Use a SMART Goal-Setting Worksheet to Plan Your Year
Everyone starts the new year off with resolutions and goals but you can start any day of the year with this goal-setting worksheet. Any motivational speaker will tell you that you have a much better chance of achieving your goals if you simply write them down and create an action plan.
There is a billboard for a local gym that promotes “$10 a month, No Commitment.” I get that some gyms require a contract that locks people in whether they use it or not but isn’t that sign ironic? No commitment? How can you lose weight or get healthy without a commitment or setting specific goals? How can you achieve any goal without commitment?
That commitment starts when you write it down. Whether you are trying to achieve a personal goal, you are a student trying to achieve an academic goal, or you have a set of goals at work, using a SMART goals template is the best way to get started. It is a powerful tool and immediately improves your odds of success.
SMART Goal Setting
A common best practice and effective way of setting goals is the SMART method. Goals need to be:
Specific: Answers the who, what, where, and when of the goal. Compiling all these details allows you to see what's really required to achieve your goals. Questions to ask include:
- Who do you need help from? Who can be your accountability partner?
- Where must this happen? Is the main goal dependent on you showing up to a specific location each day?
- What is the end result? What are the long-term goals?
- When do you start? What are the new daily habits you should adopt?
- Where do you start?
- Which elements are holding you back?
- What constraints are you facing?
Measurable: In setting measurements, you’re creating milestones within your SMART goal to track progress. Before you lose 10 pounds, first you need to lose one pound. Ask yourself the following:
- How will you determine success?
- What numbers can you track along the way?
- How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
Attainable: Determine if the goal is realistic or just a dream. Realistic goals are attainable. A good goal will make you stretch, but it shouldn’t be out of reach. If the thought of trying to lose forty pounds is overwhelming, start with a goal of losing five or ten.
- Do I believe I can do this? Can I set shorter, actionable steps?
- Is this goal really achievable? Can my long-term goals be broken down into smaller achievable goals?
- Is it within my own power to achieve it? Can I take small steps each day towards my goals?
Relevant: When you set goals, consider whether they are worth your time. This helps you determine which path to focus on and where to spend your time. Some methods interpret the “R” as realistic.
- Is this goal worth my time and effort?
- Is it a win-win goal?
- Is it a priority?
Time-bound: One of the most important parts of setting new goals is setting a target date. It must have a timeline, a deadline, or a specific date to shoot for. Items with deadlines take priority. Items without deadlines get lost in the shuffle.
- What is the target date or due date?
- Are there milestones along the way with their own due dates?
- Do you need weekly, monthly, or quarterly goals to be achieved?
Download our free goal-setting worksheet and give yourself a better chance of achieving your goals! Use this for yourself and with your employees.
Additional SMART Goal Setting Considerations
Change is difficult. Don’t get over-aggressive and try to do everything at once. Stay on track with the attainable and realistic milestones you’ve set for yourself. If you are trying to lose weight and you want to drink eight glasses of water every day, eliminate sugar, eat more protein, and work out four times a week, don’t try to do all of it in week one. Break those goals down into weekly steps. Work up to the big goal.
Keep your plan visible. Write down your SMART goals, and keep that information easy to access. Use our free goal-setting worksheet! Some people make vision boards. Others post a sticky note on their bathroom mirror. I have even changed my computer password to include a word that motivates me to my personal goal.
Measure your success. Do the work to track the actual progress. Apps like My Fitness Pal or Fitbit allow for the tracking of your water and calories consumed, activity, etc. Use Goodreads to track the books you read. Use a dream journal to make daily lists, write affirmations or even doodle about your goals! It is very satisfying to track your daily accomplishments or check things off your lists in writing!
Follow personal development and life coach blogs. Everyone needs a little extra motivation sometimes. There are many inspiring writers who can help you create new habits, provide positive affirmations, and help you stay focused on your long-term vision.
SMART Goal Setting with Kids
You can use this same method with your kids and students. My son recently joined a competitive, select basketball team. He really struggles with the workouts, especially the suicide drills, and he wants to improve his endurance. We recently sat down and talked about his goals around running and filled out his own goal planning worksheet:
- Specific: I want to run a mile in eight minutes.
- Measurable: I will know I have reached my goal when the time on the stopwatch says eight minutes or less when I finish.
- Attainable: I believe I can achieve this goal.
- Relevant: My goal is important to me so I have more endurance playing basketball, I can play more minutes and be a better teammate.
- Time-bound: I will reach my goal by March 31, 202X.
Employee Training Topics Related to Meeting Goals
If you are working with your employees on setting goals for the upcoming year, HSI offers a nice variety of courses that can support their goals. If you sign up for a free trial of our HSI LMS, you can view all of these courses that relate to common goals and areas of improvement.
- SMART Goals
- Science of Sleep
- Financial Wellness
- Time Management
- Building Confidence
- Project Management
- Managing Time Vs. Energy
- Developing Your Strengths
- Taking Control of Your Career
- When Your Head Isn't in Work Anymore
- Tips For Never Missing Deadlines
- Employee Burnout: Signs, Causes and Cures
- Positive Thinking Exercises for the Workplace