Setting goals is important in all areas of life.
They provide direction and guidance that keep you on track to attaining the life you want.
Goals are inspiring, binding, and crucial to success. I’m not lying, either:
It’s been found that having a set of well-defined goals makes you 10x more likely to succeed than those who don’t.
Goal setting games can be useful for anybody who’s unsure how, where, and even why they need to start.
After all, taking the time to sit down and set realistic goals isn’t always the most thrilling way to spend an afternoon.
It can be difficult too.
I mean, it creates the opportunity for failure.
Suddenly, you’ve got a target to aim for; the idea of falling short can be enough to dissuade us from creating it in the first place.
Turning goal setting into a game makes everything a bit easier.
With that in mind, in the post to follow you’ll find a bunch of fun, novel, and gratifying goal setting activities and games.
Be sure to check them out, and let me know what you think in the comments beneath!
Heads up, you might also like this post about the benefits of effective communication! Check it out!
The Value of Goal Setting Games and Activities
Proper goal-setting is more than just coming up with New Year’s resolutions, which, let’s face it, can be a little flimsy and half-hearted at the best of times.
Achieving any goal you set on a whim will be a struggle (80% of people give up on their NY resolutions).
Setting (and writing down) clear, attainable and time-limited goals is where the magic happens.
But, as I said in the intro, getting the time and motivation to do it can be a challenge.
Goal-setting games can be the push you need to actually get going with this endeavour.
I think they’re helpful in two primary ways:
It gets the creative juices flowing to reveal what you want to achieve.
It ensures you actually set the goals you’ve been meaning to, which will help you reach your ambition and potential.
These games are fun, creative, and light-hearted by design.
They’re meant to get you thinking differently, get the creative juices flowing, and to agitate you into both self-realization and action.
9 Goal Setting Games and Exercises
1. Scrapbook Goals
I reckon this exercise would be great for creative people looking for some goal-setting inspiration.
Basically, you get your hands on a blank scrapbook/noticeboard and a bunch of old magazines and newspapers.
(Tip: In an ideal world, they’d all be full of things you find vaguely interesting, or that are relevant to you somehow.)
Next, go through each one, cutting out anything and everything that seems like something you’d be interested in experiencing, attaining, or working within your life.
There might be pictures of tropical islands, beautiful houses, entrepreneurs, sporting events, third world countries, people in need, and so on. Of course, written paragraphs, phrases and headlines might capture your attention too.
Get them all down.
You’ll end up with a pile of cut-outs that inspire you.
Stick them into the scrapbook or onto the notice board. The result? A visual representation of what you want from life.
Using that, you stand a better chance of teasing out some goals for yourself.
2. The Treasure Map
The Treasure Map exercise shares similarities with the scrapbook idea.
You need all the same resources and materials (aka the magazines/newspapers, a scrapbook, scissors, and glue, etc, etc).
This time, though, you start off with an idea of what you want from life.
Spend a few minutes visualising your future. Use your mind’s eye to conjure up a sense of what it’ll be and look like.
Next, work your way through the magazines and newspapers. Try to find the images and words that remind you of what you just visualized.
Then set about sticking them into the scrapbook, or onto a poster/noticeboard.
The end result is a physical copy of the life you want. Keep it somewhere in your home that you’ll see all the time; refer back to it constantly, chopping and changing as you go.
(Tip: Don’t worry if you struggle to visualise what you want from life at the start. At the end of the day, you could opt to do the scrapbook exercise instead.)
To find further life inspiration, read this post!
3. The Million Dollar Question
The million-dollar question is a fun and enlightening way to figure out your desires and preferences.
You’ve probably thought about it already.
I suppose it’s like asking somebody what they’d do if they won the lottery.
It also reminds me a lot of Alan Watts asking ‘what if money was no object?’ Definitely check out the video/speech:
This time, though, you stop and ponder what you’d do if someone gave you a million bucks out of nowhere.
Maybe you inherit it, get gifted it, or win it in a competition.
Either way, you get a million bucks, just landing on your plate. It’s the dream, right? But what would you do with it?
How do you spend both your newfound cash and freedom?
Where would you live? How would you wile away the time? Who would you spend it with? What hobbies would you do? Would you still work? And, if so, what would you do?
You get the idea.
Don’t worry about taking ages on this question- don’t let it get tedious. However, give yourself enough time to really mull it over.
4. 12 Months Left to Live
Here’s another thought experiment that can shock people into action.
I like it because money doesn’t enter the equation. Money doesn’t (and shouldn’t) motivate everyone, but almost all of us can be influenced by the thought of our own untimely demise.
Imagine going to the doctor about a health issue you’ve been having.
They run some tests and invite you back in a few days later for the results. The doctor looks at you and explains there’s bad news- the prognosis is bleak.
You’re going to die in 12 months.
There’s nothing anyone can do. You’ve got another 365 days to walk this earth, and that’s that.
How will you spend the next and final year of your life? What changes would you make? What actions would you take? Who would you be?
Obviously, don’t take this too literally.
I know a lot of people who’d just say they’d go wild- partying, drinking and generally living 12 months of rampant debauchery and self-indulgence…And why the hell not?
Instead, it’s about stopping to consider what you could, and maybe should, be doing differently.
The question’s meant to be a wake-up call to jolt you from any state of apathy you might have entered.
The result might be a newfound set of goals for how to get back on track.
(If you’re interested, here’s everything I want to do before I die. Hopefully, my personal bucket list will help you write yours!)
5. A Year from Now…
This game’s less morbid, but shares similar themes.
All you have to do is imagine how you want your life to look in a year’s time.
You could do this one with a friend too.
Take two sets of paper each.
On the first, spend 5 to 10 minutes writing down (truthfully) where you see your friend in 12 months’ time.
On the second, write down where you want to be, what you want to be doing, how you’d like to feel, and so on.
Finally, swap the version of events you wrote for your friend.
Compare notes to see how your two different futures look and sound (aka your idea of what it’ll be and your friend’s idea of what it’ll be).
Reading their ideas about ‘future you’ can be an enlightening experience.
6. An Average Perfect Day
This goal-setting exercise is simple:
It’s time to picture your ideal life.
Or, more accurately, it’s time to imagine what an ordinary day looks like in your ideal life.
Reflect on every little detail you can.
Picture the time you’ll wake up, the exercise you’ll be doing, the job you’ll have, the area you’ll live, the commute to work, the music on the stereo, the food on your plate, how you’ll look, how you’ll feel, the memories you’ll have, and so on.
The result is a clear indication of where you want to end up, which provides a blueprint for establishing your goals.
7. The ‘I Last Felt’ Experiment
This game is about looking to your past as a means of realizing your future.
Come up with a list of emotions and experiences:
Things like ‘proud’, ‘happy’, ‘self-confident’, ‘grateful’, ‘loved’, ‘excited’, ‘engaged’…and so on.
Next, ask yourself when you last felt that particular thing, and what made you feel it.
‘I last felt proud when I finished my university thesis.’
‘I last felt self-confident when I was with my ex-partner.’
You get the idea.
Finishing as many of these sentences as you can, for as many experiences and emotions, will help you do two things.
First, you’ll start to learn more about what you need to feel a particular way.
Second, you’ll build up a picture of what your future needs to look like in order to repeat those experiences. In so doing, you can gain a better understanding of what your goals should look like too.
For instance, as a rubbish example:
If I feel low in self-esteem right now, but know that I last felt proud of myself when I graduated university, I might realise that I’d like to experience another academic achievement.
8. Play Your Goal-Cards Right
First off, come up with 50 to 100 goals.
They don’t have to be yours! Just write 50 to 100 things that somebody could, in theory, aim to achieve in their life.
(To help get you started, check out this list of 100 life goals ideas I put together!)
Go do it now.
Next, create a ‘deck of cards’ by writing those goals onto small pieces of paper/card.
(Tip: A better approach is to have someone else write these for you, with goals they came up with)
Finally, with your cards all in a pile, start sorting them into 2 piles:
Goals I might like to achieve
Goals I’m not bothered about
Discard the ‘not bothered about’ pile and pick the ‘yes’ pile back up (assuming there’s a fair number there). Shuffle them again.
Now, go through them again and re-sort them into another 2 piles:
Goals I’m 100% certain about
Goals I’m less than 100% about
Got some goals left in pile 1? Well, there you go- goal-setting complete! You’ve settled upon a set of goals that you know you want to accomplish.
9. The Public Declaration
Okay, so this one’s less of a game/exercise and more of a challenge.
It would be lovely if some of the above games and ideas have helped you to forge some goals. Now, if you’ve realised something you’d like to achieve, it’s time to start telling people about it.
A public declaration of any sort is hugely powerful. Imagine that you’ve told close friends and family, for instance, that you want to achieve some incredible thing.
As such, the goal is made real and concrete. Now you have some social pressure to follow through on it! You commit yourself to at least giving the goal a shot.
The effect will be even more pronounced if you have a time-frame on it as well.
For instance, someone who wants to get fit could tell everyone that they’ll run a marathon by the same time next year.
The chance of attaining that goal, or getting closer to it, increases ten-fold in the process.
Try These Goal-Setting Games
I think most of us understand the value of setting goals for ourselves.
However, far fewer of us actually get around to doing it. Coming up with goals might feel boring, unnecessary, or like setting yourself up for a fall.
The problem is that life has a habit of getting away from us. Without a goal to keep us on track towards a desired outcome, time just disappears.
It’s easy to enter into an ordinary life that lacks purpose and meaning.
Setting goals stops that happening. Hopefully, the goal setting games in this post will help make the whole process more accessible to anyone reluctant to get started.
Give some (or all) of them a shot, and let me know how they go in the comments!