The ultimate goal setting checklist

Goals are one of the most powerful tools in personal development. No matter what change you want to accomplish in your life, you will stand a much greater chance of success if you take the time to set some effective goals. These goals should inspire you to take the action you need to take and, make the decisions you need to make, in order to create the change you are trying to make in your life. When you have taken the time to set effective goals and plan and organise them effectively; you will have taken giant strides towards creating the new life you desire. A goal setting checklist will help you to do this.

Unfortunately, many people fail to achieve their goals because they think it is a simple matter of stating what they want from life. This couldn't be further from the truth. Goal setting is about making a commitment to a new way of life and creating a burning desire to manifest the life of your dreams. To ensure that you set effective goals which serve to inspire and motivate you; you need a goal setting checklist.

The ultimate goal setting checklist infographic

To make your goal setting a little easier, I have created the ultimate goal setting checklist infographic to illustrate all the requirements of an effective goal. If you follow the steps on the infographic, you will be a lot closer to achieving your goals.

Bonus: You can download the infographic here

goal setting checklist

Bonus: You can download the infographic here

Key points from the goal setting checklist

The following covers the key points of the goal setting checklist.

1. Honour your values

We all have our own personal set of values; rules by which we live our life. If you want to achieve a goal, the goal must be consistent with your values. If the goal requires you to behave in a manner which contravenes your vaulues, you will struggle to achieve the goal and even if you do; you will gain more misery than happiness from achieving the goal due to the fact that you have had to reject who you really are in order to achieve it. Some examples include

  • If you value honesty; your goal must not require you to behave dishonestly.
  • If you value your time, your goal must not require you to sacrifice your family time to get more work done.
  • If you value security, your goal must not require you to take big risks.

2. Honour your purpose

Each and every one of us has our own purpose i.e. who you want to be and how you want to make the world a better place. The majority of your goals, though not necessarily all, should be designed in a way which helps you live your purpose and, where your goals do not serve your purpose, they should never contradict your purpose.

Where your goals are consistent with your purpose you will often that your work, voluntary work and hobbies all have a common theme running through them, e.g.:

  • Educating
  • Caring
  • Mentoring

3. Provide a challenge

How do you continuously succeed in life? You keep growing as a person. How to do you ensure that you keep growing? You keep setting goals which challenge you and require you to grow in order to achieve them.

If you can reach your goal with a ladder; it's realistic. If you would need a spaceship; it isn't.

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4. Encourage a balanced life

There are many differnet areas to your life. Each area needs to have its own goals and ambitions for improvement and growth. If you neglect one area of you life, you will find that it will have a direct impact on every other area of your life. For example, imagine if you had your income halved; how would this impact your career, hobbies, family life, health etc?

5. Promote altruism

You are not in this world alone. If you want to succeed, you will need the help and assistance of others. The opposite is also true, there will be others who require your help and support.

In addition to this; not everyone is born with equal access to resources and opportunities. Your goals should help you to help others who are in much greater need than you are. You can't help everybody but you will be much happier and more successful if you take the time to make somebody else's life a little better. There are a number of ways you can do this, including:

  • ​Donate money
  • Voluntter your time
  • Volunteer some of your skills or assets
  • Give away free resources
  • Donate items which you no longer need, love or want

6. Be specific

IF you want to achieve something, you need to be specific about exactly what it is that you want to achieve. When you achieve a major goal, you will find that you are ecstatic and overjoyed. Even more importantly, you will find that your confidence and self-belief improve as you start to create a record of achievement. However, if you are not specific about your goal, how will you know when you have achieved it.

For example, you might think that saying you want to be richer is a great goal. But, if I give you one dollar, you are richer. Is that what you were really hoping to achieve? I very much doubt it. You need to get much clearer about how much money you want to have, how much you want to make, how much you want to save and what you want to use that money for. The more specific and detailed you become, the more motivated you will be to make it happen.

7. Be measurable

When a goal is not measurable, it is very easy to pretend you have achieved it. If you haven't set a specific goal for how much weight you want to lose, you can claim a minimal weight loss as success. The same goes for a minimal improvement in any area of life.

The ability to measure your progress is far more important than that. When you set a big goal, you want to be able to assess your progress as you go along so that you can identify any adjustments whcih may need to be made, before its to late.

When you can measure, either you are getting the job done or you are not.

That which gets measured; gets done. Your goals must be measurable.

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8. Be realistic

As mentioned earlier, your goals must be challenging. They must require you to grow as a person in order to achieve them. At the same time, you must also be able to believe that you can achieve the goal. If you don't believe that you can do it, you will not give your best effort because that would seem pointless.

If a goal seems too big and its achievement seems too far off for you to believe you can achieve it; you don't have to discard that goal. Instead, you can break it down into smaller goals which you do believe you can achieve. Once you have achieved all of the smaller goals, you will then have achieved the bigger goal. Sometimes, all that is needed for a goal to feel achievable is a switch of focus.

9. Be timebound

As a coach, you wouldn't be surprised to learn that I regularly have people tell me about all of the goals they are going to achieve. I usually ask them when they are going to achieve these goals . You would be surprised by how often this question is met by silence.

If you don't have a deadline for your goal, you are going to be less motivated to get up off your backside and take some action. Remember all that school work you hated. If you hadn't been facing exams and project deadlines; do you really think you would have gotten the work done?

Although the end result of our goals is usually something very positive that we really desire; most goals require us to perform work which we do not enjoy. Without a deadline, we are unlikely to get this work done with any great haste.

A strong deadline will give you a target, allow you to plan, provide you with motivation, give you a means to measure your progress and; greatly increase your chances of achieving your goal.

10. Be flexible

While deadlines are important, they are not something which you should be using to beat yourself up with. Circumstances change and the madness of everyday life can intervene to throw you off course. There will be times when you need to change your plans. It may be that you no longer wish to pursue the goal or; something more important may have come up. In these instances, it is perfectly acceptable to adjust your plans.

11. Supported by others

It is the nature of life that there are very few goals which you can achieve completely on your own. Therefore, in most circumstances, you are going to have to determine who you are going to tell and who does not need to know.

You could try telling nobody but it is likely that you will be able to complete your goal quicker with at least some assistance from others. Why cut off your nose to spite your face?

You could tell only those who really need to know so that you have access to the support you need, when you need it, but you are not bothered by interference from those who do not need to know.

Some people prefer to tell everybody because they feel that they are then held to account i.e. they have made the declaration so they must follow through and achieve the goal. This works for some people but not everybody.

Which path you choose depends on your personality. You need to choose what works for you. I am more introverted so I tend to go for the middle option i.e. I tell only those who need to know and are in a position to offer help and support.

If you don't have effective goals which inspire you to take powerful action, on a daily basis, check out Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.

Conclusion - Using the goal setting checklist

That concludes the goal setting checklist. If you are setting goals and you want to create real change in your life, I would recommend that you measure your goal against the criteria on the goal setting checklist. Over time, you may find that there are some additional criteria which help you to set goals which work for you. All you have to do is to add these criteria to my goal setting checklist and you will have a goal setting checklist of your own.

Take action and start creating the life of your dreams today.

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