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2023 & Me: Purposeful Goal-Setting

Posted: January 11, 2023
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What do you need—what can you do—to make this YOUR best year yet? Let’s explore!

We’re not big fans of New Year’s resolutions, but we do believe in the power of a good reset—of carving out time for reflection, checking in, evaluating, and then taking what you’ve learned to create purposeful action—to live intentionally. The new year can be a good time for it, so can your birthday, a change in seasons, or anytime you feel drawn to it.

This is our 5-Step Process for setting meaningful goals. It is best done as a practice—one you revisit periodically. We recommend quarterly, and at least once a year.

The goal of this practice is 2-fold. First is uncovering what you really want for yourself in an ideal life. It’s getting connected to your most authentic self, without judgement. Not the expectations placed upon you by others. Not the “shoulds” you feel obligated to meet. We get “shoulded” on a lot, but these “shoulds” don’t serve us. Yes, we all have certain tasks or responsibilities that maybe aren’t our favorite, but too often, we get so wrapped up in trying to please others or too buried in the day-to-day tedium that we lose sight of the bigger purpose. It’s time to reconnect, rediscover. Oprah said it best!

Second is creating actionable steps to bring the ideal to reality. You deserve the life you want to live. You are worthy of every happiness you dream. AND you’ll have to put in work to achieve it BUT that effort should not be overwhelming or disheartening. It might make you a little nervous, give you that butterfly feeling, but more so, it should excite you and have you eager to get started. So let’s get to it!

The Setup:

Give yourself about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. Grab a journal, notebook, or other writing instrument (preferably paper vs a screen).

Step 1: Breathe Into Possibility

Find a comfortable seated or lying position…and breathe…focus on your breath. The inhale and exhale. Not forcing it, not trying to breathe in any particular way, just becoming distinctly aware. Try to let go of any expectations and just BE here…focused on your breath. If other thoughts are creeping in, let them come and let them go…continue to focus on your breath. See yourself sitting (or lying) here. Feel grounded. Breathe.

Step 2: Core Values

Grab your pen and paper and think of 3 people you admire—could be anyone, for any reason: friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, celebrities, etc. Across the top of your paper, write their names.

Below each name, jot down WHAT you admire about them: qualities, characteristics, personality traits, actions…anything that comes to mind. Try to be specific. Rather than “she’s a great mom,” what specific action or quality makes you say that she’s a great mom? Spend about 2-3:00 writing, brainstorm style, everything you can think of.

Then, see what redundancies or commonalities exist. Is there one word that best describes 2 or more of the actions you wrote down? Try to narrow your list to about 10 qualities, characteristics or values. If helpful, HERE is a printable list of common values.

The characteristics/qualities we recognize in others are ones we already have within us or ones that we highly value. They are easier to see in others than in ourselves, nonetheless they highlight what’s really important to us.


Now, let’s take your list down to 5…and then to 3 core values. As you do, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this a belief that is MOST important to me?
  • Does this fill me with a feeling of purpose?
  • Is this a filter I use to make hard decisions?

On a new sheet, write your 3 core values. If needed, provide your definition of that value, or any additional nuance, so that it’s crystal clear to you what that value means. Note: someone else’s definition of the same value/word might be different, and that’s ok!

Step 3: Personal Vision Statement

Now, let’s do a little time-traveling. 10 years into the future. It’s January of 2033. How old are you? Can you see yourself? What is your life like? Are you getting distinct images or more obscure feelings?

New sheet of paper. At the top write, “10 years from now I…”  Below, start making notes:

  • am ___ years old.
  • Does 10 years feel like a long time, or the blink of an eye?
  • What’s your immediate reaction: surprised, anxious, relieved, comfortable
  • As you visualize your life, consider:
    • Whom are you with: partner, friends, kids, pets?
    • Where do you live?
    • How do you spend your time: work, volunteer, hobbies?

Add to your notes by answering / considering the following questions:

  • What gives you the greatest energy & excitement as you think about your future?
  • What is one thing you would dare to dream if you knew you would not / could not fail?
  • If you won $5 million today, what would you do? How (if at all) would it change your life in 2033?
  • In January 2033, as you look back on your life, and especially the last 10 years, what would you like to say you’ve accomplished?

Of this life you’ve envisioned in 2033, let’s get more specific. On a new sheet of paper, draw 3 big circles. Title each circle as follows:

  1. Health & Wellness (this will also include physical fitness and self-care).
  2. Personal Relationships (friends, family, etc.)
  3. Financial (this is your career or anything else you do for work, whether paid or volunteer; how do you make or have money; how much).

Remember, we are looking at you and your life in 2033. Inside each circle write what you want, what your life is like in that specific facet. Outside of the circle write down anything you don’t want. You might be very specific in one facet and only have vague or broad feelings in others. Consider how much time is spent on each facet. What do you want from each? What do you give to each? Think of specific actions as much as possible. Spend 2-3:00.

Then, referencing all the notes about your 10-year life, flip back to the page with your 3 Core Values, and below them write a Personal Vision Statement. You could also think of it as a personal motto or manifesto: a statement for who you want to be and how you want to live.

  •  action verbs such as: I am, I allow, I know, I choose, I give
  • Speak in the first person AND present tense.
  • Play with it a little. Read it out loud. When you do, you should feel excited, confident, and determined!

EXAMPLE: “I enjoy the freedom to travel the world, meet interesting people, and pursue an exciting, passion-filled life of learning.”

Step 4: Trickle Back Goals

Now you know where you’re headed, it’s time to chart the path to get there! Start with one of your 10-year facet circles and write a goal for it. Perhaps it’s a different iteration of your Personal Vision Statement. Use the same guidance: Action Verbs, First Person, Present Tense…and give it a “By When” Date = January 2033.

  1. Write this 10-Year Goal at the top of a new sheet paper.
  2. Below that, you’ll write a 5-Year Goal. What do you need to achieve in 5 years (2028) to advance you towards your 10-year goal?
  3. Below that, get even more specific with a 1-Year Goal. What do you need to complete by January 2024 to bring you closer to your 5-Year Goal?
  4. Repeat this “trickle back” for the other 2 facets.

Some guidance for all goals:

  • These are not goals that someone else imposes on you, these are for YOU.
  • It’s what matters to YOU; don’t criticize. Nothing is too small, nothing too big.
  • Use affirmative language: state what you want, not what you don’t.
  • Write in the present tense, even for the 5 and 10-year goals: I am. I have. I create.
  • Ensure they meet all of the following:
    • Specific: Be clear and concise. For example, rather than “I have a consistent workout routine” state “I attend Farmgirlfit at least 2x per week and complete one run of at least 30-minutes per week”.
    • Measurable: objectively, so there’s no doubt about whether you can check them off or not. Same example above: “being consistent” is vague / open to interpretation, while attending FGF 2x/week + 1 30-minute run is easily measured.
    • Attainable: Your 5 and 10-year goals can (and should?) be more of a reach—dream big, lean into your limitless potential—and also (especially for your 1-year goals), ask yourself, “Can I visualize myself actually doing the thing?”
    • Relevant: Is this actually important to YOU, or is it being imposed by someone else? Reference back to your Core Values and Personal Vision Statement—do you see a clear connection and alignment?
    • Time-Bound: Give your goal a deadline, a “By When” date. This is a timeframe to keep yourself accountable and get you into action.

Step 5: Action and Accountability

Finally, the most important step = actually DOING the thing! Focus on your 1-year goals, this is where ALL the action happens!

  • Perhaps share goals with friends and family – ask them to support you!
  • When making a decision, ask yourself if your choice leads you closer to or further away from your vision.
  • Join us in keeping each other accountable. Our goal wall is up at the gym. Write down one of your 1-year goals on the mini whiteboard, take a pic with our polaroid camera and put it up on the wall! If you won’t be in the gym, post a pic on social with the hashtag #FGF2023andMe. We’re all in this together. Actually writing it down and putting into the universe for others to witness will keep you more accountable! Let’s do the damn thing!

If you are revisiting this exercise and already had a set of goals from last year or last quarter, then it’s important to include here some reflection and evaluation:

  • Which one(s) did you achieve?
  • If you achieved:
    • Was that meaningful? Are you proud of your effort?
    • Did it progress you closer to your longer term goal(s)?
    • Has it helped you better live into your values?
  • Which did you miss?
  • If you missed:
    • Is that goal still relevant but needs an updated “by when”?
    • Was it too specific or too broad.
    • Is there a different short-term goal that would better progress you towards your long-term goal?
    • Have your Core Values or Vision Statement shifted?

Remember, the practice of writing vision and goals is a practice. Vision expands as you practice the art of removing perceived constraints & get more connected to what you truly want. Writing goals that are meaningful and purposeful—that advance you towards what you truly want—becomes easier as you gain clarity of vision. Stay present to enjoying the journey along the way!

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