Personal Goal Setting Worksheet: Goals At The Speed Of Thought

Ian Paul Marshall —  September 10, 2010

Personal Goal Setting WorksheetThe Personal Goal Setting Worksheet and The Forgotten Art of Writing Down Your Goals

You’ll find the personal goal setting worksheet PDF link at the bottom of this post.

Goal Setting Myth: “I don’t need to write down my goals. I have them all in my mind.”

Did you know that some sources say that you have about 1,500 thoughts per minute?

That’s 90,000 thoughts per hour.

1,400,000 thoughts per waking hours of the day. (sixteen hours with eight hours sleep)

So with all those thoughts flying around your head how can you expect to even remember what your goals are?

Best selling author Brian Tracy said that, “Only 3% of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals, and by every statistic, they accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all.”

Writing down your goals works. And that’s why it’s so important to have a personal goal setting worksheet. It takes the guess work out of the process.

You can look at your worksheet and know exactly what your goal is. It’s right there in black and white.

Goals are dreams with deadlines. That’s what Napoleon Hill, the grand-daddy of the self-help movement said about personal goal setting and writing down your goals.

He knew what it took to achieve your dreams:

  • Get clear on what you want
  • Figure out when you want it by
  • Create a plan about how you’re going to get it
  • Then work your plan

Those four key points are the very foundation of personal goal setting. But let’s go a little deeper so that we can really anchor in some great results.

12 Steps To Set and Achieve Any Goal

I’ve noticed that there are 12 keys to making sure that you achieve your goals.

  1. Have a Burning Desire: What Do You Really Want?
  2. Believe That Your Goal Is Attainable
  3. Write Down Your Goals
  4. Determine Your Starting Point
  5. Figure Out Why You Want It
  6. Set Yourself A Deadline To Achieve Your Goal
  7. Identify the Obstacles In Your Way
  8. Determine the Additional Knowledge and Skills You Need
  9. Find Some People Who Can Help You
  10. Make A Plan: Put All the Pieces Together
  11. Visualize Your Goal: Not Only The End But The Steps In Between
  12. Never Give Up

I know it may look like a lot of things to do right now but in the end it’s worth it. Getting clear on your goals and creating a plan to reach those goals isn’t sexy but it’ll fast track you to success.

SMART Goals and the Personal Goal Setting Worksheet

The most popular personal goal setting method is the SMART goal setting system. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Personal Goal SettingS.M.A.R.T Goal Setting System

Specific: What exactly will you accomplish?
Don’t use general statements like, “Go on a vacation.”

Be specific and write out, “My goal is to take Eavan and Shea (my kids), myself and a child child care support person for a one week holiday to Disneyland in by November 11th 2011.”

Measurable: What are the mini-goals that need to be completed to measure your progress along the way?

This is so important. A lot of people forget to chunk their goals down into bite sized bits.

The chunking it down process of personal goal setting reminds me of the elephant joke; “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Write out all the mini-goals that you need to complete along the way. This helps you to measure your progress. It also makes big insurmountable goals easier to finish.

So for my example about taking my kids to Disneyland the list I’ve created looks like this:

* Learn more about Disneyland
* Read various travel guides
* Discover when the best time to go is
* Research costs
* Research hotels
* Research things to do and tours
* Find someone to help me with the children
* Set-up a savings account
* Start saving $50-100 per week
* Book flight and hotel

Attainable: Is achieving this goal realistic with effort and commitment? Do you have the resources to achieve this goal? If not, how will you get them?

When people asked the Buddha what he taught he answered them by saying, “I teach the way things are.”

He tried to be practical and see things clearly.

When you’re setting goals for yourself you need to try to bring that same Buddha like clarity to the table.

So to continue with my example about my little getaway with the kids to the magic kingdom, there’s things that I’d love to be able to do, like take them there for a month.

But I know it’s not realistic. They have school and their Mother would seriously have a heart attack being away from the kids that long.

Maybe this can be a goal that set for myself in 2012? It will be a little more doable after I’ve created more income streams and have supplemented her salary. But right now it’s not in the cards.

And the second part of this section is something that needs to be addressed as well, “Do you have the resources to achieve this goal? If not, how will you get them?”

A lot of times your goals are going to stretch and test your limits. That’s a good thing. It gets the juices flowing. Pushing your mind and life into uncharted territories.

But at the same time, these new horizons can overwhelm you.

That’s when it may be time to get some help.

For me the key issue for this goal will be finding someone to help out with the kids. A person that I trust and that the kids love.

Taking care of two kids is no easy task. And my parents still work. So this one key item is going to stretch and test me.

But I’m passionate about this goal and I love my kids so I WILL figure out a way to do this. Calling in all the favors I can. Or getting creative with my approach to this.

Relevant: Why is this goal significant to your life?

This is where is gets personal. This is where your burning desire comes in. If your goal doesn’t get you fired up you’re going to bail on it.

So why is this goal important for you?

Get down to the root of the matter for yourself and why you’re going for this goal. Why go to all the trouble?

Your emotions will seal the deal for you. Giving you the fuel you need to get the job done.

For me, this trip will be my little surprise for the kids.

Time Bound: When will you achieve this goal?

The actor Val Kilmer summed it perfectly when he said, “Without deadlines and restrictions I just tend to become preoccupied with other things.”

We live in an age of distraction. There’s thousands of channels to watch, endless emails to answer, and crazy funny videos on youtube to share with your friends on facebook.

Deadlines help you cut out all that noise. Focusing your energy on what needs to be done.

Remember what Napoleon Hill said about goals? He said that, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.”

They make you anxious. But in a good way. Author Robert H. Rosen says that, “The right amount of anxiety can motivate and encourage.”

Setting deadlines for your goals do just that. When you write out your goals and time stamp them you plants a seed within your mind. A small voice that whispers softly to you when you’re watching that new episode of Jersey Shore. Reminding you that you have dreams with deadlines.

Personal Goal Setting Worksheet

To make things easier I’ve created the personal goal setting worksheet. You can print it off, fill it out, and place it somewhere that you’ll see it.

Personal goal setting and using tools like the worksheet will focus your energies and turbocharge your success.

It’s time to get clear on what you want and make a plan to make it happen.

Be Inspirational!



And what are the mini-goals to measure your progress along the way?

6 responses to Personal Goal Setting Worksheet: Goals At The Speed Of Thought

  1. Hi Ian,

    writing down ones goals is a good idea, but that
    surely is not enough. I think it is also important to
    review your goals on a regular basis, to think about
    and to reconsider them: “Is this still my goal?” I do
    this at least once a week.

    It is also a must to somehow track my progress,
    if possible every evening. This may be a simple
    check list where I check whether or not I stuck to
    my plans today.

    In addition I find it very, very helpful to visualize the
    goal or the expected positive changes which will
    happen in my life when I have reached my goal.
    E.g. I have picture of a runner drinking cold water
    out of a bottle which is covered with condensed water.
    This picture immediately supports me in working
    towards my goals of drinking more water (I even get
    thirsty while writing this!) and doing my training for my
    next Half Marathon.

    Another point is that I share my goals with friends. This
    gets me somewhat accountable to them, and every time
    I run out of steam I think “What will they say if I cancel
    my training and do not reach my goal?”

    For all this I started to develop a software solution:
    Setting goals, sub-goals, next action steps, progress
    tracking, diary, sharing your goals on Facebook, etc.

    A beta is available at

    It’s free, and no registration is required. Simply sign in
    with your account at Facebook or Google.

  2. Hi there Olaf! Thanks for the comments. Sharing your goals with people is an amazing tool to help push you to achieve what you’re striving for. When I have a chance I’ll have a look-see at your site.

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