Friends, I can’t believe 2020 is almost here! I know many of us are thinking about New Year’s resolutions, but I prefer to set yearly goals instead. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while (I’m coming up on 4 years!), goal-setting has always been a theme. I’m all about self-improvement, and I’ve found that probably won’t happen without setting some goals and planning a way to achieve them. So in celebration of the new year, I thought I would share some insights into setting your goals, planning how to achieve them, and great tools that can help you!
The first thing you have to do when setting goals is set aside some time to think about what you want to accomplish this year. I’ve found that going to a coffee shop with a notepad and pen for a few hours is helpful to provide time and space for me to think about the year ahead. I’d recommend silencing your phone so that you’re not distracted.
I usually start off by choosing a word of the year that I want to be the overarching theme of my goals. In 2019, that word was kindness. I wrote it on my goal sheets, in my journal, and elsewhere to remind me that was what I wanted to focus on this year. This helps tie all your goals together!
Next, think of what you wish you had done differently about the last year. For example, in 2018 I realized that I didn’t listen to very much Christian music, and I wanted to listen to more positive things in 2019, so that became a goal of mine. While it can be easy to get down on yourself with all the things you didn’t do, focus on the next year being a fresh start. Write down everything you want to change or achieve that comes to mind. You can do a simple list, or create a mind map.
Then, narrow them down. I recommend choosing no more than 10 goals, as more can get a little crazy. Don’t try to do everything on your list; this is the time to prioritize what’s most important to you. This is also the time to add specifics. Instead of saying “Read more”, write something like “Read 20 books this year” or “Read 1 book every two months.” Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound) will help you know how and when you’ve reached your goals.
Achieving Your Goals
Now that you know what your goals are, it’s time to plan how you will achieve them! The first thing I do is write them down in several places – my prayer journal, my planner, a checklist on my wall, whatever. Put the list anywhere you will see it often!
Next, set deadlines! This is an important step because without setting a time frame or deadline for your goals, it’s likely you won’t achieve them. I tend to break out my goals by month, then add them to my weekly planner. I also add a reminder at the end of the month to review the progress I’ve made on my goals. It’s helpful to ask yourself, “What’s working? What’s not working? What adjustments do I need to make to meet these goals?” The important thing is to have grace for yourself when you fail, but persistence to keep working on your goals instead of giving up.
Lastly, share your goals with someone who can keep you accountable. Whether it’s your spouse, parent, sibling, friend, counselor, whatever, telling someone else what your goals are will help you follow through on them. Give them permission to ask you regularly about them, and be honest when you respond. Even better, find a friend with a shared goal and keep each other accountable!
Tools for Goal Planning and Tracking
There are so many great tools for planning and tracking your goals, but here are some I’d recommend!
Monthly Goals printables
These adorable printables from Six Clever Sisters are perfect for goal setting and habit tracking. You can track things to do, places to go, projects to start and finish, and daily habits you want to form. The printables have adorable floral watercolors on them too 🙂
Although I love my Erin Condren planner, the Passion Planner takes the cake in helping with tracking your goals! It starts off with helping you plan your passion roadmap over the course of months, a year, 3 years, and lifetime. Each daily spread has a place where you can put your focus for the day as well as a few “gamechanger” goals. If you want to try it out, head over to their website for some free downloads!
While I don’t use the Happy Planner, my friend swears by it and shared a lot of cool resources for setting goals. The monthly planner has bulleted to-do and goal lists for each month. You can also get project papers to put in the planner, listing each goal on one sheet and listing action steps and due dates for each. These focus sheets are a little simpler in nature, but can still do the trick. And of course, don’t forget the goal getter stickers!
If you’re looking to set some goals that extend beyond just this year, I’d recommend checking out this Life Plan tool by Building Champions, a company that focuses on coaching leaders in business and life. I used this tool over the summer to help me clarify what I’m about and how I want to live my life. The tool helps you identify different “accounts” in your life such as marriage, family, health, career etc. and establish where you’re at, where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there. While it’s a bit time-consuming, I would highly recommend the time it takes to identify what’s important to you and how you need to prioritize accordingly.
I hope you enjoyed my tips for planning your 2020 goals! Have a Happy New Year!