Near the end or even the start of the new year, people feel energized and motivated to conquer their dreams and give life to all their wonderful ideas.
While it might seem like a perfectly linear process, it can be much harder to implement in the real world when you have other commitments to cater to, unplanned things constantly popping up, and hurdles that you didn't forecast.
Goal planning through a goal planner is the solution to the problem of not achieving what you have in mind for yourself and your life. In this article, we look at how goal planners will get you closer to making your life the life of your dreams.
Understanding Goal Planning
Most people use daily, weekly, or even monthly planners to create a map of what they need to do for the year.
However, these planners become more about telling a tale of the specific things you did on certain dates in the previous year rather than how these activities came together to help you achieve your goal.
This is the issue that a great goal planner aims to solve. With a goal planner, you do not start by planning ahead. You work back from the goal and create an outline of what you need to do daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly to meet your specific goals.
A yearly planning journal is time-bound, and your goal planner will be too. However, these will not be hard and fast boundaries that you need to stick to.
The objective of the goal planner is to remain flexible in terms of what you need to do and when you need to do it, and also to help you keep your eye on the bigger goal.
When you have a goal planner properly mapped out and use the expert tips in this article, it will serve as a motivator to help you stay strong and on the path to materializing your goals.
Key Components of Goal Planning
To make the most of your goal planner, you need to know a bit about human psychology and how you can craft more ‘efficient’ goals to put in your goal planner. This will make the overall process of achieving your goals more streamlined and help to make even the biggest goals less burdensome.
The five main things to keep in mind for effective goal planning are:
1. Task Complexity
Big goals often require a bigger, broader, or more advanced skill set. A major goal might also involve several other processes, each with several steps.
In the goal planner, you will not only highlight the goal you want to achieve, but you will also strategically evaluate the task complexity by looking at what else you need to get done to achieve the goal.
This will allow you to understand the different routes you can take to achieve the end goal.
2. Goal Commitment
Having a goal planner with all your goals mapped out will work wonders for your commitment.
Moreover, when you have some tasks listed out that you need to complete, you are much more likely to follow through with those small tasks than you are to carry out a vague idea of what you think you should be doing.
The more discipline you can practice using the goal planner and the better you can map things out in the planner, the easier it will be to remain committed, even if it takes several months to achieve a goal.
3. Goal Importance
This is a personal matter. For some people, it is about achievement and feeling fulfilled, while for others, achieving the goal is a means to an end.
Whatever the motivation, or for whichever reason you have set out to achieve a goal, writing down those reasons will be helpful.
When you can add importance to a task, you are more likely to follow through and be more motivated to perform with commitment and dedication.
Getting things done is important, but you need to stop and get your bearings from time to time to ensure you are progressing in the right direction.
It should be a part of your goal planner to have some time each week to sit and evaluate your progress for that week and in general since you started the planner.
This will be a fresh look at what you are doing and how well you are managing. This is also a time when you can make changes and optimize your routine.
If you struggle with self-confidence or have failed so many times that you just don't know if you have what it takes, a goal planner will help.
When you are able to consistently maintain the planner and carry out the small tasks in the planner, you will develop more confidence in yourself and trust in your abilities to achieve the larger goal you have set.
Using a Goal Planner
There are a few different ways you can go about using a goal planner. You can make a digital version in a spreadsheet, buy a premade hard copy, create your own in a new notebook or modify an existing yearly planner to suit your goal-oriented program.
Whatever strategy you choose, there are a few things you will want your goal planner to have. These must-haves will make goal management and progress tracking a lot easier.
Key Components of a Good Planner
At a minimum, you want your goal planner to have:
- Enough room for up to 90-day plans for each goal.
- Space for writing down daily steps for each of the 90-day goals.
- Room to write notes and make changes.
- Lists of things you need to do or behavioral changes you need to make to achieve the small and large goals.
- Space for a weekly, monthly, and quarterly review of each goal.
- Some form of progress tracking.
- Some way of recording time.
This will give you enough room to properly organize your goals, your strategy, and your thoughts in the same planner. In a way, this will be both your journal and your goal planner.
Of course, you can customize the goal planner to include anything else that will help you manage and record your progress, along with anything else that will be of benefit.
Using Your Goal Planner for Maximum Success
One of the biggest things that will impact how successfully you can achieve your goals is how efficiently you can use the planner. You can do a few things to ensure you are getting the most out of the planner.
Get Used to the Planner
A great first goal is to start using the planner daily for 30 days. Setting up the goal planner might take a few days or even a few weeks, but the habit of opening it up and working on it should be a daily activity.
Moreover, this is something you will have to develop since you might have never used a planner in this fashion before.
One of the areas that the planner is going to help you in is recording your activities. This involves general activities and things you do with the planner itself.
In your planner, you should note down what you are doing throughout your day (or what you are doing differently) to help you achieve your bigger objectives.
One great habit you can track easily is looking at your planner first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Every time you open it, add a little star or write down the time to mark that you accomplished the task of looking at the planner that morning and evening.
Your planner needs to be easily accessible at all times. For some people, this means having it on their fridge; for others, it might be a journal in the glove compartment in the car, while some want a digital version on their phone.
Whatever you choose, you need to be able to access the planner quickly.
While apps, web-based planners, and even digital notes are great, a simple pen and paper are also a valid option. You can make notes on loose sheets of paper and add them to your planner at the end of the day.
While the larger goal is in itself a motivation, sometimes you need something a little extra to get you moving. This is what some people refer to as the ‘why’ of what you are trying to accomplish.
Again, this is something that you can note down in your planner, or you can just have a list of your ‘why’ reasons on your phone. This is something that you can look at when you aren't feeling like doing what you should be doing.
Similarly, you need to have a deep association with the why. You might want to lose weight because you want to live a happier and healthier life, but you need to want that better life with enough passion for it to be a driving force to get you to do what you need to do even when you don’t feel like it.
Again, the more you look at the reasons in your planner, the stronger those thoughts become in your heart and mind and the more impact they have.
Living More Productively With a Goal Planner
No matter what kind of goal you want to achieve, a few things can help everyone live a healthier, happier, and more productive life.
Try to live an active lifestyle. Whether that means going to the gym or walking doesn’t matter. As long as you are moving and breaking a sweat or getting your heart rate up, you are doing well.
Living an active lifestyle is not just about being in shape but about overcoming your body and doing what you need to do to live well.
You also need to be happy with what you have and grateful that you have it. There are a lot of people in this world who don't have access to food, shelter, and resources.
Being grateful for whatever position you are in puts you in a positive mindset, and it is much easier for you to maintain a positive persona this way. Try to have a more positive attitude than you generally do.
Have some form of accountability. Whether that is telling your spouse or family member about how you are progressing or skipping a party and telling people it is because you are lagging behind on your goal planner.
Again, this will take discipline, but it will help you develop the kind of work ethic you need to use the goal planner properly.
Lastly, keep it lighthearted. Thinking of it as a game will be a more rewarding and enjoyable experience. If you think of it as a chore, it will only bog you down.
After all, you are creating the goal planner to make life easier and achieve the things that are important to you. It is not meant to increase your workload and make things more challenging.
Goal planners can be a great tool to help build the habits, behaviors, and attitudes you need to achieve the goals you dream about.
Having one is also extremely therapeutic, as it gives you the chance to take a step back and evaluate your life from a different perspective. However, just writing things down in a goal planner will not be enough.
You need to make this planner a part of your everyday life. With the things you note down and the changes that you make in other areas of your life, you will very easily be able to achieve your goals.