Recently I’ve been noticing that the internet likes to publish articles about why goal-setting is a “waste of time.” I’ve seen these kinds of articles on Psychology Today, Forbes, Business Insider, and other content-heavy sites. Just google “goal setting doesn’t work” and you’ll get a list of reasons why you should be complacent in your life and stop setting goals.
The art and science of goal-setting is a huge part of my work as a guide for women, and my work as a profitable business owner, so I make it my duty to read these kinds of articles.
Usually I find that these goal-bashing articles are more click-bait than anything. Here’s my conclusion: If you don’t like the words “goals” or “goal-setting” then call it something else. Goal-setting is simply a time to consider our most closely held desires, wishes, insights, intentions, dreams, and visions. It can be as practical and as woo-woo as you want. Everything is what we make it…including our lives.
Why goal-setting absolutely works
The year I created the Life Design Planner, I was unhappy and needed to make changes in almost every area of my life. This was so overwhelming and I had no idea where to start. So I created a system to document my satisfaction in every area of my life and my progress in improving my circumstances.
The system works like this: Envision what you want, then reverse-engineer how to get there throughout each quarter, month, and week of the year. Then, consistently document your progress every step of the way.
One of my core life philosophies is that I take 100 percent responsibility for my life and my experience. Goal-setting helps me and my clients do that. I’ve discovered that when the approach to goal-setting is sound, the process will yield results. When you document your progress on a consistent basis, and review that documentation consistently, you will absolutely make upgrades and updates to how you’re doing things.
That’s because documentation helps us keep track of our satisfaction, the messages and insights coming through, and progress on creative, professional, and spiritual pursuits.
I see the Life Design Method work with the repeat Life Design Planner customers and clients. They have launched businesses, up-leveled their businesses, paid off debts, started amazing new relationships, taken adventurous trips, checked things off their bucket lists, improved their outlooks, started families, and more.
Last year one of my customers went through a harrowing experience in her personal life, and she’s updated me on her progress a few times throughout the year, as I have been rooting for her.
In her email she said that it took her about a week to cultivate the courage to face reflecting on last year, and “already I have noticed a clear path toward engaging with a more fulfilling life. Thank you for the energy, time, and effort you put into designing this planner.”
It’s true. Sitting down and looking at the past and the future takes a lot of courage.
Being a fully realized woman requires that we do so. Being fully realized means taking responsibility for our lives and choices. It means cultivating more agency. It is a practice and we need tools to support us. In fact, that is precisely why I created the Life Design Planner.
Of course I see the miracle of life-designing in my own self-documentation. Last year, the third year I used the planner, life shifted substantially.
Less than halfway through that year, I traveled to a retreat I had been dreaming of for years and met lifelong friends, ended a relationship, moved, met the Love Of My Life, quit my job and committed to my business full time, traveled with Him to Bali…and more.
Some of that was absolutely wonderful, and parts of it were so hard! At times it felt like I was flying on a unicorn’s back over a rainbow and at other times it was like slogging through quicksand. Like I said, it takes a lot of courage to make big life-shaking changes.
How the Life Design Method works with goal-setting
- Reflect on your satisfaction in each area of life.
- Reflect on the lessons you’ve learned in the past year and month.
- Set big goals, dreams, visions, and wishes for 5-year, 3-year, and 1-year increments.
- Work backwards from there by creating quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals that map back to your big dreams.
- Identify the patterns and themes happening each quarter, month, and week. Then decide how to either change course or take next steps.
- Identify where you are out of integrity—where are you not walking your talk?
- Record your intuitive insights and the messages coming through in your dreams and synchronicity your experience.
- Iterate on your goals, dreams, and visions according to your self documentation.
Make it work for you
The process of setting your goals or documenting yourself doesn’t have to be long or difficult. Some may think, I don’t have time to set goals. It may feel that way, but actually writing down what we want to be, do, and have in our lives and documenting our progress helps us be more efficient and better stewards of our time. It helps us realize more quickly when we’re tolerating unacceptable circumstances for far too long; it helps us keep track of our default thought patterns, moods and habits; it helps us manage our constraints to make changes.
I do my weekly plan every Monday morning. It’s my time. I make a warm morning beverage, light my candle, and make time to plan my life. I revisit my 12-month, quarterly, and monthly visions to clarify the week’s biggest priorities.
Creating time for ourselves and our plans takes us out of auto-pilot mode, rushing, and overwhelm. Taking that time empowers us and reminds us that we have everything you need, and that we are supported.
If the Life Design Method is going to work for you, you’ll need to create a ritual. If you find it hard to start a routine, make it special. Keep your planner on your desk and sit down for 10 to 15 minutes with a delicious morning beverage. If morning doesn’t work for you, try Sunday evening or Monday at lunch. Choose a time and place that works for your schedule and feels like a treat, not a chore.
Can you imagine the feeling of being a mountaineer standing at the bottom of Mount Everest with a plan to climb to the top? It doesn’t happen all at once.
It happens step by step, being intentional about where you’re placing your feet, how much energy you’re using, and your route.
Achieving your goals step by step with consistent action is how you will create what you set out to create.
Most women are surprised by how supportive and empowering it can be to start and continue the process of envisioning, breaking it down, creating daily consistent steps, and celebrating what’s going great.