3 Ways to organize your goals for this year.

January is usually the time for goal setting, however it can be done at any time.  You might want to set goals for a month or quarter of the year or the entire year. Take a  moment to think about things you might want to improve in your life. Before you stop reading I want to present three ways of setting goals. Decide which one will work for you.

Pick one  area and improve it

I am a person who is motivated by a fear of failure, I don’t want to fail, so I am cautious. My system of setting goals is to look at my business or life and see where I think could be improved, and what types of skills I need to improve so my business or life will improve.  I pick one thing and then work on it all year to get better at it.  For example, I wouldn’t say I liked social media so I decided to start working at becoming better at it and setting up a system that works for my day and philosophy about the importance of social media.  I picked a platform, got good at it and continued to add more and more platforms. I organized workshops on Twitter and Google Business, I listened to webinars.   A vague plan works for me because  I am self-motivated,  I am not a procrastinator.  I read an interesting article by Ravi Venkatesan about the importance of learning new things, “What skill will you acquire this year? What new activity will you start?” Perhaps learning to play a new instrument, going on an adventure or taking on a new role- anything that causes you to move out of your comfort zone.  Pick a goal that challenges you at about a level 5 out of 10.  If you are too fearful you will panic and not start.   Choose a goal that challenges you and allows new neural connections to form. That would be a good goal for this year.

S.M.A.R.T Goals

Set goals that you can attain

That vague framework of deciding what you want to do to improve your business or life would not for everyone.  We are all different.  So there is a goal-setting system called SMART.  You pick a specific goal with measurable outcomes, that are achievable, realistic, and have timely outcomes.  When you use this system of goal setting it gives you a step by step plan to follow.  For example with my social media goal, if it had been a SMART goal, would be something like

I will learn how to post on Facebook,

S (specific) – I will post 3 times a week, one original content, one picture, and one comment on someone else’s post

M(measurable) – Did I post 3 times/week?

A (achievable)  – I have that much time in my week

R(realistic) – If I only have to do it 3 times a week I will not become frustrated and stop

T(timely)- I have 3 mornings a week when I can do these posts. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

This will work for some people who like to have a step by step plan and follow it.  It can cause problems if people stop following the plan. They may give up and not start again or some people may feel like it is too rigid.  Set your goal and keep trying to do it, that is the only way you will get better at it.

Turn desire into intention

Be intentional about your plan

I read an article that reveals a simple trick that doubles the chance for success in obtaining goals.  Earlier I commented on what motivates me.  Sometimes we say, I need to motivate myself to get working on….,  In this article, it says motivation is not the key to reaching your goals it is intention.

A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology divided 248 adults into 3 exercise groups.

  • Group  1 had to record how often they exercised during a 3 week period
  • Group 2 was told “ most young adults who have stuck to a regular exercise program have found it to be very effective in reducing their chances of developing coronary heart disease. ” ( motivation to exercise) and had to record how often they exercised during a 3 week period
  • Group 3  recorded when and where they would exercise (intention to exercise), they were given the same motivation as Group 2  and they recorded  how often they exercised during a 3 week period


  • Control group 1 38% exercised at least once per week
  • The motivated group 2 35% exercised at least once per week
  • The intentional group 3 91% exercised at least once per week

We all have some level of desire or willpower or motivation but what turns desire into action is a written plan for implementation.  When you have a goal to do something, record when and how you will do that behaviour or activity. It will be the environment that triggers you to do your new behaviour or activity and not motivation or will power.  This year I used the intention method to become better at making videos.

  • Every morning for 30 days I made a video of 1 minute or less and sent it to a friend.  It was not edited and most of the time there was only one take, no practice videos.  The when of the intention was at 8 am and the who of the intention, was a friend who expected to receive a video.
  • Step 2 was 30 days of videos on Instagram Stories.  It was usually at 8:15 am but sometimes it was at another time in the day when I was getting dressed up for a meeting.
  • Step 3 was  30 days on Facebook Live.

The level of challenge increases with each step.  It is a great way to become better at doing video. How would you use this system of setting goals?

These are just 3 systems

  • Having an all-encompassing vision or
  • Setting SMART goals or
  • Intentionally decide when you will do something and block off time

that can help you establish new behaviours to accomplish a goal for 2024.  Pick the one that works for you.

Set goals to help you move out of your comfort zone, learn new skills and grow. Share on X

When you hire me, I don’t have the Mind over Clutter organizing system, implement it and then be done.  I discuss what is working for you and how you do things so I can find solutions that work for how you think, feel and your lifestyle. I want you to accomplish your organizing project so you meet your goals.

Now I would like to hear from you:

What strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?

Maybe I didn’t mention your favourite way to set goals.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Want help in 2024 to get your Mind and Space Organized, join my Facebook group full of free tips 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually over Zoom. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situations. She uses her love of teaching to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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  1. Janet Barclay on January 8, 2020 at 11:05 am

    This is one of the best pieces I’ve read about goal-setting. I know about – and have often recommended – SMART goals, but in all honesty, I’ve never been good at setting or implementing them either. You’ve made me realize that I may not need to change what I do. Different things work for us in other aspects of life; why not goal-setting too?

    • Julie Stobbe on January 8, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      I am glad you enjoyed the article. I find that I use different types of goal setting depending on what I want to accomplish. SMART goals don’t work well for me. I feel guilty when I don’t do it and who needs to feel guilty. I prefer the feeling of “I am on my way” no longer stuck in indecision.

      • Janet Barclay on January 13, 2020 at 9:47 am

        I know what you mean about feeling guilty! That used to be an incentive for me to get stuff done, but not any more. Life’s too short!

        • Julie Stobbe on January 13, 2020 at 10:24 pm

          I am starting to think that way too. Thanks for encouraging me to join ” your club”.

  2. Janet Schiesl on January 13, 2020 at 8:26 am

    The one that works for me is pick one area and then improve it. That is how I started my quest into being more organized, way before I started my business. Identifying a problem or issue (anything I wanted to change) and then focusing on how to best change this worked great for me. Small changes – Big benefits!

    • Julie Stobbe on January 13, 2020 at 10:34 pm

      That system works well for me too. I like to set a year long goal to learn and accomplish a new skill. I don’t always know all the steps when I start but as I determine what I don’t know and then find the answer to that problem I can then continue on and gain more knowledge with each step until I have reached my goal. Sometimes it is a direct route and sometimes a wandering route. The journey is fun for me.

  3. Seana Turner on January 13, 2020 at 9:04 am

    There is definitely something powerful about writing things down. Forcing yourself to put your goals down on paper makes it “real.” It also can be helpful for clarifying exactly what it is what you want to do. If you want to really do something, write it down, right?

    • Julie Stobbe on January 13, 2020 at 10:29 pm

      Yes, it seems that writing a goal down helps you to complete. A small thing to do that makes big changes happen.

  4. Sabrina Quairoli on January 13, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Great advice about goal setting. I found that being specific on the steps of how to achieve my goal works best for me. It creates a vision of the steps in my mind which makes it stick even more.

    • Julie Stobbe on January 13, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Having steps or plan to follow is a great way to set goals and be able to reach/complete them. Thanks for suggesting the idea of a vision. Too often we don’t think ahead to see the vision. If we don’t know where we are heading then we can’t plan the steps.

  5. Nancy Haworth on January 13, 2020 at 11:25 am

    Great topic for the new year! Those are interesting statistics with the exercise group example! I feel that writing down SMART goals and having a clear vision and intention works well for me.

    • Julie Stobbe on January 13, 2020 at 10:23 pm

      Successful goal setting is finding a method that works with you and not against you. I am glad you know what works for you. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Linda Samuels on January 13, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    I love how you describe different methods for reaching goals. One of the things I experimented with by accident was working with “keystone habits.” It’s a concept I learned about in Charles Dughigg’s book, “The Power of Habit.” Making a small change in a keystone habit (like walking daily or reducing your sugar intake,) will encourage other positive habit changes without much additional effort.

    So often we can become overwhelmed when a goal is so large. We talk about breaking those big goals down into smaller pieces. But another way to think about them is identifying one that will have this positive domino effect on others.

    • Julie Stobbe on January 13, 2020 at 10:20 pm

      Thanks for sharing the “keystone habits”. I can see how the domino effect will happen when you succeed at one change it motivates you to “keep going” one small step at a time.

  7. Sara Skillen on January 13, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    I love your connection between getting outside of your comfort zone and setting goals. We do not grow unless we try new and unfamiliar things – the idea that we should just stick with what we know or are good at has never set right with me. Starting with something that challenges you or doesn’t feel instinctive, and then actually achieving it, is REALLY motivating for me. Lots of great ideas here!

    • Julie Stobbe on January 13, 2020 at 10:17 pm

      A couple of years agao I did a course outside my comfort zone. I succeeded and the feeling of actually achieving something really hard still gives me inspiration to tackle anything I am interested in. Thanks for your comment, I agree with you.

  8. Margarita Ibbott on February 22, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Well done my friend! I’ve always loved social media from the get-go and have advocated for years. That being said, you’ve made a brilliant plan and I will use the one video a day to get going. I did that in January for an organizing challenge and it was fun (but a bit stressful too).

    That being said, I admire your dedication.

    I will put one more challenge in front of you for social media. Create one pin for every post so that I can easily share it there. It is a great driver of traffic.

    If I can help in any way, let me know.

    • Julie Stobbe on February 23, 2021 at 9:42 am

      Thanks for the pin tip. I work on that too. Thanks for the comment.

  9. Julie Bestry on February 23, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    My biggest take-away comes from the research showing how much more power intention has than motivation. My personal truth is that I do what I want to do without any push, and I struggle and procrastinate on things that I really just don’t want to do (i.e., things that are other people’s goals for which my “reward” is not something that actually motivates me). This reminder to figure out when and where, without focusing solely and eternally on the nagging why, is really enlightening.

    As for SMART goals, I have long suspect that while your goals have to be SMART in order for you to fulfill them, they lack some sort of compelling feature.

    Congrats on the social media achievements!

    • Julie Stobbe on February 24, 2021 at 5:49 am

      Thank you for your comment. I have started “writing it done so it gets done.” It works better for me than telling someone my goal although that does help me to take the next step even if it is a challenging step. The thing I have learned is to make the goal about a 5 out of 10 on the fear/challenging scale if it is higher it takes me a long time to stop procrastinating and start working towards my goal.

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