how to better set more intentional goals

It's January, and we all know what that means... goal-setting! With how crazy of a year 2020 was, it's no surprise that the advent of this new year feels SO refreshing and needed, and I am ready more than ever to set out and accomplish new, more intentional goals. In one of my recent videos about what goals and intentions I'm setting for this year, I mentioned that I want my goals to be one step above average, or in other words, realistic while still an exciting challenge. Here's how I'm actively working to make it happen!


Something important I have learned about myself is that if I have an idea, personally or work-wise, I need to physically write it down in its entirety to ensure that I don't forget it later on. Writing out goals not only keeps a record that you can look back on and refer to, but also the act of writing itself helps to more solidify the ideas + thoughts in your mind. They don't have to be fully formed ideas or goals; try writing down "I" statements, such as "I want to read more non-fiction books" or "I want to cook at home during the week more often." See what topics or themes are repeated often, and stick with those! Finding a writing tool that you're most comfortable with, whether it's an ink pen, a keyboard, or a tablet screen, makes the process much more enjoyable. By writing down goals in an easily accessible place such as a planner, notebook, or a note app, you set yourself up for success and give your future self the opportunity to reflect on your growth!


There are many aspects of ourselves and lives that we would like to improve on throughout the year; organizing goals into different categories definitely makes it less daunting. Common categories are broad in of themselves, such as personal, health, finance, work, and relationships. Take a health goal, for example. "I want to be healthier this year" encompasses multiple facets of life; you can subcategorize, or designate specific areas you want to improve your health in, such as exercise, diet, and mental health. Taking the time to write and read through your goals and place them into categories will give you a solid foundation to build on. While doing this, be mindful of why you want to accomplish these things, which will give you a better idea of what your intentions are and where your priorities are for the year.


One reason why we tend to become discouraged and abandon our goals altogether is because we focus on the long-term and not the short-term. By breaking down year-long goals into smaller increments, such as monthly, weekly, and daily, they become way more manageable. The time frames you choose for your goals will vary depending on your schedule and the type of goal itself; this is where writing them down and categorization come in handy! For example, a work goal might be more suited to being monthly or quarterly, while a personal goal, such as getting more sleep at night, is handled better on a daily or weekly basis.

These time frames serve to not only keep goals at the forefront of your mind throughout the year, but also to break the goal itself up into tangible and feasible increments. Continuing with the health example, if you want to exercise more often, then perhaps one of your monthly goals looks like running 40 miles in total for the month, or consistently attending a fitness class. On a weekly basis, this could translate to running 10 miles in total throughout the week, or going to a class 3 days a week. Find a time frame that makes the most sense for your schedule and fits your goal into your routine, rather than trying to schedule your routine around your goal.

Daily, weekly, or monthly planners are an immense help for this aspect of goal-setting because they give you templates to follow and fill-in, and allow you to keep track of your progress. My favorite planners are from simple self, and I absolutely love their mindful layouts and emphasis on improving your self through intentional self-care. Planners keep me organized and focused, and it's so satisfying to look back on planners from years past and see how far I've come!


In order to help follow through with goals, accountability and flexibility are key. Finding someone, whether it be a partner, a friend, a family member, a mentor, or a coworker, to share your progress with and even come alongside you is so incredibly motivating! Designate time to discuss your goals with your person and how each of you are doing in the process. Having someone to keep you accountable and encouraged is so rewarding.

It's also so important to give yourself the space and breathing room for goals that change or don't come to fruition quite like you wanted them to. If last year has taught me anything, it's that life can be so very unpredictable, and to take unexpected circumstances in stride. A goal that I start out with in January may look very different by July, and it's okay to change it up and adjust my expectations accordingly. I tend to be pretty ambitious when it comes to setting goals, but I know it's important to give myself grace when and where I will inevitably fall short at times. It's okay to not accomplish everything on your lists! It doesn't make you any less, and you are still so loved and valued, regardless of what you have and haven't done.

On that note, it is also important to CELEBRATE your success and what you have done! When it gets tough, go back to the "why" of what you set out to do, to help reset your focus. Reaching goals can be challenging and require a lot of discipline and effort, so don't forget to treat yourself when you reach milestones and take pride in doing things that are bettering yourself and your life.

I love intentional goals because they keep me mindful of what I want the year and my life to look like, and put me in the headspace for making sure I'm productive and always moving forward. What are your goals for this year? I love this community so so so much, and cannot wait to see all the ways we will individually grow and succeed in this upcoming year!

hi, I'm Michel

So glad you’re here. I love this friend group & our ability to learn from each other to become the best versions of ourselves!

join the friend group

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

    contact me

    © Michel Janse Smith