Best Laid Plans

Episode 75: Some Thoughts on Yearly Goal Setting

January 3, 2022

We interrupt the 2022 goals series to bring you BLP show notes!

This ep is a review of the things I think about when creating my yearly goals list — sort of a summarized version of the session I led in the BOBW Patreon.

Things to Think About When Creating Yearly Goals

Spend a little time thinking about different time horizons – 10 years from now, 1 year ago, 1 year from now. This will help you think about what your true priorities are. (Plus, it’s kind of fun.)

Let yourself brainstorm – you can edit later!

Think about process vs product goals, as well as which goals are really habits/routines you’d like to incorporate.

Consider your calendar and what you have going on (busy work seasons, school calendar, weather patterns in your area) and use that to help craft a time frame for your goals.

Put them somewhere you WILL see them! Or even in multiple places 🙂 I have mine written and in Todoist as one of my ‘favorite’ lists.

((Side note: this is optional, by the way. You are in charge! If you hate the idea of yearly goals – you can do something else. I just find the process helpful in sort of setting my personal compass for the year and a year feels like a nice sized chunk in which to take stock and consider where I’d like to put my energies moving forward. But maybe another time frame resonates with you, or perhaps goals are just distasteful to you altogether and you’d rather be more holistic in your endeavors! That’s okay, too. You do you!))

The Weekend

I ended up incorporating some social (outdoor) meetups both days and that really helped. Saturday we went to the pool & met up friends in the neighborhood (soon to be even closer neighbors, yay). Sunday I randomly texted some of A’s friends’ parents and one was available for a park date, so that was great.

A’s friend has a 2 year old brother so I chased after the mother who was chasing after him while the big kids played (all the while feeling incredibly relieved that I do not have a 2 year old anymore. He was extremely cute though!).

Instead I have a 4 year old who can climb to the top of things. Go G!

PS: She has her 4 year old well child check today which means . . . the dreaded kindergarten shots (I think 3, maybe 4 if MMR are separate from V, not sure what the office stocks). I am bringing a lollipop. Hopefully this will go smoothly . . .


  • Reply gwinne January 3, 2022 at 10:10 am

    I’m looking forward to listening to this ep while on the treadmill in a bit.

    I am working with an envision planner: on some holistic planning/musing. I also have an Ink Volt planner, and I find myself *in this COVID season* balking at the “goals” section. Thinking about hopes, aspirations, desires, projects, habits feels appropriate. The language of goals/productivity really doesn’t feel right right now, with so much uncertainty. I am also in a moment of major life change both at work and at home. On the other side I might come to more concrete goals but not now. Eagerly focusing on smaller scale planning, though!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 3, 2022 at 11:22 am

      Interesting! I felt that way in 2020. Now I feel like I have to be flexible about some things, but others (like going running or doing Headspace etc) just don’t feel as pandemic dependent so I feel more comfortable setting them. I do have some social goals that may not be feasible but I’m hoping that eventually we’ll have less COVID-y times in 2022 eventually just like we did in 2021.

      Reading your comment again, maybe my ‘goals’ are just smaller scale overall than yours are. Hmmm!

      • Reply gwinne January 3, 2022 at 1:37 pm

        Maybe you’re right about scale? I can’t do whole year [or more] goals right now. Weekly to dos (that will hopefully build toward something bigger) are not a problem. Thinking in terms of trimester is sort of plausible. Just so much open for me. Kid graduating high school in two weeks (!!!!), turning fifty, possibly taking on a new role at work, etc.

  • Reply Chelsea January 3, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    I’m really struggling with the idea of goals this year.

    It just seems like everything I want to accomplish as a goal – mainly improving my running times – isn’t totally under my control, and the things that I want to get done feel more like “projects” than “goals”. I’m using my personal feeling of excitement about the item on my list to differentiate between a project (not exciting) and a goal (exciting).

    So I’m super excited about the idea of running a 3:50 marathon, but, beyond doing the training and having a good plan for the race, I can’t control the weather or exactly how I will feel on that day or if the race will even happen in-person. And doing the training doesn’t feel like a goal in itself, it just feels like a normal activity of daily life like brushing my teeth.

    On the other hand, it’s really important for me to get my son set up with his new special behavioral therapy and finally wrangle the school to get an IEP for him, but that is daunting and stressful, not exciting. A project but not a goal.

    The last category of things I want to do are things that I simply want to do for fun. For example, I’ve gotten back into crocheting a bit and made a couple blankets last year. A natural thing to do would be to make a goal of completing X rows a day or whatever, but my mind is rebelling against that. I’m know I’m going to make one blanket for a coworker who is having a baby and one for my son who picked out a pattern that he liked, but this year I’m craving I just working on it when I feel like it.

  • Reply Elissa January 29, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Sarah! I wanted to share a product I use for my family photos. When I had my daughter 4 years ago I knew I would want photo albums or scrapbooks, but I also knew I would never take the time to make them.
    So, at the recommendation of an Instagram ad, I tried Chatbooks. It is so easy; it can even be automated. I choose to just upload photos from my phone every couple weeks and once a book is full it ships. They not the most amazing quality photos and it is a very simple layout, just a picture or picture with a caption on each page. But they are done and sitting on a shelf in my daughters room so we can look at them together. A beautiful, intricately made scrapbook would just be sitting in my brain. 🙂

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