The top 25 everyday goals adults have set themselves

The top 25 everyday goals Brits set themselves include to drink more water, start saving for a holiday and go on a diet… tomorrow.

Research of 2,000 adults found being more positive, making time to see friends and walking instead of driving also ranked highly.

Financial goals are also prominent in the list, such as saving more money for retirement, kickstarting investing and going a day without spending a penny. 

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But it is these money-related goals which are most likely to fall by the wayside, as 43 per cent claim unexpected expenses get in the way.

And for one in four of these, more pressing goals have cropped up meaning their fiscal aspirations had to be shelved.

The research was commissioned by HSBC UK to mark the launch of its ‘Investment Calculator’ which allows customers who want to set aside money to help achieve a goal see how the value of an investment can change over time.

The bank has teamed up with success and performance coach Katy Hill to offer advice on how to fulfil your everyday ambitions.

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She said: “Goal setting is key to equipping and empowering us to fully lean into our potential, whether that’s financially, at work, or in our relationships.

“So many people have big goals but don’t act on them – we need to get intentional, we need to get back in the driving seat of our own lives - life by design, not default as I call it. 

“Bold goals, such as saving for retirement, are the key to living your potential, but they need actionable plans or they’re too overwhelming.

 “Take the time to work out what you want but, and crucially, how you’ll get there, then take action every single day.

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“We are all capable of so much more than we think and setting goals in all areas of life is a powerful step towards a more fulfilling 2024 for you and those around you.”


A better quality of life

The research also found 25 per cent of adults set themselves what they consider unachievable targets.

While in contrast, 37 per cent set the bar too low so they can easily achieve them, with 79 per cent of these finding smashing easy goals motivates them to tackle others.

Upon completing a goal, 42 per cent feel more positive about the future, and for 33 per cent it is a confidence boost.

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The most common goal which Brits are achieving is to be more positive – as 70 per cent who tasked themselves with this have overcome the challenge.

However, 70 per cent who have tried to drink less coffee have ultimately failed.

So far in 2023, Brits have set themselves three long- and short-term goals apiece – and 34 per cent have a financial plan in place.

These financial goals, on average, have been spread out over a five-year period, and 85 per cent of them are confident they will achieve them.

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Nearly half (45 per cent) are checking in on their financial plans every month or more, while 29 per cent are reviewing their progress biannually.

The study, commissioned via OnePoll, found 72 per cent have been working hard to build an emergency fund, with these, on average, saving enough to cover their expenses for at least 15 months.

The research echoes findings from the HSBC Quality of Life Report which identified saving for retirement as one of the top financial goals.

However, just over half said they were financially well prepared for retirement.

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Those who feel they hadn’t saved enough, had an average of an 87 per cent savings gap they needed to fill to meet their retirement savings goal.

Felicity Sherman, head of transactional wealth at HSBC UK, said: “We applaud the spirit of determination Brits show in setting themselves ambitious goals.

“Whether it's climbing the career ladder, embarking on exciting ventures, or hitting financial milestones – we understand setting goals is a vital part of personal growth.

“And for financial goals in particular, a well thought out plan is key to success.

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“For those who have an emergency fund and are able to invest, our calculator can help you plan ahead and understand how the value of your investment may change over time.”

Top 25 goals Brits are setting themselves

  1. Drink more water
  2. Save for a holiday
  3. Be more positive
  4. Reach your ideal body weight
  5. Spend more time with your family
  6. Pay off debt
  7. Travel more
  8. Have more patience
  9. See your friends more
  10. Save for your retirement
  11. Move house
  12. Walk more instead of taking the car
  13. Purchase your first property
  14. Spend less time on your phone
  15. Save for a car
  16. Start investing
  17. Stick to a financial budget
  18. Start a new diet – tomorrow
  19. Go a day without spending any money
  20. Watch less TV
  21. Set up your own business
  22. Drink less coffee
  23. Be more polite to people
  24. Stop smoking
  25. Become a millionaire

Success & performance coach Katy Hill’s top tips for reaching everyday goals

  1. Be specific on what - Get crystal clear on the goal and what you’re looking to achieve – whether it's saving for a deposit on a house, eating healthier, or building an emergency fund
  2. Become laser focused - So, not a generic “I want to get fitter” - but “I want to be able to run the local 10k in December”.
  3. Keep it realistic - Is this goal achievable for you?  I’m all for creating bold, audacious goals but they need to be within the realms of possibility. If you’re not a runner and you’d love to run a marathon – coming up with goals in September for an April race is viable. Deciding in March that you’ll run next month? Possibly not. 
  4. Get clear on why - Get excited about the vision and why the goal matters. Ask yourself:
  5. How will it feel when you achieve it? 
  6. What will the difference be to your life? 
  7. How will it impact those around you? 
  8. How will it move you towards the future you want?
  9. Figure out how - “If your mind can’t see the steps, your heart will ask to pause” is a quote I love. Create the milestones, the how you’ll get there. Think of the goal and then take the time to go backwards and work out the steps to how to make it happen. 
  10. Get clear on when – Once you have the steps, you need to put a date against them, because you’re more likely to achieve your goal when the milestones are time specific. Each time you tick a milestone off, you’ll tap into The Progress Principle – that hit of dopamine which comes with achievement. This will give you the motivation and momentum to keep going.
  11. Be accountable - Sharing your goals can increase the likelihood of them happening– but if you have an accountability partner that increases massively. None of us want to lose face and we love having a way of keeping track of our progress. It is why people have running buddies or partners to share the experience with.
  12. Make a vision board - Whether for the year, the quarter or a specific goal –collect images and words for how the goal will look and feel to achieve. Your mind can’t differentiate between what’s imagined and what’s reality. So, if you show it a vision of how you want things to look your subconscious will start acting on the vision to make it happen. Have it as your screen saver on your phone so you can connect to your vision and goals every morning.
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