Have you tried the popular goal setting advice where you think of where you want to be in 10-15 years and then break it way way down into tiny weekly or daily goals? Did it work for you??? It didn't work so well for me either!
If that method is working for you, then you should keep doing it, but if popular goal setting methods have left you frustrated, like they did me, then watch the video below or read on to find out how I changed my goal-setting habits and how it can help you, too!
I do totally believe that you should always ask “why” you have a goal, and all goals should start with the end in mind. Stephen Covey was totally right about that! The problem with breaking huge goals down into smaller weekly/daily goals from the beginning is that you don't really know that far in advance what your life is going to be like. I can't sit down in December 2022 and know what kind of time I'll have in December 2023 for my weekly goals! Life is just unpredictable, and if you get behind (as I always do!), it can put you in a bad mental space. Feeling like a failure never helps productivity.
I even take a bit of issue with the ever popular SMART method. This says that goals should be:
I agree with most of this, except for the time-bound part. When you sit down to dream about your goals, that is not the time to be setting timelines on everything. You should let your imagination run wild– you can always limit things later. I do think think many people using the smart system are, in fact, only picking a few goals at a time, but I still just need more permission to be more free of timelines.
These goal-setting methods didn't work for me, but I found something that did. I built the Get Organized HQ planner all around it! The planner of course helps you plan your days, but one of my favorite parts of it is the goal setting section that I've created.
At the end of the year or beginning of the next, I sit down with my favorite hot chocolate and let myself dream and plan. I really think about where I want to be heading over the next year. Some people think this takes days or a whole week to goal set. I find it really only takes me an hour or two once I get going!
In our planner, I start with the “about me” page because it gets me in the right mindset to think about myself. The planner even gives you some goal-setting tips to look over. Then I choose up to six focus areas for the year. At the back there are stickers for these different areas, or you could write it in yourself if you have something super-specific.
I don't recommend choosing more than six focus areas because it will be overwhelming, and no area will get your best effort. You can always choose fewer than six, though! Once you've chosen your area, you can then answer questions about what you're doing well and what you aren't. Next you go to town brainstorming all your goals in this area, and put those in the things to improve area!
After that, it's time to choose the top priorities and what you'll let go. We can't do it all, no matter how organized we are! This is where we get realistic and give ourselves grace. Just because you aren't prioritizing something this year doesn't mean it will never happen!
Choose from your things to improve, and write each one out in one of the goal boxes. Remember, you are simply organizing your thoughts and goals here. You're not worrying about when you are going to do it or assigning a time frame to it.
You also need to identify whether the goal is a habit or a project. A project might be organizing your pantry. A habit would be doing a weekly cleanup of the pantry so you maintain its organization over the long-term. In my financial goals this year, my “project” was to save up to pay for a new porch we needed. That was a one-and-done project. My financial habit was to reconcile things daily instead of at the end of the month. I honestly think habits are harder than projects…but that's why we need accountability in writing.
I would caution against doing too many habits at once. More than one or two per month won't let you focus enough on any one thing to actually make it a habit. We keep it real around here! If you're honest with yourself about what you can accomplish, then you'll feel the satisfaction of achieving your goals. That gives you momentum to keep going! Feeling like a failure does the opposite.
The biggest key to how my goal-setting method is different comes in the monthly action plan. At the beginning of each month, I go back to my focus areas and choose what I'm going to work on for the coming month. I always start with a clean slate every month. I have a MUCH better idea how my month is going to go only 30 days ahead instead of 365! I can choose if I want to work on goals from all my focus areas or just one or two. Then I pick my top goal in that area, and my goal setting for the month is done in literally minutes. I'm also much more likely to achieve them because I know what my month looks like.
Each of the flags are color coded to go with the focus area planning in the beginning of the planner – I love color coding!! If that's not your thing, though, I give you full permission to ignore the color coding. Make it your own, and do what feels easy and natural to you.
I also love the little rating system at the bottom of each little goal section. Here you can rate how you're doing in that area overall for the month. It's such a quick and simple to take a pulse on how things are going.
I also complete the previous months reflection page when I do my monthly planning:
Planning your days is also a super important part of having time to work on goals. The Get Organized HQ planner will help you with both daily planning and longer-term goal setting.
Is an overflowing to-do list an all too familiar companion? Is the phrase “so much to do, so little time” the mantra of your current season of life? I’ve been there, friend. When there’s task upon task demanding your time it become vital to learn how to prioritize. You CAN turn that mountain into a molehill, and I’ll show you can easy way to do that with my Sticky Note Productivity method!