Goal Setting: Why it’s Important and How to Do It

Here’s the deal: You can’t reach your goals if you don’t know what your goals are, and you’re unlikely to reach your goals if you don’t have a plan to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

Goal Setting in Recovery

Have you ever considered that goal setting is key to recovery? I hadn’t really thought about it until I got into bullet journaling and started regularly setting myself goals. My productivity and sense of purpose skyrocketed. Goals can help you stay clean. (That’s kind of the idea of “just for today,” right? Your goal is to stay clean today.) Goals can help you move forward with your life after a rough period of time. Goals can help you create a life you enjoy, one you’re excited to wake up to.

A photo by Patrick Tomasso. unsplash.com/photos/Oaqk7qqNh_c

How to Set Goals

Hopefully I now have you convinced that you should start setting goals for yourself regularly, but you may be wondering exactly how you do that. It can feel overwhelming at first, but not to fear. I’ll break it down for you and you can use my free goal-setting printables to help you get going!

  1. Take some time for reflection to figure out what your goals are. Think about what you want to accomplish, what makes you happy, and what you need to do. I’m a big fan of lists, so I recommend writing them out. Write down all the goals you think of. We’ll prioritize them later. Right now you’re just getting them down on paper (or computer, whatever.) Make sure that these are SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. But I say, don’t get too caught up in whether or not it’s realistic. Dream big! You can accomplish all you set out to do. I believe in you!
  2. Organize your goals by timeframe. Some of your goals will be short term and some will be long term. Figure out approximate deadlines for each goal. Remember to be realistic. You’re not going to change your entire life in a week and setting unrealistic deadlines is setting yourself up for failure and disapointment. I try to be amitious, but reasonable. If you’re not in a good place right now, don’t feel like you have to be super ambitious with your deadlines. It’s okay to take the time you need. Seperate out your goals into weekly, monthly, and yearly lists. (If there are any really big ones, you may need an even longer amount of time like 3-5 years. That’s okay too!)
  3. Prioritize your lists. It’s always good to know what’s important to you so that you put more time and energy into that. If there are things that absolutely need to be done, they get put at the top of list. If you’re like me and feel like everything is important and have trouble prioritizing, talk to someone you trust. Explain what you’re doing and let them look at your lists and help you figure out what’s important. I always ask my boyfriend to help me when I’m trying to prioritze any list.
  4. Break down your goals into actionable to dos. Looking at a list of goals can be exciting and overwhelming. You want to do all these things, but how do you get there? That’s what this step is here for. Some goals are small enough that they’re naturally a one-step task, but for larger goals you need to figure out all the steps it will take to get from where you are now to where you want to be. For example, one of my goals this month is to grow my following on social media. My SMART goal is to gain 50 followers on Instagram by the end of September. To turn that into actionable tasks, I researched how people organically gain real followers. So my subgoals are to post a new photo at least once a day, use Later to schedule out posts so I’m not clogging up anyone’s newsfeed when I post multiple pictures, spend 10 minutes a day interacting with other Instagram users (following, commenting, and liking), and make sure my photos are all high quality.
  5. Schedule out your goal tasks. Take those tasks you just figured out and create a schedule! This step is crucial because it’s easy to make goals and then forget about them or procrastinate them when life gets in the way. Pull out your planner, bullet journal, or calendar and write in every task you need to complete to reach your goals. It’s okay if the timeline changes as you go, and you can always move things around later. The important thing is to have a schedule to start working from. For larger goals, you may decide to do one task a week to work toward your goal. Or maybe you’ll do one every day. Again, try to be realistic when scheduling your goal tasks.
  6. Start creating the life you want. Now it’s up to you to actually follow your schedule as best you can and work toward achieving your goals! If you think it’d be helpful for you, have an accountability partner, someone who will check up on you once in a while and ask how your goals are coming along. They can also be the person you go to when you hit a road bump and need advice or encouragement.
  7. Review your goals and your accomplishments. Set a time each week, or month, or six months, or whatever makes sense for your timeframe and review your goals. Are these all still things you want? Or have your goals shifted? How are you doing with your schedule? Are you doing your goal tasks when they’re scheduled? Are you reaching your smaller goals? If not, reflect on why that is. Perhaps you were too ambitious with your timeline, or maybe there were outside forces holding you back. Adjust accordingly. Rewrite your lists with the new adjustments, and go back over your schedule to make any changes you need. And don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for making all the progress you’ve made so far! Every step you take toward your goals is important and impressive! You’re doing awesome.

And don’t forget to subscribe to receive your free goal setting printables!




2 thoughts on “Goal Setting: Why it’s Important and How to Do It

  1. Brandon Smith says:

    Been using a digital bullet journal in Evernote for about 2 months now. The first ever time I had even head of a bullet journal was from your posts. It’s incredible how much motivation I get from filling out my daily goals. I actually plan out the things I want to get accomplished in a day, and then I follow through. Thanks for showing me this info it has helped me a lot!


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