7 Personal goal ideas to create new habits outside the office

7 Personal goal ideas to create new habits outside the office

I couldn’t think of any personal goals stopping me from staying outside the office but I couldn’t stop myself from saying:

“No, I really can’t come in today. I’m sorry,”

I had said the aforementioned tagline to an employer a handful of times when asked to work overtime. It was a new job and I had something to prove. But I was slowly wearing thin on how much overtime I could put myself through in an environment that was continuously understaffed.

I knew I wanted to improve and prove my worth at my new job. I had set many different work goals during my time at the position. I had set work goals against myself and against my coworkers, many of whom didn’t know there was a competition going on.

But I would return home, usually late at night, and not have many personal goals or much to look forward to in the morning until I went back to the office.

My days off where pretty uneventful and wasteful, usually doing chores and errands that I could have done on other days. I didn’t have many leisurely activities to create any personal goals in my off time to devote myself towards.

I would go to the gym, go to the supermarket, maybe go to a bookstore. I just didn’t feel as if I had a lot of purpose outside of work.

So, I made a few personal goals that could turn into skills or habits that won’t only keep me busy, but also keep me driven in a purposeful direction.

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Habit-forming Goal 1: Lose weight/complete a distance run

Getting healthy is one of the top New Year’s Resolutions. But the thing is, you can make this personal goal any time of the year.

You also have many ways to accomplish this personal goal, and it all depends on how you want to go after it. Join a gym and find your own quick workout routines to push yourself. Whether you find them on Pinterest or are given a routine to follow by a professional, you are setting the pace and create a habit-forming goal of your own.

You might hire a personal trainer or join a weight-loss camp. If you are new to exercise, this is a highly-encouraged approach, that way you know you are correctly performing moves and reaching your personal goals in a healthy manner.

Another personal goal that’s easily habit-forming is completing a distance run or strongman competition. Many people set a goal of completing a Tough-Mudder, a half-marathon, or competing in a body-building competition after a set duration of time, whether that be a few months to a year.

These are all great examples of accomplishing personal goals that quickly become habit-forming. Reaching these goals require you to maintain a consistent, dedicated routine. Without these routines as fairly stable in your off-hours outside of the office, you are more likely to quit or, even worse, push yourself harder and possibly hurt yourself in the process.

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Habit-forming Goal 2: Learn a new skill or hobby


Cook French-cuisine. Rebuild your favorite style of muscle car. Build a new business. Fold origami. DO SOMETHING!

This personal goal doesn’t have to be super far-off base with your job. Especially for recent graduates, whether that’s high-school or college, it might be easier to create a habit-forming goal that’s closer to your occupation. It allows you to continue to be in your comfort zone but still learning something new at the same time.

Learning a new hobby is also a great way to meet people. Interested in building a business? There’s probably a group in your community or through your chamber of commerce that will teach you how to learn a new habit. Want to learn how to cook? There are tons of technical classes that will teach you how to perform the necessary skills with like-minded individuals or groups. You are not alone in wanting to learn something new.

I’d try sticking with a new hobby over a few months, maybe three at the least. You might be frustrated in your progress but, keep in mind, you are still learning. You will not be amazing while you are trying to figure things out. Also remember, there is a difference between frustration and hatred. If you are frustrated in the process of learning a skill, ask yourself if you’re frustrated with the process or you are not finding enjoyment from this activity. Learn what you can do to move forward, even if that means leaving the hobby behind for another.

Habit-forming Goal 3: Read more

I love reading. Barnes and Noble is my kryptonite. I continuously push myself to read more and have gotten in the great habit of reading a book a month at least. More if I can find time.

A good way to form this habit is to set a number of books to complete per month. Another way to form this habit would be to subscribe to a book list or a book club. This way you are able to meet others while also accomplishing the goal you set out to do.

A great resource for the habit-forming goal would be to reach out to your local library. Your local library not only has a vast amount of books, but most also offer book clubs throughout the week and month. They can also offer other related activities, like book panels, author visits or readings, and challenges to increase reading of their own.

Also, get creative with what you read! When you are tired of a topic, switch things up. You have free-reign to switch things up when something interesting catches your eye.

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Habit-forming Goal 4: Travel

Pick a country you’ve always wanted to know more about. For me, I would go to Europe and visit all of the castles I could.

Thankfully, you don’t have to always go out of your country to travel. You can, but even going to a new town would be considered travel. As with many of these habit-forming personal goals, start small, maybe a museum in a neighboring city, and go from there. Maybe then you’ll be able to accomplish going across the ocean for your next trip!

In my home state of Oklahoma, it probably takes about two to four hours to travel to the edges of the state from its center in Oklahoma City. Making a weekend trip every month would be a good goal to set in order to create a new habit.

No need to make this a solo trip either. Grab some friends, family, coworkers, anyone you can stand for a day or two, and make a getaway out of it. Better yet, find someone out of your normal circle and meet them in their neck-of-the-woods. You’ll have a guide awaiting at your destination.


Habit-forming Goal 5: Redecorate a room or rooms in your living space

My mom always has the personal goal of cleaning out our garage. It hasn’t happened yet, but after starting with some paint, we’ve had my childhood home completely transformed over the years.

Redecorating doesn’t have to be very strenuous or pricey, however it can end up that way depending on the project. Getting the right color of paint can redefine a room’s purpose if it wants to, but at the least it makes the room more interesting at the end of the day.

If you have a weekend off from work, plan tackling a room in your house every month or every other month. Even if you just rearrange a few pieces of furniture, you still accomplish the aspect of looking at your surroundings in a new way.

If you have your own garage to clean out, make it a multi-month project and find ways you can tackle different aspects of the project at your own pace.

Habit-forming Goal 6: Save money for something special

Saving money is not always easy. It can be difficult depending on your financial situation. You might barely be making ends meet, or you might be struggling even more by relying heavily on credit. But having a personal financial goal that you want to save for, either a monetary amount in general or a personal goal with a prize at the end, will shape your other activities.

You might not go out to eat as much because you want to save up to buy a newer car. You might unplug your appliances during the day to lower you utility bill so you can go on that international trip with your family. Finding ways to save money is habit forming. You might not always see it, but you will probably notice once you reach your goal.

You might want to save money in a certain time span, like Tori Dunlap did when she saved $100,000 in two years. But similar to Tori, you should start small and increase your savings as you go. She went from saving about 20% to 27% near the end of her goal.

If you are trying to reach a prize at the end of your money saving spree, you should follow the same tactics. I might try for a lower-budgeted item and then set my sights on something more pricey after saving for the smaller items. Such as saving money for a shopping spree, before buying a cruise. Don’t worry, you don’t have to buy it in that order but having a budget before you start looking allows you to budget money more effectively rather than going overboard.

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Habit-forming Goal 7: Actively join an organization or group

I say actively join, because joining alone does not make it a successful habit in your life. To make this personal goal habit-forming, you should regularly attend meetings and participate in activities that the group promotes.

Try participating in the meetings on a weekly basis to start. This will allow you the chance to learn more about the organization, its members, and its contribution to the community or its members. Once you become more familiar with the group or organization, you can either move on to other things or continue to grow more involved.

Not only is this a great way on how to network with local members of your community, but it’s a great way to get involved as well. It’s important to have roots and ties to your local community organizations to flourish in an environment. Having friends close-by and people who can depend on you is a great way to find purpose outside of work.

This is also great because, as an organization, groups are structured similarly to the workplace. If you need the structure that the workplace provides, non-profits and organizations are a great way to transfer that structure into your life outside of work.


There are many habit-forming personal goals you can reach outside of work. You just have to learn what interests you and consistently work towards each personal goal you set your mind towards.

What are some of your habit-forming personal goals outside of work? Leave me a comment below so others can find inspiration and motivation from your progress!

Learn how I accomplish my own personal goals in my e-newsletter twice a month! I’ll provide a current book I’m reading, how my goals are being accomplished, and exclusive previews to my upcoming content.

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