Crush your goals by using my simple tried and true system that breaks down big goals into simple, manageable baby steps to make them easy to accomplish!
I love this time of year. Back-to-school season-- similar to the beginning of January-- always seems like the perfect opportunity to start fresh, reprioritize, and finally do all of those things that have been on your to-do list forever. But if there's one thing I've learned after years and years of trying all sorts of goal setting and productivity strategies, it's that goals don't accomplish themselves. I have to have a plan, intentional action steps to take that will help me get closer and closer to my goals and eventually achieve them!
Since I am headed into goal setting mode for the new school year, I thought that today I would lay out the tried and true system that has helped me crush some of my biggest goals. As a warning, it might seem a bit over-the-top at first, but I promise that pretty soon it will become second nature and you will be following each of the steps as part of your everyday routine!
How to Crush Your Goals
(If you want to snag the planner I use and show in the video, you can grab it here.)
My Simple Tried and True System
I like to think of my goal setting process like an inverted triangle; I start out really big and broad, and then I get narrower and narrower until I'm left with little baby steps.
Setting Long Term Goals
The first thing I do when I begin the goal setting process is to try to think long term. I use a page in my planner to map out what I would like my life to look like 5 or so years down the road.
I make lists, doodles, charts, or whatever else I can think of to really help me dream big and set the bar high. This exercise helps me to define where I'm headed so I can start breaking it down into intentional action steps.
Setting Yearly Goals
After I have determined my long term goals, I take a look at them and figure out what I need to do in the coming year to make them happen.
Again, I have a page in my planner where I can list specific goals for the year, along with a plan for getting there. I try to limit these yearly goals to only about 3-4 things because realistically it would be hard for me to truly focus on any more than that.
Setting Monthly Goals
Next, at the beginning of each month, I look back at my yearly goals and figure out what I need to do in the coming month to make them happen.
Let's say, for example, that one of my yearly goals was to save $1,200 this year. If that is the case, I know that this month I need to save $100 to stay on track with that goal. I will write that goal on my "Focus Areas for the Month" page, along with some specific action steps I'm going to take to make that happen.
Maybe I'll decide that our family will forego eating out this month in order to save some extra money. Maybe I will plan on gathering up some items around my house and selling them on Craigslist or in Facebook yard sale groups. This gives me a solid plan for reaching my monthly goal, which will in turn keep me on track with my bigger goal for the year.
Setting Weekly Goals
After I have my monthly focus areas and action steps in place, I sit down and revisit them at the beginning of each week. This allows me to measure my progress and also put some steps in place for the coming week that will help me get closer to my goal.
Going back to my saving money example, if my plan is to give up eating out in order to save money, I know I will need to make a meal plan for our family and go grocery shopping to make sure we have enough food in the house so we're not tempted to eat out. I can mark that in my planner for Monday, and then maybe on Thursday I'll set aside some time to gather up items in our house that I may be able to sell.
As I break it down further and further, all of the sudden that big goal of saving $1,200 this year is starting to seem less and less intimidating.
Planning My Day
Finally, I use a process called time blocking to plan out my days and incorporate my goals. With time blocking, I create my to-do list for the day and then assign each task to a specific hour time slot. This might seem like it would feel to limiting, but I have actually found it to be really freeing!
Not only does time blocking help me stay on task and keep me from getting distracted by social media, email, etc., but it also gives me peace of mind! If I'm working on a project in the morning, for example, and I remember that I have an email that I need to respond to, instead of leaving my project and running off to answer emails, I know that I have a time slot already marked off in my schedule to take care of email later that day. I can stay focused on the task at hand and still know that I will get everything accomplished that I need to do that day.
My planner already has space to make my to do list and lines for time blocking for each day, so I can just fill it out and I'm good to go!
To go back to our money saving example one last time, I had already assigned meal planning and grocery shopping to Monday, so in my time blocking I can put in the meal planning portion from 9:00-9:30, and then plan to go grocery shopping from 9:30-11:30. Those oh-so-simple tasks are getting me closer and closer to my monthly goal of saving $100, my yearly goal of saving $1200, and my long term financial goals as well!
What I love about this method is that it takes those big, intimidating goals like saving money, losing weight, etc. and breaks them down into teeny tiny baby steps. Each day I am inching closer and closer to my goal with simple, manageable tasks, and before I know it, all of those little things add up and become BIG things-- and I'm able to crush my biggest goals!
It all comes back to having a plan in place. That's it. And while my plans don't always work out the exact way I meant them to, I can keep pressing on, taking those baby steps, and chiseling away to my goals bit by bit. It's exciting to think about all of the possibilities and what you can accomplish!
For more ideas and printables for setting goals, see these posts:
If you have any favorite tips and tricks for setting and accomplishing goals, I'd love to hear about them in the comments!
Hope you're having a wonderful week!