Have you ever had a goal you wanted to reach, but didn’t quite know how to? Perhaps it seemed too big, too complex or too vague to tackle. So you file it somewhere in your mind, waiting for the “right” opportunity, or maybe you make a start, and get some headway, but then at some point it gets too confusing, and it’s easier to turn your attention to more pressing matters, and your goal, the thing you really want, gets put aside.
I believe to take on any project, you have to know exactly what you’re facing, to turn it from a notion, a vague aspiration, into an action plan. Once you break it down into smaller chunks, they are more manageable and easier to accomplish.
For that reason, I created the Goal Drill Down Think Sheet (aka GDD).
What is it?
It’s a collection of 5 worksheets + 1 summary page, in printable PDF format.
- Black & white for both laser and inkjet printers.
- Designed to fit A4 and US Letter size paper.
While I do not know what your specific goal is, and cannot tell you what should be done to achieve it, I have created a process to guide you through analyzing it yourself, getting very familiar with it, so you can create your own process.
Page #1: Definition
We start with understanding the goal, defining it. While this may seem redundant, it could really help to observe the goal, think it through and clearly and exactly define it.
Page #2: Motivation
Motivation is an important aspect of goal setting in my opinion.
If only we could fast-forward the actual hard work and effort in real life! Add some background music and turn it into a 5 minute montage, breezing through the long, teeth-gritting struggle and painstaking effort.. Envisioning a goal, I always see myself as Rocky Balboa in my mind’s eye, training for his big fight, ending up, triumphant, on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Never underestimate the power of visualization
Envisioning what it will be like once your goal is accomplished can be powerful. Our brain doesn’t differentiate between imagination and reality. Creating a detailed, elaborate picture of our triumph is treated by our mind as real. Moreover, afterwards, every time you think of your goal, glimpses of that mental picture will come up, reminding you why you should push through, keep you driven.
Page #3: SWOT analysis
SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.
It is a tool used in business projects’ analysis, to identify advantages and disadvantages, internal and external. It could prove very helpful for personal projects and goals as well, understanding what skills and characteristics would aid you in your process, and foreseeing possible hurdles, enabling you to prevent them, or prepare for them better.
Page #4: Break Down the process
While envisioning and imagining are important and fun, they are not enough on their own. To tackle any project, you need an action plan: defining clear steps to be taken at every stage. This part of the process isn’t easy, but if done properly can really simplify the rest of it! Our target at this point is to come up with all the steps we need to take on our journey towards the goal – everything that needs to be done.
I have this motto I always tell myself, and also write down when I’m doing a creative thinking analysis:
I know what I need to do!
While on the surface I seem to be digging for ideas or solutions, I believe that deep deep down, I actually know what needs to be done, the answers all hide somewhere inside of me.
In this part we look in and bring them to the surface. While it may seem daunting at first, as you start this deconstruction process, writing it all down (anything that comes up), you “discover” more and more things.
Doing it all in your head isn’t enough. Writing down allows you to free your thought process, and to further observe what you’ve already written down, to see the whole picture. I really recommend taking your time, doodling, letting your mind wander. You may surprise yourself :-)
Page #5: Regroup
After writing down everything that needs to be done, it is time to organize all those actions, group them, put them in chronological order, define key steps and create a concise and clear plan, so that you will know what needs to be done at every stage. It is good to do so now, when all the information is in front of you, and fresh in your mind, and when you have been musing over the bigger picture. Leaving anything vague, or too general, will be confusing when you get to that stage, say, a few months from now.
I also encourage you to use various anchors, to further ensure your plan will come into fruition.
Page #6: Inspiration
The inspiration page – or summary page – concludes this thought process. The idea is for you to create a sort of poster page, to hang where you can see it, track your progress and keep yourself inspired and driven.
It has space for writing down your goal, your motivation, and 5 key steps to accomplishing your goal. The shapes I used are what I call “potato shapes”, rounded and organic. I find these organic shapes encourage my creative juices better than very orderly, linear, text-only lists. Still, too much chaos or mess can create a feeling of confusion, so I was very conscious of the layout and positioning.
It is deliberately blank – decorate it in a way that you find pleasing (You don’t have to use mine if it doesn’t fit your regroup action plan – make your own!). I suggest writing down key motivations, anchors, inspiring quotes – anything that will motivate you forward and help you in realizing the goal or in accomplishing a certain key step.
I’m very proud of this Goal Drill Down Think Sheet.
I have wanted to create a goal setting form for a long long time, coming back to it periodically, thinking, planning, making sketches, drafts and drawing, and it never felt right, until this version.
I am a humble designer & copywriter, far from being an authority in this subject. I created this goal analysis process using knowledge from various sources: my professional experience in tackling clients’ projects, things I have learned over the years in psychology, positive psychology, personal growth and my own life experience.
I designed this goal drill down process to employ visual thinking methods I use myself and find useful, encouraging non-linear, creative thinking. It is intentionally “sketchy” in looks, not too refined, to encourage doodling, scribbling, writing. I wanted it to be inviting, not intimidating.
I hope you find it useful, and would appreciate any feedback you may have.
Wishing you a good, fruitful journey!