Goal Setting: 11 Steps to Creating The Best Year Of Your Life

Happy New Year!!!

This is the time of the year when EVERYONE is making New Year's Resolutions and setting goals for the new year. It seems like the first few weeks of the year people do great at goal setting and even keeping to their goals. Then somewhere along the line they seem to fall off the New Year’s Resolution band wagon and never get back on. Why do you think this is? Honestly, most people’s goal setting process isn’t setting them up for success it is setting them up for failure. Does this hit too close to home? Are you thinking about your last year’s goals and how you didn’t knock even one off the list. This year is going to be different! This year you are going to ROCK your New Year’s Resolutions and I am going to tell you how!

New Years Resolution - Goal Setting: 11 Steps To Creating The Best Year Of Your Life | www.thesaraross.com

Some of these links are affiliate links meaning if you click on them and sign up I may receive a small commission or free product (at no extra charge to you), you can read my full disclosure here.

Let’s see if this looks familiar. You sit down at the beginning of each year and you write a New Year’s Resolution list that looks something like this:

  1. Pay off Debt.

  2. Go on a family vacation.

  3. Get a promotion at work.

  4. Get Healthy.

  5. Organize the WHOLE house.

You stick it on the fridge or some other place where you can see it daily as a constant reminder of what you want to achieve this new year. That list sits on your fridge for the entire year and not One. Single. Thing. gets accomplished. Why? Truth: you have literally set yourself up to fail, just having a few generic goals does nothing if you aren’t 1. making those goals SMART and 2. putting a plan of action behind them!

Goal Setting: getting started.

Where do we start? How do we know which goals to focus on first? I am going to guess that there is at least one area of your life that doesn’t feel “balanced”... possibly more than one. I totally get it. These last few months I have felt very unbalanced and very un-energized. I was in a total slump and I know I needed to get out of it! Like ASAP! These feelings are what sparked this blog post, it just so happens to be fitting that it falls at the beginning of the new year when most people sit down to create their yearly goals.

Step 1: Life Balance Wheel

The first thing I needed to do was figure out why I was feeling off balance. I do not think that you can be 100% balanced in life. It is an unrealistic goal. However, I do think you can work towards a somewhat balanced life. If there is an area of your life that is important to you and it is being put on the back burner you are going to feel off and there will be a lack of joy. It is just that simple.

Step 1, is to print off this Life Balance Wheel (or get the whole Goal Planning Workbook HERE). Fill it out and be honest with yourself. There are 8 areas: life purpose and vision, family and friends, romance, spirituality, health and well-being, career and money, fun and recreation, and last but not least your home. Think about each of these areas in your life, from a scale of 0 (being the least) to 10 (being the greatest) how much satisfaction are you getting out of each area and color each section in. Each area will be scored individually, you may have one area that is a 3 and another that is an 8. There are no right or wrong answers here.

 
Life Balance Wheel FREE Printable | thesaraross.com
 

    Take a look at your Life Balance Wheel now that you have it all filled out. Is it little bumpy? I know mine was not very balanced at all!! It was no wonder I had been feeling off for a couple months and it was only getting worse. So this new year I am ready to get more balanced and start feeling better about myself and my life. You with me!?!

    Creating the Best Year Of Your Life.

    How do we create the best year of our lives? Take a look at your Life Balance Wheel. Find the areas that are throwing your life off balance and let’s start making goals to bring that satisfaction level up!!! Sound like a plan? So here’s the fun part!! I have created a Goal Planning Workbook you can print off that has pages designed for each step of the process or you can grab yourself a notebook, bullet journal, just anything you can use to start writing down these new goals of yours, plus a space where you can create a plan of action and a system to keep track of your progress!

    Step 2: Life Balance Wheel Analysis

    Take a look at how you scored each section. What is going good and not so good in each of these areas of your life. Why did you score each section the way you did?

    Step 3: Word of The Year

    I want you to think about a word that incompasses what you want your year to be like.

    I have decided my word for the year is FEARLESS! I am choosing faith over fear.

    Step 4: Your Why

    What is your WHY? WHY do you want to get your life back in balance. What will keep you going when the times get tough? Times Will. Get. Tough. Your WHY needs to be STRONG enough to keep you going when you want to give up. WHY do you get up every day and do the things you do? WHY are you setting these goals?

    Step 5: Top 3 Priorities

    Out of the 8 areas, from the Life Balance Wheel, I want you to pick the top 3 areas you want to focus on. You can create goals for all 8 areas but there need to be 3 that are your TOP priorities, the areas that need the most overhaul in your life. You got them written down?

    Step 6: Your Goals

    Now we need to work on your goals for each area. I want you to focus on your top 3 FIRST. What goals do you want to achieve in these areas. Need some ideas? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

    Life Purpose and Vision

    • Answer: What do I want to accomplish in this life?

    • Answer: What do I want my life to stand for?

    • I want to go on a mission trip.

    • I want to create a blog to inspire other moms like me/ share my experiences with xyz.

    • I want to spread the love of God to everyone I meet.

    • I want to foster/adopt a child.

    • I want to travel the world.

    Family and Friends

    • I want to spend more one on one time with each of my children.

    • I want to let my friends know I care about them more often.

    • I would like to foster my relationships with my community/neighbors.

    • I would like to spend more time with my family and enjoy a nice family vacation/experience.

    • I would like to show up more for my friends/family and show them I support them in their passions.

    • I would like to plan a weekly family night.

    Romance

    • I would like to plan more dates for my partner and I.

    • I would like to have a weekend away once a year with my partner.

    • I want to get back into the dating world.

    • I want to have more one on one time with my partner to talk about our goals as a couple.

    Spirituality

    • I want to make it a priority to go to church every Sunday.

    • I would like to sign up for a Bible study.

    • I want to learn all the books of the Bible.

    • I want to create a quiet time each morning (afternoon or evening) to pray and study God's word.

    • I want to create the habit of praying every night at the dinner table.

    • I want to start a family devotional time.

    • I would like to start meditating once a day.

    Health and Well-Being

    • I need to make "that" yearly appointment.

    • I would like to exercise 30 minutes everyday (3x a week, etc.).

    • I need to DRINK MORE WATER

    • I want to create a self-care routine.

    • I want to plan time for myself doing something I love: walking, biking, shopping, reading, etc.

    Career and Money

    • I want to save up $1000.00 in an emergency fund.

    • I want to pay off debt.

    • I want to be a top contender for the next promotion at work.

    • I want to be my own boss.

    • I would like to find a side hustle to make an extra $500 a month.

    Fun and Recreation

    • I want to see a new movie in the theatre this month.

    • I want to plan more hiking days.

    • I want to plan more camping weekends.

    • I want to sign up for xyz (an activity you always wanted to do).

    • I want to spend more time outdoors and away from the screen.

    Your Home

    • I want to paint the living room (kitchen, bedroom, etc.)

    • I need to turn OFF the HGTV channel, to many comparisons and lack of contentment in what I have.

    • I would like to downsize.

    • I would like to de-clutter and get organized.

    • I would like to spruce up the outside of the home.

    Those are just a few examples to get you started in the right direction. By no means do you have to use any of these but I know that having examples can get the creative juices flowing.

    Step 7: SMART Goals

    Now that you have some goals written down we need to make sure they are SMART goals. Not sure what that means? It’s OK. I had no idea either. But, in order for you to be able to achieve your goals you need to make sure they are SMART goals.

    SMART is an acronym.

    S- Specific: What exactly needs to be accomplished? The more detailed your goal is the more focused your efforts will be.

    M- Measurable: How will you know you met your goal? Can you track it?

    A- Attainable: Make sure your goal is challenging but not unreachable.

    R- Relevant: Is this goal something important to you or is is something that others are saying you need to do? How does this fit into your life now? Are you able and willing to work towards this goal? Do you have the means (funds, time, coach, support, childcare, etc.) to complete the goal?

    T- Timely: When do you want to accomplish this goal? This is key to staying on track and keeping motivated.

    Everyone needs a good SMART goal example!

    Generic Goal:

    I need to get healthy.

    SMART Goal.

    Specific: I want to lose weight, specifically 15 pounds.

    Measurable: Yes. I want to work out for 30 minutes, 3 times a week. This can easily be tracked on the Habit Tracker worksheet in the Goal Planning Workbook.

    Attainable: Yes. I want to lose 15 pounds.

    Relevant: Yes. I want to feel confident in my own skin. I can easily fit in a workout regimen at home using free videos from YouTube. I will have to give up TV time but that is something I am willing to do.

    Timely: Yes. My deadline is in 3 months.

    SMART Goal: I am going to work out 3 times a week for 30 minutes at a time. I am going to lose a total of 15 pounds and I am going to complete this goal within 3 months.

    Step 8: Action Plan

    Now that you have your SMART goals, you need to get serious and create an action plan for those goals. Basically an action plan is steps that you need to take in order to complete the goal. Using the same example above, an action plan would look something like this.

    • Pick out 3-5 workout videos I want to use during the next 3 months.

    • Search Pinterest for healthy meal plan ideas.

    • Create a meal plan that will work for me over the next 3 months.

    • Purchase any equipment I may need: small weights, yoga mat, exercise ball, food storage containers, etc.

    • Schedule the 3 days a week that I want to workout for 30 minutes, write it on the calendar and set up tracking worksheets.

    • Month 1, Day 1: First weigh in.

    • Month 2, Day 1: Second weigh in.

    • Month 3, Day 1:Third weigh in.

    • Month 3, Day 30: FINAL weigh in.

    • Reward myself with: a new pair of shoes!

    Notice I put “reward myself with” as the last action step. I want you to ALWAYS reward yourself with something for completing a goal! It doesn’t matter what it is, it could be something small like a cookie or something big like a weekend getaway. Just make sure it is realistic and relevant to your life at this moment.

    Step 9: Tracking your Progress

    Remember, part of the SMART goal planning process is making sure your goal is measurable. A good way to make sure you can see your progress is to use some sort of a tracking system. In my Goal Planning Workbook I have included a few tracking pages, including a bar graph that is useful for tracking weight loss or debt payoff, a daily Habit Tracker where you can check off things you want to accomplish daily or even weekly and a couple other tracking pages to use how you see fit.

    Step 10: Vision Board

    Have you ever wondered why vision boards are so popular? Seeing is believing. Visualization plays a HUGE role in most successful people’s lives. Just about every self-help or business guide book I have read the author talks about visualization. SO, there is a method to the madness.

    Your vision board should contain images and words that imbody what you want to achieve with your goals. Is one of your goals graduating with your college degree? Put an image of a cap and gown on your vision board. Paying down debt so you can be debt free and fund a savings/retirement account? Maybe an image of a piggy bank will help remind you of your goal. Want to go on vacation to Greece? You got it, a picture of Greece needs to go on your vision board. Words of inspiration, like your word of the year is also a great thing to add.

    Once you have your vision board created I want you to add, “Visualize for 10 Minutes” (or 3 minutes, however many minutes you know you can do each day) to your daily Habit Tracker worksheet. EVERYDAY sit down and visualize you accomplishing your goals, visualize yourself walking across the graduation stage, visualize yourself packing and getting on an airplane to Greece, and visualize you sending in that last debt payment.

    I know it sounds a little silly but trust me on this one! The more you see yourself doing these things the more you are going to believe in yourself.

    Step 11: Into the Future

    There are some goals in your life that you want to accomplish but just aren’t relevant to your current lifestyle. Maybe, a goal of yours is to travel by yourself (or with your spouse/friend) on a 2-week long backpacking trip across Ireland. However, your life isn’t quite in a position to pursue that goal yet. Maybe you still have young kids at home that you can’t leave home alone yet. Or you don’t have the funds because you are up to your eyeballs in debt. It doesn’t mean that these goals are unrealistic, it just means they aren’t relevant to your life at this moment. Throw in on the list of goals you want to achieve 5 or 10 years from now!! Keep track of these goals so you don’t lose sight of WHY you are paying down debt, etc.

    In the Goal Planning Workbook you have sections to write down your future goals for the next 3-months, 6-months, 1-year, 5-years, and 10-years. These are great things you can also add to your vision board as well!

    BONUSES!

    In the workbook you will find some BONUS pages including:

    • a weekly motivation journal,

    • a list of affirmations to help overcome mental blocks,

    • self-care tips,

    • and a book list to keep track of self-development books (or just for fun books) you want to read.

    I included them in the workbook because if you want to achieve your goals you need to believe in yourself, take care of yourself and invest in yourself. It is easy to lose sight of your goals when the negative thoughts start swirling in your head. Use the weekly motivation journal to write down affirmations you want to focus on throughout the week. There is also a space to write down one thing you are grateful for each day, a spot for a motivational quote, what you are currently reading, praying, and the self-care idea you are going to do that week. Lastly, there is a spot to keep track of your mood for the week. Not only is tracking your goals important but so is tracking your mood. If you are feeling more down than normal then your goal progress will most likely be down too. This section will help you determine if your mood is affecting your goal progress.

    Your goals, self-care and the way you see yourself all play together. If you want to be successful you need to believe in your abilities. Now, go create the BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE!!!

    I wrote about Goal Planning as A Couple last year, I am so excited to sit down with my husband this year and make this goals STICK!!

    Don’t forget to grab the Goal Planning Workbook!! I designed each page specifically to go with each action step to make this process as simple as I could for you (and let me be honest, myself, because I use this same workbook to create my own goals!)

     
    Signature | www.thesaraross.com
     


    You can find me linked-up at these Blogs! Happy Reading!