a way to undermine the slaveholders’ power and also an important step toward freedom.
  • The “America the Beautiful”/”I Am Woman”/”We Shall Overcome” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion usually draws on emotion to make its appeal, but while this emotion and even sentimentality may be very heartfelt, it is usually out of character with the rest of an analytical paper. A more sophisticated commentary, rather than emotional praise, would be a more fitting tribute to the topic. Example: Because of the efforts of fine Americans like Frederick Douglass, countless others have seen the shining beacon of light that is education. His example was a torch that lit the way for others. Frederick Douglass was truly an American hero.
  • The “Grab Bag” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion includes extra information that the writer found or thought of but couldn’t integrate into the main paper. You may find it hard to leave out details that you discovered after hours of research and thought, but adding random facts and bits of evidence at the end of an otherwise-well-organized essay can just create confusion. Example: In addition to being an educational pioneer, Frederick Douglass provides an interesting case study for masculinity in the American South. He also offers historians an interesting glimpse into slave resistance when he confronts Covey, the overseer. His relationships with female relatives reveal the importance of family in the slave community.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. New York: Dover.

Hamilton College. n.d. “Conclusions.” Writing Center. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.hamilton.edu//academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/conclusions .

Holewa, Randa. 2004. “Strategies for Writing a Conclusion.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated February 19, 2004. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/conclude.html.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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My Goal In Life Essay

A goal is a vision for the future or the desired outcome that an individual commits to imagining, planning, and achieving. People try to achieve their goals in a restricted time by setting deadlines. Here are some sample essays on my goal in life.

100 Words Essay On My Goal In Life

A goal is a desire you have to accomplish yourself. If one wants to succeed in life, one must have a goal. Being a teacher is my life's ambition. A wonderful and responsible profession is teaching. I have made the conscious decision to do all in my ability to promote knowledge among the people. Some people believe that money is life.

My Goal In Life Essay

However, in my opinion, morality is what makes life truly sweet. In the future, I hope to be a beloved and reputable teacher. I have no clue how far I will get in achieving my goal but I'll give it my best.

200 Words Essay On My Goal In Life

A goal is a vision for the future or a desired outcome that an individual or group of individuals commits to envisioning, planning, and achieving. By setting deadlines, people try to accomplish their goals by setting deadlines.

My current goal is related to my education. I want to come in first place and achieve the top marks in every subject because this will increase my chances of receiving an overseas scholarship. I am putting a lot of effort into achieving this as my objective. Any student wants the chance to pursue their studies overseas, and I have that chance. I also take my coursework seriously and educate myself on all topics pertaining to my field of study, including research, literature, and academic journals.

Additionally, studying overseas will help me get a superior education and a diploma that is recognised across the world, both of which will allow me to compete for prominent jobs. So that I may accomplish my goal, I don't waste time on pointless activities and instead pay attention to my studies. My family is undoubtedly a tremendous benefit for me; they support me at all times and provide me whatever I require. Additionally, I owe a lot of credit for my success to my professors, who are a big help to me in my studies.

500 Words Essay On My Goal In Life

Everybody has a life goal. The aim or aspiration of man is his inner desire. One will not take any action if his or her goals are unclear.

What Is A Goal

The goal of an individual is to achieve a particular objective or target. Goal may also refer to the finish line of a race or the object that a player is attempting to insert as part of a game. As a noun, "goal" has other meanings. A goal is something you strive to achieve after working hard and persistently towards it.

Types Of Goals

Mastery goals | A mastery goal, such as "I will score higher in this event next time," is one that someone sets to attain or master a certain skill.

Performance-approach goals | A performance-approach goal is one where the person aims to outperform their peers. This kind of objective might be to improve one's appearance by dropping 5 pounds or to receive a better performance evaluation.

Performance-avoidance goals | When someone sets a goal, they frequently want to avoid performing worse than their peers, such as setting a goal to avoid receiving negative

Importance Of A Goal

A goal is similar to a specific objective, the anticipated outcome that directs behaviour, or an end, which is a thing, whether it be a tangible thing or an abstract thing, that has inherent worth.

Everyone should have a life goal. When you have a goal, you work hard every day to attain it and live for it. And when you succeed in those efforts, you feel more confident.

Goals provide us a path to follow. We can hold ourselves accountable by having goals. We are able to clarify what we genuinely desire in life when we set goals and strive toward obtaining them. We can better organise our priorities by setting goals.

Goals can be long-term and short-term. For instance, finishing your schoolwork might be a short-term goal. Learning a musical instrument, pursuing a profession as a doctor, or other long-term goals examples.

Due to the length of time required and the fact that we pick our professional objective, long-term goals play crucial roles in life. The most significant effects of choosing a certain career occur both during and after the effort to attain it.

Setting goals encourages us to create plans of action that will help us reach the desired level of performance.

Example Of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam overcame obstacles to achieve his aim while serving as India's 11th president from 2002 to 2007. Dr Abdul Kalam was raised by Muslim parents who spoke Tamil. Being from a low-income household, Dr Abdul Kalam began delivering newspapers after school at a young age to help augment his family's income. This fact allowed him to help support his father financially. He did not succeed academically, but he was a dedicated student who enjoyed mathematics.

Even during his senior project in college, the dean expressed displeasure with the lack of progress and threatened to revoke his scholarship if the assignment wasn't completed by the next three days. He later put forth a lot of effort on his assignment and finished it on time, impressing the dean. From that point on, Dr Kalam worked as a scientist with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) , eventually rising to the position of organisation chief. What follows is history.

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Essays That Worked

how to end a life goals essay

The essays are a place to show us who you are and who you’ll be in our community.

It’s a chance to add depth to something that is important to you and tell the admissions committee more about your background or goals. Below you’ll find selected examples of essays that “worked,” as nominated by our admissions committee. In each of these essays, students were able to share stories from their everyday lives to reveal something about their character, values, and life that aligned with the culture and values at Hopkins.

Read essays that worked from Transfer applicants .

Hear from the class of 2027.

These selections represent just a few examples of essays we found impressive and helpful during the past admissions cycle. We hope these essays inspire you as you prepare to compose your own personal statements. The most important thing to remember is to be original as you share your own story, thoughts, and ideas with us.

how to end a life goals essay

Ordering the Disorderly

Ellie’s essay skillfully uses the topic of entropy as an extended metaphor. Through it, we see reflections about who they are and who they aspire to be.

how to end a life goals essay

Pack Light, But Be Prepared

In Pablo’s essay, the act of packing for a pilgrimage becomes a metaphor for the way humans accumulate experiences in their life’s journey and what we can learn from them. As we join Pablo through the diverse phases of their life, we gain insights into their character and values.

how to end a life goals essay

Tikkun Olam

Julieta illustrates how the concept of Tikkun Olam, “a desire to help repair the world,” has shaped their passions and drives them to pursue experiences at Hopkins.

how to end a life goals essay

Kashvi’s essay encapsulates a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and the invaluable teachings of Rock, their 10-year-old dog. Through the lens of their companionship, Kashvi walked us through valuable lessons on responsibility, friendship, patience, and unconditional love.

how to end a life goals essay

Classical Reflections in Herstory

Maddie’s essay details their intellectual journey using their love of Greek classics. They incorporate details that reveal the roots of their academic interests: storytelling, literary devices, and translation. As their essay progresses, so do Maddie’s intellectual curiosities.

how to end a life goals essay

My Spotify Playlist

Alyssa’s essay reflects on special memories through the creative lens of Spotify playlists. They use three examples to highlight their experiences with their tennis team, finding a virtual community during the pandemic, and co-founding a nonprofit to help younger students learn about STEM.

More essays that worked

We share essays from previously admitted students—along with feedback from our admissions committee—so you can understand what made them effective and how to start crafting your own.

how to end a life goals essay

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Life goals Essay Examples

Life Goals - Free Essay Examples And Topic Ideas

Life goals are the aspirations and ambitions that a person strives to achieve in their lifetime. These goals can be long-term or short-term, and can be related to personal, academic, career, or financial desires. Life goals can provide direction and purpose, and may change over time as individuals grow and evolve. Achieving life goals requires commitment, hard work, and dedication, but can bring a tremendous sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

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Why you should set life goals

9 examples of meaningful life goals, how to motivate yourself to achieve life goals: 4 tips, turn your goals into reality.

Everyone’s journey in life is different. You probably know someone who meanders through life with frequent stops to smell the roses — and someone else who rushes around at breakneck speed, knocking things off their task priority list and hardly pausing to take a breath. 

Whether you’re the wanderer, the whirlwind, or somewhere in between, you can benefit from thinking about your life goals. If you go with the flow, clarifying your goals can help you dig in and fight for what’s important. And if you rush from one short-term goal to the next, setting life goals can help you stand back and use your energy more strategically.

It’s well worth setting aside some time to develop a list of life goals that deeply align with your values , are built around your life’s purpose , and are part of your overall life plan .

Most children have clear life goals. Take Toby, David, and Alina, three kindergarteners who were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up .

Toby said he wanted to be “a veterinarian so I can help pets get better.” David said, “a fireman since I like explosions and fire.” And Alina said, “I want to be a customer in a store. I will buy broccoli, tomatoes, and carrots. When I get home, I will make soup.”

Whether you’re a go-getter like David or more in Alina’s speed, your life goals might feel less concrete as you age. It’s easy to let financial imperatives and seemingly urgent tasks distract you from more important objectives.

But communicating your life goals (even just to yourself) has surprising health benefits. One study found that journaling about life goals for 20 minutes on four consecutive days reduced physical illness five months later. Another found that students who either wrote or talked about their life goals were less likely to visit the health center due to illness.

Setting your overarching priorities also offers you a sense of purpose in everything you do, so you don’t wake up one day wondering what you have to show for the time that’s passed.

Here are nine life goal examples you can adapt to suit your interests and personal values .

1. Challenge yourself every day

Getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to develop new skills, conquer your fear of failure , and stay humble. It also helps you cultivate a growth mindset — the understanding that you can improve your skills immeasurably through constant learning, determination , and hard work.

You could challenge yourself to grow personally by doing something that scares you ( public speaking , skydiving, or networking ). But this goal isn’t about going bungee jumping every day. Instead, it’s about getting comfortable being uncomfortable .

For you, that might look like steadily working toward a fitness or health goal, taking steps to achieve a professional goal, or taking social risks while pursuing a friendship goal .

2. Become more mindful

Practicing mindfulness, or slowing down and paying attention to the present moment, has impressive benefits. Mindfulness reduces stress, improves memory and focus, makes you a better problem-solver, and improves your relationships , to name only a few.

Setting a mindfulness-related personal goal might look like developing a regular yoga or meditation practice , cultivating a healthier relationship with food through mindful eating , or committing to manage stress and improve your well-being through mindful breathing .

3. Fulfill your professional dream

Perhaps you secretly think you’d do a great job as CEO of your company. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own business or work in a different industry .

Whatever it is, saying it out loud and turning it into a concrete goal sets you on the path toward achieving it. Defining success means you can start planning the small steps you must take to get there.

This might involve improving your leadership skills , preparing for a promotion , making a career change in your 40s , or changing careers in your 50s .


4. Gain financial freedom

Deciding to work toward financial security is a powerful way to focus your attention on what you need to do to get there. Potential financial life goals include:

  • Handling your debt
  • Buying a home
  • Setting up a passive income stream
  • Investing a certain amount of your paycheck each month

Choose the financial goal that motivates you most and then break it into milestones you can work toward and celebrate along the way.

5. Look after yourself or others

Balancing the needs of self and others is one of life’s most challenging and gratifying tasks. If you tend to care for everyone else and put yourself last, set a life goal to fill your own cup first through self-care practices , asking for help , and carving out time for yourself .

And if you want to focus on others and strengthen your connections, you could set a relationship goal to become a better friend , parent , or partner.

6. Learn something new

Learning something new puts you on a fast track to personal growth by cultivating humility , critical thinking skills , and mental clarity . If you’ve wanted to dive into a new skill but haven’t found the time, turning it into a life goal might motivate you to pursue it more seriously.

It doesn’t matter what your new skill is — you just need to feel excited about it. Here are some suggestions:

  • A musical instrument
  • Self-defense
  • Woodworking
  • Car maintenance

Whenever you learn a new skill, you’re also learning how to learn , which sets you up to learn new skills in the future.


7. Expand your family

For most people, adding a new family member is both exciting and intimidating. While you can never fully prepare for a birth, adoption, foster child, or even pet adoption, setting family goals can help you consider any financial, emotional, and professional conditions you’d like to satisfy before welcoming the new arrival. 

Setting a goal to expand your family may affect other big life decisions. If you plan to start a family in the next few years, you might want to structure your job searches to prioritize paid parental leave and benefits like flexible paid time off.

8. Start (and finish) a big creative project

If you have a book, poetry collection, or album of original songs locked inside you, maybe now’s the time to pursue this creative dream. It’s far too easy to put creative projects on the back burner when you’re just trying to make it through your workday. But for many, it’s these projects that make them feel most alive.

Stories abound of creative people who were working normal jobs before they got their big break. Harper Lee started off as an airline clerk, Anne Rice was an insurance claims examiner, and Art Garfunkel was a math teacher. Maybe you’ll be next. If you don’t set this meaningful creative goal, you’ll never know.

9. Give back

Giving back to your community or the world in general makes you happier, healthier, and more connected . Research even shows that life goals that focus on improving life for others make you happier than goals where you’re the only one who benefits .

Here are some ways to give back:

  • Making financial donations to causes you care about
  • Volunteering
  • Planting trees or picking up litter
  • Supporting local small businesses
  • Entering local politics
  • Writing a memoir or a book about something you’d like to share


The sheer magnitude of most life goals can make them feel overwhelming . It’s important to break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces that support your achievement of larger long-term goals. Here are a few ways to stay motivated as you transform important life goals into action. 

1. Create a vision board

A vision board is a visual representation of a goal. To create a vision board, find photos, quotes, and other objects (get creative!) that inspire you and put them together. Then put the board above your desk or in a place where you’ll pass by it frequently.

2. Set SMART goals

The SMART goal framework adds helpful structure to goals that are too vague or abstract. According to this framework, goals should be:

  • M easurable
  • A ttainable
  • T ime-bound

If your goal is to learn to cook, a SMART version might be: “Learn to cook five different healthy dinners that the whole family enjoys by the end of this year.”

Some life goals better suit the SMART goal framework than others, so experiment to find out what works.


3. Mark milestones

Breaking big goals into more manageable steps keeps you on track and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed. If your goal is to learn Arabic, you could break that into the following milestones:

  • First month: Learn the alphabet
  • Second month: Have a simple conversation 
  • Third month: Increase vocabulary to 500 words

Milestones encourage you to measure — and, more importantly, celebrate — your progress regularly.

4. Create an action plan

An action plan is a map of the steps you’ll take to realize your goal. A good action plan describes the tasks and subtasks involved in achieving your goal and sets a target date for each. 

Creating an action plan is an excellent way to avoid becoming stymied by what programmers call “ yak shaving ”: the seemingly endless series of preliminary tasks you have to do before you can start the real task.

If you want to learn self-defense, you might realize you need to research a local self-defense school. And before you do that, you need to learn about different self-defense methods to find the right one. 

Figuring out these sub-tasks and writing them down as action steps with deadlines will help you make steady progress and stop procrastination in its tracks .

Setting life goals is the first step toward achieving them. After that, you’ll need to call on motivation, inspiration , and sheer grit to reach them.

It’s important to fight for goals you really care about. But if your priorities change, there’s no shame in dropping one life goal and picking up another. You’re not the same person you were five years ago, and you won’t be the same person five years from now.

The best goals are those you revisit periodically and adapt to changing circumstances . 

You might find, for example, that buying your dream car no longer seems like the best path to a fulfilling life. Instead, like Alina, you just want to make a great vegetable soup.

Achieve your life goals

Discover how personalized coaching can guide you toward fulfilling your dreams and ambitions.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

Being the boss: 10 tips to find work-life balance for managers

10 wellness goals to boost your overall health, how being intentional can improve your life, a goal for each part of your life: 13 types of goals that you need to set, emotional goals: 20 examples and how to reach them, how to write a 10 year plan (with examples) and reach your goals, how to make an action plan to achieve your goals and follow it, setting smart health goals: be clever about your well-being, how to get your life together in 10 simple steps, similar articles, 20 family goals to practice with your loved ones, how to excel at life planning (a life planning template), long-term versus short-term goals: use both to succeed, get closer to your dreams: 20 examples of monthly goals that work, what is a long-term goal and how can i achieve it, grow model for coaching: achieve goals and boost performance, setting goals for 2024 to ring in the new year right, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. There has been progress over the last decades, but the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030.

Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and therefore also half of its potential. But gender inequality persists everywhere and stagnates social progress. On average, women in the labor market still earn 23 percent less than men globally and women spend about three times as many hours in unpaid domestic and care work as men.

Sexual violence and exploitation, the unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work, and discrimination in public office, all remain huge barriers. All these areas of inequality have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic: there has been a surge in reports of sexual violence, women have taken on more care work due to school closures, and 70% of health and social workers globally are women.

At the current rate, it will take an estimated 300 years to end child marriage, 286 years to close gaps in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws, 140 years for women to be represented equally in positions of power and leadership in the workplace, and 47 years to achieve equal representation in national parliaments.

Political leadership, investments and comprehensive policy reforms are needed to dismantle systemic barriers to achieving Goal 5 Gender equality is a cross-cutting objective and must be a key focus of national policies, budgets and institutions.

How much progress have we made?

International commitments to advance gender equality have brought about improvements in some areas: child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) have declined in recent years, and women’s representation in the political arena is higher than ever before. But the promise of a world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality, and where all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed, remains unfulfilled. In fact, that goal is probably even more distant than before, since women and girls are being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are they any other gender-related challenges?

Yes. Worldwide, nearly half of married women lack decision-making power over their sexual and reproductive health and rights. 35 per cent of women between 15-49 years of age have experienced physical and/ or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.1 in 3 girls aged 15-19 have experienced some form of female genital mutilation/cutting in the 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the harmful practice is most common with a high risk of prolonged bleeding, infection (including HIV), childbirth complications, infertility and death.

This type of violence doesn’t just harm individual women and girls; it also undermines their overall quality of life and hinders their active involvement in society.

Why should gender equality matter to me?

Regardless of where you live in, gender equality is a fundamental human right. Advancing gender equality is critical to all areas of a healthy society, from reducing poverty to promoting the health, education, protection and the well-being of girls and boys.

What can we do?

If you are a girl, you can stay in school, help empower your female classmates to do the same and fight for your right to access sexual and reproductive health services. If you are a woman, you can address unconscious biases and implicit associations that form an unintended and often an invisible barrier to equal opportunity.

If you are a man or a boy, you can work alongside women and girls to achieve gender equality and embrace healthy, respectful relationships.

You can fund education campaigns to curb cultural practices like female genital mutilation and change harmful laws that limit the rights of women and girls and prevent them from achieving their full potential.

The Spotlight Initiative is an EU/UN partnership, and a global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls – the world’s largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

how to end a life goals essay

Facts and figures

Goal 5 targets.

  • With only seven years remaining, a mere 15.4 per cent of Goal 5 indicators with data are “on track”, 61.5 per cent are at a moderate distance and 23.1 per cent are far or very far off track from 2030 targets.
  • In many areas, progress has been too slow. At the current rate, it will take an estimated 300 years to end child marriage, 286 years to close gaps in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws, 140 years for women to be represented equally in positions of power and leadership in the workplace, and 47 years to achieve equal representation in national parliaments.
  • Political leadership, investments and comprehensive policy reforms are needed to dismantle systemic barriers to achieving Goal 5. Gender equality is a cross-cutting objective and must be a key focus of national policies, budgets and institutions.
  • Around 2.4 billion women of working age are not afforded equal economic opportunity. Nearly 2.4 Billion Women Globally Don’t Have Same Economic Rights as Men  
  • 178 countries maintain legal barriers that prevent women’s full economic participation. Nearly 2.4 Billion Women Globally Don’t Have Same Economic Rights as Men
  • In 2019, one in five women, aged 20-24 years, were married before the age of 18. Girls | UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children

Source: The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023

5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation

5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation

5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate

5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decisionmaking in political, economic and public life

5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences

5.A  Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws

5.B Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women

5.C Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

He for She campaign

United Secretary-General Campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women

Every Woman Every Child Initiative

Spotlight Initiative

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

UN Population Fund: Gender equality

UN Population Fund: Female genital mutilation

UN Population Fund: Child marriage

UN Population Fund: Engaging men & boys

UN Population Fund: Gender-based violence

World Health Organization (WHO)

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Gender Statistics

Fast Facts: Gender Equality

how to end a life goals essay

Infographic: Gender Equality

how to end a life goals essay

The Initiative is so named as it brings focused attention to this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An initial investment in the order of EUR 500 million will be made, with the EU as the main contributor. Other donors and partners will be invited to join the Initiative to broaden its reach and scope. The modality for the delivery will be a UN multi- stakeholder trust fund, administered by the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, with the support of core agencies UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women, and overseen by the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General.

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how to end a life goals essay

20 Life Goals to Set for Yourself in 2024

There’s a lot of pressure around setting and achieving goals these days.

From big life goals down to small daily goals.  

This is especially true in the business world, where “ hustle and grind” culture makes us feel like there’s always something we need to be doing right now.  

But here’s a secret to setting life goals: you have to be true to yourself and what you really want out of life. Once you’ve tapped into what you want – and not what you think you should want – it all falls into place.  

So, how do you set good life goals and create a game plan to make them happen? What if you feel like you don’t have goals in life, or you don’t know the right direction to get there?  

That’s just what we’re getting into today.

In this article, we’ll look at what life goals are and how to set them. We’ll also give you a life goals list to help with your brainstorming, planning, and doing.  

What Are Life Goals?

Like the name suggests, life goals are goals to set for yourself over the course of your life. They’re definitely long-term – as they might actually take your whole life to achieve.

  I’m not going to sugar coat it: setting life goals is a lot easier than the achieving part.

  Which is why it’s so important that you’re driven by a sense of passion and real desire. Feeling strongly toward your life goals is what gives you the fuel to take those steps every day.

life goals

How to Set Life Goals

Finding goals in life might seem like an intimidating task. Some might even say overwhelming.

There’s no shame in that. There are a lot of people who feel the same way (myself included at times!).

It all starts with some brainstorming. And a touch of dreaming and fantasizing.  

Here are a few steps you can take to come up with the best life goals for yourself:

  • Set up an idea dump worksheet. Sit down with your computer or a pen and paper. Write out a few categories that you might want to set life goals for, like your health, relationships, career, finances, hobbies, spirituality, and the like.
  • Do an idea dump. Put 30 minutes on a timer and write down as many life goal ideas as you can think of in the categories you listed. No idea is too big, small, or silly. Write down every single one now, and you can edit them later.
  • Narrow down the best ideas. Wait a day or two, then revisit your life goals list. Which ones do you want the most? Which ones set you on fire when you think about them, even if they’ll be hard to accomplish? Those are your best bet.
  • Build an action plan. Write out a rough plan for the steps you need to take to achieve those life goals. How long will it reasonably take? What are the major milestones or baby steps you need to take to reach the bigger goal? What do you have to do every week, month, year to stay on track?  

Now let’s look at some life goal ideas to help give you some fuel for your brainstorming session.

21 Goals to Set for Yourself

1.  run a half marathon.

I’ve met at least a few people who have this as a life goal. This is a great example of a life goal that takes real dedication, especially if you’re not a runner yet.

That’s because a half marathon is about 21 kilometers (13.1 miles). That’s a whole lotta miles. Training is something that needs to happen steadily, every day or several times a week. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. But the reward is as hefty as the commitment.

exercise goals

2.  Follow a vegan diet

“Going vegan” has gained a lot of traction lately. With reason: there are loads of benefits, like your health, the wellbeing of animals, and the environment. But this isn’t one of those simple life goals… if you love eating animal products like meat, cheese, and eggs, going vegan can feel incredibly hard.

A lot of people remedy this by taking it slow: first by cutting out some products, then cutting out others once you’re acclimated. If you look at it that way , a vegan diet can seem a lot more attainable.

3.  Start a business

Some people are fortunate enough to have a business opportunity knock on their door. Others have to work hard for it. But the good news is, starting a business is easier than ever. It’s also one of the best life goals you can set for yourself!  

If you’ve been dreaming of being your own boss, check out our article on How to Start a Business or our ebook on How to Become an Entrepreneur . Make sure you browse our site too. This is our bread and butter.

goal of owning a business

4.  Make a million dollars

This one seems like a really big dream, but a lot of entrepreneurs set this as a financial target. It’s an especially common life goal for people who own their own business, like a dropshipping store , consulting agency, or freelance business.  

When you make the rules about how your business runs, you can also make the rules about how money is made (and how much of it is made!).

5.  Earn a steady passive income

Do you fantasize about making money while you sleep? Or watching your bank account grow as you sip a mojito on a Caribbean beach? Passive income (also called residual income) is right up your alley.  

The best way to make this happen is to build an online business that doesn’t rely on you working 24/7. Selling online courses and other digital content can be a great path for this life goal.

passive income common goals in life

6.  Find (and marry) your “soulmate”

This is one of the most common goals in life. We all want a storybook romance, don’t we? While this isn’t necessarily the kind of goal that requires a strict plan, it’s something that can be worked toward.

After all, relationships take commitment and understanding. You’ll have to make compromises and grow together as a team. This is one of those life goals that takes more work than it seems.  

7.  Own your dream home

Your home isn’t just a set of four walls and a roof. Owning the perfect property is one of the best life goals you can set because it means you get your own little slice of heaven. Nothing feels more reassuring than having the perfect place where you can feel comfortable and safe.

Saving for your dream home takes some time – but it’s one of the best aims in life. Not only do you get a place to call your own, but you get your foot on the property ladder too!  

8.  Own your dream car

Just like a home, your car is one of your most valuable possessions. Sure, it’s there for your grocery runs and getting you to and from work each day. However, a car is also freedom – a chance to take on the open road and discover amazing places.

Figure out what your dream car looks like and start putting a little cash towards those new wheels every day.

9. Have a positive impact on the world

The world is a different place because you’re part of it. There might be 8.03 billion people on this planet, but you’ve ever felt the glow of donating to charity or cherished the smile on a person’s face after a random act of kindness, you’ll know everyone counts.

Do your part to have a positive impact on the world in your own way. You can create a small non-profit organization, plant some trees, or just try to make someone smile every day.

how to be polite

9.  Conquer your fears

This is a tough one – but well worth the effort. Your ultimate goal in life should be to live without fear . Take the world as it comes and be prepared to deal with any eventuality. That starts with conquering your fears, one at a time.

Figure out which fears are holding you back right now and start to work on them. A little CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) and meditation could help with building your confidence here.

11. Master a second language

Mastering a second language is one of the most common goals in life. It gives you a new valuable skill that you can share with the people around you. Plus, having another language that you can speak means that you have more job and travel opportunities.

Choose the language you’d like to speak based on the opportunities it offers. If you’ve always wanted to visit China, maybe Chinese is the language for you.

12. Declutter your home

A cluttered home creates a cluttered mind. It’s easy to let clutter get on top of us these days. We shove things in cupboards and boxes to keep our homes tidy – but the clutter is still there, waiting to spill out.

Learn how to let go of the things you don’t want or need in your life anymore. If you haven’t used something in the last three months, and it doesn’t make you happy, donate it or throw it away.  

13. Rekindle an old relationship

Some relationships are better left in the past. You know which people have had a negative impact on your life. Some, however, could deliver a host of amazing benefits.  

Look through your past relationships and ask yourself who you lost touch with for no real reason. Reach out through a message or phone call and think whether re-igniting this relationship is important for you.

rekindle old relationships

14. Sleep better

Sleep has a massive impact on how you think and feel. When it comes to short term goals in life, improving your sleep is one of the most valuable things you can do.

Start by improving your sleep hygiene. Create a schedule you can stick to, starting with a way to relax, like a hot bath or a cup of tea.

Remember that your bedroom should be cool, dark, and quiet to support good sleep. Keep any electronics outside if you can.

15. Plan for your child’s future

Your child is a continuation of yourself. While you can’t control what kind of person they become, one of the most positive goals in life is to try and help them reach their potential. Plan your child’s future by putting money away for their future education and helping them to find their talents.

Setting life goals doesn’t have to be just about doing things that benefit you. Your life goals can also center around your child’s happiness.  

16. Mentor someone

We all have unique skills and talents that we can share with the world. If you know how to do something well, whether it’s managing stress , or making money online , then you can share that knowledge with other people.

Mentoring someone is a wonderful way to pass your insights down through generations. Additionally, when you mentor someone, you also find opportunities to learn yourself. No matter where you are in life, you can usually find someone that looks up to you.

17. Become more mindful

Good life goals focus on helping you get the most out of your time on this earth. Living a fulfilling life means learning how to live in the present.

It’s easy to over-analyze our mistakes and stay focusing exclusively on the past. However, if you focus on what you regret too often, you forget to live in the present. Similarly, anxiously awaiting the future means that you don’t see the value in what you have now.  

Learn how to be mindful of your existing life. Here are some mind training tactics to help your brain focus intently.

life goals examples mindfulness

18. Do different things

One of the best goals to set in life is to expose yourself to as many different experiences as possible. As easy as it is to cling to your comfort zone, you should always be looking for ways to branch out and discover new experiences. Doing something new is a chance to discover the skills and talents that you never knew you had. It’s also a way to build relationships with new peoples you might meet and discover hobbies that make you happier.

19. Take more risks

Risks are something we often work hard to avoid, but sometimes they’re necessary. One of your life goals should be to look at ways to take more calculated risks in your life.

Think about something that could have a great impact on your life, but you’re currently too nervous to try. Could the benefits outweigh the risk? If so, this is the time to bite the bullet and jump in.   

20. Let go of the past

Finding goals in life can be easier than you’d think. Sometimes, the best way to improve your future is to learn how to let go of the past. While you can learn from the negative experiences you’ve had over the years, stop letting them hold you back.

Depending on your background, you may need some help to accomplish this goal. However, therapy and guidance exist to give you the direction you need.

21. Learn more

Learning doesn’t have to stop because you’ve finished your schooling. A commitment to long-term learning is one of the most effective and simple life goals for anyone interested in living a fulfilling life.

Try taking a new course every so often on the internet or at a local school near you. Look for opportunities to learn from other people or seek a mentor who can help you hone specific skills.

always be learning

Let's Do This!

Setting life goals is a great way to ensure that you get the most out of your fleeting time on this wonderful planet.

Life moves quickly, and it’s easy to waste time when you don’t have a direction to move in. Short-term and long-term life goals will act as the compass you need to guide you towards happiness, enlightenment, and fulfillment in everything you do.

What kind of goals are you going to set? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to Learn More?

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  • How to Stop Procrastinating: Strategies to Unlock Your Potential


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