Today, I am so proud to present our Goal-Keeping Planner. I got the idea for this planner last year but wanted to give it a test run (using a prototype).
I wanted to make sure that it would do what I expected it to do: keep me focused on my yearly goals. And I’m proud to say that I did complete quite a few goals and made progress on others.
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Quick Links to Info Below
- 1 The Goal-Keeping Planner
- 2 Setting Up Your Goal-Keeping Planner
- 3 Breaking Down Your Goal-Keeping Planner
- 4 Best Practices for Your Goal-Keeping Planner
- 5 Ready to Start Your Goal-Keeping Planner?
The Goal-Keeping Planner
In the Beginning
For years, I have set goals for myself, usually at the start of the year, like most people. Unfortunately, as each year went by I realized that I would never complete many of them because frankly, I’d forget them. So, last year, I decided to try something different.
I wanted a way to keep my goals up front and center every day without having to tack them on my wall or fridge. I also took notice that the one thing that remains constant in my daily to-do life is my trusty planner.
Then a light bulb went off: why don’t I combine my goal-setting worksheets with my daily planner to make sure I didn’t “set it and forget it”.
The Testing Phase
To test out whether the Goal-Keeping Planner would work, my husband and I came up with a lofty goal: to renovate the entire first floor of our home before Thanksgiving.
We had been putting this off for a while and so it was time to make it happen. And with a Thanksgiving deadline, it gave us a little over 11 months to pull it off.
As the year went by, there were times I didn’t think we were going to make it. Between money and time, it was a toss-up. But we kept referring to our prototype and readjusting our goals here and there so that we could stay on them.
Below, I lay out how we used our goal-keeping planner prototype so you can understand the features we came up with at the end.
Setting Up Your Goal-Keeping Planner
The first thing we did was to work on some SMART goals. We did this using my goal-setting worksheets. These are free in my library resource. If you’d like a copy, just fill out the form at the end of the post.
Now, the goal-setting worksheets and the goal-keeping planner are two different things. The worksheets help with developing and creating sound goals while the planner is your go-to for all the tasks involved in completing your goals.
Creating and Developing Goals
Once we came up with our goals, we started filling in our goal-keeping planner sheets. The first of which consisted of writing down the goals that we had created.
If you get the goal-keeping planner you will use the “annual goals” worksheet to do this.
The sheet will ask you for a measure of progress. This is where you indicate how you will track your progress. This usually consists of a habit tracker or graph which you can include in your binder. By the way, I have 5 different types of habit trackers available with the goal-setting worksheets.
I included 4 annual goals worksheets (3 goals per sheet). That gives you enough room for 12 goals. However, I recommend having no more than 10 goals at one time or you could risk getting overwhelmed. If you have more than 10 goals, just add them later as you complete other goals.
With your annual goals written, place it in the front of your planner. You want to keep these goals accessible at all times. This will prevent you from inadvertently forgetting them.
Breaking Down Your Goal-Keeping Planner
Quarterly Goal “Areas”
Next, you will want to refer to your annual goals as you come up with goal “areas” for your quarterly worksheets. That is, in just a couple of words, what is it you will work on in that quarter and in what month or months.
Here, you don’t need to be so specific. It is like creating a timeline. You just want a good estimate of when you think you will complete the goal. You want to take into consideration things like time, money, and even weather.
So, for January, we wrote down “Jack’s room” and for February “Josh’s room” instead of listing actual tasks. This would come into play next.
When you do complete a goal area, simply check it off. If you fall behind, simply keep the goal area checkbox unchecked. You could also move the task to the next month within the quarter or into the next quarter.
I suggest just leaving it unchecked rather than moving it so that it kind of “haunts” you into finishing the project. However, if the project is delayed for reasons other than procrastination, then go ahead and move it to the appropriate time.
Once you have your quarterly “areas” filled in, refer to them as you plan out each month. Start out by filling in any appointments or events that may take place during the month.
After, write down all the tasks that need to be done that month. Again, you don’t have to get very specific.
For example, for Josh’s room, we listed “build Tetris shelves; build bookshelf unit; research storage ideas”. We listed tasks but didn’t get too specific. You’ll see what I mean when I go over the next section.
Recording Your Monthly Progress
On the monthly worksheets, I included a progress bar as well as a “status” section for each task. So as you complete your task you can highlight or color in the progress bar. Then at the end of the month, you can put a symbol in the status section of that task:
- put a checkmark if you have completed your task
- place a right-pointing arrow if you need to continue the task in the following month
- write an “x” if you feel that the task is unnecessary or you just don’t want to do it
Sometimes, what you may have thought you wanted to do, doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore. It’s okay to “x” something out once in a while.
At the bottom of the sheet is a space for any new and unanticipated tasks that may arise as you complete your goals. This is something we learned during our renovations.
Just when we finished one task, an unexpected one would pop up before we could go on to the next task. You may see this happen from time to time. It’s normal.
Weekly Planner Sheets
For this section, you will want to get a bit more specific. You will want to figure out which days you have time to take on certain projects.
You may find that when it comes to big projects, you really only have the weekends to do so. And that’s okay. However, there are other things you could do during the week to prepare for those days.
So, using Josh’s bookshelf tasks for February this is what one week looked like on our prototype:
- Sunday: buy wood, brackets, and paint (Lowes)
- Monday: purchase letter design for the bookshelf (Walmart)
- Tuesday: cut wood into pieces
- Wednesday: Drill holes and assemble pieces
- Thursday: Sand and putty holes
- Friday: Paint and attach letters
- Saturday: Install bookshelf
Now, I only placed one weekly planner worksheet in this file just because you may not need to plan out every single week. This will not only save you paper by printing only what you need but it keeps this file from taking up space on your computer.
Another plus is that you have a say on what the “beginning of the week” day is. Some prefer starting with Sunday and others on Monday. This way, you choose what works for you.
Recording Your Weekly Progress
I also included the “status” and “new tasks” feature to this sheet as well.
- Use checkmarks for completed tasks
- A down arrow indicates that you are moving the task to a different day of that same week
- A right-pointing arrow means you are moving it to the following week.
- And we know what the ‘x’ means.
Also, don’t forget to enter any appointments/events onto this sheet. These are listed at the top of your monthly worksheets.
Daily To-do Lists
This is exactly what it is, a daily list of to-dos. While I could use the weekly planner sheets above, it doesn’t provide much room for other things we need to get done on a daily basis that has nothing to do with our goals like cleaning, perhaps unrelated errands, and more. Just don’t forget to enter your goals and appointments for that day.
This worksheet has lots of room for breaking down your tasks. Somedays, I use it for more than one day, just so I don’t waste paper especially on days I either don’t have much going on or I’m focused on a single project. So don’t feel you have to print one out for every day.
And like the weekly planner sheets, I only placed one sheet in your file to be printed as needed. This sheet also has a “status” and “new tasks” sections.
Best Practices for Your Goal-Keeping Planner
The first thing I would advise you to do is to keep your planner in its own binder. I’ve provided a cover page and matching binder spine label for you to use if you prefer.
Keep this binder handy at all times. Try not to keep it in a bookshelf all day. Personally, I keep this binder on my desk and refer to it every time I complete a task.
As you complete your worksheets, don’t throw them away. Simply move them to the back of the binder. This way you can revisit your goals at the end of the year and see how far you’ve come.
It is also a good idea to review how you did so you can spot any strategies that worked for you and those that did not.
Printing and Filling Out Your Sheets
Now, when you download your goal-keeping planner, I suggest printing each sheet once. Then sit down and take your time filling them in.
And don’t feel pressured to fill out every single one. For example, you should fill out your annual goals sheets. Then fill in your “1st” and maybe your “2nd” quarterly goal areas.
You don’t have to immediately fill out the 3rd and 4th. Get to it when you feel comfortable predicting what you will be working on in those quarters.
The same goes for your monthly tasks sheets as well. Just work on two to three months. What you will want to fill in soon after making a few goals are your weekly and daily to-dos planners.
Suggestions for Your Goal-Keeping Planner Set Up
The following are some suggestions to make your planner more user-friendly:
- use page protectors for your cover page/calendar, and annual, quarterly, and monthly goal sheets
- you can also use reinforcement labels to make your sheets durable throughout the year
- use index tabs to separate your goal sheet categories
- if you are using habit trackers, then, by all means, keep them in here as well
- print on both sides of your sheets so you don’t waste paper
While I suggest filling out your daily to-do list every day, you don’t have to revisit the other parts of your planner so frequently. The following is how I schedule my “planner visits“:
- only visit your annual goal sheets when you have completed a goal and/or you want to add another goal
- go over your quarterly and monthly sheets at the start of every month
- fill in your weekly sheets at the beginning of your week whether that’s a Sunday or Monday for you
- and naturally, put together your daily to-do list either the night before or on the morning of
If you have shared goals, make sure to schedule quick meetings. For example, renovating our first floor was a shared goal between my husband and me.
At the start of every month, we set aside about 20 minutes to adjust our goals. Then, every Sunday, we sat down and sketched out our week. That only took about 5 minutes to do.
Well, I think I covered everything. If not, please feel free to ask me anything in the comments below. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready to Start Your Goal-Keeping Planner?
Click here if you are ready to get your goal-keeping planner. Right now, it is only $5.00.
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