How to Organize Your Goals + Get Things Done!

A look at how I organize my goals in my bullet journal

I don’t know about you, but I just love this time of year! The new year is a time to set and organize your goals for the year ahead. All over the web, people are talking about setting goals for 2016. Being the goal-setting junkie that I am, I just love reading through these posts and seeing what everyone else’s big plans are for the year!

The big thing that not everyone talks about though, is how to organize your goals in a way that will help you to actually get them done. So today I’m going to walk you through how I organize my goals and how I intend to follow through throughout the year.

Anytime I think about goals, my mind immediately races back to an episode of Hal Elrod’s “Achieve Your Goals” podcast.  Sadly, I don’t remember the episode number, but I did find it so enlightening that I dedicated a spread in my Bullet Journal to it:

The 4 Keys to Goal Setting

I think it’s super important to have a clear action plan when you set and organize your goals to begin with. I love Hal’s 4 keys to goal setting. I’ve thought long and hard about them every time I sit down to set new goals for myself, whether that be annually, quarterly, or monthly.

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR GOALS

In addition to the keys to goal setting above, try to think of the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting acronym. You want your goals to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

A look at how I organize my goals in my bullet journal

Above, you can see how I laid out all of my blog & business goals for 2016 in my bullet journal. To the left are all of my big goals. On the right-hand side, I decided to break down each of those big goals into actionable steps.

I decided to only do this one quarter at a time, since my goals inevitably change and grow throughout the year. The key here is to break those bigger more daunting goals into smaller steps that are easy to accomplish.

I took this a step further in my mega A4-sized Blog & Business Bullet Journal pictured below. (Don’t worry, I have a HUGE blog post and video coming out about this next week) ;)

Organize you goals in your bullet journal!

In addition to the Actionable Steps spread, I added an Accomplishments spread. This is where I will transfer over all of the small tasks that I tackle and accomplish each quarter. I can’t wait to see this page fill up with big things this year!

A look at how I organize my goals in my bullet journal + how you can organize YOUR goals too!

A FUN WAY TO ORGANIZE YOUR GOALS

While I know that most of you lovely readers are big bullet journal fans like me, there are definitely other ways out there to organize your goals. Here’s a fun one for you: Trello!

I’ve talked about how I use Trello as my blog editorial calendar in the past, but here’s another way to use it to organize your big goals:

Organize your goals with Trello

I set up lists in Trello for each of my main goal categories. You can see that I have lots of goals here… that’s because each and every goal I can think of gets added to this Trello board.

Organize your goals with Trello

For each new goal, I add a card and throw it into whatever category fits it best. I then color-code each card with labels and sort them by how soon I want to accomplish that goal.

Green: Complete
Yellow: This Year
Orange: Next Year
Red: 3+ Years

There are many more goals in each category than what you see here, but these screenshots give you the general idea, right? Good! ;)


Ultimately, I believe that the key to setting and achieving your goals is to constantly review them.

Throughout the year, I set regular monthly dates with myself to sit down and review my goals. I write this “Mega-Planning” date into my monthly spread as an appointment with myself and I never miss that date!

How do you set and organize YOUR goals? I’d love to know, so drop me a line in the comments below, will ya?

Kara Benz
Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.

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  • So cool to see how your organize your goals. I love your point about reviewing your goals periodically. When I first started writing down my goals years ago, it was months before I would even look back at them and I had even forgotten some of the goals that I set! Now I do review them regularly and it’s working much better :)

    • Thanks Andreea! Review is definitely the biggest key for me. If I’m not reviewing regularly it’s like you said… I’ll look back months later and realize that I never got anything done!

  • Shanna Jones

    I call them “projects” instead of goals. Projects have a start date, an end date, and actionable items that must be completed by due dates in between. I work on one project until it is complete and then I move on to the next. I’m sure it’s just my own mentality, but planning projects has always been so much easier for me.

  • Oh, I love that! That’s given me so many great ideas! Now I know what I’ll be doing for the rest of the evening :D

    Feel free to enter my giveaway ($40 voucher Born Pretty Store)
    http://beautypeptalk.blogspot.com/2016/01/giveaway-40-voucher-for-born-pretty.html

  • Ohhh.. Costa Rica is on my list! In fact I just started a Vacation planning page about it in my BUJO (which seems kind of silly, because it’s so far away), because another blogger I follow went on a trip and in a comment thread a bunch of people pitched “to-do” ideas that I jotted down. My hubby and I are thinking for our 25th anniversary in 2020.. (after we take the kids to Disney for graduating college)..we’ve never been anywhere big, and I finally got him to agree on a place. <3

    • Costa Rica is amazing, Beth! I lived there for 9 years as a child and loved every minute of it. I really want to take my family there now and show them where I grew up :)

      • Oh, how awesome. My list of places to go and things to do is getting a little out of control. We might need to be there for two weeks ;) . What sold me on CR, other than how beautiful it is, is how easy it will be to accommodate my crazy food allergies/dietary issues there. Traveling is something I always loved but it has become so challenging.

  • Wow! What an amazing post! I have to say it again – I think I’ve said it before – I am impressed by how open you talk about these topics and about the big insight you offer us readers in you life.
    I’ve been really struggling to set my goals for the year – I am just missing an actual practical way to get things organized. So I made it a mission to start reading as much about it as I can. Naturally, I LOVED when I saw this post! I can’t wait for your post about the A4 bullet journal <3
    Have a great day!
    xx Ronja
    http://www.sothisiswhat.com
    { CREATE THE LIFE YOU LOVE }

    • Thanks Ronja! Your comments are always so sweet and thoughtful, I get a little giddy every time I see a notification from you :) Thank YOU for being such a lovely supporter & friend :)

      • And your words just made my morning a whole lot sweeter! Thank you so much <3 I am proud and happy to be a supporter and friend in your eyes.
        You are amazing! And the work you do here on your blog is just wonderful! <3

  • Great ideas Kara! I’m just getting started with Trello for blog ideas butnow that Kim and you have such awesome blog planner notebooks I’m thinking I need me one of those… Maybe?!

    Happy new creative year!

    • Aw, thanks! There really is something special that happens when you put pen to paper :)

  • Before I started blogging, I didn’t really set goals… I may have thought of some things I wanted to do here and there, but nothing concrete or written down…
    Last year, when I started my blog, I started a notebook to keep track, but I didn’t know anything about bullet journals at the time, so it was a boring and tedious notebook that didn’t really work so well…
    Now that I’ve discovered bullet journals and all the fun and creative ways to use them, I am using that same notebook as my bullet journal with much more success. I’ve done brainstorming and scribbled down ideas, and have had fun narrowing down my focus to a few key goals. Next, I’ll be making spreads for each goal to lay out the plan of attack (or action items). It so much more fun than last year!

    • Breaking down big goals into their own spreads and collections is a GREAT way to get them done! You’re definitely on the right track :)

  • I LOVE your pay it forward goals! Also looking forward to your post on your blog/business bujo!

    • Thanks Allycia! I’m always looking for a way to give back :) Blog & Business Bujo video and post will be out next Friday! Yay! :)

  • Luiza Araújo

    Hi Kara, I was reading your goals and when I saw the christmas one I decided to try to help you complete it. I’m from Brazil and here at christmas time, the post office collects letters from children in need and leave it to anyone who wants to help pick up the letter and make a child’s wish. I did it this year and was heartbreaking to see in one of the letters a kid asking for nice lunch for his sister. You should try to see if somewhere where you live do that.
    Love how organized you are.
    Luiza

    • I love that, Luiza! I’ll definitely be on the hunt for something similar in my area. Thank you!!!

  • You had me at your bullet journal flip-through. I’m just now getting more analog with a Plum Paper and messy handwriting (new goal to practice?), but Trello has made it really easy to sort through life and projects. There’s something about pen to paper though…

    • I totally agree, Courtney! Trello is a life-saver though when it comes to moving things around… but you’re right about putting pen to paper too :)

  • Sibyl

    Awesome post Kara!

  • Seeing how you organize your goals is such an inspiration for me! You make me want to get off of my butt and get things done! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ooh, that journal looks awesome!! Please do get a post out on it! :p

    E x
    elleanorwears.com

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  • I love how you used the labels on Trello to indicate urgency! Makes it a lot easier to narrow down the focus and drive action. I usually use them for labels and they get crazy confusing once I’ve written them all down :) Will definitely try it out for myself, thanks for sharing!

    http://www.thefridaystudio.com

    • Thanks Tori! I’m always finding great new uses for Trello… it really is such a great tool :)

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  • Samantha @ WhatsUpUSANA

    I love the idea of a bullet journal. I’ve never done one before but I am picking a journal up to start this weekend :) Thanks for sharing your tips on organizing goals. I’ll have to check Trello out! I’ve just been using the Notes app, but I think color coding goals would be more helpful.

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  • Heather Alexander

    Meditation for Beginners → yes!

  • Actionable Steps and Accomplishments – more Kimspirations ;) Those are definitely my favorite parts about the quarterly planning idea I came up with :)

  • Monica

    Great post! I know this is a few months behind, but I am still working my way through your posts :D
    I added “get acquainted with Trello” to my journal, as well as a monthly goal review and reset :)

    I was wondering if you have gone into your “Mega-Planning” monthly session on the blog yet. Is that when you create your spread for the next month, or is there more involved in it?

    • Thanks Monica! My “Mega-Planning” session is just where I sit down and look ahead at the month to come. I plan out my spread, set up collections, plan out my blog & YouTube editorial calendar for the month, etc. It’s a way for me to see the bigger picture for the month and plan accordingly :)

  • Dawne Mowbray

    One day I was listening to a Youtube video you posted (it might have been your first) and you said, “The only way to learn and grow is to do it.” I have written this in the front of my journal because it is so true. You can debate pros and cons, read instruction books, talk about what you want to accomplish, but the only way to learn and grow is to do it! That little sentence has a lot of power. :-)

    • Yes!!! I love that you focused in on the heart of what I was saying :) Thanks for always bringing such a positive light to my comments section, Dawne :)

  • DaliaMay

    This entire post is amazing. I love how you use both your journal and Trello to break down your goals. I go crazy because I keep mine in my head all the time. I’m going to copy your system and see how it helps me better visualize and achieve my goals.

  • Lasonia

    Awesome blog post! I love your journal and handwriting. I am a newbie to planning/journaling, but found your YouTube channel very helpful.

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  • Jason Piontek

    I definitely agree that it is so much more powerful to break big goals down in to smaller, specific and measurable parts. Often when we look at the big umbrella goal, it can seem overwhelming or not achievable but broken down into smaller pieces, you can begin to see how you can chip away at your goal piece by piece and celebrate the wins along the way to keep motivation! Really enjoyed your insight!