The Importance of Writing Personal Goals Every Week

Make it to three yoga sessions, eat five servings of veggies a day, finally take that trip to Peru--we all have goals, but not all of us take the time to record and track them. According to goal-setting experts, identifying weekly (and even daily) goals greatly increases the chances that they’ll become reality.

The key is to start by identifying your broader, long-term goals and then set weekly "micro-goals" that will bring you closer to the desired outcome, says Carrie Mead, M.S., licensed therapist and professional life coach. This practice can be applied to any goal, from starting a new career to running a marathon to becoming financially stable. 

"For example, if your long-term goal is to switch career paths from being a social worker to a nurse practitioner, your shorter-term goals might be to research licensing requirements, enroll in classes and successfully complete internships," explains Meade. "The weekly goals that would support this career switch might include completing college applications, attending a networking event to land an internship, or participating in a continuing education class."

After surviving a near-death bicycling accident, Michael O'Brien, certified executive life coach, speaker and author, discovered the value of weekly goals when his bigger goal of regaining his health seemed too massive to tackle.

"Having weekly goals, and even daily ones, helped me pare down my aspirational goal into bite-size pieces," he says. "Tracking your progress against weekly goals gives you a better opportunity to catalog your wins, strengthen your self-narrative and keep your momentum going." This approach helped Michael achieve a miraculous recovery in the eyes of his doctors, family and friends.

When setting your own weekly targets, O’Brien recommends focusing on three goals across five key areas for a successful career and life: spiritual, emotional, physical, relationship and financial wellness. Or, if these categories don’t apply, try homing in on just two groups: professional and personal. 

When making your list of goals, O’Brien also suggests using what he calls the "CARE" format:
  • Make sure the goals Connect with your big-picture aspirations and/or values
  • Have an Accountability partner to help if you get stuck
  • Make sure the goals are Realistic
  • Make sure you have the Energy and time to pursue the goals
Ready to get started? O'Brien uses this goal-setting worksheet with his own clients, and is sure it will lead you to greatness!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

Member Comments

Watch your progress inaction, SparkFriends Report
This is a good starting place for somebody starting out making goals, like myself. I know I should make some but somehow a "fear of doing it wrong" stops me. This is doable. Report
thanks Report
Thank You for the great information. Report
I like the worksheet. I have a really hard time setting goals. It kind of gives me anxiety. I have a hard time making them not too easy but not too hard. Report
Never thought about my goals on a daily or weekly basis (other than the occasional "TODAY I will not overeat!"). I am grateful to the author for sharing his worksheets and think I'll give them a try. Report
So important and love the 4 sheets! Small goals add up in the long run. Just need to be reasonable and start them. Report
Interesting article. Report
Thank you. Interesting article Report
thank you Report
I am a planer, but this is too much like micromanaging your time. There are things you should be able to do without writing them down, like eating your 5-6 veggies a day, drinking 8 cups of water. I only write big plans down Report
It sounds like a good plan--but----- Report
thank you Report


About The Author

Melissa Rudy
Melissa Rudy
A lifelong Cincinnatian, Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from University of Cincinnati before breaking into online writing in 2000. As a Digital Journalist for SparkPeople, she enjoys helping others meet their wellness goals by writing about all aspects of healthy living. An avid runner and group fitness addict, Melissa lives in Loveland with her guitarist husband and three feisty daughters.