Simple Goal Planning Set Up for 2020

Goal planning is tricky.

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Year after year, I sit down, and conjure up some big plans. There’s about ten million things I want to accomplish and I finish the planning session with lots to do.

The result? With so many things I wanted to do, I couldn’t fully focus anywhere. So while I did some things, I wouldn’t say I fully ticked off any of my goals.

This year, I decided to take a different approach. Hopefully, if you usually have the same issue as me, this simple method will help you too.

Step one – what is important to me?

2019 wasn’t a great year for me and I wanted to go into 2020 really prioritising me. Sounds pretty selfish, I know. However, I realised that in previous years I’d spent far too much time concentrating on what I should be doing, rather than what I wanted to.

So, to begin, I created a scruffy little brain dump in my Leuchtturm* of things I wanted to focus on this year. I split them into three categories – health, wealth and life.


This is pretty straightforward and probably similar to a lot of people’s focuses. It’s centered around just being able to feel better about myself. To get there doesn’t take doing anything differently from what I already was, this is just about cementing that I’m doing the right things and then trying to do them a little more consistently.


There’s two elements to this – a monetary goal and a professional one.


Life is basically everything else. This is focused on how I enjoy my life. It covers things like my social life, family and my home.

Step two – creating some actions and goals

The important bit here is to translate the above into achievable goals. This is what took the most time. It was about striking a balance between attainability and aspirational. While there’s no point in giving yourself a weight loss goal that you can never achieve, you equally don’t want to give yourself an easy goal or action that doesn’t push you to reach your overarching goal (in this case, to feel better about myself).

I applied this thought process to every element of my focuses for 2020. I’d love to set myself a target of £1,000 put into savings a month (who wouldn’t?) but I know that’s not achievable. I won’t try at something I know I’m destined to fail at. Instead, I picked a reasonable amount that I knew I could achieve but that would still mean I’d need to make some adjustments (like taking my own food and coffee to work).

For the ‘life’ elements I was a little less prescriptive. The focus is all about me getting more out of life and feeling like I’m doing something to tick a box each week won’t accomplish that. Instead, I just made a note of things I’d like to do more often – see family and friends, work on my hobbies, things like that.

I was deliberately vague about my hobbies. I have quite a few different hobbies that I like to dip in and out of – card making, journaling, reading, sewing and drawing. In the past, I tried to just focus on one or two and set arbitrary goals like ‘must practice drawing every day’. While that works for some people, it doesn’t for me. I like being free to do whatever hobby I feel like in the moment. So in 2020, I’ve just set a goal for weekly hobby time. That’s it.

Tied into the ‘life’ element is also travel. It’s not something I’ve set a specific goal around in 2020. But, this year I want to spend more time out of the house and seeing places, either in this country or others.

Step three – adding in the ‘how’

For each goal I then went through and added a bit of how I was going to achieve it. Some were easier than others. For health, it’s easy; use My Fitness Pal, walk daily, etc. For wealth, it was a bit trickier, alongside basic things like budget planning I also needed some ideas for the shop and blog.

By the end I had a good few things under each category.

In there I had what was achievable but still a stretch. I want to enjoy my year, not always be thinking about what I ‘should’ be doing.

Step four – adding it into my Hobonichi

Now I basically had my focuses for 2020 I wanted to put them into my Hobonichi Cousin*. The ‘turning the page to a new year’ double page spread is perfect for goal planning. So in there I made a pretty and simple overview for 2020.

Over the page on the 1st January, I then added in the how’s for each goal.

When it comes to tracking my progress, I’ve kept this simple too. For the most part, because I have slimmed down focuses I don’t need to refer back to the pages too often to remember what I should be doing.

For January, I did try to use the yearly pages in the Cousin as a habit tracker, as it’s something I’d not done before. It won’t be something I’ll be repeating. If I’m honest, I hate remembering to flick to that page every day. I then forget about it and have to go back and try to remember what I did in the previous days. Habit trackers need to live in my weekly or monthly pages for them to have a hope of working.

Hopefully this simple goal planning technique will work for me this year.

It’s far too easy to put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to goal planning. I’ve been doing that for years. Sadly, it didn’t help me at all. Instead, this year I’m more focused on what I actually want out of life. Hopefully this will lead me to actually achieving more in 2020.

How do you goal plan? Let me know in the comments below!