Goal Setting Tips With Free Planner

Want a fun goal setting tip? Write your story! I regularly like to set goals and create a plan for achieving them, regardless of the time of year. First, I take time to review the previous year so I can see what unfolded in my life and how it impacted me.

After that, I’ll write my vision for the upcoming months or year, which I like to do from a high-level perspective. This helps me see the overall goals I want to reach and to get an idea of the road ahead of me. I like to write my yearly vision down in story form and it’s one of my favourite ways to record my goals.

A yearly story or vision is how you see your life playing out throughout the year. It includes various elements and you don’t have to set deadlines unless you want to. In this post, I share how you can write your yearly vision in story form and how you can use the power of writing to help you accomplish your goals. There’s also a free goal setting workbook for you to download so you can write your own story!

Write your story and set your goals

The Power Of Goal Setting


Before I started running my freelance editorial business at home, I used to dream about working at home on my terms. So I started envisioning my ideal day. Writing down my ideal day is something I started over 14 years ago when I worked in a cubicle and felt stifled by my 9-to-5 corporate job.

To get through the day, I’d write on a Post-it what I’d be doing instead if I were working from home as a freelance editor. I imagined doing things like sleeping in, taking my dog to the park, and working at a coffee shop. I did this a few times a day, and after a while it inspired me to take the steps to make my Post-it life a reality.

This practice of writing down my daily vision evolved into writing my yearly vision. I came up with this exercise so I could see what my goals and desires looked like in narrative form.

I’m a creative person who loves writing, and whenever I write my yearly story, I feel so confident and capable of anything. It’s quite the experience to see your life as you dream it, on paper. As Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

The Power Of Writing Your Story

Writing your story has a big impact on your ability to reach your goals. In a recent study on the art and science of goal setting, it was discovered that people who wrote down their goals and dreams on a regular basis are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to achieve them.

If you share your dreams and goals with someone you trust, then the likelihood that they’ll become reality will go up even more! In the same study, researchers discovered that more than 70 percent of people who sent weekly updates to a friend were successful in accomplishing their goal. Seventy percent! If that doesn’t make you grab a pen and paper and call up a friend, I don’t know what will.

So writing down your desires isn’t a useless exercise — it’s a proven system for achievement and confidence building.

What Is Your Story And How Do You Write One?

Writing your story is a fun, free-flowing activity in which you allow yourself freedom to dream. Don’t hold back — dream big because you never know what can happen!

Also, make sure you write about your feelings. This is important because you want to physically know how it feels to have accomplished something specific. What does it feel like to make an extra $500 dollars a month? Or to go on a dream vacation? 

Here are some tips for writing your story:

  • If you have one, include the word or phrase you’ve chosen for the year.
  • Don’t forget your feelings. How do you want to feel in different aspects of your life? Energized? Peaceful? Patient? Confident?
  • Think of the people in your life. They impact your story, too. Who and what kind of people do you want to be surrounded by?
  • Include your personal, health, spiritual, and professional goals.
  • Don’t worry about it being linear. Write it down as it comes to you.
  • Write about your goals as if they’ve already happened.

Here’s an example of how to incorporate goals into your story. If your goals include paying off debt and adopting a dog, then it could look like this:

After I paid off my credit card and the rest of my student loan by the end of summer, I felt so relieved and more relaxed. I went to the local shelter and adopted the cutest chocolate-brown lab. I named him Charlie and we went to the dog park every day.

See how easy and fun it can be? All you have to do is grab a pen and start goal setting in story form. I like to write mine in the past tense, as if I’m reflecting on the wonderful year I just had. If you want to write in another style like future tense, or in point form, go right ahead. Do what works for you, as long as you write it down and keep it close by for inspiration.

Here’s the printable goal setting workbook I mentioned above. Grab your copy in the box below and start writing your yearly vision today!

Grab Your FREE Goal Setting Planner

Practice Goal Setting Often

Writing down your goals and desires is also a powerful form of visualization. You can write your story whenever you need some inspiration or a pick-me-up.

I write my story when I’m feeling down or experiencing doubt, or when I’ve accomplished a goal. It’s also okay if your goals change, as well. Nothing is set in stone and as the year progresses you may find yourself wanting to write a fresh new story. 


This form of goal setting doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty quarterly and weekly breakdowns and deadlines, but you’ll have set your path toward a destination. It’ll help guide you in your overall decisions.

And if you feel embarrassed over what you’ve written? Read it again. Do you feel silly because you think it can’t be done? Do you feel like you don’t have it in you? Your embarrassment is likely related to your level of confidence, but you’ll find that every time you read your story, it’ll be easier to face what you truly want.

Also, if part of your yearly story involves making extra money, working on your terms or learning a new skill… Proofreading and editing are in-demand skills that you can learn in less than 30 days! You can learn more here.

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14 thoughts on “Goal Setting Tips With Free Planner”

  1. This is the first time I’ve heard of putting goals in a story. Makes me think of how effective affirmations can be. I love this idea!

  2. I love this story approach to goal-setting! So inspiring! Thanks for sharing this, I will be writing my own yearly story shortly. 🙂

  3. I have so many scraps, pieces, even whole pages of writing, but more thoughts than goals. When I bump into it and read it I do sometimes feel embarrassed but the idea I had that long time before. This is a good help with confidence. Love it.

    1. It’s totally normal to feel some embarrassment, and the best way to overcome it is to read your goals & story to yourself over and over. You’ll find that the more you do that, the more you’ll feel comfortable!

  4. Thanks for the encouraging advice and pointers on goal setting. It’s an area I’m weak in and you gave me a lot of “food for thought.” I’m recovering from burnout as a nurse and I think physically writing down my goals might make them seem more real and achievable.

  5. What a terrific idea! I downloaded the free version of Evernote because it’s a great tool for making to-do lists and prioritizing. But this is genius! Manifest your dreams in advance, and set your intention for the year? Love it!

  6. I’m 81, but in decent health. I still have dreams to be lived, but between house troubles and Covid everything slowed down. I’m hoping to take the dreams up again and make a few of them become reality. I think I’ll start with this type of planning. Thanks for the uplift, Phon.

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