I am a product manager, I love setting goals. What can I say?

I have read a lot of things on how to plan your life, how to be productive, how to form habits, new year’s resolutions, how to stick to them, you get the gist. But they all seemed kinda off, and, like a good diet, never really work.

So I started looking into even more ways to make time and be my best self. Literally, I read Make Time the book and learned about journaling on bestself.co — Two things I can recommend if you want to get deeper into what I am about to tell you. I also watched tons of YouTubers create the cutest Bullet Journals, this, I recommend if you’d like to procrastinate.

I used a mix of all the things I had learned and made a plan. I had trialled a bunch of bits and pieces throughout the last year, so I feel like I got a good assortment of helpers for me and maybe you as well.

You go from big to small. From the high-level big picture to specific actions, you can take to get there. Very much like product management or start-ups. Vision, Mission, Strategy, Goals…

I am not the person to have a five-year plan. I hardly even know what I’ll have for breakfast the next day. I have dreams and aspirations. As romantic as that sounds, it is not very actionable. So I set out to go from, I wish one day I will have a Victorian townhouse and a 5-member animal squad in Toronto to real steps towards that beautiful dream and some others.

I wrote everything down in a physical journal because I am fancy like that and it’s relaxing for me. You can also use apps, I’ll make suggestions where I can.

Word of the year

I had seen a few people on social media talk about their word of the year. Instead of new year’s resolutions, they chose only one single word as the theme of the year. I wanted to steal Tom Jepson’s word “storytelling” — That’s such a beautiful and useful theme. But first of all, I would have made it too easy for myself and secondly, it wasn’t my word.

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I kept thinking about it and couldn’t make up my mind. I got in tarot a while ago and on January 2nd I did a New Year’s spread. I do not believe that tarot reveals the inevitable future, but I think it’s a cool and fun way to change perspective and get some food for thought. The last card was to reveal what I’d be stepping into on an overall level: “looking ahead, expansion, rapid growth”. And there it was, my word of the year.

Growth.

However you figure out your word, once you find it, you just know.

Intentions

As the next step, I defined intentions connected to my word of the year by asking myself how can I grow

And no, you don’t need all of them, feel free to pick and choose. Some of them will have more bullet points than others.

Here are some of mine, not all. I want to be mysterious!

Professional

Personal

Financial

This is still pretty high-level.

13 Week Roadmap

Set goals and make a plan.

My first 13-week roadmap is more of a nine-week roadmap because I took my sweet time to flesh out my goals. More self-care 🤷🏻‍♀️

I borrowed this mostly from Best Self Co. they also sell planners that have this already in it if you’re a journal person like me. I just wrote this into a notebook on my own. I got nice handwriting.

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You create up to three goals for your quarter. That’s right, 13 weeks is a quarter.

For each goal you define step goals and actions & tasks, like so:

GOAL Write two posts a months

This goal is important because it helps to start a routine and stops me from second-guessing myself too much.

Step Goals & Actions

A) Create an idea backlog

B) Prioritize

C) Write

When I achieve this goal my life will change in the following way: It’s a step in putting myself out there and it will grow my skills.

I commit to completing this by <date>.

Reward I didn’t set any specific reward, because for this one my reach will hopefully be my reward. But you can gift yourself something, either for each goal or for all of them together. A freelance client of mine who I used to coach gave herself a nice coffee maker as a reward for all her goals.

Highlights

I try to set a highlight of the day each day. It’s a technique from the book Make Time. Your highlight can be work-related but doesn’t have to be. It should take you roughly 60–90 mins to accomplish it and you should make time for it. It can be an urgent work task or cooking dinner for your friends.

Write it down somewhere and check if you got to it or not. I do this in my physical calendar. You can also use your iCal, Google Cal or Outlook: Create an all-day entry and put your highlight as the title or use tasks/reminders/to-dos.

Tracking

To see your progress you want to track things. I have a whole bunch of trackers that relate to my intentions and goals.

I track routines daily:

I track the bigger things during my week in review:

I also review the routines monthly. Sometimes you can find interesting correlations. Again, I do this in my calendar or a journal. There are apps out there that can help as well, like Daylio or Productive, just look for “habit tracker” in the app or play store.

Conclusion

This is how I do it, I found a few things that work for me and I mashed them all up. Will this work for you? Maybe. Should you try it? Why not?

I do this to hold myself accountable, to focus on changing what is important to me and to get to that place where I want to be.

Written by

Product strategist, decision facilitator, team enabler, problem solver, design sprinter, agile enthusiast, intersectional feminist.

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