Do you know you want to set goals but struggle with coming up with the “right goals” and then never actually complete them? This Goal Calendar Printable is the BEST thing I have ever found to help me set and complete goals.
The entire thing is free too. I use it for all of my goals, including business goals and personal goals. This has been one of the most transformational things in my life.
It’s called the Goal Generator and it’s an easy guide to setting goals you can actually stick to.
Best Goal Planner
If you’re ready to make some major life changes and crush some huge goals, the first thing to do is to grab the Goal Generator for free.
It solves the problems in the right order of why people don’t meet their goals so you can avoid the same fate.
Problem #1: Setting Your Own Goals
If you need a life change, setting goals can seem like the easy part. Just write down what you want to change into a goal list right?
But it’s not really that simple. Because most people suck at setting goals. There are a few reasons for this:
1. They aren’t sure what they want.
This is totally me. When I think of the future, I can see 100 paths and I have no idea which one I want. And choosing one path to me means closing off other paths which increases the stress of the decision to “choose right”.
Examples: Not knowing which career to pursue, not knowing where you want to live, not knowing if you should focus on losing weight, getting your debt paid off, or organizing your house.
2. They don’t reflect on what the problems in their life actually are.
78% of America lives paycheck to paycheck, yet if you ask someone if they’d like to make a million dollars, the answer is almost always yes.
But in reality… making a million dollars won’t change your life at all. Because all of the problems in your life will follow you there.
You don’t know how to manage a million dollars unless you’re successfully managing what you’re making right now.
And while that seems like a good goal (because you want it right?), it won’t actually make you happy. The goal you need is to “learn how to manage money” and then when that’s completed, your goal should be to “make a million dollars”.
Most people see the end goal, but not the steps they’ll need to get there.
3. What people WANT isn’t always what they NEED or SHOULD WANT.
When people look at goal setting- they often focus on “big hairy audacious goals” like buying a house, making a million dollars, or paying off their debt. And less than 2% are successful at their New Year’s resolutions or goals (which includes ALL goals and not even the big ones!).
I firmly believe that if you have a history of setting goals that you forget about and don’t achieve, your goal-setting success is going to be found in setting goals that are easy to achieve and have an immediate impact on your life (which inspires you to continue on to the next goal).
This creates a snowball effect of you setting and achieving more and more goals as your life is positively impacted, and by default, those goals will get bigger and bigger.
And for the record. I practice what I preach. I’m a former hot mess who spent 12 years drowning in debt, walking over the laundry pile that spilled out of her laundry room and was late to everything. I set goals every year to “get my life in order”, and never even came close.
I used the steps in the goal generator to…
- Reduce our spending by over 23,000 a year
- Pay off our debt of over $30,000
- Get and keep our house clean and organized
- Quit my job to replace my salary from home running a home daycare
- Consistently stick to using a planner for 11 years and counting
Then started a business teaching the worst cases of chronic disorganization (like I was) how to work with their unique personality to get the results they want (even if they’ve never stuck with anything before), which grew to full-time income within 10 months, and now 8 years later is still a thriving business that has taught budgeting and home management to over 18 million people and has been featured on Forbes, Fox Business, Entrepreneur, Country Living, and more.
I say all of that, so you understand that this method of goal planning really works.
4. They don’t know how to combine what they want with what their spouse wants.
Otherwise, you guys are rowing the boat in two different directions which won’t get you anywhere. If your goal is to save money and pay off debt. One of you will spend less, and the other one will spend more… which leads to fights and resentment. You don’t ned every goal to be aligned perfectly with your partner’s… but your goals need to be compatible.
5. They don’t know how to set SMART goals (or effective goal setting if SMART isn’t your thing).
Smart goals are:
- Time Bound
SMART goals are the most often cited as being the most effective goal-setting method. There’s quite a bit of controversy around that when it comes to independent studies but wherever you fall on the SMART controversy, you need to set goals using an effective strategy that works for your unique personality.
Introducing the Goal Generator: A Solution for Life’s Frustrations
The Goal Generator fixes these issues by bringing you through a targeted reflection of what specifically is driving you nuts in each aspect of your life and which things are going well. Then it helps you brainstorm solutions and estimates how difficult (or costly) trying those solutions might be.
We then make sure your goals are SMART (or effective) goals and combine them with what your significant other wants. We start with the easiest and cheapest solutions and when that’s done… we keep going, while still keeping an eye on those big crazy goals so we’re heading in that direction. We do that by using the monthly planner but working one month at a time (so you can pivot at any point if you decide you like a different “big goal” path better).
Small Goals Versus Big Goals
Here’s an example of a small impactful goal and a huge goal from a reader’s Goal Generator.
Alexis is a busy mother of 2 kids, ages 5 and 7. She works out of the house Monday-Friday from 9-5 pm, her spouse Joel is a firefighter who works 12-hour shifts 3 days a week. The kids are in after-school care on the days her husband works, and she has to do everything herself on the days he works, including drop off and pick up. On the days that he’s off, he’ll do drop-off and pick-up.
Some of the goals uncovered by their goal generator (because they each did it and then you combine your answers for your bigger or long-term goals)
Alexis’s problem for a short term goal:
Every morning she drops off kids is chaotic and stressful, her oldest can never find his shoes and backpack. Her youngest throws tantrums over everything and refuses to wear the clothes she picks out. She’s often running late which makes both her and the kids late.
Solutions to A/B Test
- Having her oldest lay out shoes and backpack every night before bed. Have both kids pick out and lay out clothes for the next day and leave them where they usually get dressed (even if that’s someplace weird like the living room… no judging).
- No video games/screens after 6 pm… but they get unlimited video games and screens in the morning after they complete the checklist (which includes: hair brushed, teeth brushed, dressed including underwear, socks, shoes on, and bookbag packed and on their back). Hint: This was a while ago so I can tell you that the unlimited morning screens worked so well, she didn’t even need to have them lay out clothes the night before. Her morning went from two screaming fighting kids to both kids ready, dressed in shoes and wearing bookbags playing on their tablets waiting on Alexis to wake up.
Alexis’s problem for a long term goal:
Alexis wants more time to herself and feels resentful about working. She likes aspects of her job and loves her coworkers but feels rushed all day, especially when Joe is on shift. But she makes a great salary and doesn’t really want to give that up. She wants to be able to do one of the following, but she’s not sure which:
- Reduce her work hours and work part-time but needs to be able to stick to a budget consistently for that to work which is something they struggle with (Here’s a free step-by-step program link to help with that).
- Work from home in the same field, working fewer hours with more productivity.
- Work from home in a completely different field or as a business, making a full-time income for part-time hours.
- Quit her job completely and stay home with the kids and live on Joel’s salary.
Alexis doesn’t really know which path she wants to take and that’s ok. Because she has lots of other small goals (like the hectic morning one) that she can work on in the meantime and build confidence and reduce stress and make her life and decisions easier.
While she’s doing that though, she can keep in mind that she wants to change this and explore paths in the same direction.
What that looks like: No matter what she chooses, gaining the skills to stick to her budget would be MASSIVE for any of those options. We suggest a free one-hour workshop called “Exit Strategy workshop” if you know you want to work from home but aren’t really sure how because it also teaches you how to budget using those goals as motivation.
It also does an amazing job of explaining all of the potential things you could do and they give you a master list of work-from-home jobs at the end to find the right fit for you.
What We Mean by A/B Test
Try a solution for a solid week and see if it’s better or worse than what you were doing before. If it’s better… keep it. If it’s worse, try something else for a week. Sometimes things are murky- meaning they’re better but unsustainable because they take too much time, money, or willpower… that’s ok. We found something that works for now, then we brainstorm to find something to test that works better than the first solution.
Tada! Goal snowballs 🙂
Get it? The snowball starts small and gets bigger as it adds more and more snow.
Your goals start small, but as you achieve them quickly and add new ones, you feel invincible. Like you are quite possibly the highest achiever in the world.
Unfortunately successfully setting goals won’t solve all of your problems, because there’s still one more thing we need to solve.
Problem #2: Sticking to Goals
Once you have your goals written down you think the hard part is done but that’s really where the hard part starts. Most goals are never completed. In fact, most goals are forgotten about. And for those that are remembered… goals usually require change. And change is… hard.
People usually have trouble sticking to their goals because they…
1. Forget about their goal.
People tend to have an all-or-nothing approach to making changes. When you diet… you’re on a diet and restricting calories, tracking what you eat, and doing all of the things. But, then that gets to be too hard or you get overwhelmed in other areas in your life and you stop tracking points and eat more than you did before you even started restricting because “I’ll get back on the wagon next week.” so you think that you’d better eat that donut today before you go back on the diet.
All changes have these cycles.
In your home, it’s the trash and untrash cycle… you clean the whole house and then spend the next few days letting it get trashed while you don’t have time to maintain it.
In your budget, it’s “on budget and off-budget”. When you’re on budget… you can’t buy a soda from the vending machine because it’s not budgeted. When you’re off budget, you spend way more money than you meant to at Target because you unconsciously know you’re going to “get serious” and “get on track tomorrow” so you better buy everything you want right now.
The only way to fix this is to focus on a bare minimum effort on a consistent basis.
In home management, it’s doing the only 3 chores that matter (that take less than 30 minutes a day) and then going to do what you actually want to do (reading Twilight in the hammock anyone? Just me? Okay then).
In budgeting, it means setting a realistic budget, tracking your spending, and INCENTIVIZING being under budget with blow money (blow money is a terrible name for it… but it’s basically money you can blow on whatever you want).
Hint: If you’re in the United States, there’s a company called Qube Money that’s like a bank and budgeting app combined. They have digital cash envelopes so you separate your paycheck into a budget and then just spend directly from those envelopes. It’s life-altering if you struggle with sticking to a budget. You can get Qube Money here.
When people get overwhelmed and forget about their goal, their “off period” gets longer and longer than their “on period” until they find they’ve been “off” for months or years.
2. Assume they have more willpower than they do.
People have different levels of willpower inherent in their personality (ask me how I know- I got the short end of the stick when it comes to willpower, I’ve never met a brownie I won’t eat).
People who have low willpower or high impulsivity are getting advice from people with high willpower (because those are usually the people who they “admire” and then fail when they can’t make the change happen.
In dieting, this looks like “I’m going to be under points all week this week!”. Ben then you see a 62-point ice cream sundae and eat it…and then you’re unable to ever eat under points because there’s always SOMETHING you can’t say no to over and over again.
In budgeting, this looks like “I’m going to spend less than $120 on food this week!”, and then you spend $40 on Chick-fil-A because you forgot to defrost the meat for dinner, and follow that with a $260 grocery delivery because there’s no way you can feed your family 20 meals for the rest of the week on the remaining $80.
This actually makes perfect sense. It just means that: The reward of completing the goal isn’t enough to motivate you to complete the goal in the moment.
When you’re filling out goal workbooks or your budget, you’re totally thinking you’re going to stick to it.
But when you’re driving past Chick-fil-A with two kids fighting in the back, and you realized you never defrosted the meat for dinner… You just want the problem solved NOW so you can feel better.
BIG GOALS take a LONG time to complete.
And most people’s brains are like ”I don’t really care if I’m debt free when I’m old and wrinkly” I want to be happy right now. That’s why we have so much success in incentivized budgeting. You get an almost instant reward of what you want (money to blow without feeling guilty) for doing the right things (staying under budget) and there’s always a way to win.
3. Don’t believe they can achieve the goal (failure in the past).
When you set those big hairy audacious goals and you have the personality that constantly “falls off the wagon” and never completes them… then you subconsciously tell yourself that you’re not good at achieving.
Your brain doesn’t automatically compute all of the very logical reasons we just described as to why so many people fail at goal setting. It just sees it as “why would this time be any different than the other times we tried to lose 60 pounds, get the house organized, pay off our debt and change our life?
When we focus our efforts on EASY goals that have an immediate positive impact in our life, we’re retraining the brain to think we can’t fail. We’re the most successful people ever, all while moving towards those big goals while we master those small steps that make the big goals easier to achieve.
4. Don’t have the time or money or skills to complete their goal.
Almost all goals take resources to achieve. Some take time (like being promoted to earn more money or building a business), some take money (buying a house), and some take skills (which is intentional time spent to learn them) like budgeting… news flash… if you suck at budgeting it’s because you didn’t start with mastering the skills that make up budgeting (including working with your unique personality when you stick to it)!
When we set goals that don’t take into account how much money, time, or skills they require to succeed, then we may be working on the same goal for months, years or decades, and if we’re the type of person to give up or live in then we forget about it or move on.
When we set up small goals and then rank them by the resources they need to be achieved, we can steam roll through those smaller goals that need no money and time and use the resources we collect during that time to go after bigger and bigger goals.
The goal generator system solves these problems by:
Bare minimum effort on a consistent basis. Going after the EASIEST, most impactful goals first, which will steamroll into larger goals.
Hint: If your goals are home management or budget… we highly suggest Hot Mess to Home Success, because there’s a specific way to approach those goals where you skill build as you go making each of those goals easier.
The Goal Generator includes everything you need to SET, STICK TO, and COMPLETE goal after goal. Year after year. If you were just looking for a monthly goals template, this has that too but the power in the complete system is so much better. Get it for the goal calendar printable, but use the entire system.
The first step is to grab the Goal Generator and just follow the instructions.
It’s completely free. Spread the word and share it with someone who would love it.
Types of Goals
There are four types of goals:
Big Goals: Also called main goals or long-term goals.
Small Goals: Also called mini goals.
Smart Goals: Can be any goals.
Personal Goals: Any goal to run your home or life.
Business Goals: Any goal to run your business.
Goal Due Dates
Does your goal need a due date? Yep. That’s the time-bound part of SMART GOALS. That being said, when you use the Goal Generator, you’re going to end up with lots of goals.
So you don’t want to assign due dates to all of them. You want to work on one goal at a time and set a due date on only the one you’re working on. Once that goal has been achieved, assign a due date for the next one.
Monthly Goal Setting
Hint: We suggest you use the goal planner in addition to your weekly planner. This wouldn’t replace a life planner or a schedule book, it’s a living document that tracks your progress on goals across time. When your goals are completed, go back and X out the goal, or color the goal in with a highlighter to show that it’s been completed.
A monthly calendar is an effective tool for planning out goal action steps so we include it in the Goal Generator. It allows you to break down your goals into manageable tasks and schedule them throughout the month. By regularly checking it and updating your calendar, you stay on track with your goals and conquer them one by one.
The included to-do list helps you remember what you need to do. The monthly goals planner sheet helps you track your progress on monthly basis, and an action plan breaks down your bigger goals into small action steps.
By having a to-do list, a monthly goals planner sheet, and an action plan in one spot, you can stay organized and baby step your way to major goals.
Hint: When you print it out, add your favorite Motivational Quote to the cover page underneath the logo. I choose a new quote every year. This year’s quote is “You can’t fail if you don’t give up.”
- Having a goal-setting sheet can help you stay focused on what you want to achieve.
- Printable templates for goal-setting sheets make it easy for you to set and track your goals.
- Creating monthly plans using a goal-setting sheet and printable templates can help you stay on track to achieve your goals throughout the whole month.
FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers