Setting Up Personal Goals for the Week (Plus 5 Goal Examples)

November 8, 2019 • Zachary Amos


What do you want to accomplish this week? If you replied, “Survive,” you know you can do much better. Continually striving for growth keeps your brain young and makes you a hotter commodity in a competitive job market.

You are the artist of your life, and your future is your canvas. You can paint it however you would like. Setting up personal goals for the week can help you create a portrait of your dreams.

Why You Should Set Up Personal Goals for the Week

If you’re like most people, you probably have a long list of “someday.” “I’d love to write a novel — someday. I want to get in shape — someday.” As long as those thoughts remain amorphous, you’ll keep following the same routine. That’s normal — the human brain is wired to favor routine over novelty. However, if you want to make progress, you need to step out of your comfort zone with a concrete action plan.

Maybe you want to control your temper and resist flying off the handle so quickly. Begin by examining your motivations. Are you biting your tongue to placate an overbearing partner? Or do you genuinely want to be nicer? If it’s the latter, decide what steps you’ll take to achieve your desires. Use a notebook to keep a tally of when you feel yourself about to lose your cool. Then, brainstorm strategies you can use instead of snapping. You could take five slow, deep breaths or go for a 2-minute walk, for example.

Making Your Goals Concrete

To make the ephemeral “someday” concrete, you need to practice proper goal-setting techniques. Consider what you want to achieve this week — whether it’s journaling daily or losing one pound — and write down a SMART goal.

  • Specific: What, precisely, do you want to accomplish, and how will you do it? If you’re going to lose one pound, you might write, “I will prep meals on Sunday. I’ll measure my portions so that I eat 500 fewer calories daily.”
  • Measurable: Write down what your success will look like — then visualize getting on the scale and weighing in lighter.
  • Achievable: Losing one pound per week is realistic. Losing five is impossible minus resorting to unhealthy methods.
  • Relevant: Here’s where you evaluate your motivations. Why do you want to lose one pound? Are you trying to lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes? Fit into a bridesmaid dress for your bestie’s wedding? Your goal needs to have meaning for you if you’re going to stay motivated.
  • Time-bound: Here’s where the magic of the weekly goal comes into play. When Saturday (or whatever day you choose) rolls around, your tie is up. Of course, you want to focus on progress, not perfection. If you fall short of your goal, regroup and try again next week.

5 Examples of Personal Goals to Strive for This Week

What kind of goal should you strive to attain? It doesn’t have to be life-changing in itself — continued progress results in great things over time. Are you trying to improve your physical body? Your mind? Your spirit?

  • Physical goal: “I want to work out for 30 minutes for at least three days out of the coming week.” What are some activities you could do? You could write, “I’ll take a walk after dinner on Tuesday,” or, “I’ll use my lunch break to hit the company fitness room.”
  • Mental goal: “I want to improve my Spanish-speaking ability.” If you want to build fluency, you might use an app like Busuu or Mondly for 15 minutes each day.
  • Behavioral goal: “I want to indulge in no more than one alcoholic beverage per day.” If you’re trying to cut back on drinking, you might stock up on green or herbal tea. You can wear a rubber band around your wrist that you can snap to remind you of your commitment when you feel tempted to pour yourself a second glass of chardonnay.
  • Spiritual goal: “I want to meditate for 10 minutes at the beginning of each day.” Before you go to bed, set up your guided meditation app. Tune your alarm clock to play relaxation melodies when it goes off.
  • Altruistic goal: “I want to volunteer in my community.” Call the local Humane Society and find out which day they need dog walkers the most. Contact the organization listed on the Adopt-a-Highway sign you pass daily and ask when their next cleanup takes place.

Creating a Weekly Goal Leads to Overall Progress

Creating personal goals helps you cultivate a growth mindset and continue improving throughout life. Commit to getting a little bit better every single week with these tips!