Goals are funny things. They can drag us down or they can boost us up, depending on our willingness to adjust them as necessary. Some people find that they function better with their goals written down. Others just have a vague idea of what they want.
I fall somewhere in the middle. For me, long range goals are best kept somewhere in the back of my mind. As life happens, I try to adjust to new realities. For instance, an expensive vacation trip will be a long range goal. While our finances are doing fairly well, I'll keep making tentative plans for that trip. But if something changes (such as the recent economic troubles) then my plans will be adjusted to meet the new economic reality.
On the other hand, I manage short term goals better with a calendar and a legal pad. I define short-term as six months. And when I'm listing my goals, I try to provide as many details as possible: supplies, time, space, money. For instance, I plan to complete a new calligraphy piece for my living room before spring. Supplies-- frame, paper, ink, paint brushes, calligraphy pens, cleaning fluids, matting board. Space--two tables in my work room (gonna have to clean them off!) Time--approximately 100 hours. Money--no new expenditures required because I already have the supplies. Once I have the approximate time allotted, I can fit this project in my calendar--along with all my other short term goals!
Personally, I've found that projects won't be completed unless I enter them in my calendar. Somehow they end up forgotten or shoved to the side in favor of some other goal.
Some goals are never met simply because we are too ambitious. For instance, if my goal is to walk everyday, I likely won't meet that goal. Life will interfere. Weather will interfere. Illness will interfere. However, if I determine that my goal is to walk three times a week, I'm more likely to meet that goal. It's more realistic. And who knows? On good weeks, I just might walk every day.