Goal Planning Worksheet

Smart Goals and You

So what’s your plan? If you’re like most of us you have some goals in mind, but let’s go one step further and put together some SMART goals.

SMART goals will give you a game plan that makes it much easier to make decisions and helps keep you on track.

Just the process of writing down SMART goals will go a long way, but defining the reasons for accomplishing those goals makes all the difference in accomplishing them.

Writing down goals is a great first step because it puts you in the top 3% of the population. The second step and the secret to making your goals come to life are putting enough reasons behind the goals to make them a reality.

What do you think the difference is between having 2 reasons to achieve a goal and having 100 reasons? When you have 100 reasons, reaching a goal is pretty much a certainty. Reasons are motivation and motivation is the fuel that takes you where you want to go.

Write down all the reasons you have for accomplishing each goal. When you have 25 or more reasons for a goal – it’s important to you. When there are few reasons to accomplish a goal then it’s just not a match for you.

Some Urban Legends Make Sense

Urban legend says that many years ago an interesting and telling study was conducted with a class of Harvard MBA students. I cannot find solid documentation that the study was in fact conducted, so according to legend each student was asked, “Have you set written goals for your future?” 3% of the students reported that they had written goals; 10% reported they had goals generally in mind, but not in writing; and 87% reported they had no specific goals at all.

Now jump ahead 10 years. The same students were interviewed again and the results were astounding! The 10 percent of the students who had goals generally in mind were earning, on average, twice as much as the 87 percent who had no goals at all. This is where it gets really interesting because the three percent who had written goals were earning, on average, 10 times more than the other 97 percent combined.

In my experience, working with thousands of people in hundreds of companies, the Harvard study, whether actually conducted or not, sounds right. Most people just don’t have written goals. I believe there are four major reasons why people don’t set goals:

Most people don’t recognize the value and impact of goals. If your friends, family, and peers don’t have written goals, what’s the chance you will have written goals?

The vast majority of people have never had any training in goal setting so they don’t know how to go about SMART goals. When goals are set they’re usually general and not well thought out. Goals that are not written, specific, and measurable are only dreams.

People fear failure and will avoid any failures if at all possible. Of course, any failure bruises the ego, but failures are a requirement for achieving success. The trick is to keep from sabotaging yourself by not setting goals to avoid failures.

People fear that others will be critical of them if they don’t achieve their goals. To overcome this, keep your goals to yourself. Then, when you reach some of your goals and experience some success, show others your achievements.

Make a habit of focusing on the things you want, staying positive, and moving consistently toward the outcomes that are most important to you. Setting goals is a wonderfully powerful process for envisioning your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision into reality.

The first step in planning personal goals is to consider what you really want. This isn’t necessarily the time to go big or go home. It’s no fun to only have goals that take 10 years to achieve. Start with smaller short-term goals and work up, but keep the big picture in mind.


Use the SMART goal-setting technique to make it easier to set goals that you will accomplish. Download the goal-setting worksheet and use it. Feel free to share this form with everyone.

SMART stands for:

Specific – Keep goals clear, concise and simple

Measurable – Define action plans to measure

Achievable – Keep goals incremental

Realistic – Match goals to needs and ambitions

Timetable – Add milestones and completion dates

Action Plan

Do some goal-setting in the following areas or in categories of your own that are important to you:

  • Family – Relationship with a spouse, children, and extended family.
  • Career – What do you want to achieve from your career?
  • Financial – What do you want to earn? How will you make it happen?
  • Education – What skills will you need to achieve your goals?
  • Attitude – Are there attitudes that are holding you back?
  • Physical – Are there health goals that you want to achieve?
  • Avocation – Do you have a hobby that is important to you?
  • Service – How will you make a difference in your community?

Use the Life Wheel to see how well-rounded your goals are. For example, are all of your goals career or financial-oriented? If so, your wheel would be very lopsided and you would be missing some fun and enjoyable areas that make life fun.

The Life Wheel will help you set goals that fit the complete picture of your life. Just be certain that your goals fit your core values. When you have goals in each of the areas you will be on your way to living your dreams.

Commit to Your Goals

Identify one or more goals in each category that reflect what you want in life. While you are in this process, make sure that the goals are genuinely what you want, not goals your family, or employer might want.

If you have a spouse, discuss what they think is important, but make sure the goals you commit to are goals you believe in.

The bottom line is it’s hard either way: Hard to be aimless and living from paycheck to paycheck and hard to be laser-focused on what you want out of life and determined to get it. So, identify your goals, work on them, and live your dreams!

4 Simple Steps to Smart Goals


“True success in life isn’t rare because people are weak or lazy or lack willpower or fear success. True success in life is rare because too often people use flawed strategies for success.” (Kraus, 2006)

To accomplish anything of significant value, you must begin by establishing smart goals.

Deciding Where You Want To Go

As you think about your goals, write them down. It may seem unnecessary, but it is a key element in achieving goals. You may keep your written list of goals private, because they are designed to make you, as an individual, happy and successful. However, from a team perspective, it may be important to share some of the goals to give your team a clear vision.

Consider your favorite professional sports team. Will they accomplish a championship without clear and concise goals? Not likely. In fact, it’s most certainly not going to happen. Whether it’s business, sports, politics, or any other worthwhile endeavor, goals are a must for success.

Setting Goals is the Road to Success.

One goal to include is building a good attitude. As you grow and change your self-image, be flexible enough to change your focus and reach to new, expanded capabilities. Also, remember that the goals you set can be changed or revised at any time; they can even be removed from your list.

Every time you reach a goal, whether it’s big or small, it’s another step up in growing your self-image, both personally and professionally. You should celebrate even the smallest of accomplishments. If it is a team goal that is accomplished, then the team should be included in the celebration.

Breaking it Down the SMART Goal way

Break each goal down systematically; listing what needs to be done in order to keep you moving forward to accomplishing the ultimate goal – your success!

Let’s say we start with a four-year goal. Break it in half and you know where to be in two years. Break it in half again and now there is a one-year goal. Do this one more time and now you have a six-month goal. Continue this process until you’re down to what to do in the next month. What you end up with is a SMART Goal. Download our free SMART Goals Worksheet goal-setting template.

Once you’ve written down your goals and broken them down into bite-sized SMART objectives, you’ve actually mapped out an action plan. Now you know what has to be accomplished in the next 30 days to begin accomplishing the goals.

Step by Step

Start focusing on completing the smaller steps on your daily breakdowns immediately. If you do that each month, you’ll eventually get to your six-month goal, then to your one-year goal, and finally, you’ll accomplish your four-year goal. Is it that simple? Yes!

Concentrate on the goals that can be reached the fastest or easiest, forgetting about the rest until those goals have been reached. Once completed, be sure to mark them off your list to acknowledge your accomplishment. Continue to do this until you reach your long-term goals.

Focus on Tomorrow

If you concentrate on the whole long-term plan from the start, you’ll get discouraged and won’t be able to gauge your progress properly. Keep in mind that a long-term, long-range goal is really just a group of smaller steps that lead to one conclusion.  This will keep you forging ahead. I know it is old and worn out, but you know Rome wasn’t built in a day.

An occasional review of your overriding long-term goals will keep you going on the right track. Remember, if you focus on the final destination rather than taking one step at a time, you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed and intimidated. Instead, try to break goals down by levels until you know what needs to be completed tomorrow, and that is what should be the focus.

The Process of Establishing SMART Goals

Write down your long-term goals;

  • Things you want to accomplish in three to five years.
  • Break down your three to five-year goals to one-year intermediate goals.
  • Then take each of those goals and write down a six-month breakdown.
  • Then a 30-day breakdown of each of the six-month goals.

Life is Extremely Fast

Things happen all of the time we’ve not planned for. It’s difficult to keep track of all that one desires to do. The plans we make, and the end results we hope to attain, are all in jeopardy throughout our lives because we can lose focus on long-term hopes and dreams because of the immediate fires we must put out now. How do you keep on track when the track is moving all over the place in front of you?

Competitive forces, in business and life in general, are often at odds with day-to-day operations.

You stay on track by having and writing your goals down, turning them into SMART goals and objectives, and revisiting them. Many people think there is no sense in writing goals down. They have them in their minds. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly keep track of tomorrow let alone stay on top of what I want to do in ten years!

There is Magic in Writing Out Your Goals

When you write down your goals, something takes place inside of you. You unconsciously begin a path toward those goals. Something changes and you become a person who stays on track with your plans, dreams, and hopes.

I am not talking about anything crazy here. I just know personally, that having SMART goals changed my life in many ways and in many areas. The research on goals also shows that people who write down their goals are far more successful than those who do not write down their goals.

I teach my own staff to visualize their goals through pictures or words. Keep that visualization near at all times so that when times are tough, that picture or those words can reorient one back onto the path to success once again.

Why Do Goals Help So Much?

Because you always have a map to see if you are still on track. No matter what happens in life you can always look back to your written goals and see if you are tracking. If you’re not, you can correct your path and get right back on the journey toward your goals.

Write down your long-term goals;

  • Things you want to accomplish in three to five years.
  • Break down your three to five-year goals to one-year intermediate goals.
  • Then take each of those goals and write down a six-month breakdown.
  • Then a 30-day breakdown of each of the six-month goals

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