Goal Setting Worksheet

Your Roommates Wouldn’t Understand This Goal Setting Worksheet

Everybody has goals.  Even your unmotivated roommate who rarely budges from the couch has goals.  But one difference between you and your roommate is that, as a leader, you plan in advance, anticipate challenges, and identify solutions.  In short, you’re a good candidate for trying out our goal setting worksheet.

Download a .doc of our goal setting worksheet

Download a .doc of our goal setting worksheet

A goal setting worksheet can clarify what you want, and using a goal setting worksheet can make achieving your goal easier when life gets in the way.  Here’s our goal setting worksheet and some tips for using it.

As you’ll already know from our articles about SMART goals and the SMART goal setting worksheet, a strong goal is…

  • Specific: it’s not vague, meaning you can it explain easily, clearly, and quickly to somebody else, as though you were giving an elevator speech about it.
  • Measurable: there are numbers attached to the goal, like writing a 300-page novel, spending less than $75 a week, or learning 10 new recipes.
  • Action-oriented: there are concrete action-steps you can take to achieve the goal.
  • Realistic: the goal isn’t completely impossible.  You have the resources and the wherewithal to get it done.
  • Timed: you can create a timeline along which to execute your goal’s action-steps.

This goal setting worksheet we’ve designed emphasizes the same things that you’ll encounter in the SMART goals system.  Many of the criteria are built into this goal setting worksheet, but don’t worry.  Even if you’re not totally familiar with SMART goals, you’ll still find the goal setting worksheet useful.

For example, the first section of the goal setting worksheet asks you to state the goal and the expected deadline.  Is this a long-term goal without a specific deadline?  Doesn’t matter: make an estimate anyway.  You can adjust it later if you need to, but a timeframe is still necessary to complete the rest of the goal setting worksheet.

The next sections of the goal setting worksheet allow you to brainstorm some possible actions that will achieve your goal.  At first, the goal may not seem like something you can work on every day.  If you’re trying to exercise three times a week, what do you do on your off days?  This is where you should get creative and think about which kinds of actions will help support the goal.  For instance, if your goal is to go to the gym three times a week, then your daily actions could include eating healthier and drinking more water.

This goal setting worksheet was designed with the belief that every goal comes with its own challenges and its own solutions to those challenges.  Of course, it’s better for your goal if you think about these things beforehand rather than trying dealing with all the issues as they arise.  So, what are some of the things that will get in the way of your goal?  What sorts of activities could keep you from finishing your goal-related tasks?  Perhaps you don’t have enough time to make your lunch and arrive at the gym on time each morning, so you end up spending your money on fast food.  What are some investments you can make to help organize the workload?  What are some changes you can make to your schedule?  Or imagine that you have trouble getting motivated to go to the gym in the first place.  Why not ask a friend to go with you?  (You might need somebody besides your lazy roommate.)

Next, the goal setting worksheet includes space for thinking about measuring your progress.  Where should you be with your goal in three weeks?  Six weeks?  Three months?  This section of the goal setting worksheet depends on the deadline you chose.  But every goal is made up of several parts.  Which part do you hope to complete, and by what time?

Finally, the goal setting worksheet offers you a space for judging when your goal is complete.  The easiest thing to do here is to describe your goal in measurable terms.  Your blog will have X number of hits, you’ll have $1000 saved in the bank, or you’ll have at least a 3.85 GPA by the time you graduate.  Specific numbers help the rest of the worksheet fall in line—it’s okay to go back and edit things as you go through and complete each of the section.  Also, if you did your homework and it turns out your goal is action-oriented, you have a very easy way of measuring your achievement and accountability: by looking at whether or not you performed the right actions.

As a final note, we should recognize that goals can often be complicated.  Sometimes two or three of our goals can overlap, and it can seem as if to achieve one, we need to achieve another, but can’t achieve that one without first achieving the original one.  Needless to say, it gets very confusing.  This can make completing the goal setting worksheet a difficult project, but the point is to begin thinking about our goals and how they relate to one another.  Then you can begin breaking them down into specific components.  The goal setting worksheet is an easy and effective way to begin the process.

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