Behind The Scenes of My Goal Setting and Journaling
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While I would never consider myself a natural-born journaler, I am 110% a natural-born list maker and note taker. I have hordes of filled up spiral notebooks covered in rainbow colored ink on every subject under the sun. In high school, I prided myself on perfecting multiple versions of my handwriting and taking copious detailed notes in all of my classes. I definitely learn by listening, writing down notes on what I’ve heard, re-listening, and editing the notes I took. Even now as an adult I will be driving and listening to a podcast episode and have to pull over to pull out my iPad and Apple pen, and furiously scribble down notes before I’m late to pick up my kids from school. There’s just so much information and content that I consume throughout my day, and when something hits me as inspiration- I simply have to write it down or it’s lost forever.
So journaling has been something new for me this year and it’s become such a huge part of my daily life due to some specific struggles I had been having in the beginning of the year. A problem that I was definitely facing (and as I’m doing more research into what to create for my audience I’m hearing it over and over again) was never having enough time to accomplish the things I wanted to in my business. Whether it was creating more content for my social, or engaging with my audiences, or launching some new projects I had been wanting to work on, I was so busy working IN my business that there never seemed to be any time to work ON my business.
It was clear that for anything to change I had to change my priorities and put some boundaries in place around where I was spending all of my time. I was working as hard as ever, but never really feeling like I was getting any traction in the goals I set for my business. I was not creating my calendar around the things that I wanted to progress. I was constantly chasing money and trying to complete projects for clients, which is always important, but it definitely didn’t allow me any space to work on the things that I knew would give me more freedom in both my business and my personal life. After some mentorship from a dear friend, I dove into a lot more personal development books, and one that I stumbled upon that has made a huge impact in my life was High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard.
High Performance Habits’ main message is the importance of consistent reflection and being really clear on what it is that we are trying to actually accomplish in our life’s work. This really stuck out to me, and I knew that I needed to take action in a big way to make these changes exist. NOTHING different was going to happen without me actually doing something and continuing to simply react to life as I had been.
Throughout the last few months, I have created my own journaling & planner pages and have really focused my calendar on spending time to assess and reflect and make a plan. I’m definitely not perfect at this and I’m continually changing my methods every single month as the seasons of my life are changing. Whenever my schedule changes I always have to readjust and learn something new, but there’s no doubt that my daily journaling has been a huge factor of growth and clarity. It has left me so much less frazzled and burnt-out than I had been at the beginning of the year.
I’m going to walk you through what Goal Setting and Journaling looks like for me and how I start each day with the end in mind.
Look at the Big Picture | 3-year vision & skill goals
I first stumbled upon Brendon’s work when I was listening to a Rachel Hollis podcast episode right around New Year’s Eve [Time Stamp 3:05]. She had invited Brendon on to talk about New Year’s resolutions and what he does every single year to ring in the New Year for himself and his business. He said he doesn’t set resolution to fix problems. Instead, he creates skill goals that will lead to success in 3-5 years.
“In three years from now if I was living my dream life and making my dream difference, what skills would I have to have that I don’t currently do confidently or world-class?”
He explained that the first step is to write your vision for who you want to be in 3-5 years. I split these into three main sections – personal, mission, and life.
Your Personal Goals can be about your health, your emotional well-being, any spiritual goals you want to accomplish, or something you’ve always wanted to learn. Want to run a marathon? Be in the best shape of your life? Learn French? Put this vision here.
Your Mission is the work you do in the world. Since you’re probably a business owner if you’re reading this, write the goals for your business in this section. If you have a financial goal for your business, you want to grow a larger team or add a new offering, go ahead and put that vision here. If you want to expand and become a speaker, a writer, or open up more businesses, add that in too.
Your Life Vision can be anything that you want your life to look like. You can include what your family looks like, how you interact with your friends, what your intimate relationship looks like and what kind of experiences or adventures you want to create.
Once those things are clear in your mind, list the skills you need to develop in order to make those things happen. Want to have published your first book? List the skills you think you need to work on to get there. Want to have a Dream Team working with you in your business? List the skills you need to start building that team. Want to run a marathon in the next couple of years but have never run more than a mile? List what you think you need to learn, the changes you need to make, a mentor or coach you can find to help you- whatever can help you get closer to reaching that dream.
Now that you know what you need to learn and the skills you need to develop, you choose the order you want to learn in, and what you’re going to focus on getting done in the next 12 months. The key that stuck out to me with Brendon is that he focuses on the LEARNING of a skill. He emphasizes that we need to seek out help to get better at something. Finding a course, a mentor, a book, a program to help propel you forward is key. Not just writing it down and hoping it will come to pass-actually making a game plan towards progress is the only way it is going to get done.
“Imagine you have a small pile of rocks, some pebbles, and some sand. Your objective is to get them all to fit in a glass jar. If you put the sand in first, then the pebbles, the rocks don’t fit. However, if you put the rocks in first, and then the pebbles (which filter down between the rocks) and finally the sand (which filters down between the rocks and the pebbles) it all fits in the same size jar. The jar represents all the time you have in a day. The rocks represent the most important things you must get done. The pebbles represent your day-to-day responsibilities, and the sand represents all the interruptions during the day.”
Choose Your Quarterly Rocks
Now that you have listed off alllllll the things that you want and need to learn to get to where you want to go, it’s time to prioritize and pick what your focus will be in the next 3 months. By taking a big skill and breaking it into manageable chunks to focus on in a 90 Day period, you eliminate overwhelm and make more progress on fewer things before leveling up to something new. I first heard about the idea of “Quarterly Rocks” in the book “What the heck is EOS” by Gino Wickman.
Quarterly Rocks are the main focus points in the next 90 days that will give you the most progress towards your Big Picture Goals. In Chapter 5 of “What the heck is EOS“ the author breaks down why and what you need to get done in the next 90 days. The book refers mostly to creating rocks for your business, but you can apply it to anything in your life that you are trying to make progress on. Commit to these rocks for the 90 day periods, and put all your new ideas for new rocks you can do in the next 90 days so you don’t bounce around all over the place. Always be sure you have a specific outcome listed so you hold yourself accountable to sticking to those rocks.
Plan Your Monthly Milestones
The monthly milestones breakdown your Quarterly Rocks and give you your assignments to work on in the next 30 days to make progress. We’re eating the elephant one bite at a time here, people. The thing to start with on this page of the planner is filling in the events going on in the month with their dates, the big projects you’re working on, any and all deadlines, and anything in your business you plan on promoting so you don’t forget about all your other commitments as you work on these milestones. There’s also a space at the bottom to jot down how this month’s assignments are in alignment with your 12-month focus and how it aligns with your Big Picture Vision. So many times we give ourselves busy work that really doesn’t need to be focused on at all, so instead, we’re always putting the end in mind when we plan out what our month will look like.
Commit to Weekly Reviews
In my weekly reviews, I make sure I’m checking in with ALL aspects of my life to ensure I don’t neglect or forget about any of the elements that are important to me. This again comes from High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard and has made a huge impact in feeling balanced. I like to save these weekly reviews for the weekend in the morning with a latte and a scone to make it feel less tedious and more of a celebration of what I did throughout the week.
Be sure to listen to Section Two, Habit 4: Increase Productivity in High-Performance Habits to understand more about creating a weekly review ritual.
“Sometimes just having a look at the larger picture can help us feel more in control, adjust course as needed, and find more balance.”
Start off your day with a Daily Journal
This is the magic for me, personally. This is the difference between me feeling utterly overwhelmed and all over the place or calm and peaceful throughout my day. I don’t get to my journaling every day, but I can feel it affect me negatively when I don’t do this for a few days in a row. My daily journaling grounds me and makes me feel structured. I have a list of things that I try and do every morning as part of my routine, but the biggest part is listing what I’m grateful for, writing down my goals and priorities for the day, and scribbling out a to-do list.
If this all seems like a HUGE time dedication to be this intentional, it’s because IT IS. It’s taken me MONTHS to get to where I’ve felt comfortable enough spending this much time on planning and creating a vision for my life, and it definitely feels like a practice (much like yoga). It’s a work in progress, but I would not have the clarity and clear vision for my day to day life without putting in the work.
I’ve helped you skip a few steps by creating a printable vision planner and daily journal so you can follow my lead and start being the captain of your ship. Click the button below, send me your email, and I’ll get it right on over to your inbox so you can get to planning right away.
Links mentioned in this post
Behind The Scenes of my Goal Setting & Journaling
Once you’ve had the chance to read, watch, or listen- I’d love to hear your thoughts!
It’s your turn to tell me your big vision for your business! Leave a comment below and tell me what you want your business to look like in 3-5 years. No dream is too big – putting it out in the universe makes it waaaay more likely to come true. Go in detail and paint a picture for us- you never know who could get inspiration from what you share in the comments. Be brave and make your vision for your business known!