The 1-3-5 Goal Setting Worksheet

A Path to Achieve Your Goals

When I originally set out to create this podcast, I had just heard of this 1-3-5 Goal Setting Worksheet through, well, work. It was mentioned off-hand, and I recall it being a clever way to look at your goal and then work backwards to break it down into smaller and more manageable parts. 

In this episode, I’m going to provide a very brief history of the tool, walk you through the different components, give a real-world example, then share how I’ll modify and cannibalize it for something completely different in next week’s episode.

Let’s take a look at what we’ll be covering in this episode:

  • Smart Goals & Stretch Goals
  • 1-3-5 Goal Setting: A History
  • 1-3-5 Goal Setting: An Overview
  • A Real World Example of How it Works
  • What to Do When You Achieve Your Goal
  • Resources

Here’s the episode in its entirety:

Remember, if you’d like a copy of my 1-3-5 Goal Setting Worksheet, you can find it in the Resources section at the bottom of the page.

But first, let’s talk about goals.


In his book Smarter, Faster, Better, Charles Duhigg talks about GE and how the company used SMART goals, but eventually transitioned to a blend of SMART and Stretch Goals.

SMART is an acronym. MindTools provides a great rundown on the acronym, stating:

To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

They also add an E (Evaluated) and R (Reviewed) to make it a SMARTER Goal, though I think the ER are a bit too parallel for my liking. I’d tweak it to be “Revised” instead, to account for adjustments and improvements along the way. 

SMART Goals, Duhigg notes (and I’m paraphrasing so don’t entirely hold me to these words), led employees to create goals that were relatively unnecessary just to get that little dopamine hit for completing them.

SMART Goals were good and they were smart, but they ultimately fell short in propelling the company forward.

They needed to add something else. They also needed some Stretch Goals.


SMART Goals were alright, but they weren’t moving the needle for shareholders. Ultimately CEO Jack Welch used the concept of the Bullet Train in implementing Stretch Goals. In a letter to shareholders, he stated:

Going forward, every executive and department, in addition to delivering specific and achievable and timely objectives, would also have to identify a stretch goal—an aim so ambitious that managers couldn’t describe, at least initially, how they would achieve it.

This is something Duhigg details in Smarter, Faster, Better. Let’s look at it from another angle.

In the Harvard Business Review article The Stretch Goal Paradox, the authors define stretch goals as containing two important extremes: Extreme Difficulty and Extreme Novelty.

Regarding Extreme Difficulty, the article notes that “stretch goals involve radical expectations that go beyond current capabilities and performance.” The second extreme is just as critical. Extreme Novelty, they state, means “brand-new paths and approaches must be found to bring a stretch goal within reach.”

We can shoot for the moon, but if our thinking is limited to a toy slingshot, we’ll get discouraged and quit.

(An aside: The Stretch Goal Paradox is a fascinating read worth revisiting later, and I’ve added it to my Brainstorm Toolbox for a future episode.)

A tool like the 1-3-5 Goal Setting Worksheet can help you think about the Novelty when approaching a stretch goal, or even allow you to set forth a plan when setting a complex or distant SMART Goal.

We’ll walk through the worksheet in a second, but first, a quick background.

1-3-5 Goal Setting: An Incomplete History

This is a very incomplete history, as I’m really just going to briefly touch on its origin. 

The 1-3-5 Goal Setting Worksheet is sometimes called the Keller Williams GPS, in that it’s one of a large numbers of strategic tools created by the mega real estate company. Now, full disclaimer, I technically work for Keller Williams right now in that I’m the Digital Marketing Director for a regional owner and operating principle. And this won’t be the last time we cover a KW tool, I’m sure, because there are countless great ones that cover pretty much all the categories in this podcast.

So, what exactly does GPS stand for?

No, it’s not Global Positioning Satellite, at least in this framework. It’s Goal, Priority, Strategy. I’ll expand on that more when I dive into the different components of the worksheet.

Rev Real Estate School states, “The Keller Williams 1-3-5 Goal Setting Framework is the perfect framework for defining your goal, then building priorities and strategies… [it] has you distill your real estate goals down to one main target for the year.”

I agree.

In fact, the author of that post touches on something there that you’ll hear a lot in the KW world: one main target. One thing.

It’s such an important idea that founder Gary Keller wrote The ONE Thing, a book entirely on the subject.

In that book, Gary writes:

Visualizing the process — breaking a big goal down into the steps needed to achieve it — helps engage the strategic thinking you need to plan for and achieve extraordinary results.

Sound familiar? By the time you’re done listening to this episode (or reading this post), it will.

Let’s dig into the GPS, and look at how it relates to the numbers 1, 3, and 5.

1-3-5 Goal Setting: An Overview

Here’s where I will make connections and explain how this Goal Setting Worksheet allows you to set forth a plan to achieve the results you want. 

You may have picked up on the hint in the last section regarding GPS.

  • G = Goal.
  • P = Priorities.
  • S = Strategies.

In the context of the worksheet: ONE goal, THREE priorities, and FIVE strategies. It’s almost as simple as that. Let’s dig into each and see what we find.

One Goal

Setting goals is easy.

I want to grow my podcast email subscribers to 1,000.

I just set one right there.

(Ahem…shameless plug: subscribe to get episode updates and more straight in your inbox. You can do so on the homepage.)

But where do you go from there?

The one main goal or outcome is what you ultimately are setting out to achieve. It can be any kind of goal, but I think this worksheet is most effective when your goal fits into one of the following categories:

  1. It’s a stretch goal.
  2. The goal is ambitious.
  3. You’re not entirely sure where to begin.
  4. Mapping out and committing to a specific plan will help.


You have your goal. Next is the priorities.

Now, “priorities” sits a little odd with me. I prefer to look at it as 3 key Milestones. Or, just as powerful, I’d prefer to elevate the next section and call them Strategies, so the 3 key strategies you will employ in tackling the goal. Additionally, you could even look at the Priorities as Categories or Segments

These are the three core ways you are going to approach tackling the goal, and what you call them depends on you.

I’ll share a real world example in the next section.

Five Strategies

Finally, there is the Five Strategies section. This is divided by three, so it’s actually 15 Strategies, five for each Priority.

What you are doing here is breaking down each of your three priorities into five actionable elements.

Again, you can call it whatever you want. If you call the prior section Three Strategies, maybe you’re breaking each strategy into Five Tactics. If you call it Milestones, maybe they are Tasks

Hell, you can even call it Five Things that will help me achieve the Three Things to get to my One Thing, because technically, that’s all it is.

A REal World Example of How it Works

In last week’s episode, I shared 10 goals I have for 2022. One of those goals is almost complete, and a lot of it coming to fruition is due to this 1-3-5 Goal Setting Worksheet. Know which one I’m talking about yet? Shouldn’t be hard.

You called it: Launch a podcast!

Let’s break it down.

Goal: Launch A Podcast

My main goal was to launch a podcast. Through work, I had already produced a few episodes for my current employer, and my background in marketing gave me a solid foundation to do a little skill stacking (something I plan to cover in a future episode).

But without a path to achieve my goal, I needed a framework on how to get there.

So I created three milestone-based buckets that would help stair-step me toward success.

Three Milestones Required to Launch a podcast

I decided there were three key things I needed to achieve to reach my goal of launching a podcast. Let’s dig in:

Milestone 1: Develop an overarching plan and framework for the podcast. I needed a solid idea of what the podcast would cover, how I could organize things, and the overall theme, niche, and/or topic(s) that I would cover. 

Milestone 2: Create the episode framework. Breaking down the goal further, I needed a solid plan for what episodes would look like, how they would flow, and how that could help the podcast be successful.

Milestone 3: Pull together loose ends to officially launch the podcast. There are a lot of behind the scenes components needed, so while this may seem like a “catch all” milestone, it really isn’t. You’ll see as I share the five requirements needed to reach each milestone.

Five Requirements to Develop a Podcast Plan

These tasks were centered around the podcast as a whole. I wanted to make it something fun, but also something that I could scale over time to, hopefully, be profitable. 

  1. Brainstorm Themes & Names
  2. Create a Brand (Logo, Brand Standards, etc.)
  3. Secure URL and Design the Website.
  4. Create a Business Plan.
  5. Apply for a Business License.

These aren’t in any particular order, nor did I complete them in any particular order. In fact, many of them overlapped. The theme and name kinda just came to me, and I dug into Canva for inspiration on the design of the logo and other aesthetic elements that I ultimately pulled together. With that, it naturally flowed into building the website.

The business plan and business license are the two elements that remain to be completed. By the time this episode airs, the license will be submitted, and I’ll be chugging away at elements within the plan.

Five Requirements to Create an Episode Framework

This section was all about creating and structuring a cohesive episode framework. Here are the tasks I created to reach this milestone:

  1. Brainstorm List of Episode Ideas
  2. Write and Record Intro & Outro
  3. Determine Episode Structure
  4. Secure Theme Song
  5. Record & Produce First Month of Episodes

Once I had the theme for the podcast, brainstorming a year’s worth of episode topics was relatively easy, as was writing the intro. Determining the structure was a little more challenging, but it came together as I started to work on the first few episodes.

I had some ideas around the theme song, but while putting together intro and launch videos, I stumbled upon “Gone Surfing” by The Sixteen Wheelers, and it seemed to fit. It may still change as I shore up loose ends, but that’s what I’m going with for now.

I’m still on Task #5, but I’ve ideated and created outlines for the first 5 episodes, so that’s a start.

Five Requirements to Launch the Podcast

Finally, a few other items that weren’t episode or theme related.

  1. Find & Create Podcast Distribution Account
  2. Research & Secure CRM for Email Marketing
  3. Create Social Accounts: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram
  4. Create Patreon Account
  5. Begin Publishing Episodes

Only two of these items have been completed so far, tasks 3 and 5. 

For the first task, I’ve told myself that I’ll trade my monthly $15 gym membership, which I haven’t used since my bike crash last September, for the $15 base Simplecast membership. I’m still looking for a solid email marketing platform, and as I start to grow a fan base, I hope to create a Patreon account to provide added content to supporters and fans.

Don’t Stop Achieving

The overarching theme, as you can see, extends beyond my goal. Achieving the goal is the first part to a bigger vision.

When I reached my goal of riding my bike 2,000 miles in 2021, I didn’t stop there. I looked at how much time remained in the year, then set a goal to reach 2,200 miles. I ended the year completing 2,246.

When I set my goal to read 12 books in 2022, I set my sights on elevating that to 24. Already, I’ve finished two, so I’m already pacing to my elevated goal.

If I reach my goal of purchasing an investment property this year, the first thing I’ll do is start planning to get a second.

So, with launching a podcast, I’m setting my sights on a new goal: host a successful podcast. I’ll break that goal down into 3 Priorities, each of which will have 5 Strategies to launch me toward achieving my goal.

When you reach your One Thing, level up and find your next One Thing.

I’ll end by once again quoting Gary Keller in The ONE Thing:

The people who achieve extraordinary results don’t achieve them by working more hours … They achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work.


The following books were mentioned in this episode:

In pulling together content for this episode, the following references were used and mentioned:

Download the 1-3-5 Goal Setting Worksheet:

Enter your name and email, and I’ll get an editable version of the 1-3-5 Goal Setting Worksheet PDF sent over to you. I’ll also add you to the list for periodic notifications of new episodes! (NOTE: I’m doing it manually to start, so it may take a couple of hours for me to send it.)

Download: 135-Goal-Setting-Youre-A-Tool-Podcast.pdf (33 downloads)


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