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Goal Setting: Where To Start?

After I posted telling the world of Instagram that I’d recently been on a goal-setting retreat with my husband, I got many inquiries asking about my process and tools. Since we have done this for years around January 1, we have refined our methods and way of tackling this period of time. When we do the “retreat,” we push ourselves to think deeply, dream big, and actually FOCUS on what we want, rather than where the world pushes us. With our many years of practice and refinement, I believe that I can offer you some pearls in regards to how to shape and plan your year better than you ever have before!

So, to be perfectly transparent, many of my tools for doing my annual goal-setting come from copying genius. People like Anthony Robbins, Marie Forleo, Brendon Burchard, Sean Whalen, and mentors in my daily life. I look to them to help me figure it out and guide my process. I also use a daily planner with amazing (very intense, in-depth) tools for finding my goals, passion, and purpose and charting the steps that I need to take to get there. Look here if you want more information on the planner I’ve used for over 5 years.

Disclaimer: This is my process and it works for me. This is merely a starting point for you though. The point of it all is growth, introspection, and making yourself a better version of the person you were last year. It is fun to set goals, but it also requires looking back and reviewing your past year first, and that sometimes can be difficult, especially in such a trying year as 2020. Give yourself some grace, and realize that by doing this process (or something close to it) putting thought into what you want in the year ahead, you are setting yourself apart from the masses who never, ever think about what they want, where they are going, and why. Planning your preferred life is powerful. It’s one of the things that I value most throughout my year. These guideposts help me to know when I’m on track, when I’m faltering or idling, and when I need to change course or stop altogether. I wish you luck and empowerment!


"Planning your preferred life is powerful. It’s one of the things that I value most throughout my year. "


1. First thing's first, find the time. We look at our calendar a month or two in advance, and carve out time away from our kids and obligations, this is very important. We like to physically get away (i.e. to another town), but if that doesn’t work, just getting out of the house for a bit of time is A-OK. And yes, we did this (albeit for a shorter period of time) when our kids were very small. Take whatever period of time that you can get—when the kids are asleep, right after work, a couple of hours at a coffee shop, as long as it is a few hours grouped together, it will work. Then put it on your calendar and commit to it. Also, doing this by yourself is great, doing this together with your partner is even better. If you have separate and shared goals, which most every person does, it is powerful to create and brainstorm together, then discuss and ask for support from your partner in achieving them. Having someone to keep you accountable is part of the struggle of moving forward with your goals, so when they are there tackling this project with you, you are already a big step ahead!

2. Although it’s important to look forward and dream big about goals and what you want to tackle in the coming year, you must first learn from and celebrate the year that you just experienced and lived through. Before we do anything else, we do a year in review or look back over the successes/wins/gains from the year AND the failures/heartbreaks/losses. The things that didn’t go well, hold within them the seeds of opportunity for the greatest lessons and breakthroughs. This part may dredge up painful reminders, hurt, sadness, and some negative emotions, but working through this can benefit you almost more than thinking about all the good stuff. **I used tools from for this part.

Another, more visual way to review your year is to look through all the photos on your phone. Remember each experience, interaction, celebration - every simple part of the days past. And since I’m already looking through all the photos from that year, I slot the best ones to a photo project creation site, like Shutterfly, then into a folder entitled “Year in Review—2020”. I go back later and order a memory book to encapsulate the best moments of the year. This always prolongs the joy and helps me to remember the fleeting moments, celebrations, milestones, and everyday triumphs of the year.

3. Now onto the goal setting…There are a myriad of ways to do this. I follow the steps outlined in my daily planner from Freedom Mastery. In the beginning of the planner there are very detailed steps for brainstorming what is most important to you, how you want to grow, what brings the most joy to you, and what is most important to you. These are all meant to get you into the right mindset to identify your goals. This process in its entirety can be quite lengthy and comprehensive. Some years I need this deep dive. Other years, I’m simply searching to update a few things from my running list of goals that I still am working on from the year before. If that is the case, I do something a little quicker.

This year I wanted a quick-hitter, and I found something from one of my favorite authors and motivators called the “Purge and Prune.” It’s basically a brainstorming session where I get all the things out on paper that I want out of life in the coming year, and then I prune them back to the most vital projects that I want to work on right now. It’s meant to streamline your focus in order to accomplish a few, important goals at a time. I used Marie Forleo’s process for “Purge and Prune”. Watch the quick video and get super-charged about all the exciting goals inside of your head just begging to get out.

4. Once you have some note-worthy goals that make you excited, gives you goosebumps, and/or make you sweaty (!), write them down in a way that is concise, time specific (has an endpoint), and can be measured. Then put them in a prominent place so that you see them Each. And. Every. Day!!! This is really important. If you are going to spend the time figuring it all out, you must review them regularly. The more you review and look at your goals, the more likely that it ekes into your subconscious brain and finds a way for you to achieve it! I put mine in my planner that I carry with me everywhere, AND on the wall next to my bathroom sink. Each morning while I brush my teeth, I can review and read my goals feeling the excitement, hope, and possibility flood through my body as I read them through.

So there you have it. This is my process. Each year I change it up just a bit to keep it fresh, but the basic process is the same. Dream, brainstorm, think big, and have fun with it. It does not need to be all serious! You have the power to do whatever you want, and taking this time to think about it is a powerful step in the right direction! The more you think about your goals, the more they become an integral part of your day, the more of them will get accomplished.

- kg

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