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Goal Setting: Manifesting What I Want into What I Have

Updated on August 4, 2013

The Ladder of Success

Each successful goal begins as a dream - then a step.
Each successful goal begins as a dream - then a step.

How to Set Goals You Will Actually Achieve

"When you grow up, you can be anything you want to be!"

Remember this little gem from the supervising adults in our early lives? How many of us really did grow up to be an astronaut, deep sea diver, or the president? How many of us that did go the extra mile to be the nurses, pilots, or teachers we dreamed of are as happy with our profession now as were when we played dress-up?

Big dreams, like big goals, inspire us. They fill our hearts with joy, our mind with focus, and our soul with purpose. Without a plan, however, they tend to fade away like a worn-out daydream. But with a plan for action, we can take these ideas that exist invisibly behind the veil of our thoughts and hearts and pull them out as tangible items in our actual reality!

Goal planning is nothing new, and is used extensively by the most successful of businesses and businessmen. They're usually designed to manage people like you and me into producing results for these savvy bastards. But by learning the steps ourselves in this tried-and-true system of goal setting, we too can begin to produce the results WE desire! So let's get started!

When Choosing A Goal, Reach For The "STAR"s!

And by that, I mean don't. While our long-term goal gives us a trajectory, it's up to us to develop and place the stepping stones to get between where we are, and where we'd like to be. So when I talk about "reaching for the STARs", it's less about choosing an impossible dream and translates more like "grab for this handy acronym."

Set STAR goals! When choosing a goal, check to make sure it is ALL of the following:

  • Simple. The more specific your goal is, the greater chance you have to achieve it. Define one single, solitary goal that is small and specific by defining EXACTLY what it is, and nothing more.
  • Trackable. While your goal is simple, solitary, and defined to the "T", the process to reach it needs to be measurable, quantitative, chartable. Now I realize it's confusing to think about how to track "a boat" you want, or how to measure "a piano" you'd like, but not to worry - I've already outlined the process by which to track your goals, found in the two worksheets described later in this article.
  • Achievable. When choosing your goal, be realistic. Set your sights on something that can actually be attained. That's not to say settle for the same old things you already know how to get, but define a goal that is concrete, not ambiguous.
  • Resourceful. Achieving your goal is a journey, and if it's boring, you probably won't stick with it until the end. Being resourceful means to get imaginative, using what you have in creative ways to overcome challenges to your final destination. Doing so will guide you to become a more capable, functional person in the process.

By setting STAR goals, you nurture yourself with fuel and attention you'll need to meet it. This builds and maintains the enthusiasm and focus you'll need to stick with your plan until you meet your goal in person!

That Piano I Always Dreamed of... we play it everyday! we play it everyday!

Why Money is NOT Your Goal

You can't have everything you want, but you might be able to have ANYthing you want. The difference lies in the language you use to define your goal. Choosing an ambiguous goal will lead to ambiguous results, which you will most likely dismiss as no results. But narrowing down your intended end result into a single, simply defined tangible thing improves both your chances of acquiring it, and often times the ease of which you find it.

To begin defining your goals, we start with the long-term. If you're like me, it's usually the one, big, exciting one you already have in mind. It answers the question, "what do I ultimately want to achieve?" When I first starting making long term goals, I dove head first for the far-fetched - I wanted a new car, a bigger bank account, a tropical island vacation...all the fabulous things Pat Sajak has spent 30 years convincing me would make me happy to have.

These all seemed to rely on that bigger bank account goal, so I chose that first. I set a dollar amount I wanted to achieve in my work as a commission-based sales rep by the end of a week, a month, and a year. This all seemed to break down nicely into a short, medium, and long term goal as the chart instructed, and so I took its good fit as a sign I was doing this goal-setting thing right. Over time, I'd hit my mark some weeks and others I'd miss. It took 3 months to see if I was going to have any kind of consistency hitting my monthly marks, and that wasn't even a quarter of the way to my yearly goal. Honestly, 8 weeks into this goal plan, I was over it. I wanted the bigger bank account, but WHY?

This is when I started to learn how the goal sheet actually works. That question, "but WHY?, is the KEY to unlocking the door to your goal. I wanted the bigger bank account, because it provided the opportunity to buy the things Pat Sajak said I wanted. But what I soon came to realize was that I already had the opportunity to acquire my goals, provided by the goal sheet itself. Making my goals about money just looped the loop twice, and was getting me nowhere. I also started to realize that I had no need for a boat, no matter how much it glittered on TV.

A bit of self-examination happens at this point where you get to honestly ask yourself what do you want to DO, and what do you need to do it. Past long-term goals of mine included a piano, a sewing machine, and to learn to knit - all of which I HAVE now! But the means to acquire them wasn't necessarily money, and I had to learn to quit focusing on HOW I was going to get these things, and just focus on the things themselves. By defining simple items and tasks as my goals, and letting those around me know of my goals, I got a sewing machine from someone who hadn't used theirs in years. I learned to knit from the children's section of the local library. The piano was bid on for me at an auction as a gift, and two strong and handsome men (which weren't goals of mine, but wonderful side-effects) hauled it into my dining room the next day.

Define Your Terms

  • Specify the "Long-Term" goal as one single, solitary item.
  • The "Mid-Term" goal is the major step between now and your goal.
  • The "Short-Term" goal gets you to your mid-term goal.

The Short and Long (and Middle) of It

As I have demonstrated, goal setting works! But you have to try it out to see for yourself. So, start goal planning with the "Term Worksheet." Here's what you do:

  1. Set your end goal: This will be your "long-term" goal. Pick one, and only one, goal and describe it as simply as possible. For most long-term goals, you should give it 3 to 6 months time for it to develop. Your long-term goal is the point you want to promote - share this goal with the people in your life!
  2. Set your mid-term goal: Your mid-term goal is the major step between now and your end goal that you could reasonably achieve within 1 to 3 months time.
  3. Set your short-term goal: Your short-term goal bridges the gap between now and your mid-term goal, and should be able to be achieved within 2 to 4 weeks.

Term Worksheet

Long Term (3 to 6 months)
I want: ___________________________
Mid Term (1 to 3 months)
I'll need: _________________________ before reaching my long-term goal.
Short Term (2 to 4 weeks)
I can: ___________________________ to acquire my mid-term goal.

"But WHY?"

That question is the KEY to effective goal setting.
That question is the KEY to effective goal setting.

Daily Maintenance

Once you've defined your goals through the Short - Mid - and Long-Term Worksheet, it's time to roll up your sleeves and dig in! Though the breakdown above happens over weeks and months, the magic of manifestation happens through daily attention and care. It's like planting a seed in order to reap food. You can plant a seed, but you have to give it time and attention to root, sprout, grow, and eventually bloom! The Short-Mid-Long Term Worksheet plants the seed, but it's the daily goals in this "Goal Worksheet" that give it water and sunshine - all the nourishment it needs to grow.

The Goal Worksheet consists of daily plans for one week.

  • At the top, you will list about 3 things you need to accomplish within one week to arrive at your short-term goal.
  • Along the left-hand side of the worksheet, you will list goals you can quantify - that is, measure in numbers. These are your "Production Goals", and should be pretty easy to achieve within 1 day.
  • In the middle, you will list 3 things you need to do to achieve this number. These are your "Daily Goals", and they detail the work involved to reach your Production Goal for the day.
  • Along the right-hand side is a place to note an evaluation of your performance for that day. It should note what worked in your favor to reach that day's Production Goal, what worked against you, and what you can do to improve your effectiveness tomorrow.

Weekly Goals
1._______________________ 2._______________________ 3._______________________
Production Goals
Daily Goals
Sunday: _____
1._______________________ 2._______________________ 3._______________________
What worked?______ What didn't?_______ What to change?___
Monday: _____
1._______________________ 2._______________________ 3._______________________
What worked?______ What didn't?_______ What to change?___
Tuesday: _____
1._______________________ 2._______________________ 3._______________________
What worked?______ What didn't?_______ What to change?___
Wednesday: _____
1._______________________ 2._______________________ 3._______________________
What worked?______ What didn't?_______ What to change?___
Thursday: _____
1._______________________ 2._______________________ 3._______________________
What worked?______ What didn't?_______ What to change?___
Friday: _____
1._______________________ 2._______________________ 3._______________________
What worked?______ What didn't?_______ What to change?___
Saturday: _____
1._______________________ 2._______________________ 3._______________________
What worked?______ What didn't?_______ What to change?___

For Example...

With the structure in place, let's run through an example of how this actually works.

Let's suppose I set a goal to launch my own website - something I have no idea how to do. At all. All I have is this desire to reach an online audience with my ideas on living organically. Using the 2 worksheets provided, we can begin to plan the process that will lead to our goal.

We start with the "Term Worksheet":

Example of the "Term Worksheet"

Long Term (3 to 6 months)
I want: to launch a website.
Mid Term (1 to 3 months)
I'll need: to learn the process of launching a website before reaching my long-term goal.
Short Term (2 to 4 weeks)
I can: research the process of launching a website to acquire my mid-term goal.

From Know-Nothing to Webmaster

A goal and a plan can get you anywhere!
A goal and a plan can get you anywhere!

Ok, easy enough. We've set our goal as the "Long-Term" goal and have broken down the steps it will take to get me from know-nothing to webmaster. Now it's time to begin this week's "Goal Worksheet".

Begin by setting all 3 "Weekly Goals" now. The 3 weekly goals should be the steps you need to get closer to your mid-term goal. The steps need to be close enough together that you can reach them steadily one by one, but far enough apart to get you to your mid-term goal in 2 to 4 weeks.

With a mid-term goal of "...learn the process of launching a website...", I've filled in this week's weekly goals as such:

  1. research what it takes to create a website
  2. research what it takes to publish the site online
  3. research how to host a website

Now we define the work to be done each day to accomplish these 3 goals within the week. The "Production" and "Daily Goals" are defined one-by-one every morning of each day and are based specifically on accomplishing the 3 weekly goals. Fill in the "Evaluation" column when you finish working on your goal for the day. So on Sunday morning, based on weekly goal number one of, "research what it takes to create a website", I fill in the row for Sunday only, like this:

Production Goal:

  • Sunday: find 3 ways to create a website

Daily Goals:

  1. find do-it-yourself instructions
  2. find businesses that offer website building services
  3. compare prices

Example of the "Goal Worksheet"

Goal Worksheet
Weekly Goals
1. Research what it takes to create a website.
2. Research what it takes to publish the site online.
3. Research how to host a website.
Production Goals
Daily Goals
1. Do-it-yourself instructions.
1. What worked?: Found tons of options.
Sunday: Find 3 ways to create a website.
2. Find businesses that offer website building services.
2. What didn't?: Those for hire were full of pop-up ads - didn't trust their services.
3. Compare prices.
3. What to change?: Focus more on do-it-yourself options.

And after a day of research, I fill in the "Evaluation" column:


  1. What worked?: found tons of options
  2. What didn't?: those for hire were full of pop-up ads - didn't trust their services
  3. What to change?: focus more on do-it-yourself options

On Sunday I was able to find several half-baked do-it-yourself tutorials and one great article that would teach me how to build my own website using free software. I also browsed many businesses found through Google both locally and nationwide, but was skeptical of their ad-laden websites and decided I didn't want to go with a business to build my site for me. Notice now how I did not get to "Daily Goal" three, "compare prices". Based on Sunday's results, I've decided to build the website myself, and "compare prices" can now be moved to Monday's "Daily Goal" number one with a newly sharpened focus on what prices I'm searching for. If unfinished "Daily Goals" still have a place in your plan for the week, carry them over to the next day's goals, and fill in the remainder of that day's goals to move you closer to accomplishing all of your "Weekly Goals" by the end of the week.

Continue your "Goal Worksheet" every morning you want to work towards your long-term goal in this manner, by building off the previous day's progress.

Sizing It All Up - the Reevaluation

Once the end of your goal-work week arrives (usually Friday or Saturday), it's time to step back and take it all in. You've made progress down your path, but is it still heading towards your goal? It's also time to take stock in what we've learned so far, because ALL experience is knowledge. Some experience inches us closer to our goal, and others teach us what we need to do differently to get there.

So on Friday morning, make a list of five things you learned from your work this week.

5 Things I Learned This Week:

Getting What You Want

What process do you primarily use now to achieve your long-term goals?

See results

File your "Things I've Learned" list with that week's "Goal Worksheet" in a 3-ring binder. Reviewing this binder periodically can show the progress you've made as an effective goal-setter, and remind you that even if you haven't reached your goal yet, your work has taught you lessons you didn't have before you started. Applying these lessons to your current and future goals increases your ability to change your circumstances to your desire, making you more a capable, functional, and effective creator in and of your life.

After filling out the "Learned" list, review this goals "Term Worksheet" before preparing to set goals for the next week. Are your daily tasks taking the necessary steps to reach your short-term goal? Does it still appear as though the short- and mid-term goals are the right steps to take to reach your long-term? You may find the short-term goal you've set for yourself was too vague to reach the mid-term, or that in all your research you've already reached your mid-term goal! Make adjustments to your "Term Worksheet" on a weekly basis if necessary to tidy up your steps in a straight line from Point A (short-term) to B (mid-term) to C (long-term). Assure the momentum you build reaching your short-and mid-term goals still launch you in the direction of your long-term goal - your reason for setting any goals in the first place!

A Goal -

- define one today!
- define one today!

Further Supporting Your Goal - Picture Boards and Wish Lists

I used to say studying astronomy took the twinkle out of my stars. Breaking down these grand, sweeping ideas into quantitative measurements somehow took the magic out of them, and stargazing just didn't hold the same cooling, restorative wonder it did for me before I calculated the distance and actual position of the stars in Orion's Belt, or the summer triangle.

To bring something from daydream to formation, it must undergo a transformation that takes the mysticism out of it and makes it concrete, tangible, real - an actual item with little mystery left to wonder about it at all. While this transformation is necessary to bring our goals to reality, it squashes the inspiring, motivating, and driving power of the human imagination. That inspiration is like fire, and when set ablaze it has the ability to destroy the reality of now (a world where we don't have our goal) to clear the space, clear the ground, for something new to grow. It may even fertilize the soil in the process.

So the big idea - our long-term goal - that drove us to set any goals in the first place is just as important to keep in mind, to think about, to daydream and suppose of, as all the little steps we've defined to reach it. It itself has a very important place in our goal plan, and not just as the end result. To keep our enthusiasm high and our goal exciting while we get bogged down in the daily details, we stoke the fires of our imagination.

One way to keep the dream alive is with Picture Boards. Picture Boards are an actual, physical space (like a corkboard or piece of poster board) where you attach pictures of your long-term goal. The boat, the trip, the piano...that grand idea that EXCITES you! With current technology, you could probably Pinterest yourself an awesome Picture Board, filling it with dozens or even hundreds of examples of what you're working towards.

Not only do Picture Boards keep our drive alive, but they serve another useful purpose. By choosing photos of the idea you have in mind and not posting pictures of others, you further specify what it is you're looking for. And as I mentioned before, the more simply and specifically you define your goal, the better the chance you have of not only finding it, but acquiring it with ease. For these two reasons, honing the idea of your long-term goal with Picture Boards increases your chances of reaching it.

A wish list is a simple piece of paper you write your long-term goal on and keep in your wallet or checkbook. By placing this list next to our means of money, we become more aware of how we are spending our energy in regards to achieving our goal - a more applicable and readily available means of "currency".

You CAN Do It!

Following these four basic steps can lead to a big victory - for YOU, by YOU!
Following these four basic steps can lead to a big victory - for YOU, by YOU!

You're Ready, and You're Set - Now GO!!

This article has thoroughly, completely, and probably exhaustingly explained to you step-by-step how to turn your dream into a reality. With all its advice on tips and tricks for success, remember that the basic elements to successful goal setting function simply and are easy to use:

  • Define a simple goal you want to reach.
  • Use the "Term" and "Goal" worksheets to plan and guide your actions.
  • Review your work weekly to make sure you're still on track.
  • Use Picture Boards and Wish Lists to keep the dream alive.

That's the nuts and bolts of your new wish-granting machine. If you have a dream and you've printed off your worksheets, you're ready! Fill in your "Long-Term Goal" with the thing you want most, and best wishes along the path of your newest exciting journey - becoming the creator of the life YOU desire! Best wishes on your newly defined success!

"This is Your World, You're the Creator..."


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    • Faiaz Fahim profile image


      13 months ago from Bangladesh

      Great post!

    • Lee Tea profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Tea 

      7 years ago from Erie, PA

      Thank you Harry - best of luck to you in your goals and endeavors!

    • profile image

      Harry Che 

      7 years ago

      This is probably one of the best goal setting posts I've read lately. For setting and tracking goals, you may want to check out, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals, habits, and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It's clear, focused, easy to navigate, and most of all, really works!

    • Lee Tea profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Tea 

      7 years ago from Erie, PA

      Thanks ChristinS, both for visiting and commenting. I'm not just a big, but a HUGE picture person by nature, and it took me time to figure out how to lay out the stepping stones instead of just jumping for the cliff and falling into the ravine repeatedly lol... maybe my tips can help you break off your bigger goals into bite-sized pieces too. Best of luck! Be well.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 

      7 years ago from Midwest

      Wow, great hub! I love how you break the goals down into the goal sheets. I too think that large, ambiguous goals are where we tend to get lost. I know on my dream/vision boards, I tend to also keep a rolling list of progress I am making towards those largers goals and I also place my accomplishments up there - seeing how far you've climbed is great for motivation. I think I'll try some of your techniques too and see what happens if I narrow my focus in that manner.

    • Lee Tea profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Tea 

      7 years ago from Erie, PA

      Synchronicity is its own muse :) Thanks for taking the time OMGirdle, much appreciated! Best of luck on all your goal journeys!

      Oh the worksheets...I have so many worksheets lol!

    • OMGirdle profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      I always seem to find hubs to read that fit perfectly the conundrums in my life. The tips in this hub are very effective in setting the stage to achieve your goals. I intend to use your example worksheets to better keep me on track. This is just what I needed. This is a very useful hub and I thank you for sharing. Bookmarking this hub and pinning it. Voted up.


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