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  • Carla Collis Gesite

3 Ways to Set Meaningful Goals in a Matter of Minutes

How do you feel about goal-setting?

Some people enjoy the process, but just as many dread it -- or avoid it altogether.

Given that I'm a life coach, you might expect me to have a highly detailed, rigorous process for goal-setting and tracking my progress.

I don't!

Because that's not what works well for me.

If you take one thing away from this blog post, let it be this:

Pick a goal-setting & tracking approach that works for YOU.

This isn't an instance when one-size-fits-all. You want to set yourself up for success. And that means considering what's most important to you, what motivates you, and how you like to be held accountable.

As for me, I changed my approach because, in the past, I spent untold hours...

  • Coming up with tons of specific goals for each realm of my life (e.g., relationships, work, health, fun & recreation, etc.)

  • Setting up goal trackers.

  • Monitoring my progress, and...

Regularly beating myself up when I didn't reach each & every milestone -- and on time!

Being the proverbial Type A personality, I love to check all the boxes. But I set my goals up in a way that made that impossible. And that was demotivating.

Ultimately, I needed fewer goals that allowed me to be flexible as things changed. I turned over a new leaf and made goal-setting easier and more fun.

If you're not into a rigorous process -- or aren't up for it this particular year -- I have good news for you! You , too, can set meaningful goals in a matter of minutes.

I'll share three ways you can do it:

  • Method 1: One Goal per Realm

Set one overarching goal for each area of your life.

  • Method 2: Word of the Year

Select a word that embodies what you most want in the new year.

  • Method 3: More or Less

Decide what you want more of, and less of, in the new year.

To learn more about these approaches, read on!


The Approach:

Simplify your goal setting by selecting a single overarching goal for each realm of your life.

Label the areas of your life in whatever way makes sense for you. Here are the ones I use:

  1. Finances

  2. Fun & Recreation

  3. Health

  4. Home

  5. Family

  6. Personal Growth

  7. Relationships & Community

  8. Spiritual Life

  9. Work

What makes this method easy?

Rather than setting a host of goals for a given area, you'll choose the ONE that will most enhance it -- which means the first goal to come to mind is probably the one to set.


Here are a few of my 2020 goals...

  • Finances -- Invest funds toward the lake house we want to buy.

  • Fun & Recreation -- Invest in training our dogs so they're comfortable & behave well wherever we take them.

  • Health -- Improve my flexibility & balance

  • Relationships & Community -- Get to know our neighbors better.

You'll notice that these goals don't adhere to he SMART goal method -- because this is what makes sense for me. You, however, can create more specific & measurable goals, if that's what works for you.

Monitoring Your Progress:

Set a few minutes aside weekly to check in on your progress toward your goals.

You might decide to set weekly To Do items or mini-goals that tie in with your goals. That gives you an objective way to gauge your progress.

Another option: Each week, for each area, ask yourself:

Did I move toward this goal this week?

Based on your answer, you can then decide where to focus your time in the coming week.


The Approach:

This approach involves selecting one word that embodies what you most want to have in your life in the new year.

To uncover your word, set aside a few minutes to get quiet and ponder what's in your heart. Pray or meditate.

As you do, consider these questions:

  • What do I sense God wants for me in 2021?

  • This time next year, how do I want to feel?

  • What do I want to continue doing?

  • What do I want to stop doing?

  • How do I want things to look different in terms of... my relationships, finances, spiritual life, health, work, personal growth, etc,?

  • How do I want to grow?

Look for common themes across your answers.

  • What word(s) kept coming up?

  • What word(s) embodies how you want next year to unfold?

Choose the word that resonates most with you.

If you're not sure what your word might be, take a look at these examples for inspiration...

Example Words for the Year:

  • Abundance

  • Adventure

  • Appreciation

  • Balance

  • Community

  • Confidence

  • Connect

  • Create

  • Dare

  • Discover

  • Dream

  • Faith

  • Family

  • Fearless

  • Focus

  • Forgive

  • Fun

  • Grace

  • Hope

  • Inspire

  • Joy

  • Light

  • Magnify

  • Mindful

  • Open

  • Peace

  • Prayer

  • Reflect

  • Serve

  • Simplicity

  • Thrive

  • Transform

  • Trust

  • Wonder

  • Worship

How to Use Your Word:

Think of your word as your theme for the year.

  • When you're making decisions about how to spend your time, ask yourself, Will this give me more [word of the year] in my life?

  • Keep your word front and center: create a mantra using your word; make it your screensaver; post it in your office, kitchen, car, bedroom; buy a special piece of jewelry with your word; create a vision board...

Monitoring Your Progress:

Set a few minutes aside weekly (or more often) to review the week. Ask yourself:

  • Did my goals & actions this week bring more [word of the year] into my life?

  • What goals do I want to set this week to insure I'm fostering [word of the year] in my life?


The Approach:

Use two key questions to uncover what's most important for you and yours in the new year:

1. What do I want More Of in the coming year?

(Or what does God want me to have more of?)

2. What do I want Less Of in the coming year?

(Or what do I sense God wants me to have less of?)

If you want more structure around the questions, answer them for various areas of your life, such as:

  • Finances

  • Fun & recreation

  • Health (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual)

  • Home

  • Family

  • Personal growth

  • Relationships & community

  • Spiritual life

  • Work


I want more...quiet time, meaning, healthy food, laughter, weekend trips, money, deep friendships, education, connection, confidence

I want less...stuff, house, commitments, fear, negativity, worrying, distractions, drama, social media, friends who drain me, guilt

How to Use Your Lists:

You can use your "more of" and "less of" lists in many ways, such as:

  • List the things you want more of/less of as general goals. ("I want more quiet time to myself" or "I want fewer commitments.")

  • Create more specific goals. ("I will spend at least one hour a week doing something for myself." or "I will resign my position with the HOA in February.")

  • Post the words indicating what you want more of/less of. Look at them regularly & ask yourself whether you're moving toward what you want.

Monitoring Your Progress:

Set a few minutes aside weekly (or more often) to review whether you're experiencing more of what you want & less of what you don't want.

Here's to a healthy & happy 2021!


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