Want to learn how to set goals for yourself? Get tips on how to pace your action steps, reflection ideas, and download a free printable goal setting worksheet!

goal setting worksheet free printable

What a time to be alive.

And by "what a time," I mean what a strange, weird, new, different, world we're in.

Do any of us really know what we're doing right now? Chances are pretty good that basically nobody reading this post has ever been through something like this. (Note: this post was originally written at the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, so you might see a few references.) A lot of us are still working out of our home. That means there are more challenges in your day than ever before. If you're anything like me, you're balancing work, homeschooling, cleaning, cooking, and a smidge whole lot of anxiety about what the future holds.

So how in the world are you supposed to set goals during such a crazy time?

It is doable. It's not easy, but by being intentional about what goals are actually within reach, we can all make progress and grow during this time. I thought I'd share a few tips for what has worked for me today!

Be Realistic

Guys, we're living through a really unprecedented time. It is totally ok to set smart goals that reflect that. Literally, as I'm typing this, I just took a break to answer a question about virtual learning and talk to my son who needed to show me a toy. It's totally understandable that I'm not going to accomplish the goals I normally do when I have uninterrupted work time for a few hours a day.

This is going to vary for everyone, but don't lie to yourself about what you can accomplish given your current circumstances. And you know what? That's ok! Take your current situation and truly ask yourself what you can realistically accomplish (in both short-term and long-term goals). Start from there and don't build too much.

Write It Down on a Printable Goal Setting Worksheet

I've always said that writing something down is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable for any given goal. Having that visual accountability is huge.

goal setting worksheet free printable

So I've got a free goal-setting worksheet printable for you today! (Download here.) This is an overall view of your goals, both long-term and short-term, along with a due date column (more on that below) and a checklist column. It feels so good to check off the goals you've accomplished. This is a great way to keep a visual representation each month/year to reflect on what you've done. This one matches the other goal and time organization printables in The Year of Intent. That's my huge collection of over 100 printable organization and planning resource (that's newly updated as of this week!). Check out more about it here.

goal setting worksheet free printable

The important thing about using this printable goal setting worksheet is to write down clear goals that you feel you can accomplish by a specific target date. Achievement of these goals really does depend on...

  • how clear they are
  • that they have a specific deadline
  • that they are realistic
  • that they are for your personal development or the good of others

In my opinion, every goal should have these features.

Break Your Goals Down into Action Steps

goal worksheet - action steps breakdown

I've shared this printable before, but it's so incredibly powerful that I thought it deserved another mention. (You can download it here.) With this printable goal setting worksheet, you'll set your big overall goals (the ones mentioned on that first printable), then break them down into manageable mini-goals that can be completed in small segments of time (usually under an hour).

Turn Your Specific Goals into Habits

habit tracking printables

Once you've outlined your first goal, make it a habit! I've got a collection of habit tracking printables to keep track of different behaviors by week, month, or even year. These simple checklists will help you keep track of lots of things, from drinking enough water in the day to practicing self care. By making the different steps of your long-term goals into mini goals with step-by-step instructions for success, you can turn dreams into habits. And, once your goals have momentum, they are so much easier to change from a dream to a daily action.

Set a Deadline On Your Goal Setting Worksheet

Once you've figured out your completable action steps, set a reasonable pace to figure out your goal due date. Let's say you have 6 action steps for a goal that will take about an hour each. If you have 3-4 hours to dedicate to a task per week, it's reasonable to estimate it will take 2 weeks to accomplish that overall goal.

With that said - it's crucial that you figure out your (approximated) deadline when you set your goal! Ever heard the saying "a goal without a deadline is a just a dream?" It's so, so true. I'm just as guilty as anyone else with this one. I have home goals that have been on my to-do list for months/years - guess what hasn't been finished? The ones that don't have a deadline. It doesn't have to be written in stone, but you do need to have something that drives you and gives you an estimate of how much work needs to be done in any given day/week/month.

Get an Accountability Buddy

Anybody can be an accountability buddy, even if they're not physically present with you. Obviously, those in your home are a great option, but you can always find a friend that agrees to text you daily/weekly to check in. There are great Facebook groups for so many goals, especially exercise and fitness accountability. You might even consider joining a productivity or workout app - for example, I'm a huge fan of the Peloton app. There are challenges and paced workout series that do the planning work for you by breaking your goals down into manageable classes. That's just one example of the huge number of digital resources to help keep you organized and paced in your goals.

Reflect On Your Goals After the Week/Month is Over

goal reflection printable

The timing of when you use this simple goal setting worksheet (download here) totally depends on your goal. If you're setting a bigger goal that's going to take months to complete, you'll want to reflect on it probably once a month or so. Smaller short term goals might require this sheet to be used once a week. The timing isn't the big factor in using this. The fact that you sit down and actually reflect on how your goals are going in regular increments is the important thing.

goal reflection printable

Giving yourself the proper feedback is crucial. Think about what went well (and what went not-so-great); change the things that didn't work for you. Then, make a plan that roadmaps what you'll do next to accomplish this goal. Remember to think more in terms of those action steps than the overall goal when you're roadmapping your next steps; it's so much easier to knock out small chunks of something than to try and complete it all at once.

Here's a quick summary of some of my favorite goal setting tips from this post!

How would you use this goal setting worksheet? Leave your goals (both short-term and long-term) in the comments!

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