Having the BEST goal setting year EVER with SMART goals

Y'all, a part of me still cannot believe that 2017 is here! I have been busy around the house taking care of small annoyances (like a picture hanging too low), organizing a few spaces (children's clothes and toys), getting Christmas decor cleared away and stored back in the attic, thinking about goals, and getting my calendar and planner all set for the new year! I bet you have also been doing some of these same things too!

I really like January because it is a natural "reset" on my life and home. I stop to think about the things are aren't quite working for me, deal with small annoyances around the house, and make some new goals for the upcoming months. Want to know what else I love about January?

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Call me old school, but I really love having paper to write down all my of thoughts and important dates. I've tried several digital apps and calendars, but the 3 things that I keep coming back to are

  • A notebook - for a new to-do list each week, for all my random thoughts, and ect
  • A calendar - with enough space to write everything down on any certain day 
  • A planner - the jury is still out if I'm a planner girl or not. I'm still deciding!

Here's why I prefer to use a paper calendar, planner, and notebook over digital lists and apps.

  • I am less likely to forget something
  • Everything is all in 1 (or 3) places
  • I don't have to use my phone - it gets enough action throughout the day as it is!
  • I don't have to remember to log into an app
  • Writing is much faster than typing or texting 
  • I like having something to hold in my hands
  • I enjoy buying pretty calendars, notebooks, and planners
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As typical of this time of the year, I have also been busy thinking about goal setting and planning. Planning is something that I really want to work on this year. Planning things in advance and sticking to the plan! Normally, I'm pretty good about that, except when I have to show up for myself. Wither that is making time for myself or being structured with my entire day (not just the parts that my kids have to follow!).

As for goals, I've thought about several things I want to do differently this year - things I want to try and incorporate into my daily routine. I don't have my thoughts 100% set just yet, but as we are now 1.5 weeks into the new year, I need to finalize my goals for the new year! Is anyone else behind on setting their goals? Or is it just me?

One thing that I know that I'm trying to do right now is instead of setting yearly goals, is to set 90 day goals. I first heard of setting 90 day goals a few months ago when listening to Jonathan Milligan's podcast. Moriah Coz is another successful person who also sets 90 day goals. Have you heard of 90 day goals?

The idea is that when setting yearly goals, we have no idea what the next 12 months look like. We could be somewhere completely different in December than we are in January and we have to take advantage of the upcoming opportunities. For example, say my house goal for the year is to renovate my kitchen. But, come May, I find out that I'm moving. The reno goal that I had in January would become irrelevant and I would have to change to what's happening right then.

With setting 90 day goals at a time, the science behind that is we usually have a pretty good idea what the upcoming 3 months is going to look like so we can set realistic goals and actively work on them. There is a built-in urgency because you only have 90 days to make them happen and it gives you a hard deadline in complete what you've set out to do. Also, with only 90 days to work on our goals, the goals we set are remembered and not forgotten about since everything is fresh on our minds. It's an interesting thought isn't it?

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Regardless if I'm using 90 day, 12 month, 1 week, 1 month, or 1 day method of goal setting, when I set goals, I like to make sure they are SMART goals.

Specific - You have to actually say/write down exactly what your goal is and it is easily definable. Instead of saying "I'm going to get organized this year", try for a goal that instead says "I'm going to organize my kitchen and garage in the next month". See how that is specific and exact?

Measurable - You need to know when it is that you've achieved your goal. Saying "I'm going to finish projects around the house this year" isn't very specific or measurable nor does it tell you when you've completed your goal. Instead try to define it more with something like "I am going to pick 4 unfinished projects around my house that I am going to work on and complete in the next month and do 1 each week".

Attainable - Whatever goal you set for yourself, please do yourself a favor and make sure it is something that you can actually achieve in a realistic time frame. If your goal is to run a marathon this year (specific and measurable) but you can't run around the block, than you will probably not reach your big goal. Yes, the goal should be something that challenges you and pushes you out of your comfort zone, but not completely out of reach. Instead, if the goal is to run, than maybe your goal should be more on the lines of running a 5K this year.

Realistic - Whatever goals you set for yourself needs to be within the boundaries of your resources, time, and knowledge. Saying that you want to completely renovate your kitchen from top to bottom is a good thing to do, however, if you don't have all the skills, time, or funds to complete the reno, than it's probably not a good idea to start it right now. Instead, make a smaller goal like "I'm going to replace the flooring in the kitchen in the next 3 months" is a more realistic goal to set.

Time-Based - Know your start and finish dates! If you don't have an end date in mind, than you will keep procrastinating and putting it off until the very last minuet possible, it may not even happen at all! And we all know that only the things that get scheduled and written down actually get done. For example, if you want to organize your garage, but never set a date to start than you'll most likely keep putting it off. Instead, make a plan and then go from there.

I would also strongly limiting yourself to 3-5 major goals for the entire 90 days, year, or whatever time frame you pick. This way, you are not trying to completely overhaul your life nor do you experience goal setting burnout. After you've set a major goal, break it down into actionable steps that you can take for 1-2 weeks at a time. Don't forget that you need to schedule it on your calendar or else it will not happen.

After you've set SMART goals for the next couple of months, write them down somewhere where you can see them on a regular basis! How many times have we made goals, and tucked them away only to think about them months down the road? Don't let that be you this year! Write them down and make them visible. I prefer to write them down on my calendar, notebook, and planner. I also like to hang them up in my office. Writing them down also insures that you are less likely to forget anything.

And also, remember to reward yourself after meeting one of your big goals! Meeting goals without a reward is not much fun. Know what you are working toward and it will help keep you going when the going gets tough.

I just bought a fresh, new calendar and have been busy filling it out with important dates (birthdays, anniversaries), upcoming events that I already know about, and business trips that my husband is taking. I  brainstormed all my thought swirling around in my head and wrote everything out in my notebook. I also wrote some things in my pretty planner and have started filling out the goal worksheet. It's been a very productive week already!

And in keeping things in the spirit of the new year, I've rounded up several of my favorite calendars, planners, and free tech wallpaper sites that I love and couldn't wait to share with you as well! Hopefully, if you've yet to get a new calendar or planner, download the free printable right here or buy one today and get your goals written down on purpose on paper.

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Let's make this your best year ever! Come on 2017, we are ready for you! What your goals are for this next season? Do you have a favorite method of making goals? Who else likes buying and filling in a calendar each year? Did you make sure to grab the free goal setting worksheets?

This post contains affiliate links. For more information see my disclosures here


  1. Great article! Love the 90 day goal idea. Am going to try that. Also love putting the list of what defines a "smart goal" right on the same page so I don't forget! My 90 day goals will go in my bullet journal, which combines a notebook, planner and calendar in one creative colorful collage and has worked far better for me than any preprinted planner or calendar ever did. Thanks for the tips!

    1. I'm glad you liked the tips! And it sounds like you have a awesome system in place for your goals! Here's to our best goal setting year yet!


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