How to Set Powerful Goals

Goal Setting

I want to distinguish between vision and goals. Your vision is often abstract (I want to travel; I want to lose weight; I want to be a good father.) Goals are tangible (I’m planning a trip to Europe next year; I will weigh 180 lbs by Jan 1,2014; I’ll be home by 6:00 and help get the kids to bed each evening.) Vision sets the direction. Goals translate direction into action. Vision is the “what.” Goals are the “how.” Excellent goals need to meet certain criteria. They should be:

  • Specific
  • Written
  • Measurable
  • Challenging
  • Attainable
  • Time-bound

My purpose today is to give you a template to help you turn your vision into more tangible, actionable, powerful goals. Although pretty self-explanatory, let me explain the steps you will go through.

  1. Select the category. Is this goal related to personal development, finances, family, etc.
  2. Write a statement of the goal that may include several bullet points that incorporate the criteria above. The more concrete and tangible the better.
  3. Circle back and set doable time frame for its accomplishment–target date and also an actual date, when you, in fact, achieve the goal.
  4. Make a list of rewards for achieving the goal. What is everything you will gain? This step is critical. Take some time here. The more rewards, the greater the “why” and the more motivation you’ll have to sustain you in its pursuit.
  5.  Then identify all of the obstacles to the accomplishment of your goal. What is everything that could get in the way or hold you back? Although this seems unpleasant, it is a critical step. Think of it as an immunization against the ongoing temptation to slack off and follow the path of least resistance. This step injects realism into your plan and also prompts you to think about how you’ll overcome these obstacles by identifying a solution or response to each.
  6. Make a list of all the actions necessary to complete the goal. Many goals are not realized because you don’t think through all that will be required. A goal consists of many steps along the way. The more of these you recognize the more you’ll advance towards your goal and more you will experience progress.
  7. Most goal setting programs ignore this next step. However, the most specific you can be about how you will measure your progress the more realistic and your goal becomes and the more progress you will see.
  8. Finally, create some positive affirmations that you can repeat to yourself to sustain your momentum. There will be times when your thoughts turn negative (“It’s too hard.” “No one supports me.” etc.) Affirmations give you positive statements to turn your thinking around. Because you’ve come up with them in advance, you can more quickly combat negative thinking.

Click the image, down below to open a pdf file with the accompanying goal-setting worksheets. Make copies and go to work on it, with one goal at a time. These pages are examples of to help you get started. Good luck.

Download Goal Setting Worksheets

Click the image to download your goal-setting worksheets (pdf)

About Roger K. Allen
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation and family development. His tools and methods have helped tens of thousands of people live happier and more effective lives. To learn more, visit>.

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