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We’ve talked about creating long-term goals and we’ve gone over the importance of breaking them up into bite-sized, daily pieces so they don’t fall by the wayside. But what about your intentions for the more moderate increments of time?
Sure, you can plan to save about $30 per day to pay off a large debt over the span of six months. But without looking at the cumulation of your efforts on a regular basis, you may start to get off track. It’s easy to say, “I only saved $5 today, but I’ll make up for it tomorrow.” Then tomorrow comes and the story remains the same…
Before you know it, time has gone by and you haven’t made any progress toward your goal.
You have to keep yourself accountable by following up and taking a look at a more substantial chunk of time than a single day.
Focusing on some specific action steps every week will help you make more visible progress toward your larger goals. As you move from week to week, you’ll be able to recognize if there is a need to adjust your goals as you monitor your milestones and get a feel for whether or not your pace is realistic. (Learn more about specific goal setting activities you can use to achieve your goals.)
With weekly goals, anything you aren’t able to accomplish one month can be pushed forward to the first week of the next month. It’s important to keep this flexibility in mind so you don’t start to feel overwhelmed by the process. As long as you have a few definitive, actionable tasks to focus on every week, you will be able to get a feel for what you can accomplish in a week.
In this article, we will look at the importance of setting weekly goals and how you can go about doing this in a way that will produce results. Then, we will review 10 examples of weekly goals that you can fine-tune to fit your unique situation.
But first, let’s look a bit more at why it’s important to set these more moderate milestones on your journey to reach your goal.
What You Will Learn
- Why Set Weekly Goals?
- How to Set Weekly Goals
- 13 Examples of Weekly Goals to
- 1. Go For Three Runs
- 2. Do a “No Spend” Challenge
- 3. Purge Your Closet
- 4. Open an Investment Account
- 5. Hydrate Yourself
- 6. Go Vegan
- 7. Meditate for 5 Minutes Each Day
- 8. Keep Your Phone in a Different Room While You Sleep
- 9. Try One New Type of Exercise
- 10. Negotiate a Bill
- 11. Take Time Out for Self-Care
- 12. Switch up Your Routine
- 13. Do a Daily Random Act of Kindness
- Final Thoughts on Setting Weekly Goals That Get Results
Why Set Weekly Goals?
Completing weekly goals is one of your surest ways to success, as they make your larger goals more manageable and easier to measure. These smaller goals let you reassess and adjust your approach every week so you don’t have to make a huge rush at the end or abandon your goal altogether. They also allow you to stay on track without falling behind if you have a few days of inactivity.
A week is a long enough period of time to achieve a handful of tasks, but also short enough to notice the areas in which you’re progressing and those in which you’re not.
Your weekly goals can be more casual and put less pressure on you than your long-term goals, which can often feel so out of reach. And, they can be more substantial than your daily goals, which might not allow you to see your progress enough to keep you motivated.
Ideally, you already set aside time every week to regroup, go over the current events in your life, create your schedule for the upcoming week, and make specific plans. This is a perfect time to also set your weekly goals. A weekly review allows you to notice any procrastination, inactivity, self-sabotaging habits, and possible distractions that are holding you back from following through with your initial intentions.
Here are some other benefits of weekly goals:
Let’s look at a process you can follow to create your weekly goals.
How to Set Weekly Goals
1. Set Aside Time
Your first step is simple. You need to determine a time each week (Sunday nights work best for me) to focus on your goals. Put this time aside and stick to it. Mark it on your calendar and make it a part of your routine. This will ensure consistency.
2. Break Down Your Monthly Goals
You know what your ultimate goal is, so what can you do this week that will propel you forward toward meeting that? You want your weekly goals to move you in the right direction in a way that you can measure.
You want to make sure your weekly goals aren’t too lofty, or you may procrastinate in making any effort. Likewise, you don’t want them to be too small, because achieving something that doesn’t hold a lot of significance may not give you a sufficient push of motivation to keep going. Find a middle ground and start your week with a plan of tasks that you will accomplish.
Write these tasks down, as studies have shown there is a direct relationship between writing your goals down and following through with them.
For example, let’s say you want to prepare yourself to apply for a mortgage to ultimately buy a house. A group of initial weekly goals to get you started may be:
Goal #1: Obtain your credit score and review the reports for any errors.
Goal #2: Determine a monthly payment you can afford.
Goal #3: Research potential additional sources of income.
Goal #1: Create a plan to improve your credit score.
Goal #2: Identify current expenses that you can reduce.
Goal #3: Inquire about an additional source of income that you identified in week #1.
As you can see, you’re breaking your ultimate goal down into reasonable weekly action plans with steps you can complete within seven days.
To help with you monthly goals, here are several monthly goals templates you can use.
In order to keep yourself accountable, create 3-5 weekly accountability statements and share them with a partner. These are action items you pledge to complete before a predetermined date. These statements can be shared with just one accountability partner or an accountability group with the intention of completing the task prior to the next meeting.
You want your accountability statements to be:
Staying with the goal of buying a house, one of your accountability statements for your first set of weekly goals could be, “I will calculate my monthly expenses vs. my monthly income to determine the highest monthly payment I could afford for a mortgage.”
You need self-discipline to stick to your accountability statements, but having a support system keeping up with your progress will help ensure you don’t fall behind. Being able to share with others when you meet your goals feels good and can motivate you to keep up your momentum.
4. Gauge Your Progress
To set your weekly goals for the upcoming week, it’s important to consider your progress thus far. Ask yourself the following questions:
Doing weekly progress checks such as this can motivate you, help you catch yourself when you’re slacking, and tell you when to change course.
There are a few ways to gauge your progress. One is to look at how far you’ve come. Let’s say your goal is to save $40,000 for the downpayment on a house and you’re at $26,000 right now. You’re 65% of the way there! And depending where you are in your schedule, you can determine if you’re ahead or behind from where you originally planned.
Another way to gauge your progress is to measure your distance to your next milestone. Once you start getting closer to reaching your goal, focusing your efforts on closing that gap will give you a motivational shove. You’ve gotten your pre-approval letter, now you just need to get out there and look at what’s on the market. Start to recognize your “must-haves” with a home and your “absolutely nots”.
Finally, focus on your process goals. Don’t get stuck on the fact that you haven’t achieved your ultimate goal of buying a house yet. Instead, focus on doing the right things that will help you make progress. Your process goals are easier to control than your outcome goals, so gauging them each week will prevent you from feeling defeated.
5. Make Adjustments as Needed
The good thing about weekly goals is that you can start over next week if things don’t go as you had hoped. However, it’s important to consider the reasons why you didn’t follow through with past intentions or why you haven’t made any progress. Analyzing these factors can help you identify behavioral patterns that may be holding you back.
Is your goal still a priority to you? Do you have time right now to integrate working toward your goal into your schedule? Consider external factors that may be affecting you and reassess if need be.
Here are 13 examples of weekly goals to help give you an idea of what they could look like.
13 Examples of Weekly Goals to Set
1. Go For Three Runs
If you’re trying to get in shape for a marathon or just lose weight, or you want to get healthier, a reasonable goal for each week could be to go running three times. Schedule these runs into your daily plans when possible and move other tasks around so you can be sure to make this a regular and consistent habit.
2. Do a “No Spend” Challenge
If you’re trying to save money for something in the future, try out a no spend challenge. For the next week, don’t spend any money on things that aren’t necessities. Stick only to your fixed expenses. Even doing this for just a week can open your eyes to some of the unnecessary things you’re letting go of money for.
3. Purge Your Closet
On a quest to become more organized, purging your closet probably plays a big role. Take anything out of your closet that you haven’t worn in the past 12 months and try it on. If you don’t still love it, donate it, sell it, or toss it. Go through all of the items that have accumulated on the shelves and on the floor and organize them in a way that allows you to know exactly where everything is.
4. Open an Investment Account
If you’re like me, finances in terms of stocks and investments aren’t your thing. However, it’s probably time to learn how to take charge of your money and make it work for you. Check out some investment newsletters to get yourself started.
5. Hydrate Yourself
Make a goal for the upcoming week to drink 64 ounces of water per day. It may seem like a lot, but after doing this for seven days straight, you will likely feel a difference in your health. Try to replace all other beverages with water to complete this weekly goal.
6. Go Vegan
Challenge yourself and see if you can eat a vegan diet for a week. Eating a strictly plant-based diet can have positive impacts on your body in as little as a week. If you can reach this health goal, you may realize that you’re more capable than you once thought of controlling what you eat.
7. Meditate for 5 Minutes Each Day
If you’re working on self-improvement, meditation is a good practice to supplement your efforts. If you can set aside five minutes each day for a week to practice meditation, you will be able to get an idea of how it can benefit you and help you on your journey toward self-improvement–whether that’s decreasing anxiety, living with more gratitude, or learning to live in the moment, meditation can help you with personal development.
8. Keep Your Phone in a Different Room While You Sleep
I’m sure you can remember a time when you couldn’t sleep and you ended up scrolling through your phone. As you probably know, doing this disrupts your sleep cycles and prevents you from getting a deep sleep that you need. Make a goal of sleeping with your phone in another room for a week to reduce any temptation of browsing the internet in the middle of the night and wreaking havoc on your sleep.
9. Try One New Type of Exercise
Is there a kind of fitness that is really interesting to you? Maybe it’s a new hot yoga, a barre class, or a fun Zumba class. Try something new this week and see if you enjoy it! Trying new exercises out on a regular basis is an effective way to widen your array of physical activities. This will keep you from hitting a plateau if you have fitness goals because you will be switching up the routine that your body is used to.
10. Negotiate a Bill
With just one phone call, you could reduce a fixed expense. A lot of things are negotiable. From your phone bill to your car insurance, it’s worth the time to find some quotes from other providers and do some comparison shopping. Typically, your current provider will be willing to find you some type of discount in order to not lose you as a customer.
11. Take Time Out for Self-Care
This can be easy to forget week to week, but you’ve got to carve some time out for yourself every week. Doing this will help you no matter what your ultimate goal is.
12. Switch up Your Routine
Switching up your routine can be just the trick to help you emerge from a funk. Making changes–even subtle changes– to your surroundings and schedule will help increase your feelings of alertness and help you get back on top of your game.
13. Do a Daily Random Act of Kindness
It doesn’t take much effort to do a random act of kindness, but it can have a great impact on the world around you. Doing random acts of kindness is a great way to neutralize the negative experiences that people have every day. It can improve your mood and make you feel inspired. Lastly, doing a random act of kindness can make someone else’s day.
Final Thoughts on Setting Weekly Goals That Get Results
The key to being successful is to review your weekly goals and create action steps every single week. If you only think about your goals once a year, they won’t be present in your daily life.
If your motivation starts to slip, refocus and start again the following week. Don’t let small set-backs prevent you from achieving your goals.
Use the steps laid out in this article to create your weekly goals and follow through with them. Within a few weeks, you’re sure to notice significant progress from your efforts, which will inspire you to keep working hard.
Also, if you want to organize your week better, try these free weekly planner templates to help you focus on your priority tasks or these goal setting planners to keep you focused on your goals.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.
Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.