This is your year! You’ve already taken the first step toward your goals by purchasing the tool to get you there. Well done! Did you get a planner to help you reach your goals or did you get a planner to help you figure out what your goals are? Good news…we can help with both. This big step can be scary and we get it. There is the risk of missing your goal. And what if your goal changes midyear? Are you reaching too high? Not high enough? Defining your goals, writing them down, and sticking to them is huge but also so very doable.
We have given you a page called “The Big Picture” and we want you to think about what your long-term life goals are. Where are you starting from? What do you want to do with this life? Do you have a personal manifesto? What is YOUR big picture?
Let’s go a little deeper and talk about defining your goals for the year. Get yourself some blank paper and go to town. Start by jotting down the goals as they are in your head right now. Here is an example goal as a frame of reference as we move through goal setting together:
GOAL: Finish the Chicago marathon in under 4 hours.
Now ask yourself these questions about your goal and write them down:
Why is this goal important to me?
I promised myself I would run a marathon before I turned 40.
- Is my goal SMART?
- Specific: Is it clearly defined? I don’t just want to run a marathon. I want to FINISH the Chicago marathon within a specific time allowance.
- Measurable: Is the achievement of the goal quantifiable? If I finish in under 4 hours, I will have achieved my goal.
- Attainable: Can I actually achieve this goal? Many people finish the Chicago marathon in under 4 hours, and there is no reason I can’t do it too. I am in good health and have been a runner for years.
- Realistic: Based on actual time and resources, is this goal within my means? Based on my work schedule and social life, I can fit training into my evenings and weekends. I can pay my entry fee and have the money for the gear I will need.
- Time-based: What is the deadline for my goal? I will complete my goal on the day of the race.
Who will keep me accountable and push me toward my goal when I need it?
Jenny will be my accountability partner.
We have also given you prompts for categories we feel are essential to living an organized, goal-driven, purposeful life. Starting with the words, “This year I am going to…,” consider your home life, relationships, spiritual life, physical health, finances, career, education, and travel. But remember, this is YOUR planner so if those categories don’t work for you, cross them out and make it your own!
Next we “Break It Down.” Lets get specific here…how am I going to make this all happen? Who is going to help me make it happen? What actions do I need to take so that I can celebrate my achieved goal? When we break down our example goal, we might have actions steps such as:
- Select training schedule
- Buy new running shoes
- Join local running club
- Register for race
Each of those steps rolls up to our bigger goal. They get us closer to our desired end result. And don’t forget to map out these action steps over on your daily or weekly planning pages so you can ensure you are completing each step by its due date.
Now that we have our goals established, thought out, organized, and broken down into action steps, let’s talk about vision. I have read definitions of the word “vision” that include things like “concept,” “ability to perceive with eyes,” and “very beautiful thing.” Lovely, right? We have given you a big, beautiful page to create your own vision board, with very little instruction, and that is on purpose. Your vision board is very personal. It could be a visual representation of what it will look like when you have reached your goals. It could be a pretty picture of what motivates you. Maybe it is a photo of your dog. We left out the instructions because we can’t tell you how to do this. But whatever you create, make it yours and make it inspiring!
*Need more Goal Setting pages? At the bottom of the “Break It Down” page, you will find a link to download additional goal setting pages from the STARTplanner website!