Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How I use it. Part 1.

In my last post I introduced my new book.  In this post I am going tell you a little bit about how I use that book.

First of all, this goal book isn't supposed to make you feel overwhelmed or like a failure.  It is far too easy to feel that way.  I know that some people look at something like this and think, "oh great, another thing for me to fail at".  Or, it may just seem plain tedious.  That is not how I want you to feel when you look at this book. It is meant to give you a place to write down what you are aiming for.  It is a place to write it down, cross it off, change it, decide differently, whatever you want.   I made it as a way to inspire myself and hopefully others. 

Think about this.  If your life was written down in a book, what would you want it to look like? 

This can be that book.

 I know that this life is a journey.  

Journey is defined as a  "passage from one place to another" (Noah Webster 1820 dictionary). 

This life is  a time for us to discover where our journey is going to take us.  We must discover who we are and what we are meant for.  We all have a purpose.  I know from my own experiences that I have to make a plan to find that purpose.  I use my goal book to hash that out.  I have gone through years of making huge plans and accomplishing maybe only one or part of one of those huge plans.  But I made a plan and I didn't forget that I had something I was working towards.  I have had many days that I know I just have to get through the day.  But I wrote in my goal book to be patient and kind on that day.  So I get through the day and the thing that I remember the most is that I did it with patience and kindness (even if I had to fake that patience and kindness...).

The point is, you are  recognizing that you make a difference.  What you do makes a difference.  You are taking responsibility for those things.  You get to actually see your accomplishments and your failures, and learn from them.

How I use my goal book, Part 1:

Get a binder.
This is one that I already had.  I got it from target.  They have some really fun designs.

Put the title page and all of your dividers into page protectors.  I find that if I don't do this, they tear out because I am flipping through them so frequently.  

It also makes it easier to put tabs in my book.  I buy either already printed sticky tabs or sticky tabs that I put my own labels into.  Then I just stick them on the page protectors.

What are year goals?
Obviously it is going to be different for everyone.
Here is what they are to me.

There are certain things that I want to see happen in my life.  They are big things.  I call them my life goals.  I know that I cannot accomplish those things in a day or quite possibly, not even in this life time.  So I divide them into incrementally smaller goals.  My year goals are set to help me accomplish those big time life goals.

For example, I want to know Christ better.  Here is one of my all time favorite quotes:

"We must know Christ better than we know him; 
we must remember him more often than we remember him; 
we must serve him more valiantly than we serve him...
What manner of men and women ought we to be? Even as he is."

Ezra Taft Benson

That is a lifetime goal.

During the year, I pick books that I want to read that will help me get a little closer to that goal.
I decide the steps that I am going to take.
I write it down.

Another life time goal is to be the mother that my children need me to be.
Right now a big part of that is home schooling them.
My year goal is figuring out what works best for us.
I make steps
I write it down.

As you can see, I don't fill up those pages right away.
I like to really ponder on what it is I want to accomplish.
It takes time.

Now I can take those goals and break them down into what I will do during the month.

The arrow boxes may include a project I want to get done or a lesson I want to plan.

I like to have a box that I keep track of the books that I read during the month.
I also like to have a box that I write down things the kids say or do.  Or thoughts that I may have for them.

My calendar is just that, a calendar.

Each calendar has a motivational saying at the top.

Here are some examples.

I have one doodle circle on the calendar with a box in it.  I often have a goal that I must see done that month.  I want to see it as often as possible.  I write that goal in my circle and when I do it, I put a huge star in the box.

On to my weekly goals.

I have the same motivational thoughts on all of the weekly goal pages.

"Be joyful.  Be still.  Be pure.  Be thoughtful.  Be brilliant.  Be thankful.  Be graceful.  Be funny.  Be crazy.  Be diligent.  Be honest.  Be humble.  Be kind.  Be more." 

"There are seven days in the week and someday isn't one of them".

Once again, I break down my month goals and see what I can do during the week.
I have a place for daily or more than once a week goals.
These can be things like studying your scriptures, exercising, drinking water, reading a book, being patient (can you tell that is important to me...), waking up at a certain time, or even not doing something, like "don't have negative thoughts".  I like to put a star on each day that I do each goal.  Sometimes I have stars on all the days, sometimes just one day.  Either way, I feel like I have learned something and made a positive step.

There is an empty doodle circle that I write down something I want to memorize.
I want to have inspiring thoughts running through my head.  I try to find something short and sweet.  I may even keep the same thought for the whole month.

The empty rectangle is a character trait that I want to work on.  My mom gave us a family home evening years ago.  It was about something that Benjamin Franklin did in his life.  He was always working on a character trait.  I'll write more detail about that another time.  Ever since my mom taught us this lesson, I have tried to do the same.  It is amazing the difference it makes to have those traits on my mind.

On the right side of the weekly goals, I write down the steps I am taking that week to work towards my monthly goals (which you will remember are linked to my year goals and ultimately my life goals).   For example: What am I doing for school?  What am I doing to know the Savior better?  It also has things like, write thank you notes, or take a field trip.  If I find a quote that inspires me, I will write it down.  It can be a to do list (although I am making an insert specifically for that), or a space to make some journal entries.  I did not label any boxes on purpose.  Everyone creates their own life.  You decide what those boxes are for.

I feel like doing this for my life each year has helped me to get to know myself and my potential a little bit better.  I have learned more about my weaknesses and my strengths.  I have learned a little bit more about what happens when I expect too much of myself or too little of myself.  I am still learning.  I know that I will be learning for the rest of my life. I am a work in progress.  Progress being the key word.

That is the point.

I want to be an active learner.
I want to be an active participant in my life.

This is how I do it.


  1. Thank you for this post. I have done this with you for several years and I cannot imagine life without it. It takes your life to places you just might not go without a plan like this. Life just has a way of doing that, doesn't it? I loved seeing how you are using this. It has given me so many ideas and I am excited!! You designed this book so perfectly (although I am anxious for the "to do" pages to come out--you know for normal "to do's" we all have, separate from life changing "to do's") that each person can be inspired to use it how it will help them grow the most; for that is what this life should really be about!! I will be coming back to this post often and look forward to Part 2 and more. As I said, I have already started using this and I already feel the power of the changes it is and will be making in my life because it will change my focus and in this distracting world, I NEED THAT HELP!! Thank you for the sacrificing hours and hours of work you put into this book!! I can sure see it in how amazing it is!!!

  2. Oh, I wanted to say one more thing. This method never makes me feel like a failure even when I don't get everything "checked" off. I just feel good that I am moving in the right direction with a plan and method that is keeping me moving , admittedly, usually a lot slower than I would like, but hey--at least I'm moving.

  3. Jena, this was a super-duper-helpful post!! I was really having trouble visualizing how to use the goal system, and it was so very helpful to be able to read your explanation and see your examples. I would like to try this. Dan and I are starting to get a life!! It's not all business anymore. So I need goals and direction for my "life". I have a few questions about using the system to help.
    1. What if life changes around you? Like let's say you set up some big goals around fixing the house and exercising. Then let's say you sprain your ankle (so no exercise) and Brian says "I got a fellowship, we're moving to Arizona" (so new house). Do you just cross out the old goals/actions and write in new ones? Do you print out new pages and discard the old ones?
    2. How do you get started sorting out what to write in the book and what to leave out? Like I can imagine me writing out a wish list of everything I want to do/accomplish. Then reviewing it all and realizing there are (a) conflicting entries and (b) more than I can possibly do, so I have to triage before selecting what is possible for 1 year. I'll bet you have already worked out a technique.
    Regarding character traits, I love that idea! I am reading a super cool book called "The Golden Sayings of Epictetus" written in, oh, about 100 A.D. He was a stoic (a philosophy that's not at all what it sounds like), and I want to work on being more like some of his recommendations (which you'll recognize as surprisingly familiar, although when he says "God" he means "Zeus"). I downloaded the book, which is short -- I'll send it to you.
    Thank you again for the fabulous work on your goal book, and for this extremely helpful write-up. Love you!!!!

  4. Thanks for all of those tips on how you use your goal book! I love it Jena! It looks great and I'm excited to use it! =) I'm excited for you to turn into a runner this year =)!!!