What are your goals in life?
You can have goals for everything you do from your career to your personal development to your relationships. We share dozens of examples of goals for your fitness, nutrition, relationship, and mindset.
So, grab a pen and paper and start jotting down your SMART goals.
examples of (good) goals
The most important decision you can make is picking your goals.
Knowing your goals shapes the direction of your life, even if you’re part of the 92% of people who fail their New Year’s Resolutions by February. But even having them in the back of your mind influences your decisions and daily habits.
And do you know what’s a heck of a lot better than having the goals in your head? Writing them down.
According to a Harvard Business School study, 83% of people do not have goals, 14% have an unwritten plan, and only 3% have written goals. So how did these people fare?
The study revealed that the 14% of people with an unwritten plan are 10 times more successful than the ones without a plan. Best yet, the 3% with written goals are 3 times more successful than the 14% with unwritten plans!
So how do you go about writing your goals, and more specifically, good goals?
Reading our examples of SMART goals is a good start, but what’s most important is writing out your goals and steps to achieve them.
In our latest article, ‘How to Write Goals,’ we share the science behind various goal-writing strategies and finish with our top 5 tips on how to write effective goals.
Example of fitness goals
We all know that the benefits of exercise spill over into all areas of our life.
The following examples of goals will not only benefit your health but will also give you the energy to achieve your personal and professional goals
1. Publicize your “why” and purpose for working out
Before jumping on the exercise bike to become beach body ready, analyze your real “why” for why you’re working out. Is it just to fit in size 4 jeans?
Or, do you want to be able to go skiing on your family ski trip without complete exhaustion and injury? Or, do you want to live to see your great-grandchildren?
We share how you can find your purpose in our article, “Find Your Why to Living a Healthy Life.” Once you have it, make it a goal to set fool-proof reminders and triggers around your home and office.
2. Optimize your workouts
Sure, you may enjoy barre, but is it really getting you closer to your goals? Optimizing your exercise routine is a great personal goal example.
Finding your optimal workout means tracking how your body responds to different exercises… and no two people are alike. I (Alex) can torch calories while running, but Ryan barely gets his heart pumping.
We did a thorough experiment which we capture in our article, “What’s the Best Cardio Workout,” where we tested the treadmill, exercise bike, free YouTube workouts, and several Beachbody On Demand workouts.
The results were insane, and some workouts were vastly more effective for us than others. Between our best and worst workouts, Ryan would have either lost or gained 23 lbs. over a year!
Always test and experiment with your workouts!
3. Follow a fitness plan
This may sound like an easy goal, but believe us, it can get complicated.
A proper fitness plan includes variety, periodization, adequate recovery workouts and rest days, and thoughtfully scheduled workouts to cyclically cover all major muscle groups over a week.
Steps taken to reach this goal would be finding the workouts that make the biggest difference for you and making sure a professional trainer can provide a sound routine.
While cobbling together some free YouTube workouts is better than nothing, it won’t help you reach your biggest fitness goals due to plateau, injury, or boredom.
To keep things simple, we prefer the workouts on Beachbody On Demand.
4. Never miss 2 days in a row
Keep the chain going! This is one of the secrets that comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, used to stay on top of his comedy game for decades. He would mark a huge “X” on his wall calendar every day he wrote a joke.
By focusing on the process (getting a workout in), instead of the outcome (losing 10 lbs.) will bring you to your success. This is a great example of a SMART goal because it’s measurable.
5. Check in with an accountability buddy daily
Working out with an accountability buddy can improve your workout intensity by 50%.
Staying connected every day is more work than you might think, but that added accountability is a powerful tool.
If you have a husband, wife, or partner, then you’re in luck. Even if you’re not physically working out together, you can still benefit from that extra layer of accountability.
6. Start an active hobby with your partner
A major goal and huge win for the health of your family would be to start an active hobby together you both love.
From hiking to couple’s yoga, we share ideas for active hobbies for couples to boost their fitness.
7. Walk 12,000 steps a day
A recent study published in the journal, The Obesity Society, concluded that adult dieters who lost 30 pounds and maintained or continued to lose weight tracked 12,000 steps per day. Overweight adults only tracked 6,500 steps.
If nothing else, commit to walking more. If you still haven’t jumped on the wearable fitness tracker train, buy this cheap and highly functional MiFit band. Honestly, it’s just as good as our Apple Watches.
8. Sign up for that race you’ve always wanted to do
While this is vague, we all have dreams that have been on our minds for years. For me, that includes running an ultramarathon and hiking the full length of the Appalachian Trail.
For you, that could be cycling the Camino de Santiago, summiting a 14,000 footer, or simply dancing at your kid’s father-daughter dance.
Whatever it is, sign up for the race and make a plan!
Examples of nutrition goals
Your health is your greatest wealth, right?
If you focus on these short-term and measurable examples of health goals, they will make all your goals in life that much more achievable.
9. Go meatless one day a week
Studies show that there are no downsides to eating more vegetables. Commit to a “Meatless Monday” for the whole year.
10. Work up to 1 cup of beans a day
Did you know that 97% of US adults are fiber deficient? A 2018 study concluded that adult dieters who consumed 30 grams of fiber per day lost 5 pounds without making other lifestyle changes.
It’s true, beans are the magical fruit.
Fiber is great for digestion, fills you up, and ensures you’re eating healthy foods. Make the goal of working up to 1 cup of beans (or more) a day. If you’re still scared of eating carbs, this diet book will forever change your perspective.
11. Drink half your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water every day
A Humboldt University study found that drinking just 0.5 liters (about 2 cups) of water could increase metabolism by up to 30%.
To see how we felt, Ryan and I recently did a challenge of drinking a gallon of water a day. Not only did we feel slimmer, but our skin also looked better, and our sleep was deeper.
The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water. So a 200 lb. person should aim to drink 100 ounces of water a day.
12. Add one cup of vegetables every day
“Eat your vegetables!” While we’ve all heard those words since childhood, the advice is just as important now as ever.
There are basically no downsides to eating a wide variety of vegetables. Yet, they’re not always so easy to fit into your busy day.
As two vegetarians, we give tips on how to eat more vegetables including hiding them in your smoothies, eating as much as you can at breakfast, and buying frozen vegetables like kale and spinach to keep it easy.
13. Track your calories for 10 days
As engineers, we love to say, “whatever gets tracked gets measured.”
Understanding your daily calorie consumption and trends is an important piece of knowledge while trying to eat healthier. It’s a fundamental step when tackling larger weight loss goals.
Ready to get started? Our 30-Day Weight Loss Challenge asks you to track your calories, among a few other numbers, to sustainable and healthily lose weight weekly.
14. Meal prep for 3 dinners a week
Nothing beats a healthy home-cooked meal. Yet, meal prepping can seem daunting… until you’re able to add it seamlessly into your routine.
Ryan and I share our tips on how to meal prep for the week to make sure your nutrition is always on point.
15. Only order or eat out once a week
Can you go a full week without ordering out? Not only is eating out tough on your nutrition goals but it’s tough on your wallet.
Even with the busiest of schedules, create steps to leverage meal prep, quick recipes, and semi-prepared foods (like microwaveable quinoa or bags of frozen vegetables).
16. Do an extended 3-day fast
We did something out of our dreams this summer: a 3-day water fast. Ryan and I wanted to try this for the detox, hormonal reset, improved focus, weight loss, and improved longevity we’d read so much about.
The health benefits have been touted for centuries, and have been shown to especially help people with chronic inflammation and type-2 diabetes. So we decided to go all-in and drink only water and black coffee for 72 hours… and nothing else.
First off, we felt amazing and it wasn’t as challenging as you might think. Ask your doctor about it and read our article, “How to Do a 3-Day Fast.”
Examples of Relationship goals
The following examples of life goals will strengthen the bond between you and your partner.
17. Talk more than 5 minutes a day
According to Dr. Gottman of the relationship research Gottman Institute, most couples only talk meaningfully for ~35 minutes a week. That’s 5 minutes a day. And we’ve heard that number as low as 15 minutes a week.
After learning this statistic, I started taking notes with Ryan. Frankly, it’s not far off: the majority of the time we’re together, we talk about work and our home renovation.
So how can we break out of the mold and reconnect on a deeper level? Ryan and I came up with deep and meaningful questions to ask your spouse.
18. Take a quarterly couple’s spa and retreat day
Combining self-care with a relationship retreat should be part of your relationship’s maintenance plan.
Luckily, you don’t need to spend the big bucks to get both. Craving the same thing as a way to reconnect and rekindle, we wrote a full schedule for our “1-Day DIY Marriage Retreat at Home.”
Only you and your partner can take care of your wellbeing as a couple, so slow down and schedule it in.
19. Complete a gratitude challenge quarterly
Practicing gratitude is like working a muscle; the more often you do it, the better you get at it.
Studies run by psychologists at the University of California, Davis found that people who wrote down things they’re grateful for had happier relationships, fewer doctor visits, and even exercised more. Couples were also more likely to communicate more freely and openly.
Don’t worry, practicing gratitude isn’t as hard as think. Small acts of daily gratitude include volunteering some canned food, cooking a family recipe, or even spending time outdoors in the sun.
20. Practice couples yoga once a week
What better way to grow intimacy, improve strength, detox, and prevent an injury than with couples yoga?
While couples yoga is often initiated by one party (for us, that was Ryan), I’ve grown to appreciate and love partner flow routines. It’s fun, kind of sexy, and helps us appreciate our bodies even more.
For a routine to follow at home for free, try our unique Couples Yoga Flow Routine. It’s great whether or not you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi.
21. Watch a date night move monthly
Believe it or not, watching certain Hollywood movies can double as marriage counseling and cut divorce rates in half. This is exactly what a University of Rochester psychology professor, Dr. Rogge, found in his studies.
After the movie, ask thoughtful questions like, “Do you see similar issues within our relationship?” or, “What did you like or dislike about how the couple communicated their feelings?”
For a full list of approved movies, open the below link in a new tab.
22. Talk about sex weekly
After taking sex therapist Emily Morses’ MasterClass on sex and communication, we learned just how taboo, or at least uncomfortable, talking about sex can be — even within a marriage. If Emily had her way, we would all talk about sex like we talk about the weather.
Considering that your partner loves you and would do anything for you, wouldn’t they also love to prioritize your pleasure?
We learned that we’re all in control of our own pleasure and bodies, so talking about sex and intimacy (likes, dislikes, etc.) is something a healthy couple should be doing weekly.
23. Check off a bucket list item quarterly
You have a couple’s bucket list… right?!
The simple act of writing down a goal makes you 42% more likely to succeed. So as you guessed, Ryan and I are suckers for bucket lists. We make one in every place we move to, as well as keeping a longer, lifelong one.
The best part is, our adventurous couple’s bucket list ideas include items that you can do right at home.
From creating a family dish to pass down for generations to learning a new language, write out your dream list that you can do as a couple and start taking the steps to get it done.
24. Start journalling as a couple nightly
A favorite tool we use to keep our marriage strong is this bedtime Q&A 3-Year Journal For Two.
We’ve been journaling nightly for three years now and it’s highly entertaining to read previous entries. It’s a great way to end the day and boost your friendship. Plus, it’s an easy goal to achieve when you leave it on your pillow!
Examples of Goals for Mindset
The following are examples of personal development goals that will keep your mind sharp, helping your excel in your personal and professional life.
25. Empower your words daily
Did you know that a healthier life could be just one word away?
Mindset and psychology are linked to the way we speak. Saying the words “I can’t” — like “I can’t eat that donut” — come from a place of restriction.
However, by changing the way we speak to use empowering words like “I don’t” — like “I don’t eat donuts” or “I’m not that type of person who eats donuts” — translate to healthier actions.
Saying “I don’t” vs. “I can’t” makes you 8 times more likely to succeed at resisting the donut temptation.
As you begin focusing on your mindset goals, think of the steps you can take to change your mindset by changing your words.
26. Sleep at least 8 hours every night
This might be the best life goal you can make. What’s a more admirable goal than getting a good night’s sleep?
The crazy thing is, it’s harder than you think, even when setting alarms reminding you to finish work or turn off the TV.
We all know that sleep is important, yet with the rise of workaholism, it seems people have forgotten that we all function better and smarter with a good night’s rest.
At night, your brain cements memories and detoxes, while your immune system strengthens. Don’t be like Ryan (his story in the article below) and let chronic sleep deprivation turn you into a shell.
27. Read a personal development book quarterly
We have a love-hate relationship with personal development books and have shared why self-help books don’t work. Mainly, this is because you have to do more than read: you need to implement!
Here’s a list of our favorite personal development books that don’t suck, covering diet, self-care, relationships, finances, habits, and more. Just make sure you create SMART goals that go along with what you learn.
28. Review your finance plan monthly
Do you have an intimate grasp of where your money goes each month?
Whether you have a debt to conquer or want to learn how to optimize your investments, reviewing your financial plan in regards to short and long-term goals is essential.
Manages finances as a couple? Read our “Couple’s Finance Guide.”
29. Start a side gig
What’s a better example of a professional goal than starting a side gig?
Spoiler alert: Ryan and Alex Duo Life originally started as a side gig but has now enabled us to live and work abroad since March 2018.
Starting a side gig not only is an opportunity to make extra cash, but you’ll learn to become an expert in your craft. Here are six reasons why you need a side gig.
30. Volunteer once a month
What better way to revamp your mindset and appreciate what you have than volunteering?
Volunteering opportunities exist in your hometown, with a neighbor or friend, and even online. You’ll get those feel-good endorphins while knowing you’re meaningfully using your time.
31. Reconnect with an old friend this quarter
Reconnecting with an old friend — or even a former friend and now foe — can be uncomfortable and scary.
But, that’s why you need to do it, as pushing yourself to expand your comfort zone benefits your mindset. It allows you to tackle challenges with more confidence.
32. Monthly digital detox
When was the last time you didn’t look at an electronic device for 24 hours?
Your brain benefits from unplugging as well, as your spatial awareness increases and your memory functions better.
We share a schedule and how to unplug from technology when we did in our 7-day digital detox. The week includes time unplugged as well as decluttering and securing our digital life.
Did we miss any examples of good goals in life?
What examples of goals do we need to add to our list? Please share in the comments and thanks in advance for the new idea.
Not that you have these examples of SMART Goals, it’s time to learn how to write your goals in a way that’s scientifically proven to help you achieve them.
Just Duo It
Our flagship program. Transform your mind, body, and marriage using small, systematic steps. These tried-and-true techniques have been taken from our research and personal experiments to reconnect, get healthier, and add spontaneity into your relationship.
- "Daily Duoables" to keep progress simple and easy
- Access to our exclusive Duo Life Community app to stay accountable for your fitness and nutrition
- Monthly guides to put it all together
We're willing to commit a year on you, are you ready to commit a year on you? Made for couples by couples.
Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
Join our 120,000 monthly readers
Receive our newsletter bringing healthy couples practical tips and life-changing ideas based on science.
As engineers, we know these to be true:
1. What gets tracked, gets improved
2. If you fail to plan, plan to fail
Therefore, when you join, you get our Goals and Habits Bundle to track and plan your best 2022.