According to science, there is a proven process to write your personal goals for work and life. This goal setting worksheet makes that proven process simple. 

In this article, we’ll explain how to use our goal setting template and why it’s so effective.

At the bottom of the page, you can download our free printable goal setting worksheet (PDF) and start engineering your best life. 

Goal setting worksheet printable pdf template

goal setting worksheet

There are many different methods to achieve success with goal setting, each with their own gurus expounding their effectiveness.

There’s the popular SMART goal setting worksheet (which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) as well as Bullet Journal, among dozens of others.

So, how do you know which one to follow? Luckily, as you can imagine, they (mostly) have a basis in science and psychology with a lot of overlap.

As two engineers-turned-health-coaches, it feels like we’ve tried them all throughout the years.

Coupled with the research we’ve done on how to write goals and watching hundreds of our fitness and nutrition clients succeed (and sometimes fail) with achieving their long term goals, we’ve picked up a few hard and fast tips.

So, we’ve put together our own simple but effective goal setting worksheet PDF to help others succeed to meet their dreams.

Whether it’s your new year’s resolutions or couples bucket list ideas, we want you to live out your best life.

By following our smarter goal setting worksheet, you’ll be incorporating methods of accountability, measuring and benchmarking, setting realistic timelines, and linking your goals with intrinsic motivators.

These are the key ingredients to achieving your goals.

Goal Setting Worksheet Based on Science and results

In our article, ‘How to write goals,’ we tackle the how and why of writing great goals.

Many of the same concepts are taken into account in our free goal setting template to make it easier for you to follow along.

To receive the printable goal setting worksheet PDF (along with bonus habit and New Year’s resolution trackers), fill in the form and we’ll send you the PDF for free!

Before you start filling out our printable goal setting template, here is a quick summary of why this goal setting worksheet is effective and proven. There are four key factors:

  1. Correctly Timing Your Goals
  2. Intrinsic Motivation
  3. Accountability Plan
  4. Progress Report

All of these factors are built into our simple and effective free goal setting template.

Let’s get started!

Printable Goal Setting Worksheet PDF - Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Printable Goal Setting Worksheet PDF

Download our simple goal setting worksheet, print it, and draft a smart plan to achieve your goals. 

Included is goal setting worksheet example to guide you. 

1. Correctly Timing Your Goals

After reading extensively on goal setting, we think the best approach is this goal formation timeline approach made by UCLA’s Center for Digital Behavior.

You can read about it in the great book, Stick With It: A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life-for Good. This method has worked for us and many others.

Here are the 4 types of goals.

1. A Dream

A dream is something you’ve never done before.

2. Long-term Goal

A long-term goal is something that you can achieve in 1-3 months. If it takes longer than that it’s not a goal, it’s a dream (unless you’ve done it before).

3. Short-term Goal

Anything achievable in 1 week to 1 month is a short-term goal.

4. A Step

What you can achieve in 1 day to 1 week is a step.

Understanding the timeline is incredibly important in writing achievable and realistic goals.

Studies show that once tasked with a goal, people create an average of five steps to get there. In our smarter goal setting template, we begin by tackling long-term goals that can be achieved ideally within 3 months.

From that one long-term goal, we break it down into three short-term goals, followed by three steps to get there.

For anyone keeping track, that means we’ve now created 12 routes to achieve your long-term goal in 3 months — each with their own due date.

Overwhelmed? No problem, this structured approach to goal setting means you can take tiny baby steps (that can be completed in a week or less) to work towards your larger goal.

2. Intrinsic Motivation

Why do you truly want to achieve your goal? While it’s a simple question on the printable PDF goal setting worksheet, it’s not always easy to answer.

Your chances of success are greatly increased when your goals are supported with intrinsic motivations (aka deeply personal and rewarding motivations).

For example, saying, “I want to lose 10 lbs. to look good in a bikini” is a weak motivation because it’s superficial — therefore it’s a goal easy to give up on.

However, if you say, “I need to lose 10 lbs. and strengthen my body to have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby” you’re far more likely to internalize your goal and put in a greater effort.

One of our favorite techniques to get to your true purpose is to ask yourself “why?” five times.

Why do you want to lose 10 lbs.? Why do you want to look good in a bikini? Why do you want to impress your friends? Why do you feel self-conscious? Why don’t you want to be left behind?

In a nutshell, state a meaningful, intrinsic motivation for your goal to ensure that it’s not something you want to do, but need to do.

In fact, you can’t risk not doing it. This is a critical step on any personal goal setting worksheet for business, students, adults, and kids.

3. Accountability Plan

Want to up your chances of success by 3 times? Who wouldn’t?! You only need to grab an accountability buddy or have a fool-proof accountability plan.

According to a study out of the University College London, people who quit cigarettes with their spouse were 7 times more likely to succeed than if they went at it alone.

Similarly, spouses who began exercising together were nearly 3 times as likely to still be working out weekly 2 years after the study finished!

Spouse or no spouse, there are multiple ways to build accountability into your goal setting plans. Consider the following.

  • Rope in an accountability buddy
  • Use tracking apps and wearable devices like the MiFit or an Upright Go 2 for posture
  • Put pencil to paper and use a Habit Tracker printable
  • Make your goals known on social media and update your progress
  • Work with a fitness, health, or life coach
  • Make it a bet and put some money down
  • Award yourself a meaningful prize for every milestone completed
  • Journal and rate your progress often
  • Join a club (either in person or on social media)
  • Sign up for a competition that will require you to train and practice
  • Build in commitment devices and habit stacking to your plan
  • Hiring a teacher or tutor

At the bottom of our free goal setting worksheet, we leave four spots for you to fill in your accountability plan.

Spend some time brainstorming ways to add layers of accountability to accomplish your goal, and keep to it!

4. Progress Report

Track, track, track. We can’t say it enough, but tracking your progress throughout the process is incredibly important.

Not only does it allow you to take a moment to recognize how far you’ve come, but it also provides insight into how fool-proof your plan is.

Ideally, you’ll want to be able to demonstrate measurable progress.

While some goals aren’t as easy to track as counting pounds or inches, you can still count how many nights a week you went to bed early or keep a “mood” log if you’ve been working on happiness and gratitude.

In our goal setting worksheet example, you’ll see that I simply looked at our general progress with the template and reported how I’ve been feeling with my progress.

Just taking that moment to check in can make all the difference.

Closing THoughts

Fewer things are more effective than having a plan in place to reach your goals. This smart goal setting template is just what the doctor ordered.

It includes the key factors proven by science and psychology to help you meet your goals: clearly written goals and tasks, due dates, defining your purpose, accountability plan, and progress reports to benchmark progress.

We’ve also shared an example of a filled-out goal setting worksheet to help you get started. Included with the personal goal setting template are our free monthly habit tracker and New Year’s resolutions tracker.

There’s no better time than the present to start achieving your goals!

While this strategy is especially useful for your work, career, and professional goals, we highly recommend you apply it to your personal, health, relationship, and life goals.

We do this at the start of each year (and review progress quarterly) when we write New Year’s Resolutions.

Best of luck and focus on progress, not perfection. For more helpful resources, such as how to write a to-do list or our printable self-care checklist, head over to our Healthy Lifestyle page.

Printable Goal Setting Worksheet PDF - Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Printable Goal Setting Worksheet PDF

Download our simple goal setting worksheet, print it, and draft a smart plan to achieve your goals. 

Included is goal setting worksheet example to guide you. 

As Seen In Feature Bar Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Hey we're Ryan and Alex

The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”

After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.

The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.

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