What are Goal Setting Worksheets?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Goal setting worksheets are documents used by people to define and outline their goals, along with the timeline for achieving them. They can be used in a variety of settings, from education for children with disabilities to career planning. A number of companies publish goal setting worksheets, often for free, for people to use and adapt. It is also possible to create your own. People working with a therapist or coach may be provided with worksheets along with other materials to use and work on at home.

A therapist may assign a goal setting worksheet to a patient to work on at home.
A therapist may assign a goal setting worksheet to a patient to work on at home.

A goal setting worksheet has a space for defining a timeline, such as “Within three months, I will...” and includes one or more slots for goals. Each goal is given a nickname and is clearly defined. On a school worksheet, a student might say something like “Improve my spelling tests” and elaborate by saying that test scores should improve by at least 20 points, or that the student is shooting for a B average in spelling exams. The more clearly outlined a goal is, the easier it will be for the person to assess personal success.

Goal setting worksheets can help a person stay focused while trying to accomplish their goals.
Goal setting worksheets can help a person stay focused while trying to accomplish their goals.

The number of goals on goal setting worksheets can vary. People may be invited to develop their own goals or work with a teacher, therapist, or coach to create goals appropriate to their needs. The goals are designed to be realistic, so people don't get frustrated, while still pushing people to improve. Goals can be very concrete, like an athlete who wants to improve times on the track, or more abstract, like a disabled student who wants to improve social skills.

Goal setting worksheets might be used by personal trainers to make sure clients meet fitness goals.
Goal setting worksheets might be used by personal trainers to make sure clients meet fitness goals.

People can periodically consult their goal setting worksheets to see how well they are doing and to redirect their plans or focus if they see they are getting off track. When the timeline is up, they can check the worksheet again to see if the goal was met. In some cases, processing the experience may be recommended, with the person talking about how the goal was achieved and what kinds of challenges were encountered. Other people may set new goal; the troubled speller above, for example, might push for an A average on spelling tests.

Goal setting worksheets may be used by sports coaches to gauge a team's progress.
Goal setting worksheets may be used by sports coaches to gauge a team's progress.

Goal setting worksheets can be used over an extended period of time to help people make a small series of improvements, or they can be employed for a limited time to get someone focused and back on task. Some examples of situations where such documents can help include classrooms, personal debt management, athletic training, and career advancement.

Goal setting worksheets might help someone focus on an exercise goal.
Goal setting worksheets might help someone focus on an exercise goal.
Goal setting worksheets can help people achieve success in personal relationships.
Goal setting worksheets can help people achieve success in personal relationships.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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