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How to Crush Your Goals – My Simple Tried and True System!

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!

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

How to Set Goals… That You’ll Actually Accomplish!

The One Reason You Won’t Reach Your Goals This Year

How I Crush My Biggest Goals: My 5 Step Formula

My Secret to Getting Things Done and Accomplishing Goals

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!

20 Comments

  1. Alexis deZayas says:

    Love this so much! I started setting long term goals earlier this year but didn’t have a plan like this to follow through each month/week. Definitely going to try this out!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Hope it works well for you, Alexis! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  2. Abbey, I love all your organizational hints and your forms but I am noticing something that concerns me- on your daily To Do/Time Blocking sheets you only allow for 5 hrs of sleep. This is absolutely NOT HEALTHY. If you read any of the health/wellness material and especially any autoimmune disease material you will see that a MINIMUM of 7 hrs is needed by everybody. I hope you and your readers take this seriously.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Barbara! The printables aren’t at all suggesting that you should only get 5 hours of sleep. To work for everyone, I needed to make them that way because some people are early risers, others are night owls. It is not intended to be all filled up by tasks. 🙂 Thank you for your concern, though! I agree that sleep is SO important! Have a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Donna France says:

    Thanks Abby!! I needed this! I’m trying to launch 2 separate, but related, businesses on a shoe string budget, which doesn’t leave much (a.k.a. any!) money for outsourcing. I’ve been feeling super overwhelmed. I’m going to take a deep breath, and break these two big tasks into little baby steps! A bit each day, and things will begin to happen.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Donna! You can do it! <3

      ~Abby =)

  4. Kiersten Dreiling says:

    I need to start a planner and start making a list of my goals. I loved your photos in this post. Very inspirational!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Kiersten! Wishing you the best… you can do it! <3

      ~Abby =)

  5. Hey Abby! I love that you are now doing videos! I’ve been so inspired by every one of them. Even if I’m not working on what your video is about, I’m inspired by the simplicity of your processes and end result of an organized space. I’m just so curious though, about what a successful mom and blogger like you dreams about for her life… would you be willing to share your actual 5 year goal page and how you’ve broken down??!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooh that’s a great idea! I will have to do a post about my personal goals sometime. Thanks so much, Laura! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Thanks for sharing your goal setting step-by-step process. I purchased your planner, and as soon as I’m back from my brother’s beach wedding, I plan to sit down and put the planner to use.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! So glad it will be helpful for you, Jolene! Happy planning! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  7. Hi Abby, love the organizational steps you walk through in the video and post. I’m already using some of these concepts in my day to day life. I love to organize and make to do lists but in order to get more focused on the long-term goals, I’m trying to use a planner for my home life. One area that I’m struggling with is making a habit of using the planner instead of defaulting to quick to do list. I’m curious to know the habits you keep for using the planner on a daily and weekly basis. Also, do you incorporate any digital calendars or to do lists along with your paper planner? If so, which ones are your favorites?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Andi! I usually do a weekly overview on Saturday or Sunday to plan for the upcoming week, and then each evening before bed I try to write out my to do list and do my time blocking for the next day. My husband and I have a shared digital (Google) calendar where we keep our appointments so that we don’t double book ourselves. I will also use Evernote for to do lists occasionally just to switch it up sometimes. I hope this helps!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Evelyn Lopez says:

    This is great. Thank you Abby for sharing. I have taken the liberty to share it in my Facebook post. I hope you get a lot of responses from my friends.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much for sharing, Evelyn! I’m glad it was helpful for you. Have an awesome day! <3

      ~Abby =)

  9. Thanks for the post Abby! I do a lot of things similarly to you, with the exception of the time block for the day tasks (i usually just have a to do list). I am a stay at home mom and cannot always guarantee specific blocks of time durinf the day. Also, i am curious how you deal with the last minute, urgent things that pop up throughout the day?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Rachel! That is a great question! I always consider my time blocking sort of my “ideal” day. I do try to leave buffer in my schedule for things that pop up unexpectedly, but I also realistically know that things often won’t go according to my exact plan. In that instance, I prioritize what’s most important and move the less urgent items to the next day. Grace is the name of the game in our house, lol. I hope this helps! Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

  10. David Donahue says:

    You make things sound so simple. Maybe it’s because I am a guy and run my own blog but these tips helped me a lot going forward. Your blog rocks!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad they were helpful for you, David! Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

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