Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Deciding on Goals for the New Year 2017

Deciding on Your 2017 Goals

Are you wanting to change things up, move forward and make the new year better than the last one? There are so many ways to tackle setting New Year's resolutions and goals.  Which one should you choose?  I tackle my goal setting in a variety of steps to ensure the best outcome. Maybe one of these brainstorming activities, or all of them, will work for you!

Analyze Your Year

One way to start this is by listing out all the events of 2016 in chronological order, such as I what I did here.  Don't think too deeply about it; just write. If you've been with my blog for a while, you'll notice that not everything that happened in 2016 made it into my "This is Me" post this year. Some things just weren't important and needed no focus.  The same will happen for you.  So don't worry if you didn't write down everything!  Just get the important details, both good and bad.

Now take a look at your chronological list.  There's a good chance some things went very well for you and some things didn't in 2016.  Take a moment to sort your chronological list into what you would consider generally "good" and "bad," what went well from things that maybe didn't go so well.  Things what went well for you can become habits through goal setting, or starting points from which to grow.  Things that didn't go so well can be turned around using goal-setting.

Here's my chart for 2016!

From here, I can already begin to see goals I want to set.  As with last year, I need to continue to work on my weight, if not for cosmetics but because I have a chronic illness fueled by inflammation.  My husband's student loans are still a concern and moving didn't do us any favors in finances.  Clearly, I'm going to have a lot of money goals this year.  But I'd also like to build on what went right, like my business as a caricature artist and buying a house.  Already, this comparative list has me thinking!


There are so many ways to brainstorm out there, but here are just a few!

Flow/Bubble Chart

I created this nifty little flow chart over at, but you could easily create something similar with paper and pen or in your favorite program.  It doesn't have to be neat and not everything has to connect. This is just the planning stage!  Instead of starting with the blank slate of 2017 and stuttering to find a focus, I've plugged in my "good" and "bad" columns from my 2016 review list into the rectangular boxes and went from there.  At this stage, I just stuck with obvious things that popped into my head.  I'm starting to see 2017 take shape now!

Pentacle Goals Worksheet

Because this is a pagan witchcraft blog after all, we have to do at least something a little witchy.  One of my favorite brainstorming worksheets is the Pentacle Goals Worksheet I created in 2013.

This worksheet allows the elements to correspond with five different aspects of your life.  By compartmentalizing, you can begin to develop specific goals.  This is perfect if you're still not quite sure where to go or if your 2016 lists didn't cover all aspects of your life. The prompts on the worksheet might get you thinking about other areas you'd like to improve or new things you'd like to do!

Here's mine for 2017:

To create this, I combined my bubble chart with my 2016 goal chart, which obviously didn't get quite finished because we moved so much.  But I'm not quite ready to narrow down my goals just yet.

How happy are you?

downloaded this little nifty program for free in 2013 when I was looking at my goals and it really helped me!  This program sorts your life into eight distinct categories.  You need not stick with the eight categories they give you; I personally edited mine a bit.  You then rate your happiness in each section from "Very Bad" to "Excellent."  The basic concept is that a wheel must be well-rounded to function.  Wheels that are off-balance cannot turn or go with the flow of the path. By identifying your troubled areas, you know where you need more goals set.

Up until this point, you've been brainstorming general goals you might want to work on for 2017. Take a moment to clear your mind of those goals and focus solely on your happiness.  Just how happy are you in each of your chosen 8 life sections?

Here's my Wheel of Life as of December 31st, 2016:

I think this is probably my favorite Wheel of Life chart I've ever done.  It's the most level one, that's for sure.  I'm incredibly happy with it!

Quantify Goals

So now I have some ideas of the kind of goals I want to set and the areas of my life that need the most work.  At this point, it's mostly just plugging those goals into the appropriate categories.  I liked the Wheel of Life's weight category system but their display, while very pretty, didn't give me a quantifiable number of goals.  I noticed that their scale works on a eight-step system, so I translated their chart into a chart of my own:

This chart organized each section alphabetically, used eight blocks shaded to the appropriate level of happiness and quantified it with a percentage at the end.  If this is your first time joining me for goal setting, just shade in the blocks up to the appropriate area and you're set to start filling in the blanks!

However, if you followed me last year in my goal setting, you may also want to get out your finalized 2016 chart.  Shade in any goals you completed.  If you find you have goals that are partially completed, use a lighter color.

This is where you need to be forgiving.  Obviously, I set a lot of goals and have little wiggle room for derailing. My husband and I had not planned on moving at all last year. Instead, not only did we move but we bought a house.  I'm impressed I was able to shade in what I did!  So, if you have some gaps, give yourself the same leniency.

Now clear the table and slide all the shaded areas to the left.  Adjust your percentages as necessary.

This is where things may get a little tricky.  You may notice that the space left from your attained goals last year doesn't match your Wheel of Life levels of happiness.  Here's a quick comparison:

That's quite a difference!  Obviously, level of fulfillment from the previous year does not necessarily equate to happiness in that area, especially depending on the last year's events. This may be the first year I feel even more fulfilled than my previous chart allows.  I'm actually pretty proud of that, but it's time to be discerning: Do I go with level of fulfillment based on 2016 or my level of happiness?

In the end, I decided to average out my goal chart from last year with my Wheel of Life from this year and still maintain at least one empty goal block in each section.  With that in mind, my finalized 2017 blank chart looks something like this:

We're getting much closer to completing a 2017 goal chart! But there's one more thing to keep in mind...

Setting Attainable Goals

At this point, I was armed with a list of goals and a set number of how many I needed to fulfill my year.  I was ready to start officially setting goals for the 2017 year!  But there are so many holes in my chart and so much work to be done.  How can I ensure that the goals I set are attainable?

If you're into goal setting and planning like I am, then I'm sure you've heard of making your goals SMART.  No, I don't mean increasing your fledgling goal's IQ points.  I mean S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

A specific goal identifies all of the important components of your goal: The who, what, when, where, which and why's.  For example, saying "I want to lose weight" is too general.  Narrowing it down to "I will visit the gym in the morning three days a week and count my calories using a calorie tracking journal" gives you a much more focused view of your goal.

Making your goal measurable means giving it a specific quantifiable criteria.  Instead of saying "I want to lose weight," this would be more like "I want to lose 30 pounds."  If we keep the specific part of your goal in mind, this turns your original plan of "losing weight" into "I will lose 30 pounds through going to the gym in the morning three days a week and counting my calories using a calorie tracker."

Your goal also needs to be attainable.  Losing 30 pounds through exercising in the morning is a great idea, but what you're not a morning person?  Or what if you work too early in the morning to hit the gym?  You'll want to make sure you pave the clearest path for your goal by aligning it with your life.  You may discover that you have more time in the evening rather than the morning to do your workout, changing your goal to "I will lose 30 pounds through going to the gym in the evening three days a week and counting my calories using a calorie tracker."

The goal needs to be realistic as well.  You might want those 30 pounds to come off as quickly as possible, but it's unhealthy and unrealistic to attempt to lose it in a month.  Instead, spreading the pounds out through several months makes it easier to achieve.  A steady five pounds a month makes your goal more than doable.  Your goal now reads "I will lose five pounds a month over six months by going to the gym in the evening three days a week and counting my calories using a calorie counter."

Finally, your goal should have a specific time frame.  Six months could be any six months of the year.  Creating a due date will give you create a small sense of urgency (not anxiety, but need) to finish it!  When thinking about the time frame, be sure to give yourself adequate time for setbacks when thinking about your due date.  Losing 5 pounds a month for six months will get you to 30 pounds lost, but perhaps you have a family emergency that sets you back a couple weeks?  Things happen!  So instead of setting your finalized goal at July 1st, perhaps you'd like to give yourself an extra month of leeway.

Your original goal may have read "I want to lose weight."
It now reads: "I will lose five pounds over six months with a goal weight of ___ lbs by August 1st through going to the gym in the evening three days a week and counting my calories using a calorie counter."

See how that goal seems much more attainable now?

So now that you have a few brainstorming charts worth of generalized goals and a working number of how to attain them, along with the information needed to make those goals realistic and workable, you're ready to start officially planning your New Year!

Next Up:
My 2017 Career Goals

To my audience:
Share with me your brainstorming worksheets and charts!
What method helped you the most?
What method did you use that wasn't listed here?


  1. i have to comment, because ive been reading your blog for a while. your 2013 pentagram inspired me at the beginning of 2016. i also had read danielle laporte's book, desire map. that i think would inspire you like CRAZY with your new years resolutions this year. basically, her point is very organic, as she basically wants us to ask ourself's "what i will do to feel the way that i want to feel" and "stop striving" that one hit me and i never accomplished so much in my life. i dont personnally have a blog yet or anything but i am rebelalchemy on IG. :)

    1. You know, I actually almost got a Desire Map planner. In fact, it came down to the InnerGuide and Desire Map planners when I was making my decision. In the end, I chose the InnerGuide planner because I liked the layout and how closely it aligned with my yearly goal process as it is. But I definitely appreciate the suggestion!

    2. thank you too! you definitely helped me do this in 2016 by inspiring me. to do it outside of the planner, you should look into getting the desire map book, its not a planner. it IS great at defining your goals, getting in line with the goals Feeling, instead of it being a "end product goal" its a "the feeling of how achieving the goal feels" rather, so like core desired feelings is the jist of the book. im not selling so i'm telling you how it helped me. :D anyways, so for example, i wanted to 2016 to be an empress year for me. and with your pentagram, i put that in the middle and did how i would reach that feeling by doing what, in each of the element spots. i still have the old hand written version, since no printer ink all of 2016. and then i made a weekly schedule which im still working on in progress for a bigger project, but wow what fun way to look at goal setting (combining the two - your advice last year and the desire map book). side question, do you do commissions for websites?

    3. I actually have already read the book. There are a set of planners based on that book that I was tempted to use; it just didn't have what I was looking for.

      As far as commissions go, I'm open for artwork commissions through However, I don't create websites. I'm just not that great of a coder. Thank you!

  2. Last year I was inspired by your goals charts and now I do something similar. I have 10 categories- 2 for each element plus spirit (fire is health and fitness, earth is finances and house stuff, etc). I want my balanced wheel to be balanced in the elements as well. I'm so glad you're updating this and comparing it with last year!

    1. Very nice! Good luck with your goals this year!