Here’s how I went about setting goals for the upcoming year, and the resources and tools I’m using to help me achieve those goals. I kept it simple using some free worksheets – but of course, there are several goal setting planners out there you can try. I like Lavendaire’s Artist of Life Workbook – Ink+Volt Planner – and some people swear by Powersheets.
Year in Review – 2019
First, in order to identify the areas that I most wanted to work on in the upcoming year, I spent some time reflecting on 2019 … although I didn’t want to! I spent most of the year playing catch-up for many reasons – coming off chemo, new job (changing roles – same company), increased travel and more. But, I read Looking Back at 2019: Worksheet & Yearly Planning Part 1 which said, ” … resist the urge to gloss over the rough patches; they have so much to teach you too.” So I printed out the Looking Back at 2019 worksheet and using the categories in this GOALS worksheet (Free download from us here at GXO) as a guide, I documented the highlights and low-lights of 2019.
- From my review – “Best thing that happened to you” … promotion at work.
- “Time you had the most fun” … Vacation (grown folks only) with friends in Arizona.
- “What are your biggest lessons from last year?” … lack of focus, not consistent in anything.
2020 Word of the Year
My word for the year actually came to me in early December as I was talking to my brother and from the end of year review above. One thing that I could improve upon in almost all areas is … CONSISTENCY … so that’s my word of the year. I don’t think it’s necessary to come up with “one word” … sometimes it’ll come, and sometimes, there isn’t just one word that can encompass all the things you’re trying to do.
Goal Setting and Action Planning for 2020
Setting goals is easy but in order to achieve the goals, I know I need to be intentional about what ACTIONS to take in order to achieve those goals and to establish what success looks like.
- Health & Wellness – exercise regularly, drink enough water daily, take your multivitamins, eat at least the daily requirements of fruits and vegetables, go to regular doctor and dentist appointments
- Self Care – dress up, get regular (e.g. quarterly) pampering – e.g. massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, pay attention to grooming – hair, face etc.
- Personal Development – how are you going to grow as a person – be more knowledgeable about other people, cultures, the World and your environment? e.g. read memoirs, non-fiction.
- Fun & Adventure – plan local adventures, trips with friends, travel
- Family Relationships – family game nights, spend more time with spouse, talk to or visit parents / siblings often.
- Social Relationships – take time for your friendships, put yourself out there to meet new people.
- Finances – how much will you save? how often? are you tracking your finances? Is there anything you can do to spend less?
- Home Improvement – do you want to improve upon your living space? de-clutter? clean more regularly? any projects you want to tackle?
- Professional Development – what courses can you take to increase knowledge in your field?
- Professional Contacts – how can you improve your professional network? make more contacts in your profession?
- Spirituality – how can you better nourish your relationship with God (or any other deity you believe in)?
- Creativity – are there any new hobbies you want to try? how can you improve on your existing creative endeavors?
- Volunteer – seek out volunteer opportunities – give of yourself, your time or $$.
There are 6 areas I’m focusing on this year:
- Health & Wellness
- (Extended) Family & Social Relations
- Personal Development – MUST learn Spanish this year
- Professional Development – Get professional re-certification this year.
With the big goals set, it was time to dive deeper into exactly WHAT I wanted to accomplish and HOW I was going to do it. Following the example in the first half of the video, Goal Setting | Plan With Me | Quarter 1 | 2020, I used a version of mind-mapping to set my actionable intentions for each goal (I’m a linear thinker – so mine is vertical).
Another way to do this is to use the [Free Worksheet] Set Stronger Goals and Achieve More with This Smart Goals Template for EACH of goal. It prompts you to write out a Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound action plan. For each of my goals from the GOALS sheet, here’s what I want to achieve and how I planned to do it.
- Health & Wellness -> Exercise consistently (at least 4x each week – EVERY WEEK)
- (Extended) Family & Social Relations -> Re-connect with extended family and some friends I’ve lost touch with (develop a habit of calling them each week)
- Personal Development – MUST learn Spanish this year (have weekly video classes via Verbling or Italki)
- Professional Development – Get professional re-certification credits this year (monthly webinars, attend meetings)
- Finances – Develop monthly budget and completely pay off all credit card debt
- Spirituality – Attend church consistently now that I’ve finally found a church the entire family likes, and attend weekly small groups
After I did the mind-mapping exercise, I wrote out the above on the back of my highlighted GXO GOALS sheet and as I mentioned, this is the first page of my personal planner.
So now that the goals are set, the actions needed have been established, it’s time to develop routines / habits to ensure that these actions will be taken regularly and consistently – remember, my word of the year is CONSISTENCY. Not having a routine was my biggest issue in 2019 – I work from home, go into the office on no particular schedule, and travel for work 2-3 times a month. So I spent some time thinking about a morning and evening routine, as well as daily, weekly and monthly habits.
So, for e.g. establishing a fitness routine -> My cue is getting out of bed in the mornings. Once my feet hit that floor – I head to the bathroom, put my workout clothes, put headphones on with music (another trigger) and go workout – whether it’s in my basement, at the hotel gym if I’m traveling, or driving to a gym (I have a Planet Fitness membership – the one where you can workout at any location). Once that’s over -> take vitamins / supplements (another habit I’m trying to develop is taking these daily), eat breakfast and/or have a coffee (reward).
Another example is learning Spanish -> Part of my weekly review is to schedule lessons for the next two weeks, set 3 nights to review Spanish and select what I’m going to study.
Progress and Habit Tracking
I’m using a full size disc-bound planner / notebook (TUL – ARC – Martha Stewart – all the same type and interchangeable) to keep a record of all my goals and to track my progress. I went with a disc-bound because it’s completely customizable – easy to add in pages and move them around, and add printables – everything prints out on letter-size paper. I’ll go through a full planner set-up another time, but 2 inspiring videos that I used when I was thinking about how to set up my personal planner were Ways to make your planner more functional and How to Use the Alastair Method Weekly Spread.
For now, I wanted to mention that I’m using habit trackers for progress monitoring. 21 Free Printable Habit Trackers has you covered with any that you could possibly want. I went with a Year-long Free printable Habit Tracker for several of my activities like …
- Spanish practice
Of course, digital tracking is also an option. For exercise, I have an older model Garmin watch (the VivoActive HR) so I’m also tracking on Garmin Connect and Strava (app). For reading, I’m using Goodreads and the Reading Challenges Tracker (Spreadsheet).
Crowd Sourcing Motivation & Community Challenges
I mentioned using Strava above – and one of the things I really like about that platform is that there are a few hosted challenges to join and get badges for your profile. plus the community there is very welcoming.
Daily review -> I KNOW I won’t do everything I set out to do all the time – but with a daily check-in, which consists of making sure habit tracker is completed, at least I can set the intention to course correct before it gets out of hand.
Weekly Review -> Same thing – course correct if needed; review upcoming schedule with appointments and travel, and change up routine if needed.
Monthly Planning -> Switch things up to keep things fresh; Work on one new focus each month so as not to try to start too many new things at once. So, for e.g. – January’s main intention is to focus on a set exercise schedule. February – get regular with Spanish lessons and practice once or twice a week; March -> More Spanish -> Get up to 3x/week practice + lessons 2x/week … etc.
So that’s how I planned out my yearly goals, my word of the year, the specific actions needed to achieve my goals, develop routines to ensure that these actions will be taken regularly and consistently, as well as recording my progress and using community challenges are motivation. It took quite some time to plan all this out – but I figured, if I can do all this for my job – why not invest the time to do it for my personal life! Look out for updates in the future on planner set-up plus daily, weekly and monthly routines. Have you set goals | intentions or resolutions for this year? Do you use a Goals planner? Do you journal?