How to Write Out Your Goals

I have taken the Clifton Strength’s Finder twice and even though some of my top strengths have shifted in the last four years, “Futuristic” always remains at the top! I think this boils down to I always plan time in my week to do goal setting and evaluate my goals. This may seem silly and unnecessary to some, but I truly feel that when you write down your goals you will have a greater chance to follow through and achieve them! Many people find this to be overwhelming and don’t know where to start, but I am here to help get you started.

Find the best platform for yourself

In today’s digital age, there are many formats, but for me I stick to the basics. I need a paper copy in which I can actually check off my goals once I accomplish them, I then have the ability to continually add to my list. There are so many planners you can order online that have specific goal planning sections. But if you are more digital, an excel spreadsheet is an excellent way to track your goals, especially those longer term ones. Here is my template that I follow.


Time to be Completed

Next Steps

Support System

Describe and be specific

Give a reasonable deadline

Try to link it to a LT goal

Responsibility is key

 Give reasonable deadlines

Looking at the above template, you see that reasonable deadlines are listed under “time to be completed”. I think this is very important to address, because when you are goal setting you want to be extremely ambitious (which is good) but you can eventually wear yourself out (which is bad). Balance here is key! Some ways that I do this is setting a “check point” deadline that allows me to check in on my progress and address what resources I need to accomplish the goal. Once I check in, then I create an official deadline in which I should be able to accomplish the goal. This allows you to keep honest with yourself but also hold yourself accountable by checking in a few times.

Reward yourself

I think often when goal setting, we just cross off the list and move on to the next. In reality reaching a goal is a huge milestone that should be celebrated. Something I do is while I plan my goals, I also plan my reward. This creates an additional push to accomplish the goal. So if you are an extrinsic reward kind of person, maybe think of adding this feature to your goal setting session or adding a column in your excel spreadsheet.

Evaluate and continue to the next step

The final step in goal planning is to constantly evaluate and continue setting goals for the next phase in your life. It’s often common that once you accomplish all your goals, you feel that you are in a good place and just kind of stay status quo. But, there is always something to look forward to. However, when you are having a hard time accomplishing your goals, it’s important to evaluate and set realistic S.M.A.R.T goals in order to set yourself up for success.

What are some common challenges you find with goal setting? If you have any please feel free to leave a comment- you never know who else is feeling the same!

Morgan Mattly is a graduate Student at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and spent the summer as an intern at C&A Industries. She is pursuing her Master’s degree in Business Administration. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with friends and family, listening to podcasts, and running.

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