Setting inspired goals is key to finding genuine fulfillment. It helps you to become an active participant in your life, living each day intentionally and with purpose. It takes dreams and makes them a reality. Journaling can take you one step further in the direction of your dreams and help you to feel that you are living your best life.

Evidence supports this, suggesting that writing about life goals improves well-being. This article will teach you how to set goals through journaling. Also, feel free to check out our Jumpstart Your Goals course.

Journaling: Aligning with Your Values

Research shows that intrinsic goals improve performance, persistence, and learning. Intrinsic goals are motivated by internal factors, like your values, rather than external factors, like other people’s opinions. In our courses, we teach the importance of intrinsic goal setting by teaching you how to set goals based on your values through journaling.

Values are qualities of action. They are the foundation of who you want to be and how you want to behave in this world. They are the essence of you. They are what keep you motivated each day. They give you direction in life, helping you know what to prioritize in your life.

Values are not externally derived–they are not what we think other people would approve of. They reflect what we personally value. They aren’t about how we want those around us to behave, but about how we want to behave.

When we act in accordance with our values, we feel proud. One way to recognize your values is to take cues from your feelings. Specifically, journaling about instances when you felt proud can help you to see what qualities of action are important to you.

Once you know your values, imagine them in action in your life. You can do this by writing down what a day would look like if you implemented these values. Next, imagine your dream life 10 years from now. Don’t underestimate what you can do in this time–dream big. Imagine the details of your day–where you are, who you are with, how you fill your time, etc.

Doing these exercises helps you to better understand your values and create goals that can help you live the dream. Now you are ready for goal setting. Our next section will discuss how to set goals with SMART goal setting.

How to Set Goals: SMART Goal Setting

One evidence-based technique we teach in our courses is SMART goal setting. It is an acronym that captures vital steps to effective goal setting. If you want to know how to set goals, knowing this technique is a must.

  • “S” stands for specific. When determining a specific goal, determine the who, what, where, what resources, and why of your goal. Next, utilize journaling by writing this down. But don’t write it down as a list, write it like you are writing a story–this will help you to feel more of a connection to your goal.
  • “M” stands for measurable. Include measures such as how long, how many, etc. This allows you to steadily improve because it gives you a clear understanding of your progress. Additionally, it helps you to know when you’ve accomplished your goal.
  • “A” stands for accountable. Tell someone about your goal and ask if they will be able to commit to regularly checking in with you. You can also keep yourself accountable by connecting your goal to an event, like a race or a presentation.
  • “R” stands for realistic. The key here is to find a good balance of difficulty and possibility. This helps you to feel motivated, but not overwhelmed by your goal.
  • “T” stands for time-bound. Include a clear deadline for your goal. Just make sure that you allow enough time to accomplish it.

Goal Setting: Planning Out Your Steps

After you’ve finished SMART goal setting, you are ready to make a plan. Decide what actions you need to take between now and the next week, the coming weeks, and the following months. Journaling this by hand gives you the necessary time to reflect on your goals.

Next, make daily targets, or a few simple goals that you commit to doing each day. It is helpful to digitize your daily targets on your smartphone so that you can see them throughout the day.

The next step is to review your goals and your progress weekly. Pick one day each week in which you can check in on yourself and see where you stand. This will keep you on track to your goals.

Another important aspect of planning is to make yourself aware of potential problems and planning what you will do in such cases. This ensures that you have an action plan if things go wrong and don’t get too thrown off.

A final important step of planning your goals is to take time to look inward and discover the “why” of your goals. Try to discover the root motivation of your goal. This can help you to stay motivated when it is difficult to follow through with your goals.

If you want more information on how to set goals, and specifically, the planning aspect of goal setting, feel free to check out our course on how to plan goals.

Conclusion: Journaling

Setting inspired goals through journaling can take you closer to the life of your dreams. It can help you to better understand your values, what you want out of life, and ultimately, who you want to be. It can transform your daily life into something you feel genuinely proud of. It can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. If you want to take your life to the next level and better understand how to set goals, check out our inspired goals course.