Journaling to Create Goals
I don’t think it’s a secret that I strongly believe in journaling as a tool for success. There are many methods to keeping a journal and many topics you can explore, including goal setting.
You can find any number of resources out there to explain why goal setting is important to success, so I’m not going to spend my time trying to convince you.
Instead, let’s discuss how you can set up your own goal journal without having to purchase a special notebook or how-to book. The beauty of creating your own notebook is you can set it up to fit you.
How you organize your goals will depend a lot on how you analyze and interpret information. Let’s look at three different ways to set up your goal journal.
Long-Term to Short-Term
This method is just what it looks like. Determine what your long-term goals are and work backwards to determine the short-term goals you need to accomplish to reach that original goal. The easiest way to map this out is to answer a set of questions:
- Where do I want to be five years from now?
- Where do I need to be one year from now?
- What should I have accomplished within the next six months?
- What do I need to accomplish within the next three months?
- What do I need to accomplish within the next month?
- What goals should I set for the next two-weeks?
- What goals should I accomplish within the next week?
- What can I start today to reach these goal markers?
Within each marker, you want to analyze what tasks will get you to the next stage in your goals. This helps you keep the original goal in mind throughout the process and helps you eliminate those things which do not bring you closer to that five-year plan.
Once you have an idea of what tasks need to be completed, you can create a more thorough schedule of these tasks. Starting with your daily and weekly goals, how many can you work on through any given day?
Ask yourself “How much time should I give to X:
Create deadlines for each of your goals. Make sure you analyze these tasks regularly to make sure they are still necessary to reaching your goals and to ensure you stay on schedule.
Short-Term to Long-Term
If you are the type of person who likes to start where you are and move outward, this method of goal setting may appeal to you. This method involves starting with the short-term goals you already have in mind and working out from those to determine where they will lead in the long-term.
To set up your journal, you may want to start with these questions:
- What do I want to accomplish today?
- How will this help me with my goals for this week?
- What do I want to complete by the end of the month?
- How much time should I give to daily and weekly tasks to accomplish this?
- Where will this course lead me at the end of six months?
- Is this going to lead me where I want to be in that time?
- How can I adjust my monthly and weekly goals to get closer to where I want to be six months from now?
- Ask the same questions for the one-year and five-year mark.
- What can I adjust to more adequately reach long-term goals?
This is a useful way to determine long-term goals if you are having difficulty with thinking that far ahead. This method can also help you think through what you are currently working on and whether it is what you need to focus on.
This method will require a little more research on your part, but it can be useful if you are struggling to create goals for yourself. The idea is to copy people who are succeeding in areas you would like to succeed. Pick two or three successful people you admire and do a little bit of research on them:
- How did they start out?
- How long did it take them to become successful?
- What steps did they take?
- Did their goals change during this time? If so, how?
Once you have answered these questions for each of your models, it’s time to compare and include a self-evaluation. This is where the actual goal-setting comes in:
- What aspects do you admire in each person?
- What points are similar throughout all their stories?
- In what ways can I copy their processes?
- How do I realistically adopt these steps?
- What differences can I find in my situation?
- How can I adjust some of their steps to meet my situation?
- How can I start adopting some of these steps within the next month?
- What tasks do I need to star immediately? Within the next month? Within the next six-months? Within the next year?
Adopting an example can often clarify our wants and desires and help us understand our goals. This method can also help us get a better understanding of how to prioritize tasks, so we can better reach our goals.
Goal-setting is important, but always remember that people and circumstances can change. You want to re-evaluate your goals periodically and make sure these are still the things you are striving for.
You also want to be open to new possibilities. Don’t let the fact that you have plans written out deter you from evaluating new ideas, just make sure the new ideas will fit in with the primary goal(s).
What methods do you use to set goals? Tell me about it in the comments.
Need a little more motivation? Check out three questions you can ask yourself to get the journal process started. If the idea of journaling seems daunting to you, be reassured with just how easy the process can be.
And remember, if you sign up for the newsletter, you will receive 30 days of writing prompts for free. These aren’t just about goal-setting, but journaling in general can really help you determine your vision.