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!