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Meaningful goals in life

7 Meaningful Goals in Life

Jack Cao
Jack Cao
Chasing meaningful goals brings purpose and happiness into our lives. They are the compass leading to a fulfilled life full of growth and impact. These are 7 goals that can kickstart your journey to a more meaningful life.
Table of Contents

Are you chasing meaningful goals? Or are you one of many people who spend years or even decades of their life chasing goals that don’t matter? I have caught myself falling into the traps of chasing materialistic, superficial goals many times. 

And the drastic difference in fulfillment and satisfaction that pursuing meaningful goals can bring is astonishing. In case you don’t know where to begin, here are my 7 suggestions of goals that can potentially bring more happiness and success into your life:

  1. Develop your Life Purpose into a Career
  2. Get good at being yourself
  3. Invest in Self-education
  4. Develop good habits
  5. Clean up your diet
  6. Travel for Experience
  7. Cultivate Commitment in Relationships

What are meaningful goals anyway?

A meaningful goal, to me, consists of 3 characteristics:

Adding value over the long-term – the longer you pursue them, the more value it brings. A meaningful goal sets you up for exponential growth far into the future. You will have to put on the “long-term” thinking hat and learn to live without instant gratification. This would be the opposite of our urge to indulge ourselves in entertainment, fame, sex or plain material possessions.

Making you more effective and authentic – they guide you toward learning, refining and developing into better versions of yourself. By pursuing these goals, you become more effective and capable of making an impact on the outer world while staying authentic to yourself.

Emotionally right – a meaningful goal is a deeply emotional one. It moves you to tears, inspires you to take action, connects you to a sense of purpose. It is the source of intrinsic motivation that may transcend logic and reason.

In short, meaningful goals are the goals that bring intrinsic motivation, add exponential value over the years by making you more effective at what you do while guiding you to be more authentic with yourself.

SEE ALSO: Why Goal Setting is Important for Personal Development

7 Meaningful Goals in Life

1. Develop your Passion into a Career

If you aren’t satisfied with your job, or you aren’t passionate about your life, fixing this problem should be your number one priority in life.

As we spend more than half of our waking time working, the satisfaction with our career is the satisfaction with our life. Figuring out what you’re passionate about and turning it into a life-long career is the most important professional goal we can set for ourselves.

Passion turns work into play, it acts as the soothing oil for you to endure the grinding process that will get you exceptionally good at what you do. When others quit or indulge in entertainment, passion makes you eager to put in the extra hours, to research and learn everything about your field. 

Like Gandhi once said:

“My life is my work.”

Extraordinary people work for their passion. Not money, not fame, not recognition. They work for the sake of work. They build businesses because they can’t let their vision die. They choose to dedicate their entire life learning medicine because they genuinely want to help people.

And by turning their passion into work, they get paid to do what they love most.

how to set goals
Escape the rat race. Image Source: Deloitte

To set this goal means 

Find what your Life Purpose through 2 clear and specific answers to these 2 questions:

  • What you value most in life
  • What you are uniquely strong at

Then transfer your Life Purpose into a career by committing yourself to a Mastery process, putting 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a highly sought-after expert in your field.

Check out Actualized’s Life Purpose Course which covers in-depth about this topic (this is not a paid affiliate links)

RELATED: 10 Deadly Goal Setting Mistakes

2. Get good at being you

Do you know what makes you happy? Do you know what makes you sad and depressed?

“Be Yourself” is a very difficult advice to follow.

You can’t be yourself if you don’t know yourself. And with an outside world so ready to tell you who you are, you need a really strong sense of self-awareness to figure out your authentic self.

Being yourself is a process of ongoing exploration and discoveries; constantly shedding layers of yourself as you dig deeper. And as you gain more life experience, you will also evolve, adopt new strengths, and notice new weaknesses.

No one but yourself can show you how to live your authentic truth. Only through your direct experience, can you know what really means to be you. Books, mentorships, self-help gurus… they can only give us their truth. They are good suggestions but never rely on them as a guaranteed blueprint.

find out your meaningful goals
Finding out who you are | Image Source: Yale on Authenticity

To follow this goal means:

Constantly refine your understanding of yourself. Journal out your thoughts about what you are passionate about or what you are not interested in like a company updating their changelogs. 

Meditate to quiet the distraction and noises from the outside world. Always be cautious and check the reason for your action: whether you are acting from a place of authenticity or under the external influence of others.

Live with integrity of who you are. Do more of what makes you happy and have the courage to cut out the rest. Simple advice but it takes a lot from you to decide that you will leave a relationship or stop spending too much time around your negative family.

RELATED: Why Goal Setting Is So Hard

3. Invest in Self-education

“If you had a superpower, what would it be?” 

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet had the same answer: to read faster. During his legendary investing career, Warren Buffet still spends around 3 hours a day going through books, articles, newspapers, magazines… And Bill Gates frequently takes 1-week vacations just to catch up on his reading.

Gary Vaynerchuk, one the of most iconic entrepreneurs nowadays, claims that he has read fewer books than he has written. Instead, he spends a great deal of his time on social media, watching TikTok clips, replying to comments and DMs on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

What do they have in common? Each of them educates themselves in their unique way, every day.

The more they learn, the more they earn. The more knowledgeable they have, the more value they can add back the world. Especially in the modern world, things are changing rapidly. So the ability to learn and keep yourselves on the cutting edge of your industry is a hot commodity than ever.

For the ones that want to make a difference, to leave a legacy, to inspire and reach out to hundreds of millions of people, excellence is non-negotiable. 

Get so good that they can’t ignore you

We can’t rely on our schools, our parents or our bosses to tell us how things work. That is your responsibility to educate yourself. So whichever way you prefer to absorb information, learning and educating yourself is a lifelong commitment.

To follow this goal means:

Commit to a life of learning and improvement.

Create space in your life that you have the time and energy to learn every day. Don’t be cheap with information: be willing to spend good money on books, video courses, audio courses, seminars, workshops, live events, coaching…

4. Cultivate good habits

 In order to live out your Life Purpose, to constantly explore your authentic self and invest in self-education, you need good habits.

We all have a limited amount of energy each day. And knowing how to optimize those energies for decision-making, creative work can be draining and exhausting.

A set of good habits remove the majority of the tasks and spare us more energy for important work, while still ensure that we make progress every day. And a set of bad habits can be your demise, as they sap away your energy, keeping you unproductive and distracted.

Good habits make time your ally, while bad habits turn time into an enemy.

Learning to cultivate a set of positive habits will gradually make you ruthlessly effective at what you do.

Or even just one habit can start a chain of positive changes in your life. This can be meditation, which will make you less reactive and more in control of your focus and intention, which will eventually make you more effective at work, more present in your relationships. This can be running, which will ensure keeping your body strong and healthy, while releases “feel-good” hormones and spark creative ideas for your work.

goal setting starts with building better habits
Start Building better Habit this year | Image source: News Stand Hub

To follow this goal mean

Define what kind of habits you want to set up.

Start at first by building your cornerstone habit. The habit that you will commit to doing every day, for the rest of your life that will start the chain of positive habits.

Build up your individual habits into a routine: what you automatically to start and end a day, every day.

RELATED: Tips For Start Building Habits

5. Clean up your diet

Perhaps you are quite surprised to see how such a mundane task like looking after your diet would end up on this list. But the practicality of this goal doesn’t take away its immense value.

Food is medicine. You are what you eat.

To be able to live a good life, you need your health in check. Your ability to think, work and how much you need to sleep is directly related to the quality of your food. Cleaning up your diet doesn’t just prevent diseases in the future, it also brings you an immediate boost in energy and mental focus.

If you are living in the US, you may recognize that the standard diet Americans subscribed to isn’t particularly helpful. All the over-consumed sugar, dairy, wheat products, and alcohol lead to problems in our gut, our liver, our immune systems, and our brain.

To follow this goal means

Think for the long-term of how much more efficient you will be when you have a diet that supports and nurtures you every day.

Read up or consult with a nutritionist to have an audit on your diet.

RELATED: Creative Ways to Improve Your Eating Habits

6. Travel for Experience

One of the quickest ways to reset your perspective is to travel.

Experience another culture, see how people live without the usual social norms that you are growing up with. Especially if you are living in a developed country, fly out to Africa, the Middle East or other developing countries and see how drastically different the lives are.

You may be surprised by how much better you have had it. Or you may feel a little embarrassed by how ignorant and stereotypical you have been to these countries.

I find that by exposing myself to new landscapes, new people, new adventures, I can also bring that experience back into my usual everyday life. I’m also more adventurous and daring in my work, more present in my relationships and stop taking things for granted.

goal setting example: travel to broaden your perspective
Broaden your Perspective through Travelling | Image Source: Illinois CPA Society

To experience another culture is also to experience another part of you. Perhaps the simplicity of Japan will deeply resonate with you, or you will be moved by the hospitality and exuberance energy of Viet Nam, or you prefer the spiritual, mystical nature of India.

As we travel more, we get the chance to look at ourselves in a different environment, to surprise ourselves with what we like, or don’t like about the world around us.

To follow this goal means

Save up money and plan out your trip. Traveling to another country can be expensive and require careful research beforehand.

After that, just pick your backpack and hit the road.

7. Cultivate commitment in Relationships

Hooking up is useless. Having casual sex with other people is fun for some people. But it provides value to no one.

Fundamentally, hooking up is self-indulgence. We give in to the urge to satisfy our desire. This automatically disconnects us from having an intimate relationship with the person we share the bed with.

You can do it for fun, but you also miss out on the opportunities to develop a relationship that means something. To be intimate and grow yourself with a partner, to see how you can be accountable with another person. To see how you handle conflict, to learn how to listen and be empathetic. To learn to practice abstinence and overcome your desire. To learn to chase value instead of pleasure.

Over a really long time, a healthy relationship can bring stability and order into your life. No matter how chaotic it is in your work life, you can always rely on a loving family supporting you from home. And during our most challenging days, a loving, supporting partner can be the difference.

You can hook-up if you like to, but those are the things you can only get from committing yourself in a relationship.

To follow this goal means:

Restrain from temptation. You will always be tempted, even in your most passionate moments with a partner.

Choose your partner with the expectation of building a lasting relationship with that person.


These goals are my suggestions to instill more meaning into your life. By no means is it an official list.

You can ask yourself these 3 questions to see which goal really brings value into your life:

  • What will I do this year that will be beneficial for me 10 or 20 years from now?
  • What is my life about?
  • What do I genuinely enjoy?

If you want to start your personal development journey now, Habitify is the tool to build positive habits and take your life to the next level. So break down the meaningful goals you want to pursue in its every day habit and let's take action!

What goals are meaningful for you? Can you share and start the discussion below?