I have a question.
50+ of them actually.
And they are for you, to help you set better goals, write better goals, and follow up on your goals better so that you will accomplish and finish them.
Why questions you may ask?
Questions have power. They spur thought and creativity. They can act like a checklist to help make sure you are on track. They can help you dive deeper into your most inmost desires.
So here we go: 50+ questions (and sub-questions) to set, write, and accomplish your goals.
Questions for discovering your goals
Before we accomplish our goals, the first thing we have to do is discover what they are!
Sometimes coming up with goals can be hard. You may have limiting beliefs and may have said “that could never happen” or “I can’t” so many times, you forgot what you truly want to pursue.
Sometimes you just may have a hard time thinking of what you want to pursue.
Below are some questions that can help you discover and create great goals, as well as other questions that will help set you up for success.
If money was no object, nothing was impossible, what would you want/do?
If money wasn’t an object, what would you want in your life? What would you be doing? Don’t say “yeah, but..” just write it.
If nothing was impossible, what would you want to do and pursue? Write it down.
What have you wanted to do but were afraid to try?
Is there something or somethings that you’ve always wanted to do, but were afraid to attempt it? You were afraid of failure or of what others may think?
Write it down. Don’t focus on the possible failure or others’ opinions – focus on the goal you want to achieve.
Where do I want to be in 5 (or 10) years?
See yourself in the future, 5 or 10 years from now.
- What would your ideal life look like?
- What job would you have?
- What would your relationships look like?
- What would you be doing with your time?
- What hobbies would you be pursuing?
- What volunteer opportunities would you be pursuing?
- What would your health look like?
- What communities or groups would you be a part of?
- What would your spiritual life look like?
- What would you like to have accomplished by then?
- Where would your personal growth and development be?
Write all of these out.
What are some shorter-term goals that can help me get to my long-term goals?
Ok, you have your list of where you want to be in 5 or 10 years. Now think about what you would need to do to get there. What would have to happen?
Write out the steps (or sub-goals) you would need to do to make your ideal life in the long-term happen.
What do I want to accomplish this year?
Is there something specific you would like to accomplish or do this year? Write it out.
If you only had 6 months to live, what would you do and how would you live?
If we know our time is limited, many of us would live and act differently. This can give you an idea of how you would really want to live and be and do.
What 100 things would you like to do/accomplish by the end of your life?
Jack Canfield in The Success Principles talks about making a list of 100 things you would like to accomplish by the end of your life – in a sense, a bucket list.
Take time and write it out.
If you won $1,000,000 with no strings attached, how would you spend/use it?
If you won that money, how would you use it? How would your life be different? This can help show you want you want in your life.
What do you most enjoy doing?
If it’s something you enjoy, you may want to pursue it more.
If you were granted 3 wishes, guaranteed to never fail, to be successful in whatever you choose, what would you choose?
Asking this question can help you overcome the “I can’t” and see what you really would want.
What are your values and priorities?
You need to know what your values and priorities are. Write them out. If you don’t, you may set goals that go against them.
Where am I now? What is reality?
Setting goals for the future is what you want to do, but to do that, you also have to know where you are. You can’t start if you don’t know the starting point.
Face reality. Where are you now in your life? Are you where you want to be? To get to where you want, how would you need to start?
One reason people never get to where they want is that they lie to themselves where they are. Don’t do that. Face reality.
If everything stayed the same, what one goal would have the greatest impact on my life?
When you are deciding on which goal(s) to pursue, asking this goal can help you pick your most important goal.
Why is this goal important? What is your “why”?
As you look at your goals, ask:
- Why is this important?
- What do you want to pursue this goal?
- How will it benefit you?
- How will it benefit others?
- What is the end result?
- How will you feel when you complete the goal?
- What will your life look like?
The answers to these questions are your “why”. It’s the reason you want to pursue this goal. If you don’t have a “why”, then why are you pursuing it?
Having and remembering your “why” also helps you push forward and keep going when things get tough.
Is this goal something that I’m personally passionate about?
If you aren’t personally passionate about the goal, the chances of you completing it are slim. Sometimes we pursue goals because others want us to or we think we “should”.
However, if it’s not a goal you “own”, you likely won’t put the work in to make it happen.
Is the goal relevant to my values, priorities, stage of life, and my other goals?
Is your goal relevant to your life right now? Some goals fit better in different stages of life.
If your goal doesn’t match your values, priorities, or other goals, then it can put your life out of whack.
Are you willing to pay the price?
Here’s a kicker question. So you went through whichever question or process and decided on your goal. Now, you need to ask yourself:
Are you willing to pay the price?
Are you willing to make the sacrifices and put in the work to make it happen? Are you willing to change and grow to make it happen? Are you willing to do whatever it takes (ethically, matching your values and priorities), to make it happen?
If not, then your goal is merely a fantasy and a wish.
How many goals am I chasing at once?
If you chase after too many at once, you don’t focus enough time on any and nothing gets done. Or you get burnt out.
Don’t chase a lot at once. Choose the one that you want the most or with the greatest impact, and chase it. Then once it becomes routine or completed, add another.
Yes, you probably can do 2-3 at a time, but if you stretch yourself too thin, you may not get any of them done.
A singular focus has power.
Questions for writing your goals
Now that you’ve come up with your goals, it’s time to get them on paper. Here are some questions to help make sure you write your goals effectively.
Is the goal specific and concrete?
Vague goals don’t get accomplished – specific goals do. If it’s vague, it’s hard to know what it is you are trying to accomplish.
Vague goals also don’t inspire or motivate. They don’t give direction.
Specific and concrete goals do. There’s a difference between “lose weight” and “lose 15 pounds” and “earn more money” and “earn $15,000 more this year”.
Make sure you are specific and concrete about what you want.
Can anyone who looks at my goal know exactly what my goal is within 5 seconds?
When you read your goal, can you and others clearly see what it is you are trying to accomplish?
If not, then it’s either not specific enough, and/or you’ve made it too wordy and confusing.
Is your goal measurable?
Is there a measurement in the goal?
It can be a number or percentage, or it can be an event. For example, if your goal was to run a marathon, and you ran a marathon, you know you’ve completed it.
If there is no measurement, then how will you know if/when you’ve accomplished it?
A measurement also lets you know if you are on/off track and helps know to make adjustments early on.
How will I know if I arrived?
This is a question to help with specificity and measurement. If by reading your goal you don’t know how you will know if you’ve arrived, then it’s either not specific or measurable enough (or likely both).
Is it short, clear and concise?
Goals should be short, clear, and concise. They should be easy to read and anyone should be able to know what it is and what you are trying to accomplish in a matter of seconds.
If it’s long and bulky, it’s less inspiring, less motivating, and can easily get more confusing.
Is my plan in my goal? (it shouldn’t be)
If your plan for accomplishing your goal is in the goal – take it out.
There are a couple of reasons for this:
- It makes your goal longer, bulkier and harder to read (and less likely to read)
- There’s a difference between your goal and plan.
Your goal may be to lose a certain amount of weight or grow your business. That’s your goal and it’s likely not to change.
Your plan and strategy, however, might. You may try one thing, it not work, then you try another. You don’t fail the goal because the plan doesn’t work, you just try something else.
Don’t put your plan in your goal – write it out, but keep it separate. Keep your goal short and concise.
Is my goal just daily, normal routine?
If your goal is something you already do every day – it’s not a goal. If it’s your regular job duties – it’s not a goal.
A goal should be something that you are striving to accomplish outside of what you already do. Or it may be doing what you already do better.
Now, if it’s a routine that you are trying to start, such as work out 3x a week every week, that’s a worthwhile activity goal. But listing something you already do regularly isn’t.
Is there a timetable or deadline in my goal?
A lack of deadline leads to procrastination and the goal never happening. Have a deadline on your goal – when you want to accomplish it by.
If you try and it doesn’t happen, or you later realize you set an unrealistic deadline, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, you can adjust the deadline later if needed.
Howerver, not all goals will have a set deadline, though you can add them.
An activity goal, such as “work out 3x/week” or “be at home for supper 5/7 nights a week” doesn’t necessarily have a set deadline – though it would be a good idea to have one.
You can write something like “work out 3x/week for 10 weeks” or “be at home for supper 5/7 nights a week for the next 3 months”. This gives a set time to aim for to do those activity goals.
When you finish the set time, celebrate! Then you can set another timed goal for it. If you mess up, just start back, no biggie.
Does it challenge and stretch me?
If your goal doesn’t challenge and stretch you, aren’t going to be as motivated or inspired to do it. Challenging goals push us forward. Easy goals don’t do it.
If it’s an “easy” goal, then it’s “easy” not to do it.
In fact, Brian Tracy suggests that our goals should have a 50% chance of failure.
Challenging goals stretch you and grow you. They push you further than you’ve ever been before.
It’s okay, too, to chase after “impossible” goals. That’s how great innovations happen. You’ll just likely want to set smaller sub-goals to get there.
Is it humanly possible/attainable?
While you want to challenge yourself, doing completely unrealistic goals can hurt you. You can’t do a marathon in a week if you haven’t run in a year.
You likely won’t get 1,000,000 visitors to your website in a month if you just started it yesterday.
If you set goals you always fail, you are likely to get demotivated. (This is not to say not to chase after the “impossible” or challenge yourself -those will fail sometimes, just don’t always put yourself in a position where you fail so much you stop trying).
Do you believe the goal is possible?
It’s ideal to set challenging goals, but if you don’t actually believe it’s possible for you to do, you won’t put in the effort to make it happen.
If you have a low-level of belief, that’s okay. Start small, give yourself some small victories, and build up.
Questions for following through and accomplishing your goals
Now that you’ve chosen your goals and written them down, it’s time to make them happen. Here are some questions to ask to help you stay on track and follow through on your goals.
Is my goal written down?
Ok, I know we just did a section on writing out your goal, but this is important. You need to make sure you have your goals written down.
Writing your goal helps make them more real and tangible. It helps you clarify. It helps you know what to focus on and keeps you from forgetting.
Make sure they are written down.
Did I plan out my goal?
Planning helps you think through the goal and know what steps you need to take. It makes it easier to accomplish your goals and gives you “next steps” to make it happen.
It’s okay, though, if you don’t know all the steps. With some goals you may not know initially how you will make it happen.
That’s okay. Just figure out your next step (even if it’s learning more and researching) and take action.
Am I overplanning?
Planning is good, but if we get into the trap of over-planning, you are hurting yourself. Map out your steps, or your next step, and take action.
You don’t have to know every step or have everything laid out. The most important part is knowing your next step and taking action.
What’s my first step?
What’s the first step that you are going to take toward your goal?
It’s often a good idea to make it something simple and easy. Then get started.
What’s my next step?
What is the next step you need to take toward your goal? It’s always a good idea for when you finish one step, to know or figure out your next step.
Have I taken action toward my goal?
Have you taken action toward your goal? If not, DO IT! Now!
The longer you wait to take action, the less likely you will take action. Do something toward your goal today. Make it something, easy, and simple.
Just get started.
What am I going to do TODAY toward my goal?
If possible, you want to take action toward your goal every day. What are you going to do today toward it?
What’s holding me back?
What’s holding you back from taking action on your goals?
Fear of failure? Fear of success? Other’s opinions?
Whatever it is, figure it out and work on overcoming it. Talk to trusted people that will help you.
Am I frequently reviewing myself?
Are you reviewing yourself and your goal(s) on a regular basis? If not, you need to. Reviewing yourself can help keep your goal in mind, keep yourself accountable, and allow you to make adjustments as you go along.
Depending on the goals you set, you can do daily, weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly reviews. You can ask yourself questions such as:
- What’s going well?
- In what areas am I doing well in?
- What are some of my successes?
- What areas can use some improvement?
- What steps can I take to improve?
- What do I need to do differently?
- What do I need to do more of?
- What do I need to do less of?
- What do I need to start doing?
- What do I need to stop doing?
- What did I do today toward my goals?
- Have I learned anything that affects how I should pursue my goal/change my goal (such as timeline or such)?
- What else do I need to learn?
- What are my next step(s)?
- In what areas do I need help?
- How can I get that help?
- What are potential obstacles and solutions?
What are potential obstacles for my goals and solutions?
What obstacles might get in your way? How will you resolve those?
What help will I need/who can help me?
Some goals we can’t achieve on our own. We need help. What sources will you need to learn from? Who can help you?
What do I need to learn to accomplish my goals?
What skills do you need to learn? What knowledge do you need to gain?
Often, to get somewhere new, we will need to learn something new. What knowledge do you need to obtain to help you accomplish your goal?
What changes will I need to make?
To accomplish something great, such as your goals, you generally will have to make some changes.
For example, if you plan to run a marathon, you will have to rearrange your schedule to be able to run. You will likely have to start eating differently. And so on.
What changes will you need to make to make your goals happen? Do them.
Is there someone who’s done this goal before whom I can get advice from?
Has someone done what you are doing before? Talk to them and learn from them.
Who can help me/how can I keep myself accountable?
Who can help you stay accountable? Find someone to help you. Sometimes you can find groups of people doing the same goals, and you can encourage and keep each other accountable.
Find a way to help keep yourself accountable. Sometimes posting your goal on the wall where others can see it can help keep you accountable. Creating a scorecard can help as well.
Have I reviewed my “why”?
Have you taken the time to remember your “why” for the goal? Have you taken the time to visualize yourself in the success and feel the feeling of it?
If not, do it. Doing so can help keep you motivated and moving forward.
Asking the right questions can help you not only come up with the right goals, but to follow through on them as well.
Come back to this article (or print it out) and review these questions frequently. Doing this can help you achieve more than ever before.
What stage are you in? Do you need to work on coming up with your goals? Or do you need to write them down and begin working on them?
Whatever it is, make sure to take action – today.
Let us know below, what next step are you going to take?