Goal Planning: What's your approach?

We’re almost halfway through December, and I know I’m already starting to think about planning goals and focus for 2019. I personally am not a big proponent of planning goals for the whole year.

Instead, I like to plan a few different levels:

  1. Decide on an overarching word to describe the year (last year’s word: increase)
  2. Give myself some general directions for the year. [Directions are areas or projects I want to move forward in, but maybe they’re not ready to have a defined goal.]
  3. Pick goals in two month increments.
  4. Work in shorter sprints (varying in lengths from 1-3 weeks depending on the sprint area).

I definitely don’t have this nailed down because I can only forecast what my life will look like an extremely short time into the future, and I know everyone else has different planning/goal setting approaches as well.

@bobbleheadjoe and @10ch, how are you approaching planning for 2019? And if anyone else wants to chime in, feel free!

I love yearly reflection/planning. Here’s what I do.

I take a 24-hour personal retreat at the end of the year, being sure to go through several cycles of read, write, and reflect. In that time, I will reflect on my year and decide on a new yearly intention. I’ve done this for five years, and it’s made a tremendous impact on my life. Starting in Sept/Oct I start to have an idea of what the intention will be, but sometimes the personal retreat brings a surprise. I decide on the intention and I change my password to it.

At the start of each academic quarter,I also do some goal setting and planning and I check in on those goals in my weekly planning.

Very curious to learn from others on how they approach this time of year/opportunity!


My new year begins in August as the school year starts. Starting in January would be strange, as I’d be planning the end of one academic year, summer, then the beginning of another. Anyway:

I like the passion roadmap part of the Passion Planner.
I like the concept of the whole planner too, but the daily pages don’t really fit for me so I’ve stopped using it.


I’ve been doing personal retreats for awhile and plan to do that again heading into 2019. I’ve talked about my process a little bit on The Productivity Show before I left AE, but I actually just yesterday published my Personal Retreat video course. There’s a 50% launch discount code in the shownotes for this week’s episode of Free Agents (working with @justindirose on a permanent discount for Guild members). Sorry for the self-promotion, but seems appropriate for the topic.

Here’s my basic process:

  • Revisit my core values
  • Complete my wheel of life
  • Review my ideal future (what I want my life to look like 5 years from now)
  • Complete my retrospective (what should I start/stop/keep doing, etc.)
  • Set my goals (and identify habits I need to create)
  • Plan my perfect week

BTW @10ch your PDF guide is solid! My approach is different, but I really like what you did with that. The world needs more personal retreats :wink:


Wow, this is amazing stuff @10ch. Thanks so much for sharing it here. My 1-word for the year often turns into an intention as I discover more about it (life’s a journey, right?), so that concept resonates with me pretty well.

Thanks for sharing your resource. I’m actually doing my first personal retreat on Thursday and am going through it as a guide. I am excited to see what this yields for me. I’ll report back!