Check Out This Goal Setting Template For The New Year (And Beyond)

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Benjamin Franklin

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”
Alan Lakein

Would you like to have your Best Year Yet in 2014?  I’ve put together a for your own .  I’m going to summarize the series of posts I’ve put together over the last couple of months.  If you follow it carefully, you’ll be positioning yourself to move beyond a simple wish list of resolutions to solid personal and professional results.

smart goal setting template
photo credit: The Harvest Writer: John O’Nolan on Flickr

This smart goals setting template is based on Your Best Year Yet!: Ten Questions for Making the Next Twelve Months Your Most Successful Ever, by Jenny Ditzler.  I’ve used her material for the last few years, and it’s made a big difference in my own life.

The template is really based on the following premise: Ask Questions and Get Answers. You are going to ask yourself some key questions, and you are going to give yourself the answers based on your own personal self-reflection.

Question 1: What Did I Accomplish This Year?

“Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.”
Louis L’Amour  (American writer, best-selling author, 1908-1988)

Take some time to answer this question.  Write down at least 20 accomplishments, in all areas of your life.  To get more information about the rationale behind this question, visit my post regarding accomplishments:  Who Else Is Ready for 2014?

Question 2: What Were My Biggest Disappointments?

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”
Robert Kiyosaki (American motivational Speaker and Author. b.1947)

In order to best handle disappointment, you’ve got to be honest about all the disappointments from the past year.  You’ve written down your top 20 accomplishments.  Now it’s time to also write down the disappointments.  List them all out, in every area of your life.  For more helpful information on this step, read my post called Get Rid of Your Baggage Once and For All.

Question 3:  What Did I Learn?

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Colin Powell quotes (Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93). Past US Secretary of Stat.

General Powell is correct.  Failure is a key part of success.  Those who are most successful have been able to learn most efficiently from their own and from others’ failures.  Thanks to question 2, you have already written down your disappointments.  Now it’s time to learn from them.  Once you’ve distilled your reflections on both your accomplishments and your failures, you can formulate some guidelines to help you in 2014.  Read more practical advice and strategies about this in my post from this series called The Lazy Man’s Way to the Best Year Yet. Then you can write your guidelines for 2014 for next year  under the heading below. It’s the best way to mine gold from your experience of the last year.

Guidelines For the Next Year

Question 4:  How Do I Limit Myself, and How Can I Stop?

The biggest obstacle to creating a wonderful life is self-limiting beliefs. A self-limiting belief is an idea you have that you are limited in some way, in terms of time, talent, intelligence, money, ability, or opportunity.

Brian Tracy, bestselling author and management consultant, motivational writer and speaker

a) How do I limit myself?

b) In what areas of my life am I not achieving what I want?

c) What do I say to myself to explain these failures?

Question 4 gives you the surgeon’s scalpel to cut into your mind and heart, to figure out how you’re holding yourself back, where you’re unsatisfied with your outcomes, what keeps you stuck, and how to move forward.  If you’ll do the hard and painful work of self-examination, you’ll be able to come out with new beliefs that can set you on the road to a whole new outlook on your life in 2014.  Read my post, Get Out of Jail NOW!, in order to get more how-to advice on getting through this process. Once you’ve come up with your new life-changing belief/s, write it down under the heading of “New Paradigm” for 2014 below.

New Paradigm

Question 5: What Are My Personal Values?

As you live your values, your sense of identity, integrity, control, and inner-directedness will infuse you with both exhilaration and peace. You will define yourself from within, rather than by people’s opinions or by comparisons to others. “Wrong” and “right” will have little to do with being found out.
Stephen Covey, internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author.

Question 5 takes you through a self-examination process to uncover what is most important to you at a soul and gut level.  Without your values, it’s like flying a plane without any instrument panel upside down in a cloud while surrounded by mountains.  The result can be disastrous.  Take time to map out your 5 most important values.  You can read my post, What Everybody Ought to Know About True North, to keep yourself heading in the right direction in 2014.

Question 6: What Roles Do I Play?

Your values play a big part in keeping you honest. A second key review that will help you stay balanced in your life is pinpointing the various roles you play in your life. Write them down! You’ll want to limit yourself to no more than 7 roles in your life. For more on this subject, read my post, HOW TO Balance Your Success in 2012

Question 7: What Role Is My Focus for 2014?

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
William James, American psychologist and philosopher

Choosing a focus for 2014 is key to your success. By reading my article, Smart Goal Setting In 2014, you’ll gain practical insights for choosing your special focus for 2014.

Question 8: What Are My Goals for Each Role?

If you’ve done diligent work on the first seven questions, you’ll be ready to write down your goals for each goal.  You can learn more about this process by reading my post, Discover The Smart Goal Setting Secrets.

In this step, which is where I’m currently parked, you want to generate as many goals as possible for each role.  It’s the brainstorming step.  You will then refine your list into your top 10 goals.  I’ll write more on how to accomplish this next week.

That’s it!  This goal setting template gives you an effective, balanced formula for a personal growth plan for 2014.  Goal setting is a key factor for success.

I hope you liked this goal setting template!
Have you started planning your goals for 2014?
I look forward to your insights and comments below!

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  1. says

    I have found that by asking and answering a series of questions to myself that I can really get somewhere fast. I like the template that you provided above.
    Justin@Mazzastick recently posted…The SandboxMy Profile

  2. says

    Hi Stephen,

    I had initially thought this was some form of excel document with blank spaces for goal inputs!

    Anyway, your quotes accentuate and magnify the individual main points. Too many people happen to regularly dismiss goal-setting as unimportant, as they’ve got it all wrong right from the start. I love the way Brian Tracy gets people back on track for correct goal-setting.

    But I was still expecting an excel template!

    Yasser Khan recently posted…Don’t Believe A Word You Read In This PostMy Profile

    • says

      Yasser, sorry to disappoint with the Excel template, but you’ve given me a great idea for a future service I can provide to you and others. Yes, I would agree that Brian Tracy is a great motivator and teacher about goal setting. I believe he’s got both a book and workbook out on the subject.

  3. says

    Hi Stephen,
    These are great questions to ask to reflect on how you are growing and moving towards your goals. I love the number of blogs I come across that are writing about this same topic. I see it as a global transition in thinking and taking more responsibility for ourselves than ever before. Cultivating self-worth and personal values to others. We all have value. So your post and who ever reads it, like myself, helps to clarify their ideas of what they want to accomplish. Very nice.
    Lesly Federici recently posted…TSAMy Profile

    • says

      Lesly, the most successful people in life are the ones who take responsibility for themselves. I’m sure you’re in that category as well. The beauty of goal setting is that it gives us a sense of excitement and a sense of some control over the direction of our lives. Of course, we have a Creator who directs our lives as well, I believe, but we also have our part in that process :)

  4. says

    I have taught goal setting for years and this is one of the most unique templates that I have seen. I think it can be pretty straight forward to answer Questions 1 – 3 and 5 – 8. However, Question 4 is a very difficult one for many people to answer.

    Most people are not very aware of how they are limiting themselves. They are usually more geared toward action rather than introspection. Sometimes they might think they are being too ‘touchy feely’ or weak if they really consider what they are doing to hold themselves back. Even if they gain awareness about what is stopping them, it is not very easy for them to change.

    As a minister, I work with people constantly who want to get past their limitations. However, it is one thing to say that they want to do it and it is quite another thing to do it. If someone is used to thinking and behaving in a negative or limiting way, it isn’t that easy for them to change. It is possible, but it requires a huge commitment to do the mental work to change their thinking. It is hard work and it requires a great deal of discipline and perseverance.

    When people are willing to admit where they are holding themselves back and then work to make the necessary changes, they have unlimited opportunities available to them.

    • says

      Rev Della, thank you for stopping by :) It’s true that, many times, we say we want to change but are not willing to be uncomfortable enough to change. One thing that can be helpful is to simply develop the self awareness of our own self-limiting beliefs. Awareness by itself can create the discomfort. The next thing is to associate pain with not changing, and pleasure with the possibility of growth.

  5. says

    Stephen, I found this a very useful article , it is so important to plan for your success. It also keeps one on track when life gives you a few hurdles. All the best Rosemary

    • says

      Rosemary, thanks for the comment. I’m glad that you were able to benefit from this article. I wish you the best on your success journey.

    • says

      Yes, Rosemary: I’m always on the go, so it’s nice to see your site: it’s name is very appropriate :)

  6. says

    Accepting my biggest disappointments enabled me to take chances and risk something because I know that even if I fail, I can stand up and try again. It made me realize that every cloud has a silver lining and there’s always a lesson to learn. Failure indeed is a key part of success.

    • says

      Brian, can you share one of your biggest real estate failures, and how it led to your biggest success?

  7. says

    I find is so important to ask these questions. It is especially helpful to me because I have a hard time keeping it all in my head. Without writing it down and asking myself these kinds of questions I find that I feel more of a failure than I know I am.


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