Wrestling with Your Goals?

I Don’t Know Where to Start

My brother in law recently made a comment to me saying that he’d read my Life Goals Guide, but that he was still struggling with how to manage them all, and could I address this. So this article will give you a method/process for working your way through your goals in a way that allows you to feel at ease, even if your list is long! Do this exercise and I guarantee you will find tackling a long goal list much easier!

Assemble Your List of Goals

Use the Life Goals Worksheet (free safe excel download) to list out all your goals. You can either jump right in on the worksheet or if you’d like some basic instruction head over to the Life Goals Guide. (Skip the Personal Values section if you are short on time.) The thing to remember with setting Life Goals is that it is a constant work in progress so don’t worry about making it too perfect or complete. Try to limit yourself to 15-30 minutes to put your first draft together.  You can find an online stopwatch here if that helps you.

Juggle Only One Ball at a Time

Here is where you must get tough with yourself, but I promise you it’s not that hard. It’s simply a mental shifting. Most of us when we view our list of goals we become overwhelmed because we look at them all and thing how can I do all of these at once? The answer is, YOU CAN’T! At least not while staying sane and still being able to sleep. I’ll show you how to tackle these one at a time.

Do You Want to Succeed and Reach These Goals? Really?

OK. If you answered yes, then you must only take on one at a time. You might say: “Wait a minute. That won’t work for me. I need to be doing several of these right now!” If you’re already successfully working towards some of these goals then great. Keep it up. What I’m talking about is introducing new goals. Tackle them one at a time.

The Process

1. Assemble your goals using the Life Goals Worksheet.

2. Order your goals. The easiest way to do this is to put each goal on a small yellow sticky. I recommend actual sticky notes vs. online stickies* because it is much faster! Put your most urgent and important goals first and work your way down. You will keep these stickies to refer to at each Weekly Review. See below for pictures.

3. Write in the priorities next to each yellow sticky on a piece of paper, preferably in your capture notebook using whatever numbering system you like, such as 1,2,3, etc or 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A. (see picture below) Optionally you can also write in the priority on your Life Goals Worksheet.

4. Write out the Next Action Steps for your #1 Goal. See the Action Plan Template in the Life Goals Worksheet. You can do this online in the worksheet or on a printed version of the template.

5. Schedule in the Next Action Steps into your calendar.

6. Capture ideas for other goals during the week in your GTD (Getting Things Done) notebook. You’ll only be working on one goal, but you may come up with ideas for your other goals. Capture them in your notebook and leave your mind clear to stay focused on your current goal. You’ll address these in the Weekly Review.

7. Do a Weekly Review of your Goals to see if you need to add, delete, re-order, mark as completed or start your next goal. This is also where you will take all the ideas you captured in your notebook and add them to the action sheets for your other goals. Once Goal #1 is firmly in process or completed, then move onto Goal #2 and so on. (Write out Next Action Steps and schedule them into your calendar.)

Just Do It

Sometimes we psyche ourselves out. We think we need to be working on all our goals at once. That’s a recipe for failure. Take one goal at a time. Make a pact with yourself that you will not worry about the other goals. Each week at your Weekly Review you’ll be able to reorder your goals if needed. Over the course of 6 months to a year, you’ll be amazed how much you will accomplish by using this “slow and steady” method.


List of Goals in Life Goals template (below)

List of Goals Example

Goals Written on Yellow Stickies (below)

goals yellow stickies

Goals Organized by Priority (below)

Goals Prioritized

Action Steps for Current Goal (below)

Action Steps Towards Your Goal

Online Resource

*You can also use online versions like OnlineStickyNotes and Google Notebook.These are cool applications, but I highly recommend using paper for this exercise.

Please Share!

Please share your comments on Goal Setting. Was this helpful? Do you have a method you’d like to share? All comments big and small are very welcomed!


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