Setting Personal Goals

The thought came sometime between settling my youngest child for bed and clearing up the dinner dishes in the kitchen.

Intoxicated with the warmth of the summer evening and all the promise of the new year, I decided I wanted to go somewhere. And not just wherever my feet wandered, I wanted to go somewhere on purpose.

That was the first year I sat down and wrote out a list of Personal Goals, and a plan for achieving them.

Napoleon Hill famously wrote, “a goal is a dream with a deadline”.

PrintI know – in the busyness and intensity of mothering young children, dreams might seem frivolous. And goals? How can we have goals when we can’t even finish our to-do lists each day?

I get it. I’ve been there. (Like, yesterday.)

Setting goals can actually be quite simple. I usually go through this process at the start of each year, but any time of year will do. Just be clear about when you would like to achieve your goals.

First, plan to give yourself at least 1 hour of alone time. You might like to go out to a park or a cafe, so you really have the space to think.

Start by making a list of the different areas of your life you would like to set goals for. For example, spiritual, marriage, parenting, health, hobbies, career, homemaking.

On another page, draw lines to make three columns. The first column is titled “Resolution”, the second column “Goal” and the third column “Action Steps”.

The Resolution column is for a general principle you would like to embrace. The Goal column is where you turn that principle into a specific, measurable goal. And Action Steps is the column where you spell out how you are going to reach your goal – break it down into bite-sized pieces.

Go through your chart, and fill in each column for each of the “life areas” you listed above earlier.

Here is an example:

Resolution – Lose weight.

Goal – Reach 70kg or lower by December.

Action Steps  

  • Stop eating seconds at dinner.
  • Only eat dessert two non-consecutive nights a week, other nights fruit only.
  • Do some form of exercise every day (skipping, walking, dancing, etc).
  • Reassess in July to see how these steps are working.

When you’ve filled in your sheet, you might like to stick it up in the house somewhere you will see it often – inside a kitchen cupboard or wardrobe, for example.

Don’t get discouraged if you fail on your action steps, just get back into it. You can always revise them later on if they aren’t working.

Think of your plan as inspiration and motivation to live the life you want to live.

Lives are created one day at a time. So start living intentionally now!

Jessica Harvey





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