Monday 27 August 2012

Journalling School Session 6: Personal Goals

Welcome to the sixth session of Journalling School. In today's session we'll be looking at how your journal can help you achieve your personal goals.

Writing down your personal goals is generally considered to be one of the most important personal development activities you can undertake. But it is only part of the story. Making your goals public, reviewing the goals and progress towards them are important, too and so is planning how you'll achieve them. You can do all of this in your journal.

Firstly, you have to explain what your personal goals are. For each, journal about what the goal is, but also:
  • Why this goal is important to you
  • What achieving it will mean to you
  • When you want to achieve it by
  • What plans and ideas you have for achieving it
When I did this myself, I split the goals up and covered one each day for a week, but if the mood takes you, you can do them all in one entry. The idea is to really explore each goal.

Next, you should revisit your goals regularly, perhaps monthly and perhaps one goal at a time. When you do this, write about:
  • What you have done to get nearer to the goal(s)
  • What you are going to do next
  • What other ideas you intend to try
  • Whose support you need and how you plan to get it
Note that when you look forward, you don't have to have the answers when you start writing. Next time we'll look at problem solving in your journal, and you'll find when you try the techniques I'll explain then that blank paper is very much your friend.

Here is where your journal and your planner really come together. When you have finished your goal review, transfer all of the ideas and actions into your planner. Where you can, write actions into your calendar on fixed dates. Where you cannot schedule definite actions, schedule planning time or make some entries in your task lists. Also, pop a post it tab or a bookmark in your journal on today's entry so that next month you can review the entry and hold yourself accountable when you review your progress again.

What you'll find when you start to consciously plan and pursue your goals in this way is that they stop being just dreams and start to become conceivable reality that you are working towards. Of all the outcomes you might find journalling gives you, this is perhaps the most tangible and life-changing.

It isn't just your life goals that you can use this technique for. You can use the same approach for any change you want to bring about - say, changing your career or getting fit. Start by writing about the change you want to make, why you want to change and what making the change will mean to you. Then, regularly write about what progress you've made, what you want to try next and what other ideas you have. Use your planner and keep holding yourself accountable.


If you have already written your personal goals, then write about them in your journal this week. Pick one or two goals a day and consider them from all angles. In particular, talk about what achieving the goals will mean to you. If you haven't yet written personal goals, then use your entries this week to explore what they might be; think and write about what you want to achieve professionally and personally, at work and in your relationships. Finish the week with a list of 4-8 goals you want to commit to.

Put a note in your planner for when you want to review progress towards your goals. Do it straight away, even if you haven't written your goals yet.

That was the sixth session of Journalling School. In the next session we'll be looking at problem solving in your journal.

Feedback, thoughts and ideas are welcome, as ever. Please share your experiences in the comments.

1 comment:

Claire Joanne Huxham said...

I'm enjoying your journal series of posts. I've recently started keeping one (last Nov) but so far I only use it as a simple record of what I've done, what I'm wearing/watching etc. I do add photos - usually ones from Instagram that I get printed every month. It's very therapeutic. I like flicking through it plus if there's ever a disagreement about the last time we went to a restaurant/club/etc I can whip it out and go aha! You're wrong! It's all recorded here! Maybe I'll try some of these goals next?


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