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The new year is fast approaching. And I’m starting to think about setting all those goals that I want to accomplish. We used to call them resolutions. But the problem with that is the word “resolution” has taken on a connotation of something we will probably never achieve. So now we say “goals” in the hopes that we will be better able to attain them.
Some of you may have already decided what you want to accomplish. With my busy schedule and recent homeschool inspection, I haven’t really gotten around to it before now. And I have to admit that I’m a bit stuck in terms of finding just one thing to shoot for. So what do I do?
The Basic Layout
Well first, I need to narrow down which areas of my life need the most attention. The main categories that I have seen in many goal planners include Family, Finances, Work and Personal. I’ve changed this for my own use. I still use the categories Family, Work, and Personal. But I’ve replaced Finances with Faith. First, because if I don’t want my relationship with God to suffer, I need to be more intentional with how I live my faith. Second, because I feel the finances can fit into all the other categories.
In each of these categories, I pick three main things I want to work on. For example, in Personal, I have the goal of completing two reading challenges, the Back to the Classics challenge and the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge. In Faith, one of my goals is to be more intentional with my prayer life. For Family, I want to be more consistent with our weekly nature walks and nightly read-aloud. And in Work, I would like to complete a bilingual Nature Journaling program to be used year-round.
When I’ve chosen three goals for each category, I then break those goals up into actionable items on a quarterly basis. Basically, what I need to have achieved by the end of each quarter in order to accomplish the goal at the end of the year. In some cases, if the goal is complex enough, I will even break those actions down to a monthly or even weekly agenda.
Using the Bullet Journal
And this is where my bullet journal really comes in handy. I’ve talked a little about how I got into bullet journaling in my post Staying Organized for the Busy Mom. Since using this system, I have been much better at completing my to-do lists and in keeping up with the countless activities of my children. But this is the first time I will be using it to create goals.
In the final pages of my 2018 journal, I am envisioning what my next year will be. I’ve dedicated a page to each category where I can brainstorm goal ideas as well as what I action I need to take to achieve those goals. This is also where I’ve noted the different resources I’m using. For example, the websites with my reading challenges or the prayer group I’ve joined, or any pdf documents I might use.
I like using these last pages as brain dumps because then I feel like I’ve released some of the clutter in my head onto a paper that I won’t misplace. I can use these brain dumps to organize better in my new journal. I’ll narrow down the goals that are more urgent while saving others I still want to achieve for later.
As the year progresses, I can update each month or each quarter with items accomplished or actions that still need to be taken. I can even change my goals mid-year. This is important, because even with the best of intentions, sometimes life happens. Sometimes we just need to change direction. That doesn’t mean I am not serious about achieving my goals. It just means that I am realistic enough to know that I am not in control. God directs my paths and I want to be able to follow where He leads.
Setting Attainable Goals
I have lofty goals running around in my head, and if I try to complete all of them, I may end up finishing none of them. I tend to narrow it down to four categories: Faith, Family, Personal, and Work. Many people make a category for Finances but I figure that this can fit in just about any of the other categories. I create 3-4 goals for each category. I break those down into shorter goals to be achieved quarterly or every twelve weeks
The important thing is that the goals are specific enough to be able to break down in manageable steps. The entire goal sheet goes in my bullet journal for easy reference. I can then check back as often as needed to make sure I am on track.
Sometimes, it is just a matter of creating a good habit. For example, I want to be more intentional about reading classics this year. My goal is to finish the Back to the Classics challenge in its entirety. Since there are twelve books on this list, I must read at least one book per month to achieve this goal. If I create a habit of reading nightly, it will set me on to the path to success without constant maintenance. If you can make goals achievable as a result of new habits, you will be setting yourself up for an easier win.