Goal Posts: Planning Your Year

Goal Posts Planning Your Year

As we approach the end of 2018, you may be asking where the year went. Did you set goals for 2018? If you didn’t, why not? If you did set goals, did you reach them? In this series of “Goal Posts,” I will be breaking down the process of setting SMART Goals. For a general overview of what SMART GOALS are, check out this post that I wrote a year ago. We are going to dive deep into the process of planning your year as we close out 2018 and begin 2019. We will make it more manageable by tackling one step each week. Today, we’re going to brainstorm the “what” and the “why” of your goals.

Last week’s “Goal Post…”

…looked at what’s working in your life, specifically in the areas of relationships, career & finance, as well as your personal goals. As you looked for the blessings you have in these areas of your life, you probably saw some things you would like to improve, as well. That will be your starting point for planning your year. World-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, Ray Edwards, asks the question.

“What do I most want to be thankful for a year from now?”[1]

Take a look at the following areas in your life and think about what you would like to accomplish in the coming year. As you begin planning your year, brainstorm, writing down anything that comes to mind. You can get more specific later. We are going to start and end with the most important areas of our lives.


  • Family
  • Romance
  • Social Life

As you begin planning your year, some of your goals may already be works in progress. What goals do you feel would benefit the relationships in your life? Remember, these are your goals—things that you will be doing. They aren’t expectations you are putting on anyone other than yourself.

They might include spending more time one-on-one with your teenage son. They could also include joining a community organization or planning a family reunion. What will help your relationships flourish?

Next are your…

Professional Goals

  • Career
  • Finances

You might be a journalist or a corporate raider, or you may not earn a paycheck. But everyone has something akin to a professional life. Are you looking for work? Trying to get a promotion? Do you volunteer in your community? As you’re planning your year, ask yourself where you want to be, professionally, a year from now?

My professional goals are related to my writing and public speaking. They include things like my content plan, which helps me know what I will be writing at any given time of the year. They also include the books I am writing. What are your professional goals?

As you are planning your year, you should also look at your financial goals. Is there something you are saving up for, like a car? Or, is there something you would like to pay off, such as a student loan. It’s important to evaluate these goals to ensure they give you more financial peace and freedom, rather than tighten around you like a noose. Later on, we can look at how you will achieve these goals. For now, think about the things that will improve your life.

Personal Goals

  • Intellectual
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Spiritual

The next goals you will look at as you begin planning your year, are your personal goals. These are goals that focus on your intellect, such as your education or training. Maybe you want to learn a new skill. For example, I have been studying mycology (mushrooms).  Is there a degree you have always wanted to earn?

Emotional goals include the things that feel your heart. Have you wanted to deal with a wound from your past? Are you sensing burnout just around the corner? Perhaps you need to include more self-care in while you’re planning your year. When you consider your emotional goals, take some time to really ponder what you need most. This area of your life can be difficult to decipher.

Physical goals, on the other hand, are easy to come up with. We are faced with our physical selves every time we look in the mirror, step on a scale, and even get out of bed. It’s common when planning your year to think of the things you would like to change about your health and well-being as well as your appearance. Her trick will be to put together a plan that you can maintain. We will talk about that in a future Goal Post. For now, just jot down your wish list.

I said we would start and end planning your year with the most important areas of our lives. We began with relationships. We will end with…

Spiritual Goals

A year and a half ago I decided to begin a new spiritual habit during Lent. I spoke to my husband and asked him if he would like to read a chapter from the Bible, with me, each night. He thought it sounded like a great idea. Ever since, we end our evening this way and then conclude with prayer. It’s an enriching practice. The words we read come to our minds the following day, as well. This was a goal I decided on after praying about what area needed some stretching.

The goal you come up with might be completely different. In fact, it likely will be. You may want to think of spiritual disciplines such as prayer/meditation, singing, scripture reading/study, participation in your faith community, etc.

You might also decide to pull back a bit. About 10 years ago, I was burning out at church. It seemed there wasn’t an area in which I didn’t have my fingers. Newly divorced and raising my daughters alone, I was exhausted. Finally, after much prayer, I decided to stop participating in a few different things. I withdrew from the choir and greeting guests on Sunday morning. I stopped teaching the children’s Sunday school, as well. I did this because I was drying up. I needed refreshment, but these ministries kept me from participating in Adult Sunday School where I could learn and be around other adults. Whispers abounded that I was “backsliding.” I wasn’t. I was just being obedient and taking care of myself spiritually.

Ultimately, I met Dan in Sunday School. We were a perfect match and got married less than a year later. I think I made the right choice.

Your Foundation for Planning Your Year

While you are planning your year, it’s important to build on a solid foundation. This foundation is the key to success in any goal you are trying to achieve. That foundation is your passion!

You need a passionate reason to go through all the work that’s involved in reaching your goal(s). After all, if each goal was an easy one, you’d be looking at it in the rearview mirror and moving on to the next one. So, a good question to ask yourself is:

“Why do I want to [insert goal here]?”

Then, brainstorm your answers. You can have lots of reasons—as many as you like! Keep your list, because it’s going to keep you going when willpower or any other tool in your goal-achieving-tool-kit seems to be weakening.”

For example, one goal my husband and I made when we were dating was to continue to go on a date every week for the rest of our lives. We’ve been doing this ever since. Someone once remarked that it must get expensive to date every week. I said, “It could. But we know how to be frugal. Besides, it’s sure cheaper than a divorce.” How do you argue with that? It’s easy to start taking your spouse for granted as time goes by. That’s why we feel it’s important to keep the spark of romance alive in our marriage. See? Goals can actually be fun! It’s important to keep your motivation in sight so you don’t forget why you’re doing this.

Next week…

We will get specific about our goals. Until then, I would love to hear about the goal you are most excited to tackle in 2019. Tell me about it in the comments, below.

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather EricksonThe Ericksons

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.


[1]   Hyatt, Michael. “Achieve What Matters in 2017.” Michael Hyatt & Company, 2016.

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6 comments on “Goal Posts: Planning Your Year

Great post! This will be really helpful when it comes time to think about what I want to accomplish in 2019!

Thank you, Mandy. I wish you joy-filled holidays and a new year of accomplished goals!

I don’t have anything particularly that isn’t working for me. Mostly, I think it’s because I’m content.

Hi Jacqui. Contentment is so important for peace of mind. That’s why I love learning from you. I am really looking forward to your year-end maintenance posts. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Great article, I love how you have broken it down into different areas of life and creating a solid foundation! 🙂

Thank you Deanna. Speaking of “foundation,” I love your post on the 11 Best Hydrating Foundations. I need to find a new one since my current one is no longer working on my aging skin. I couldn’t find a place to comment, though. Have a great week!

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