Goal Setting Worksheet

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Do you have a big goal you’re just not reaching? If so, you need a goal setting worksheet. But don’t worry, you can build one yourself right now, simply by opening up your word processor and creating a box for each of the following segments.

Step 1: What is my goal? It must be specific, challenging and attainable.

Many people set but don’t achieve their goals because the goals are simply too vague, too small or too big. For instance, “I’m going to get in shape this year” is a very poor goal. What do you mean by that? How will you know if you’ve arrived? A better goal statement is “I am going to lose 10 pounds, be able to do 50 push-ups without a break, and run 3 miles in under 25 minutes by my next birthday.” No wiggle room there! You will know if you’ve succeeded or failed. And, assuming the targets are also appropriately challenging or significant, you will have a strong goal statement.

Step 2: Why do I want to achieve this goal? What are the benefits I’m seeking.

This could be a very long list. Referring back to the fitness goal, you may want to look better at the beach, beat a friend in a race, improve your heart health or any number of other possibilities. The purpose of this step is to identify your deepest motivations, get them on paper, and refer to them as you progress towards your goal.

Step 3: What are the obstacles between me and my goal?

If there were no barriers, you’d be there already! So, why aren’t you? Perhaps you have to eat out a lot due to your job, and it’s hard to eat healthy meals away from home. Maybe you were pushed into a sedentary lifestyle due to an injury. Likely, your schedule is such that it is very difficult to find time for exercise. Write down every obstacle you can think of, big or small.

Step 4: What is the primary constraint, the one barrier which if removed would immediately move me toward my goal?

From all the barriers you identified in Step 3, pick the most significant one. This will help you prioritize how you go about reaching your goal.

Step 5: What sacrifices do I need to make to reach this goal? 

Any substantial goal requires sacrifice. The more significant the goal, likely the more substantial the sacrifice. This is a reality check: Are you prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to reach your goal?

Step 6: What information or skills do I need if I am to achieve this goal?

Most big goals require us to grow personally in knowledge or skill. If you can figure out where the gaps are from the outset, and begin to fill them, you will progress toward your goal very rapidly.

Step 7: Who can help me reach this goal?

This is a very important question, and your answer is also very important. An unachieved goal usually means we lack the self discipline to get there alone. So we need to lean on the discipline and accountability of another person. In some cases they might be partners who are moving toward a similar goal; in other cases they are mentors who are leading us and coaching us to go where they have already gone. Either way, this person is often the difference between success and failure in goal setting.

Step 8: What are all the steps I need to take to reach this goal? 

I like to simply write these things out as they come to mind, with no real regard for order or priority. Just get every logical step down so you can see exactly what is required. This is another reality check stage, but it can also be quite encouraging since your large goal has been reduced to bite-sized chunks!

Step 9: What are the three primary steps I need to take to reach this goal?

At this point you simply synthesize all the points from the previous step into the three logical big steps that will get you to your destination. For instance, back to the fitness scenario, the steps might be to establish a better eating-out routine, to join a fitness club, and to work out three times a week.

Step 10: Which habits (daily, weekly, monthly) do I need to establish to reach my goal?

Don’t miss the power of this step! Every big goal requires new habits if we are to get there, a new routine in some small or great way, usually on the daily and weekly level. Our lives really are simply the sum total of our habits. We change our lives primarily by changing our habits.

Step 11: How committed am I to reaching this goal?

Now that you’ve thought it through quite thoroughly, how passionate are you about going there? You can describe it with words or simply rate yourself out of ten. If you are not significantly committed to reaching a goal, consider dropping it and developing one that fires you up, rather than feeling guilty for an extended period of time before quitting.

Step 12: What’s one simple thing I can do right now, at least today, to move toward my goal?

It doesn’t need to be a big thing, it just needs to be something. The sooner you take action, the sooner you will feel that sense of progress, and the sooner you will reach your destination.

So, there you have it, a goal setting template that you can use to make your own goal setting worksheet. Give this goal setting worksheet a try. It’s been extremely helpful to me and I know you will find that it provides you with that extra little push towards achieving your goals and reaching your dreams.