I’m back for part 2 in our Goal Setting 101 series, and this one is going to be a little different. I’m pulling back the curtain and giving you an inside look at exactly the process I go through to set goals.
As we often say here at I Heart Planners, planning is personal. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. I’m just going to show you how I like to do it in hopes that it will inspire you. I know seeing specific examples can be really helpful.
I also have a few more inside looks from other people lined up, so you can see how others do it also. (And if you want your planner to be featured in this series, send me an email to email@example.com )
MY PREP WORK
First, I like to sit down with some hot chocolate and go through the prep work pages in the beginning of my Sweet Life Planner. I actually like to go through these pages 2-4 times a year – not just at the beginning of the year. So I print out extras from the Sweet LIfe Planner Club anytime I feel I need them. I especially like to do this after big changes like moving.
First, I think about what made me happy recently – goals I accomplished, things that happened, anything really:
Next, I think about what made me sad. Even though this can be hard, I think it’s important. Too many things that are hard to think about go unresolved. The purpose of this is not to dwell on the negative, but to acknowledge it, learn from it if needed, and move on. Here I put any unaccomplished goals, fears, and bad things that happened (like a family member passing away or a bad natural disaster).
Next, I brainstorm what I could improve. This is where I put all the goals that are in my head – I let my ideas and dreams flow freely. I go back and edit (and seriously pare down) later.
Next, I list anything that is currently weighing me down. I write down what makes my heart feel heavy, what makes me lose sleep at night, and what gives me a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes it is as simple as a drawer that’s been over cluttered for a while that makes me cringe every time I open it. Sometimes it’s much deeper, like a big dream I’m not pursuing or someone I’ve let down and I still need to make it right.
Next, I think about what I want to let go. I make a list of the things that I know are not a focus for me in the coming months. That way I can ignore those things guilt free. Sometimes I look through the previous pages and pick out things that I already know won’t be a focus for me soon. I’ll add them to the list and put a little x beside them. They are things I’ll focus on in the future.
MY FOCUS AREAS
This is where I write my actual goals using the previous pages to help me fill it out. I divide my focus areas into categories by role. So mine are mom, wife, business owner, personal, child of God, friend/sister in Christ. There are lots of ways to categorize (and coming up in this series I’m going to be showing you how others do it), but this is how I like to do it.
Then I choose things for each area to focus on next. I don’t worry too much about how many items I put on the list, and I add to it as I go throughout the year.
Even though I go through the prep work multiple times a year, I usually only do this part once per year and add to it as needed. Also sometimes I cross something off even if I haven’t done it when I realize it’s no longer a priority. There are no hard and fast rules in this process!
Here’s a peek at what my pages look like:
I also identify if each item is a habit (something I want to continue doing on a regular basis for a long time) or a project (something that is done once and can be completed).
CREATING MY MONTHLY ACTION PLAN
Now this is my favorite part where the pedal meets the metal, and I get to create a solid action plan. It’s really simple but powerful.
First, I pick out 2-3 projects that I want to complete that month. I keep in mind what all I have going on that month, so I can be realistic about what I can accomplish. Some months, there’s only one thing if there’s a lot going on. That way, as I go throughout the month, I’m not bogged down with a huge list of things, but I’m just focusing on what is on my list for the month.
If things go really well, and I get the projects done early, I can always add more. Also, I don’t stress if something doesn’t get done – I just move it to the next month. The point for me is to get more done (or at least more of what’s really important to me) than I would if I were simply winging it.
Next, I pick out 1-2 habits to focus on developing for the month. If there were habits I was working on the previous month and I don’t feel like those are really deeply cemented in my life, then I won’t add any new habits.
I also write habits that I already have developed but want to make sure don’t fall by the wayside.
I really hope getting to see inside the goal section of my planner has helped you and inspired you. I can’t wait to share some sneak peeks of other planner girls goals later in this series. If you want your planner or goals to be featured, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to share even more of your goal planning here. I love how everyone does it a little differently.
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