I’m a big believer in goal setting, and I’ve created many different goal setting worksheets over the years. My daily planner worksheet has been a staple on my desk for almost a decade as it allows me to see a snapshot of my day in one convenient location. Today I’d like to share a new worksheet with you that may change the way you approach your day.
Over the summer I discovered a fantastic podcast for entrepreneurs called 10X Talk by Dan Sullivan and Joe Polish. In the podcast, Dan, who is the CEO of Strategic Coach, mentioned that he starts his day by writing down three things he would like to accomplish for the day. At the end of the day he takes the same piece of paper and writes down three wins. His outlook is this; by writing down three items he wants to accomplish he has set a basic goal in his mind for the upcoming day. At the end of the day, he writes down three positive wins that occurred, no matter what they were. This way he always ends his day on a positive note. He mentions that he has been doing this simple routine for years and it has made a profound difference in his life.
The difference with Dan’s approach from standard goal setting is that it is not a check-off sheet.
His list starts with three simple goals or accomplishments that he would like take on during the day. It ends with three wins. These wins can be anything, just as long as they are framed in a positive way. This allows him to end his day on a positive frame of mind, without the condemnation of a job unfinished. He keeps his list where he can see it first thing and starts the day with three goals and always finishes the day with three wins.
This format is so simple, I figured I would give it a try. While Dan just uses a plain piece of paper, I created a simple daily goal setting worksheet with a goal area at the top and a win area at the bottom. I printed out a few and put them on my nightstand. After working with these for a few days, I can tell you that the secret is to quickly write down the goals when you get up. Don’t overthink this. By just keeping this list simple and quick, it has energized the start of my day. The really cool thing has been writing down the three wins at the end of the day. Even if I’ve had a bad day or everything has gone wrong, the act of writing down three “wins” has been magic. It always ends the day on a positive note.
Here is what my basic sheet looks like. I’ve created this as a PDF, so you can download it and give it a try.
While this sheet has worked well, I thought I might modify it slightly to frame my day in more specific areas. I decided to create five common categories that I approach every day, and create a simple one line goal for each. Here are my categories…
I created the sheet the same way with the goal area at the top and the win area at the bottom. This list is more specific, and it actually makes writing down items somewhat quicker, since I have a tighter category to choose from. At the end of the day, I just write down a win in each category (This may or may not be the item that I wrote down as a goal). After trying this out, I’ve also found the key is simplicity. This isn’t so much a daily planner (I still use my desktop one for that) but a daily motivator. By just taking a minute to focus on five important things for my day, I’m reminded of the importance of each area in my life.
Here is an idea of how I use it to set goals…
- Projects: Update Blog Template
- Contacts: Call Phil, Email Joyce
- Learning: 10X Podcast
- Fitness: 20 Minute Walk
- Spiritual: Proverbs 21
Here is how I might end the day.
- Projects: Designed New About Page. Really Slick Graphics
- Contacts: Talked With Bill, Sally and Jack. Setup New Meeting
- Learning: Learned About Habit Change. Trying New Habit Experiment
- Fitness: Did 20 Minutes of Interval Training. Feeling Good
- Spiritual: Read Daily Proverbs. Takeaway-help others
Notice that my win list may vary substantially from my goal list.
This list of five has been really helpful . I’ve been surprised what I have written down for goals and what my wins have been with the quick list. Having used this for a short while, I decided to create a condensed version, showing a whole week at a time. While this format really limits each section, it does give the visual of a whole week in one snapshot.
This is what it looks like.
For me, the jury is still out on what works best, but I want to make these available for you to try out.
The three worksheets are available here as PDFs.
- Daily Goal Setting Worksheet with Three Boxes
- Daily Goal Setting Worksheet with Five Box Categories
- Weekly Goal Setting Worksheet with Five Box Categories
I’ve also combined all three in MS Word format in a free download for my subscribers. This will allow you to make changes and modify the category lists. The link has been added to our free download area. Not a subscriber? You can get these helpful worksheets along with 30 others by subscribing here.
Overall: The secret of these lists is simplicity and positivity. You start the day with a goal in mind and end the day with a win, even if your project is still going or if you have had a setback. I really like this format. It has helped me do a 180 with my attitude on some days. Instead of being frustrated I can always end the day on a positive note. The great thing is, ending the day with a positive attitude makes it much easier to get to sleep. A total win-win. More happiness… more sleep!
Question: What daily goals will you set?