An Easy System for Organizing Goals
Mighty Summit was last weekend, and with Camp Mighty approaching, I’ve been considering what I want from next year. At both events we do a resource lunch where attendees choose five goals for the coming year, and ask for help with one.
My plan was to revamp my Life List because so much has changed. I found a fresh sheet of paper, got all thinky, and! My new goals were so meaty, you guys. “I have leveled up!” I thought, “My personal growth this past year is astounding!”
But, no. Turns out I always go through a process of setting larger goals and then winnowing down to specifics, it just wasn’t conscious before. In fact, over the years I’ve developed a system that works pretty well for me using three different types of goals:
I write all year long — here, in journals, on 750 Words, and I also keep an idea file on my laptop full of information I want to consider when I’m setting course for the year.
As my birthday approaches, I scan all that stuff and look for patterns. This helps me identify umbrella goals. They’re always a slightly different format, and they always seem cheesy when I share them, but the personal stuff always does, right? So here’s last year’s goal list:
And this year’s:
Remember who you love and who loves you.
• Celebrate others
• Help others
• Be strong
• Leave space
• Stand up
These goals help me figure out what I want to cross off my Life List in the coming year. Which brings us to the second type of goal.
These are the kinds of goals you’ll see on my Life List — taking tap lessons, tasting 1,000 fruits, rolling a kayak. Once I’ve set my directional goals for the year, I sort through my list for ideas actions that will move me in the right direction.
Under each directional goal, I add a clarifying sentence and then either fill in a few ideas from my Life List, or add tasks to my Life List based on my umbrella goals. I haven’t done this yet this year, so I’ll make up an example:
• Be strong.
Take care of myself so I have energy for everything else.
-Do a Triathlon.
-Practice the Four Agreements.
-Do something fun every day.
Now I know where I want to be, and also the specifics on how I’ll get there.
I plug away at tasks from birthday to birthday, and then start the process again in Fall, carrying over some longer-term items and deciding on fresh lessons with each pass.
In the meantime, I need reminders to lighten up.
Come New Year when everyone is in resolution frenzy and seasonal-affective disorder is sapping my will to achieve, I write up a list of fun things I want to keep in mind. Last year’s looked like this:
• Eat more doughnuts.
• Carry less crap.
• Light more candles.
• Read real books.
• Organize the little stuff.
• Listen to more music.
These goals aren’t about effort, they’re just reminders of the things that keep life sweet for me.
So aside from daily to do lists, those are my main goal categories. What about you? How do you organize the things you want to accomplish? Do you make more than one list? Do you just keep things in your head? I’m curious because obviously I’m “meticulous” and the same process won’t produce the best results for everyone. Let me know your thoughts in comments.