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January 19, 2017

How to Set Your Goals (and Reach Them) By Scheduling for Success

Resolutions vs. Results. How to set your goals and schedule for success.   Goal Setting | Calendar Scheduling | Planning | Goal Setting Worksheets


If you saw last week’s post, you know that I’m all about results and not so much about resolutions. I feel like resolutions carry a lot of pressure with them and not usually a whole lot of meaning or execution, but working toward results/goals is more of a solid plan. So for my second post under the Resolutions vs. Results series, I give you the most important part: setting your goals and scheduling for success.

In my experience, the only way to change anything is to write it down, organize my thoughts and make a plan. Now, that sounds really good in theory and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve thought, “Ok awesome, I’m going to sit down with my colorful pens and planner notebook, write everything out, and get my shit together.” But I can definitely tell you how many times I’ve actually done that, and the answer is zero.

Life is busy, and when we aren’t busy, our brains are so mush from being busy that the thought of trying to plan our lives and make ourselves better people out just does not sound appealing. We know it would be beneficial to take some time to reflect and revise our goals, habits and plans, but then someone asks us to go to brunch and we push planning time right into the “maybe someday” category.


Setting Your Goals

Let me introduce to you the magic of scheduling. Personally, I don’t accomplish 90% of what I need to/want to unless I schedule time in my calendar and make lists. Writing everything out is my way of organizing the random ideas/tasks/wants/needs floating around in my brain, and actually scheduling time to do them is my way of attempting to be a functioning member of society. Herein lines the issue with the majority of humans in general; we rarely write things down, and therefore we don’t accomplish what we wish we could, and thereeeefore we feel like crap about ourselves. If we do write things down, we usually don’t include a plan of action, and that makes it really easy to skip out on our plans due to laziness and overwhelm. You can schedule “Goal Planning” on Saturday morning all you want, but if you don’t write down a few actions (such as: print worksheets, pack bag with pens and sheets, go to Starbucks to work on it) to help you achieve it, you’ll most likely choose brunch instead.

Before You Plan, You Need a Plan

Ok this is going to seem like a contradiction, but in order to be good at planning and scheduling, you need to plan a time to plan in order to make a plan. So the first step to making your life awesome is to go into your phone calendar (or planner if you have one, which good for you!!) and schedule a time to sit down with the goal worksheets and figure out what you want out of life. You can download the goal worksheets at the end of this post. Schedule this goal planning time for a time when you’ll ACTUALLY do it, such as on a Wednesday night when you know nothing better will come up. It’s important to take the time to actually think about your goals and plan of action, so I suggest scheduling at least an hour or two. Use your handy dandy list of Improves/Feel Goods/Feel Bads that I talked about last week (see the post here), print your goal worksheets and bring a few pens, go somewhere quiet, and get to planning!

How to Work the Worksheets

I’ve designed these worksheets in correspondence with how I like to organize my thoughts, with some input from a few of my best friends. I realize that everyone does things a little different, so feel free to mold these worksheets to work for you. While relfecting on your Improves/Feel Goods/Feel Bads list, you’ll probably notice some overarching categories such as health, finances, relationships, happiness, etc. Whatever 5 categories encompass the majority of your list are your focuses.

My focuses are: Healthy & Happy, Finances, Personal Growth, Blog, Organization

On the first page, you’ll find your overall list of goals. These are your broad goals that revolve around your focuses. If it feels overwhelming to write all five down at once, write down one or two to start with, and then move on to the action plan page to get your creative juices flowing. Here are a few examples of mine:

Broad Goal: Stay on top of personal health and wellness, fitness schedule, and maintaining a healthy diet.
Focus: Healthy & Happy

Broad Goal: Participate in more activities/events that feed my passions for arts, sports and my local area.
Focus: Personal Growth

Broad Goal: Use my calendar and planner to my advantage in order to spend less time trying to remember little things and more time being productive.
Focus: Organization

Next, it’s time to make your action plan. Write down your goal and focus at the top as your reminder, and take a few minutes to write down a WHY statement. Why do you want to work toward this goal? How would achieving this goal improve your life? Get clear on your why will help inspire you and serves as a reminder of why this goal is important to you. Break your broad goal into three sections (this will probably coincide with your “improves”) and for each goal, list the steps to achieve it.

To save you the agony of reading my handwriting on my actual goal worksheets, here is an example from one of my personal goals:

Broad Goal: Stay on top of personal health and wellness, fitness schedule, and maintaining a healthy diet.
Focus: Healthy & Happy
Why: When I’m on a consistent workout schedule, taking care of myself and eating healthy, my overall happiness and productivity increases. I feel energetic, alert, cheerful and grounded, and motivated to keep improving.
Goal 1: Work out consistently

  • Schedule workout classes into calendar every sunday evening
  • Do four workouts per week
  • Keep a pulse on/search on Facebook for free workouts in community
  • Go with Ali to Saturday morning Yoga in the park
  • Re-register for sand volleyball league (new season starts 1/24)
  • Try the Tampa beer run 5k club

Goal 2: Maintain a healthy diet and decrease the amount that I go out to eat or pickup food.

  • Schedule meal planning day and grocery day
  • Make a pinterest board of healthy meals and snack recipes
  • Make lunches for work the night before
  • Eat breakfast and dinner at home and bring lunch to work at least 4 days a week
  • Research healthy food options on healthy/food blogs

Use the Results section to keep notes of what you’re noticing along the way, and to reflect on at the end of the month. There are also prompts at the end of the worksheets packet that will help you evaluate your goals, actions and results. I recommend doing these worksheets every 2-3 months in order to really get results, but if you want to revamp them every month that’s cool too! At the end of the cycle, use the reflect page to decide what goals worked for you, what ones didn’t, and brainstorm about how you want to change your goals and actions for the next cycle.


Resolutions vs. Results. How to set your goals and schedule for success. Goal Setting | Calendar Scheduling | Planning | Goal Setting Worksheets


Scheduling for Success

So you’ve got your goals written out and you’re all like “hell yea, life is about to be so good.” Correct, as long as you actually take action and stick to your plan! The easiest way to do this is to schedule your actions into your calendar. Go through your worksheets and decide WHEN you’re going to execute your actions.

If you have measurable actions such as “go to four workout classes a week” or “eat at home four nights a week” make a little checkbox habit tracker in the notes section of your planner or (better yet) actually schedule which days/nights you are going to go to class/eat at home/whatever. Like seriously, schedule every action. Whether you actually do it or not (you should do it) it’ll at least be there and you can see if your goals are totally achievable or if you need to scale back a little and take baby steps.

Whether you use a written planner, or use a digital calendar such as your google cal or iphone cal, it all depends on preference. I like to pretend that I love writing stuff down in a planner, but when it comes down to it, I’m much more of a google calendar girl. If it’s not on my phone, I probably won’t open my planner to look at it and I’ll forget. I like to set reminders so that it pops up automatically on a day and time. I also LOVE the feature where you can set a reminder to pop up when you arrive at a location, it’s especially helpful for little tasks such as picking up a package at your apartment complex after work or remembering little errands. Plus, when everything is on Google calendars, I can access it right from my desktop. Try both methods and see what works best for you!

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to just not schedule anything during times you know you’ll probably find something better to do. Like, don’t schedule meal planning time on Sunday afternoon if you usually spend your Sundays watching football at breweries. Don’t schedule 9:30 am yoga in the park on a Saturday when you know you’re going to a birthday party Friday night. Yes, both of those are examples from my real life.

I could probably talk about planning and scheduling for about 3 more hours, so I digress. Like I said in last week’s post, there are a ton of good posts coming up in the next few weeks about meal planning, working out, and digital detoxing so stay tuned for those. But for now, download these handy dandy worksheets, get to your goal planning, and we’ll go from there!

If you have any questions or scheduling tips of your own, I’d love to hear them in the comment box! Make sure to pin the image below so you can re-print your worksheets monthly!


Resolutions vs. Results. How to set your goals and schedule for success.   Goal Setting | Calendar Scheduling | Planning | Goal Setting Worksheets

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  • shru

    Love it, I am one of those organized freaks (bordering COD) lol. This helps a lot thank you so much 🙂

    February 1, 2017 at 7:25 pm Reply
    • alexandra

      Ah same, it’s not always the worst thing though! You’re very welcome.

      February 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm Reply
  • New Labels Only

    Love the bit on personal health. I’m gonna take your plan and put it into practice. Thank you for posting!

    February 1, 2017 at 10:47 pm Reply
    • alexandra

      Thank you! I’m glad it inspired you and wish you the best of luck!

      February 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    These worksheets will come in handy for my busy schedule. I am all about organizing as much as I can.

    February 2, 2017 at 11:51 am Reply
    • alexandra

      I’m so glad that the worksheets will be put to good use! That’s what they’re here for 🙂 Thank you!

      February 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm Reply
  • Natalie Greagor

    Your plan needs a plan! YES! lol Goal setting is a great system. Executing those goals is another conversation. I am not a person to set resolutions (that’s wishful thinking). However, I am a person to have a plan for the plans that I will execute. Lovely article.


    February 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm Reply
    • alexandra

      Thank you so much, Natalie! It’s kind of sad that we need to plan to make plans, but it’s true! I hope the article helps you 🙂

      February 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm Reply
  • kelsi

    Love these printouts! I am a huge fan of setting goals the old-fashioned pen-to-paper way 😉 The actionable process makes me feel super productive, and my goals suddenly seem much more realistic!

    February 2, 2017 at 6:59 pm Reply
    • alexandra

      Me too Kelsi! I love writing things down (even if I don’t end up looking at it again ha) so I’m glad I’m not the only one!! Thanks for reading 🙂

      February 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm Reply

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