Happy New Year’s Eve! I’m so glad that you’ve come along with this journal of goal-setting with me. I hope these exercises have helped you determine meaningful and exciting goals for the new year ahead.
The final prompt for our 31 Days of Goal-Setting will either be wildly exciting (if you’re a nerd like me) or tedious but necessary: Write it down, schedule it out, and build in regular reminders and review points.
Exactly how you plan, schedule, and track your activities is up to you. Some people love apps, others are all about pen and paper, yet others prefer some combination of electronic and hard copy information. But however you do it, it’s critical to explicitly schedule your tasks into your day and set up regular times to review your progress and get back on track when you stumble.
Below is my general approach to planning and scheduling, as a reference point as to how this might look. As you may notice, I LOVE pen and paper lists.
At the beginning of the year
I write my purpose, “who I want to be” and lifetime goals, 5 year plan, New Year’s goals, and the words/phrases that describe how I want to feel in my paper planner (I use a Bullet Journal set up, sort of). I also schedule reminders into my phone calendar for weekly journaling.
At the beginning of the quarter
I plan and write my three-month milestones in my paper planner. I review how well I did on my previous quarterly goals and how well I’m doing towards my yearly goals. I also identify any items I know I need to complete at particular times during the quarter and schedule reminders into my phone. (For example, I want to call my mom and text my sister once a week; I schedule recurring events for both so I don’t forget.)
At the beginning of the month
In my paper planner, I create a habit tracker for the month as a reminder of habits I want to maintain daily, a la “Don’t Break The Chain”. There are tons of printables and apps for this purpose; I personally like physically writing down and checking off/coloring in things that I’ve completed. I also review my quarterly goals to see how I’m doing towards achieving them.
At the beginning of the week
I create a weekly to-do list with major items that need to get done that week, both for regular life (e.g. renew car registration, pay bill, do laundry, clean apartment) and towards my goals. This to-do list also gets written in my planner.
At the end of the week
I journal weekly – not in my planner, but in a separate diary. Every week I make sure to ask and answer four questions: What did I accomplish this week and how did I spend my time? What challenges, problems, or obstacles did I encounter this week? How have I been feeling? And what am I grateful for? I may write about other things too, of course, but I always address those four questions explicitly because it’s a good method to keep myself on track.
Ideally, I’d write out my daily plan first thing in the morning. With my sleep schedule being irregular, it’s sometimes more like “mid-morning” or “whenever I have a break at work”. In any case, I have a little to-do list for the day that pulls from my weekly list, along with any urgent items that come up unexpectedly. I also track and mark off daily habits as I complete them.