Advertising
Advertising

Published on November 13, 2019

6 Best Goal Setting Journals to Help You Stay on Track

6 Best Goal Setting Journals to Help You Stay on Track

The challenge most people face when attempting to change their life is feeling everything needs to happen immediately. You are tired of not eating healthy, ready to start that new career, and determined to live your dream life. This tends to lead to a feeling of frustration as most transformations take time. A great tool to help you stay on track and motivated is a goal journal.[1]

Goal Journals Give You Perspective

How do goal journals help you stay on track you ask? Well, when you are tracking your progress, it helps you to stay motivated because you can see the results. What often happens is you are too close to the issue to notice the changes that have already occurred. So when you are frustrated and feel like quitting, you can simply look in your journal and recall your successes.[2]

Think of it like when you were a kid and you would visit your grandparents every so often. Your grandparents could not stop talking about how much you have grown since the last time they saw you. You are sitting there thinking, ‘I may have grown a couple inches.’ The difference is you see yourself every day, so you do not notice the gradual changes.

When you are transforming your life, the gradual changes can frustrate you because you are not where you want to be. In other words, you are only comparing where you are today to the end goal. By documenting your progress in your goal journal, you allow yourself the ability to compare where you were to where you are.

Progress Is the Key Motivator for Everyone

When you feel like you are making progress, you are encouraged to continue. That is why so many people quit their goals each year. They do not feel they are making any progress. This could be the result of them not setting reasonable goals, but it could also be the result of them not realizing all the progress they have made.

When determining which goal journal is best for you, there are several things to consider:

When looking at the basics, you want the ability to write your goals in your journal. These goals should be broken down into short term or long term goals.

Categorizing your goals is also a great idea. You can categorize them as to whether they relate to your health, relationships, professional development, and personal development.

Now these are not the only categorizes you can use, but they are a good starting place. Categories are good because they ensure you are focusing on all aspects of your life. Each of us seek balance when it comes to how we feel about our life. The goals you are making for yourself today are based on perceived aspects of your life where you feel you are lacking. However, if you only focus on the problems of today, you run the risk of creating other problems in the future.

One Step Forward, One Step Back

For instance, if you feel your career is stagnant and want to focus on professional development, you may set a goal to read five books on leadership or to attend a conference. What you may notice over time is your professional development improves, but your health has declined. As your professional life flourished, you felt you did not have the time to work out or eat healthy anymore. By writing a balanced set of goals, you enable yourself to create a blueprint to your dream life [3].

Advertising

In addition to writing your goals, you can use your goal journal to help you focus on being more grateful, productive, or patient with your loved ones.

There are so many aspects of your life you can focus on with your goal journal, so it is important for you to be clear about your objective.

Now that you have a good idea about what you are doing with your goal journal, you only need to know which one to buy:

1. The Freedom Journal

    After thousands of interviews on his podcast, John Lee Dumas noticed some commonalities among the most successful entrepreneurs. He took the science of accomplishing goals and created the Freedom Journal. The Freedom Journal boasts of the ability to help you accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days.

    Among some of the things this journal does, it helps you to set daily action plans, nightly reviews of your day, 10-day sprints to accomplish micro-goals, and quarterly reviews to identify any adjustments needed.

    What people are saying:

    “Came back to reorder another one for my next goal. My current goal was 25k in profit for my business. 7 days left and we are at the 24k mark! This journal is such a huge part of my routine now days and I don’t see myself neglecting this habit! Thanks john!” from Wicked Cushions.

    Check out The Freedom Journal.

    2. The 5 Second Journal

    Advertising

      Mel Robbins is a best-selling author of The 5 Second Rule and she uses her same research-backed approach to help people take action, get results, and live a more courageous life. This journal is designed to help you deal with overwhelm, be more productive, more confident, and become your happiest you.

      What people are saying:

      “What a blessing to get this in time to welcome the new year! This is a perfect morning companion to steer my day to the right direction. I just love the layout and all the components per spread. There’s enough space for my daily to do’s, schedule/appointments as well as personal growth, long and short term growth and goals. The book lays flat which i appreciate very much plus the pages are smooth to the touch. High quality and elegant all around. Absolutely great for writing and journaling! Love it!!!” from Chef Hazel.

      Check out The 5 Second Journal.

      3. The Daily Stoic Journal

        Stoic philosophy has been around for thousands of years and many attribute it some of the wisest leaders, talented artists, and skilled athletes. This journal leaves space for you to add your goals and take notes, but it also includes stoic advise and insight you can implement into your life. Its promise is to help anyone who is seeking inner peace, clarity, and effectiveness in a crazy world.

        What people are saying:

        “This book literally changed my life. I bought it on a whim hoping that I would find more focus in 2018. I found that really taking the time to consider these teachings each day and writing down my thoughts helped to put the in my brain for the rest of the day. So much so, that I started a daily podcast about Stoicism, and in working on these ideas everyday, I’ve changed the way that I look at the world. I handle emotionally stressful situations better, I’m not worried about the opinions of others since, and I focus on the one thing I can control, myself.” Review from Erick C.

        Check out The Daily Stoic Journal.

        4. The Bullet Journal Method

        Advertising

          The Bullet Journal Method is designed to help you track the past, order the present, and design the future. Ryder Carroll believes his goal journal will help weed out distractions and start focusing on intentional living. There are variations of the bullet method, but Carroll is the originator and his book will help the seasoned veteran, as well as the bullet journal newb find ways to successfully change their life.

          What people are saying:

          The bullet journal method is an excellent and highly adaptive life-organizing methodology. Review from Spooks101.

          Check out The Bullet Journal Method.

          5. Panda Planner

            This planner was named the best planner you can buy by Business Insider. The Panda Planner is scientifically designed to make you happier and more productive. The Panda Planner is part agenda, part gratitude, part journal planner, part schedule, part goal planner, part life organizer, and all productivity.

            If that were not enough, it also comes with free videos and scientific strategies you can use right away to help you in all areas of your life.

            What people are saying:

            “I love planners, and I always seem to buy them and never keep up the habit of filling them out everyday. This planner changed all of that. From the very first day I filled it out until now, two weeks later I feel more productive and I’m accomplishing more of my goals simply because I laid them out.” Review from Nichole P.

            Check out Panda Planner.

            Advertising

            6. Go Journal

              This journal was made with the busy professional in mind. It is simple and only requires 10 minutes per day. There is a section on gratitude, personal development, dreaming big, and living well.

              You can use this journal to help you flush out ideas and plan for the future. There are questions every day to help you define your goals and will help you achieve work/life balance.

              What people are saying:

              “You cannot go wrong with this book. I use this for my personal goals, which are sometimes mixed with my professional goals, but mostly it helps me separate my home life from my work life. We often hear about life balance yet we are so tired at the end of the day that we neglect to find ways to make that balance real.”. review from Jojo G.

              Check out Go Journal.

              Bottom Line

              The goal journal you choose is going to depend a lot on the outcome you are trying to create. However, it is important to remember that these journals are not magical. It is going to require work and consistency to get the results you want.

              The good news is, if you put in the work and follow a proven blueprint of these six journals, you are sure to succeed.

              More About Journaling

              Featured photo credit: fotografierende via unsplash.com

              Reference

              More by this author

              Undre Griggs

              Coaching To Help Professionals And Organizations Change Their Beliefs So They Can Get Results.

              How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change for a Better Self How to Conquer Your Fear of Change and Transform Your Life 7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now 6 Best Goal Setting Journals to Help You Stay on Track How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Get Unstuck

              Trending in Smartcut

              1 7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success 2 The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise 3 23 Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for an Interview 4 20 Critical Skills to Add to Resume (For All Types of Jobs) 5 15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included)

              Read Next

              Advertising
              Advertising
              Advertising

              Last Updated on December 3, 2019

              7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

              7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

              I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

              It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

              A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

              1. Define Career Success for Yourself

              Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

              What does career success mean to you?

              This is about defining your career success:

              • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
              • Not what people may think of you
              • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
              • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

              “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

              When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

              There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

              Advertising

              • Work-life balance
              • Opportunities for growth and advancement
              • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

              Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

              • What do you mean by work-life balance?
              • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
              • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

              Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

              • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
              • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
              • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

              Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

              • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
              • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
              • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

              Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

              Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

              What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

              2. Know Your Values

              Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

              There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

              Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

              Advertising

              • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
              • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
              • Put the words on your fridge
              • Add the words on your vision board

              Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

              3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

              When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

              How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

              Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

              • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
              • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
              • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
              • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
              • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
              • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

              Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

              • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
              • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
              • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
              • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

              Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

              By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

              4. Determine Your Top Talents

              What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

              What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

              Advertising

              What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

              What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

              What do you notice?

              5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

              Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

              I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

              Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

              Keep these words visible too!

              Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

              6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

              Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

              Advertising

              Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

              “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

              7. Manage Your Own Career

              Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

              Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

              Summing Up

              For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

              Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

              Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

              1. Define Career Success for Yourself
              2. Know Your Values
              3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
              4. Determine Your Top Talents
              5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
              6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
              7. Manage Your Own Career

              “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

              Good luck and best wishes always!

              More Tips on Advancing Your Career

              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

              Reference

              Read Next