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Easy Goal Setting for Everyone

my goals list on napkin

Welcome to 2018! It’s almost January, and you know what that means: time to plan your goals for the year. Right?

Don’t Be Discouraged!
Depending on how well this past year’s goal setting went, this might be easier said than done. Maybe you’ve tried a lot of ways to plan and they haven’t turned out very well. The biggest thing to remember is to find a method that works for you.

I’ve been teaching a time management and goal setting class for the last ten-plus years, and there are a couple of things I’ve found that seem to work for most people.

Write It Down
The first thing you need is a list. Write down every single goal you have for your life this year – personal, financial, spiritual, career or writing-related – anything at all, write it down. This is your Master Goals List.

It may take you a day or a week to get everything written down, but once you think you’ve got it all, go through and circle the five most important goals. These will be your Primary Goals for the year.

Now go through and underline the next five most important goals. These will be your Secondary Goals for the year.

Move Some Goals to Next Year
Look at the rest of the items on your Master Goals List. Does it seem like there is more than you can do this year? Let me give you a hint: the answer is almost always yes. If there is anything that you are willing to put off until next year, get another piece of paper and move these onto your 2019 Master Goals List.

Now you have your primary goals, your secondary goals, and your extra goals. The idea is that you will work on your five primary goals first, and when they are accomplished you will work on your secondary goals. Then, if you get all of your primary and secondary goals accomplished this year, you’ll work on your extra goals.

Rearrange Some Goals
If, when looking at your lists, you feel like this won’t work for you, then you probably need to move some of your goals around. That doesn’t mean adding more than five to the primary or secondary lists, but simply exchanging one goal for another more important one.

Congratulations! You have your 2018 goals list!

Fewer Goals, Better Chance You’ll Achieve Them
Another way to do this, which arguably might be more achievable, is to look at your Master Goals List and choose no more than 7 to 10 goals for the whole year. That’s it. You can work at each of them a little at a time or work at one all the way through, it’s up to you. If you want, you can choose two or three extras that you will begin working on only when you finish the most important 7 to 10 goals.

Go back to your original Master Goals List and try the second method. Now look at both final lists. Which one speaks to you more? Which one excites you more? That’s the one you should type up and print out.

Or if you’re feeling artistic, rewrite it with colored pencils and pens and stickers and make it beautiful.

A Daily Reminder to Keep You on Track
Post it on your wall, someplace where you’ll see it often, and make sure to look at it every day.

If you haven’t started your goal setting for this year, or if you feel overwhelmed by the thought of it, or the thought of failing to achieve your goals, give this a try.

Then post a comment below and let me know how it went. I know you can do this!

I’m super excited about 2018. It’s going to be a great year!



About the author, Kitty

Kitty Bucholtz writes superhero urban fantasy and romantic comedy, often with an inspirational element woven in. After earning her M.A. in Creative Writing, she formed Daydreamer Entertainment and began self-publishing. Founder of the WRITE NOW! Workshop and the new WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast, she loves to teach in person and online. Learn more at

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