How To Write a Better Goals List

This time of year, a lot of us talk about and contemplate a list of all the things we’re going to do in the new year. We often freely toss in tons of things onto our list, unrealistically thinking we can accomplish them all, and we declare new year’s resolutions that often end up being empty promises to ourselves, which we don’t follow through on and later make us feel like failures.

In_Honor_Of_Design_Anna_LiesemeyerAn article by Martha Beck* and a video by Marie Forleo, recently left me inspired about how to write a better list of goals.  How to (1) clear out the things from our lists that waste our time and drain our energy, (2) add in the things that nourish us and make us feel fulfilled and content, and (3) make our goals happen. Below is a summary of tips I learned from them.

Edit down your list by scratching these things off

  • Things that aren’t spiritually profitable – things that won’t feed your soul
  • Things that, for the most part, are just to feed your ego
  • Things that revolve around toxic relationships
  • If it’s a business goal, projects that don’t make sense financially

Filter Questions to Edit Your List:

Does this goal make me feel joy and excitement?

Do I want to experience the activities involved in this goal, whether or not I achieve the milestones associated with it?

Do I want to do this to feel superiority toward people who haven’t done this thing?

Do I want to have this experience even if no one else would ever know I had?

Would I be thrilled to do this even if everyone thought it was weird or stupid?

Does this goal involve trying to change something that can’t be changed?

Am I leaving out certain things from my list because they aren’t socially considered as “important things”? What things am I leaving out because I feel guilty, like I’m not allowed to have/experience/achieve them?

What little things could add more joy to my everyday?

What things can I do to be more appreciative, present and purposeful?

What business projects will be both spiritually and financially profitable?

Making it happen

Schedule it!  Things will just be empty promises if you don’t take action towards them. Make a plan by listing the actionable steps of each goal and scheduling the first steps. This will create momentum.

What do you think? Do you find these tips helpful?

Image above: home of Anna Liesemeyer, photograph by Chelsey Heidorn
*Article referenced is: “To-Do List, or Not-to-Do List” as seen on page 45 of the November 2013 issue of Oprah Magazine
This entry was posted in lists, planning tools, time management. Bookmark the permalink.
  • http://www.afewofmyfavoritethings.us/ lauren

    Hi Arianna – I really like your approach for goal setting- evaluating and planning for them (instead of just making an empty list). I included your blog in relation to goal setting on my list of 10 Things to Do in this Cold Weather on my blog. – Lauren http://www.afewofmyfavoritethings.us/10-things-freezing-cold-outside/

  • Lauree Sayne

    Your list of questions is so unique. I love how they focus goal setting on the things of the heart and spirit instead of the typical practical questions!