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If there’s one tool I recommend, it’s a printable goal setting worksheet.
I’m a huge fan of personal goal-setting.
I love everything about it – The excitement that comes with working towards something new, the challenge of actually accomplishing it, and the sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with ticking it off my list.
But I’ll be honest, sometimes the goal setting process can be a little petrifying.
Where do you even start? What should your goals be?
How do you make sure you actually achieve them?
That’s where a goal worksheet comes in handy because it helps you pinpoint what it is you actually want to achieve.
A good goal sheet will also help you break down your bigger goals into smaller, more achievable steps.
Plus, you know what they say. You are much more likely to follow through with your goals if you write them down.
What are personal goals and why should you set them?
Personal goals are ambitions you set for yourself and strive to achieve. This could be anything from establishing new habits to quitting old ones.
The beauty of goal-setting is that it allows you to take control of your life – whether it’s your personal life or career-related – and focus on what’s important to you.
It also gives you a sense of purpose and direction, something we all need in order to feel motivated and fulfilled.
Life areas for goal setting
When it comes to setting goals, it’s important to consider all areas of your life. After all, our lives are complex and interconnected, so neglecting one area can have a negative impact on others.
Here are some of the different areas you may want to focus on:
- Health and fitness
- Career and work
- Personal development
- Family goals
What are some examples of personal goals?
Again, personal goals can be anything you want them to be. But to give you some inspiration, here are some examples of popular personal goals:
- Start a new business
- Get a promotion
- Get in shape
- Quit a habit
- Learn a new skill or language
- Write a book
- Travel the world
- Volunteer more
- Be more positive
- Make more
- Save more
- Pay off debt
But, of course, these are very broad examples.
If you choose one of these as your own personal goal, keep in mind that you will have to do some digging to clarify what it actually means for you. More on this in a few.
What is the difference between short-term and long-term goals?
Short-term goals are objectives that you hope to achieve in the near future, usually within the next year. They are generally less challenging than long-term goals and can be easily attainable with some planning and effort.
Long-term goals, on the other hand, are ambitions that you set for yourself further down the road. They may take several years or even decades to achieve and usually require more dedication, planning, and effort than short-term goals.
The best way to think about it is like this – short-term goals are the stepping stones that lead you to your long-term goal.
So, if your long-term goal is to start your own business, a couple of your short-term goals might be to save up money, find a business partner, etc.
Why use a printable goal planner?
A worksheet is a tool you can use to make the goal planning process easier.
First, goal tracker templates help you to get clear on what you want to achieve.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when my thoughts are swirling around in my own head, it’s a little confusing at first to pinpoint what it is I actually want. I have an idea, but it’s a little vague at first.
Using a worksheet to brainstorm and write down ideas helps me clarify what my goals are and get a better sense of what I need to do in order to achieve them.
Another benefit is – Using a free goal planner is motivating.
Once you’ve figured out what it is that you want to accomplish and you’ve written out down a few realistic action steps, the only thing that stands between you and your goal is a little consistency. And that’s pretty exciting.
Lastly, a printable planner gives you a bit more guidance than a blank piece of notebook paper.
Sometimes when you’re staring at a blank sheet of paper, you kind of get lost in the moment and you may find yourself sitting there thinking… now what?
Having a few prompts to guide you along can help make it infinitely easier to get started.
That being said, if you would rather save your ink, feel free to copy the templates below onto a piece of paper!
How to set goals in life and achieve them
Now that you know what personal goal-setting is and why it’s important, it’s time to learn how to actually do it.
These steps will help you choose realistic goals and create action plans to help you achieve them.
Step 1: Choose a goal
That’s the first step. Simple enough, right?
You have to know where you’re going before you start planning out how you’ll get there.
If you want to achieve multiple goals, that’s absolutely fine, but keep in mind that it’s easier to focus on one goal at a time while you are creating your action plan.
When you’re selecting a goal, remember that the best goals are SMART. This is a popular acronym that stands for
- and Timely
When you create your goal, try to make it as specific as possible.
For example, instead of saying you want to get into better shape before your birthday, a more focused goal might be to lift weights 3x per week or get 10,000 steps per day – or both!
Or, instead of saying you want to save money in general, your goal could be to save X amount in a year.
“Exercising more” is a very vague goal. That could mean anything. And when your goal is vague, it’s hard to track your progress and make a plan.
So, is it a measurable goal? Is it a specific goal?
Step 2: Give your goal a realistic timeframe
Next, when you’re setting new goals I’ve found that it’s usually best to either give yourself a specific date OR, if it’s more of a new habit type of goal, give yourself a set amount of time that you will aim to be consistent for (I prefer 21 to 30 days).
I’ve found that if I don’t put some kind of timeframe on it, I’ll either take my sweet time and stretch it out for as long as possible or I’ll lose motivation after the first 3-4 days.
Having a realistic timeframe in mind helps you stay on track and keeps your motivation up because you know exactly what you’re working towards.
Step 3: Identify the reasons why you want to achieve this goal
Next, I want you to think about why you want to achieve this particular goal.
How will you feel once you’ve accomplished it?
Continuing with the previous example, your reasons why may look something like this:
I want to lift weights 3x per week because…
- I want to keep up with my kids.
- I want to feel and look stronger.
- I want to improve my mental health.
- I want to be able to carry the groceries inside without feeling winded.
This is important because it gives you the motivation to persevere when things get tough.
Step 4: Brainstorm how you’ll get there
This is the part where you think about the steps you will have to take in order to reach your goal.
You can break your goals down into months, weeks, days, or even smaller increments, depending on your time frame.
What weekly or daily tasks will help you achieve this goal?
If your goal is to get 10,000 steps every day, how are you going to do that?
- Are there any stairs you can take daily?
- Can you park farther away from the grocery store each week?
- Can you walk on the treadmill every morning?
What smaller steps will help get you there?
Step 5: Be consistent
One of my favorite books, The Compound Effect, talks about the importance of consistency when it comes to being successful and reaching your goals.
This book really was a game-changer for my mindset and it helped me understand that success is not usually achieved overnight.
Showing up and doing those small steps every week (maybe even every day) – That’s the secret sauce to crushing your goals.
Once you’ve broken down your goals into smaller action steps, add these small tasks to your planner or your morning or evening routine – Whatever you have to do to make them non-negotiable and stay consistent.
Related: Monthly Habit Tracker Printables
Free printable goal setting worksheets
You have several options to choose from. All are in PDF format.
Choose your favorite to print out or download them all!
You may also copy the template onto a piece of paper if you prefer to save your ink.
These can be imported into a notetaking app, such as GoodNotes, as well.
The in-depth goal planner
This one focuses on planning out one main goal. You can write down your goal and the date you wish to accomplish it.
Use the space provided to brainstorm your road map and fill in your reasons why like we talked about above.
Then, you can break it down into the weekly and daily tasks you will need to be consistent with in order to achieve your goal.
Top 4 yearly goals
If you find the previous one a bit overwhelming, this one may be a better fit. Write up to 4 different goals and brainstorm up to 3 action steps for each goal.
Your action items will be the tasks you will do weekly or daily to move you closer to accomplishing your goals.
Brainstorm your goals for all 12 months
Do you need a bird’s-eye view of your goals for every month of the year?
With this worksheet, you can jot down your goals for a new year.
Long term planner
Bigger goals need to be broken down into smaller goals. This worksheet helps you break down a long-term goal into 3 smaller goals.
Then, you can brainstorm your action steps for each individual mini goal.
If you’re looking for a financial goal planner specifically, try this one.
It has a place for your to write down your goal and the date you plan to achieve this goal.
There are fun circles for thinking about how this will benefit your life and lines for writing in your action steps as well.
If you need to be able to glance at your goals by the quarter, be sure to download this printable. The year is divided into 4 quarters. Each quarter is also labeled and separated by the month.
If you’ve been struggling with how to make your goals a reality, breaking them down into smaller steps that are doable is key.
Even your biggest goal will feel much less overwhelming once you’ve broken it down and figured out those small steps that you need to do every week or every day in order to get you there.
Tuesday 7th of February 2023
I love your printables!! I could not get the March Bills bill calendar in color to download. Please let me know if you can fix it! Love the colors and all the options for no color, single colors, etc.! Love! Love! Love! Seeing the planning PDFs actually sparked a way to achieve a goal of mine! So excited! Thank you so much for your creativity and sharing!
Sosh | Lemons & Lattes
Tuesday 7th of February 2023
Hi Chauna! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I'm so glad you love the printables. :) The March bill calendar should be fixed now. Please let me know if you have any other problems.