Goal Setting for Actors | How to Make a Career Plan as an Actor

Goal Setting for Actors

Written by on | The Acting Lifestyle

So here’s a little story for you. At the end of 2018, I finished the year feeling a bit stuck, like I hadn’t moved all year. I was in the same muggle job that I wasn’t particularly enjoying, I was still struggling as an actor to get work and auditions and just generally feeling a bit exhausted. I knew something had to change. One day I was listening to a TED Talks podcast and when the next podcast started it was about goal setting. It was a woman, whose name I cannot remember, talking about how she felt that she was wasting her life and wasn’t living it to her fullest potential. After a few minutes, she said where she was now and how it was all thanks to goal setting. I was surprised and a little sceptical. But I thought hey, why not?

I’ve begun to think of goal setting like baking a cake. You don’t just chuck everything into a bowl, mix it all together and chuck it in the oven. You cream the sugar and butter, then add the eggs, combine all the dry ingredients and slowly incorporate them with into the mix. Anyone else feel like cake?

I can personally say that goal setting has saved me. So I would like to share with you what I know from reading dozens of books, attending workshops and endlessly googling till 3 AM. It has truly helped me accomplish the things I have been able to achieve, and I hope you can take the time to let it help you.

goal setting


So the first section is optional… But I think you should do it. It’s about understanding who you are and gives you a really great foundation before you start setting those goals.

Daily Affirmation

So here’s where we begin! This is your new affirmation. What it’s going to do is set you up each day, it’s going to help build faith and value in who you are and what you’re doing and put you in a great mindset. What you’ll notice over time is that by making this promise to yourself you’ll have more of an interest and drive to be working on your goals.

I want you to write this down with pen and paper and stick it on your mirror, make it your phone background or somewhere where you are going to see it every morning. Aim for doing this for 3 mornings in a row, then 5 then 7, then 14 then 30. We’re ultimately aiming for 30 days consecutively. Now here’s the thing. If you feel like you’d like to shorten it, or change a line, or word go ahead. This is your affirmation, no one else has to like it but you, so do what you want with it.

Every morning for the next 30 days you are going to look at yourself in the mirror and say this to yourself. Don’t perform it, just speak it.

“I (your name) am committed to turning my dreams into reality.
I will take action on the things that matter to me and I will actively work towards living the life I want to live.
I am committed to growing and becoming a better version of me.
I will not waste the life I’ve been given and I will no longer regret not following my dreams. I will give 100% of myself to fulfilling my potential and making the most of my life.”

Core Values

Now we’re going to look at our core values. By defining your core values, it’s going to help set your goals and help you to make choices that are right for you as an individual. Also, this is a great personal growth exercise – by looking at what we believe our core values are, we start to understand ourselves on a deeper level. Be honest with yourself, no one needs to see these but you, so there is no need to make yourself out to be the Virgin Mary.

Try and avoid using words that you associate with having a negative connotation. So instead of ‘stubborn’ substitute it with ‘driven’ or ‘strong-willed’.


  • STEP 1
    For the next 10 minutes, I want you to think about what kind of person you are and what core values are most important to you. Remember to write down as many as you can in those 10 minutes, in this instance more is better.
  • STEP 2
    Great! Now we edit! Go through all the values you wrote down and start to look at what words are similar. Is there a word that encapsulates both? What values don’t speak to you? Cull your list down to the top 10.

TIP #1
If you’re struggling; think of people who you admire or look up to. How do you view them? What values do they have that you admire? There is a reason you look up to them – you see something in them that you are drawn to. What is it and why?

TIP #2
Try sending a message to a handful of people – ask them to write 3 values they think describe you. Use those to reflect on what values you might have written down. Are there any that surprised you?



YES!!! You’ve made it this far, congratulations!!! The next step is finding your purpose. Finding your purpose means finding a way to use your skills and passions to live the life you want to live. Some people know inherently what their purpose is and for others, like myself, it takes some time. This might not work for everyone but it will give you a clear understanding of where your passions, skills and values meet. Your purpose doesn’t have to be solely focused on being an actor, and know that over time it will change and develop as you do.

Brainstorm as many ideas as you can with this activity, give yourself options. If you get to a purpose and after a day or two you don’t think it works for you, write a new one, try again. There is no correct answer.

What do you love to do?
How does it add value to others or society?
Can you make a living from it?



Your Dream Team

Behind every great person, there is a great team. Your team could be friends, family, your agent, manager, teacher… anyone you know who will keep you accountable and support you. It’s important to know that you’re not alone on this journey when you’re feeling stuck or lost you have people you can turn too. Make sure you choose people who understand you and want to support you. There is no use having someone who’s not going to be supportive. If you feel like someone belongs on both teams, that’s absolutely fine, there are no rules, just do what works for you.


(People that are going to help me fulfil my dreams)


(People that are going to keep me on track and accountable)


Personally, I feel very fortunate to have a wonderful group of people on my team. Being an actor is hard, let’s be honest. Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it’s the most wonderful thing in the world. You have to have people around you that you can celebrate and cry with. If you’re struggling to think of people currently in your life that’s ok. Try reaching out to other members of the StageMilk community, or other actors you might be doing a class with or even me.


Personally, I hate this exercise… but you have to do it! If you’re anything like me when you reflect back on the past year or so the first thing that rears its ugly head is all the crappy moments. I, like many people, have spent countless hours fussing over tiny moments that I wished I could go back to and fix or change. But I can’t. It’s impossible. So why waste your time focusing on it? Instead what this exercise is all about is focusing on the things we achieved. Now you might be sitting there thinking, I didn’t achieve anything… BULLSHIT.

When it comes to those moments that we’d rather forget we’re going to look at these as lessons we learned. The whole point here is to not focus on the negative because that’s going to get us nowhere. Instead, take the time and ask yourself what did I learn from that experience?

Amazing things I achieved in 2020:

3 Lessons I Learnt in 2020:


Vision Board

This is an activity that I have the most fun with – get ready to feel like you’re in kindergarten again! A vision board is all about visualisation – mindblown right?! The principle behind visualisation is that you are sending your thoughts out into the universe and manifesting them. It sounds crazy I know but just go with it. Subconsciously when you feed your brain affirmations and visuals of your goals, it works and helps you to achieve them. It might be as simple as a thought of I should practice my monologue or do a workout. But your brain will help you to achieve your goals because of the chemical payoff it gets for achieving your goals.

A vision board shouldn’t solely focus on things you want, it also needs to be about how you want to feel. Keep it simple and your thoughts clear and use a combination of images and text.

This is pretty simple. When you’re feeling stuck or in a rut use these things, that you’ll list, to help get you out of it. List 3 things for each of these categories.


Goal Setting

“As soon as I accomplish one thing, I just set a higher goal. That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am.” – Beyonce

What is goal setting?

Simply put, goal setting is breaking down something you want to achieve into smaller steps. By setting goals, we are given direction which allows us to turn our dreams into realities.


  1. DIRECTION: Knowing what, why, and how you’re going to achieve something is the first step to success and makes the idea of achieving a goal a lot less daunting. Outlining how you’re going to achieve something gives you direction and a path to follow.
  2. FOCUS: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your goals. But when we spend the time to break our goals down into manageable steps our goals feel a little less overwhelming and give us a great sense of focus. We know that to get from A to C we have to go through B.
  3. SELFLOVE: When we set goals and live life with purpose we are maximising our potential. Remember you only have one life to live. As you start to achieve even your smaller goals you will build some self-belief and momentum that will push you on to achieve more.



    When you care and are passionate about the goal you are setting it is the first step to success. If you don’t care about your goal, then it shouldn’t be a goal at all. Don’t set a goal for the sake of setting a goal.
  2. SET SMART GOALS: When setting a goal, use the SMART principle.
    Specific – Make your goals specific! Vague doesn’t work.
    Measurable – How will you know you’re making progress?
    Attainable – Make sure it’s realistic. Dream big, but be real.
    Relevant – Your goals have to mean something to you.
    Timely – Set a realistic amount of time for you to achieve your goal.

Download the goal setting template or use it as a structure and get working. Remember writing it down is the best option, don’t be lazy! The first sheet I have filled out to show you an example, and the second page you can print and use as many times as you like!

Goal Setting PDF 


Don’t rush writing your goals! Goal setting is a fantastic way to feel on track and in control of your own life. Don’t set a goal for the sake of setting a goal, make sure it means something to you and is something you are passionate about. This toolkit can be great for actors wanting an agent, wanting to produce their first show or just starting their acting career. It gives you a clear path to follow and helps you to stay on track and not get lost along the way. If you have any questions or just want to have a chat about your goals feel free to reach out to me on Instagram: @lachlanhamill

About the Author

StageMilk Team

is made up of professional actors, acting coaches and writers from around the world. This team includes Andrew, Alex, Emma, Jake, Jake, Indiana, Patrick and more. We all work together to contribute useful articles and resources for actors at all stages in their careers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × four =