Goal Setting Checklist

Goals can focus your actions and provide direction for your life and career. People set goals to satisfy a need, provide a benefit or to solve a problem. Being able to clearly explain why you want to achieve a goal will provide you with power and strength. The more clearly you can communicate your goal, the more likely others will understand your motivation to reaching it.

If your goals are challenging, then achieving them takes hard work and risk. Your energy can be renewed when you can visualize reaching your goal and can attach feelings to it. It takes practice to identify suitable goals and wisdom to decide when goals need to be revised or re-committed to.

If the goal isn’t that important to you or if you have picked a goal that you don’t really know “why” you want to reach it, then it becomes hard to maintain the self-discipline to get the job done. When you know what you want and why you want it, then you can persist in the face of rejection and skepticism. The more reasons that you have when you are setting your goal, the chance are higher that you can achieve it.

When you first set your goal consider these questions:

How does this goal relate to your other goals?
When you reach your goal, what will have changed?
What other ways are there to reach your goal?
What parts of the goal are most important to you?
Do your goals reflect your values?

Goals need to challenge your skills and abilities without discouraging your effort and performance. As your confidence grows by meeting milestones along the way you can stretch yourself to reach the next milestone. Consider which skills and abilities you can use to achieve your goal and what extra resources you may need later on.

If you are overwhelmed by a goal, try chunking it down. If it’s a yearly goal, chunk it down into a monthly one, then weekly and then daily. Choose one thing that you can do for that day that will bring you closer to your goal.

Goal setting checklist:

1. I have written down my goal.
2. My goal is specific and measurable.
3. My goal is achievable.
4. My goal is meaningful and time stamped.
5. I can visualize reaching my goal.
6. I can chunk down my goal into manageable tasks.
7. I have set milestones to review my progress.
8. I have decided how to celebrate reaching my goal.
9. I acknowledge the hurdles that may hold me back.
10. I have created a strategy to overcome these hurdles.

It’s important to commit to goals that are attainable. If you have chosen an unattainable goal that is now impairing your physical or emotional health, consider disengaging from that goal. By disengaging from a goal that isn’t working, you are more likely to have the ability to move on to new goals. You’ll spend less time doing what doesn’t work and more time doing something else.

By giving up on an unattainable goal, the goal becomes less apart of our identity, which allows us to move on and let go. If you have a major dream in life that hasn’t come to pass and need some guidance on processing your emotions, I highly recommend the book, “The Next Happy” by Tracey Cleantis. The author has great advice on how to face the possibility that a dream isn’t working and how to find a new way forward and set realistic goals.

Goal setting is a valuable skill. It involves visioning, creating a plan for achieving it, applying discipline and working hard to make it happen. If you are looking for someone to partner with you to hold you accountable for your goals, please feel free to connect at rosemary@rosemarysmyth.com.


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© 2009 Rosemary Smyth & Associates