What approach to goal setting do people take in relation to their life?
If I understand the question correctly, are you asking how do people set life goals?
If this is what you are asking, I work with my clients to first define themselves. Understanding why they even have it as a goal. Where does this ideal image come from? You, your family, religion, community, school, friends, movies, books, etc.? Then clarifying and testing the goal. Once that is done we map the goal by creating a strategy to reach that goal.
A life goal might be to spend more time with friends.
Why is this in alignment with how you define yourself? Why spending more time important for you? Maybe you have an ideal image that reflects your life being a 10 out of 10 when you see yourself spending evenings and weekends with friends having fun. Ask yourself why you believe this would be a ten, where did that idea come from? Maybe you once watched a moving and the character was a huge success and that character spent everyday with friends after work, carrying on and having a great time and he spent his weekends flying around the world with friends. So you decided to develop the idea that this would be your version of a happy successful life as well. Test this goal. Is this really how you need and want to define your social/friend relationships? Is this how it has to look for you to feel like that Area of Life is a 10 out of 10? Finally, you should create your strategy on how you will achieve this vision. Maybe you make a commitment to call one friend every day or go to dinner with friends after work at least 3 x a week.
Thinking of the specific area of life you wish to improve, what does the dream look like and how do you get there?