Every day when I get in the shower I read all my goals for the year on a laminated piece of paper. It’s a constant reminder of what I want to accomplish, who I want to become, and how I’m going to get it done. This practice has helped me immensely over the years. By sitting down, being intentional, and focusing on what I truly want, writing it out, editing, and finalizing a draft, I remove the guessing game, the ambiguity, the endless mind games and I’m left with a clear direction of how I want to get there, written down, staring me in the face every day.
I’m going to walk through how I approach this process, my methods and provide a template you can use for your own goal setting. For those who already have a practice, that’s awesome- please share your insights because I’m always looking for ways to improve on the process and I think others will find it valuable as well. Here is a downloadable template to get you started.
During the holiday break every year, I spend quality time alone reviewing the past year. I crank up the lo-fi beats on my headphones and marinate. This is a sacred moment that I have to be completely honest with myself. What happened over the past 12 months? Did I achieve the goals I set out throughout the year?
I start by looking through my photos of the year. I pull out some of my favorites and either create an album or paste them on a presentation. This is meant to be a highlight reel to share with my family. But it’s also a chance to go down memory lane. I always find myself saying, “oh yea, that was this year, crazy how time flies!” And I also end up sharing special photos with those I love, reminding them of good times and let them know I’m thinking of them.
After I’ve reviewed the year visually, I pull out all my previous year’s reviews and goals. I take a careful look, writing down any thoughts I have in free form within each category.
Speaking of categories, this is the most unique part of this practice, which I learned from the entrepreneur Patrick Bet David (check out his video here). He brands this as a one-page business plan, but his point is that we have six (6) distinct categories to life that all need thought, attention, and review. Here are the categories that summarize most aspects of our lives:
To this point, you can’t devote all your time and energy to one category (like business) because the others will suffer (like family, health, etc). We need to obtain balance in our lives to be successful.
Feel free to edit these categories or customize their meaning to you. For example, you may not think of yourself as religious so you don’t need to review the spiritual side. However, that category could be for astrology, music, deeper meaning in life, the universe, energy, whatever you want…
For each category, write down the good, the bad, and the ugly that happened the previous year. For example in health, the good would be that you lost 25lb; the bad would be that you still eat a ton of sugar and drink too much coffee; and the ugly is that you neglected the doctor and your body and an illness got way worse. This is just an example, but the point is not to pat yourself on the back too much- that’s why there are basically two bad reviews and one good review. Get honest about your weak points so that you can take this moment to set effective habits and goals for the new year.
Now fill out the good, bad and ugly for all six categories.
Now that we’ve looked into the past and thoughtfully gathered internal feedback, let’s create a path forward.
For each category, we’re going to write down three (3) habits and and (3) goals. The reason why we differentiate between habit and goal is they have different roles in keeping us on track, motivating us, and helping us achieve who we eventually want to become. A habit is a repeatable behavior that we want to become a natural pattern and a goal is the desired end result.
For example in the health category, one habit would be to exercise at least 20 minutes every day. A goal would be to run a 5k race. As you can see, we don’t need to have all your habits correlate to goals, they can be separate things, but you’ll notice they are all intertwined.
Now fill out habits and goals for all six categories. Then sleep on it, edit, refine, share it out loud with a loved one, refine again. To be clear, this process usually doesn’t happen in one sitting; it may take days or weeks to refine these ideas into clear goals and habits. And also, this is about your own journey, not anyone else, so make this process a reflection of yourself- change, edit, shift, shake it how you bake it. Draw illustrations, make this a spreadsheet or create a video or audio recording of yourself. Whatever is true to you.
Read over your final version of the document and think of an overarching title for the year, “The Year of______.” As an example, “2023 The Year of Adventure” or “The Year of Balance.” You may find the title of the year while putting together your goals. In a way, the title can be your mantra or north star.
Write or type the document out nice, laminate and post it somewhere you’ll see daily like the shower or your desk. I love the shower because there aren’t any other distractions and I actually read it every day. Having a constant reminder of what you’re truly trying to achieve in this short life is the best way to be successful. And making sure that we have balance in our lives contributes to a happy, healthy and wealthy future.
Here is a downloadable template to get you started.
Make it your own and share it with those you love. I wish you the best in your journey to creating a better YOU. Let me know if you have any questions. Also, please share your methods for creating and reviewing goals! Do you have a habit of reviewing your goals? Do you use the end of the year to think about these topics or another time of year?