Whether it’s a new decade, new year, or just your average Tuesday, it’s time to get your life together. I always feel like I have so many things to accomplish, and I never seem to complete very much.

The best way to get through that ambitious list is to make some goals & plan out how you’re going to achieve them. Your goals need to be realistic, or else they risk becoming disappointments.

This is how I’m approaching it this time. First, I want to get an idea of what areas of my life are in need of work. Then, I’m taking that big picture and breaking it down into achievable goals, finally breaking those goals down into things that I can do in order to stick with the plan.

Take a look at your life as a whole. What is it composed of? Title a page with each category.

For example, my list looked like this:

  • Finances
  • Career
  • Self
  • Holidays

I kept my categories simple & broad. Yours may include different things, that’s totally fine. Just keep this step simple.

Next up, I made a list of what I want to accomplish this year under each category. Keep these realistic & to the point:


  • Review my Spending, Savings & Investing accounts weekly.
  • Stick to the budget I created & keep the budget updated.
  • Put $400/month into my retirement savings.
  • Save $100/month specifically for travel.
  • Split any money remaining after my budgeted costs & savings are completed between investing & saving.
  • Take a financial management or investing course.
  • Make my will/advance directive.


  • Try to enjoy my day job.
  • Get some side hustles going.
  • Explore online courses that may teach me other ways to make some passive income.


  • Go to my boxing gym 2x/week, and my regular gym 1x/week.
  • Walk to the store instead of driving.
  • Watch my caloric intake.
  • Focus on cheap, active entertainment.


  • Keep travel to a minimum this year.
  • Plan my trips out now, and save up for them.
  • Use my weekends for stay-cations.

To keep myself on track with my goals, I need to remember how hard it feels to get anything done when I’m not feeling motivated.

I like having a visual reminder of all the ways I can stick to these goals. I brainstormed all the ideas I had for each goal, and wrote them down in a list:

Ways to accomplish my goals:

  • Use my National Parks pass.
  • I live close to so many good hikes.
  • If I watch hotel prices, I could even afford an overnight vacation close to home occasionally.
  • Put my planned trips in my calendar, with an estimate of how much they’ll cost. Each one becomes a savings goal that way.
  • Rather than watching TV, go hiking.
  • Instead of going to the pub for a few beers, go to the lake with my camera.
  • Use an app to track my calories.
  • Stop being so lazy! I’m too tired to go to the gym most days, and I know that being more active would help me have more energy. I need to break this cycle.
  • Write every day.
  • Find places to make money from the things I write.
  • Post more stock photography.

After I had a few ideas listed, I created a simple word cloud that I can continue to add to as the year advances. When I feel lazy, unmotivated or bored, I can refer back to these & hopefully bust out of that mood.

Person, with interests, feeling awkward. https://smgrant.com/

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