How to Create Personal Annual Goals to Design the Life You Love

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As any good New Year rolls in, so do the resolutions. But once you figure out that you need more than just a statement of resolution to make good and ambitious things start crack-a-lacking in your life, you’ll also realize that setting effective personal annual goals will be your best friend for a long time comin’!

Even if your ambition doesn’t lie in career-type goals for the moment, really think about the other things that have been nagging at you the last year. Money? Getting organized? Taking an epic vacay? Learning how to cook Thai?

All of these things matter, because they’re things you desire. They’re things it’ll make you happy to do, see, experience, or know. And setting your personal annual goals like these are a thing you should be doing to design the life you love.

It’s time to really get serious about yourself and learn HOW to design the life you love. ?

personal annual goals for life design

How to design the life you love

Let’s talk about life design first of all. For some this is a much different way of thinking in terms of personal annual goal setting. Goal setting feels so straight-forward, so…sterile and business-y. Life design feels a bit more dynamic and exciting. And that’s the point. It’s your LIFE, Babe! You get to live it, and you call the shots for how you design it!!

For many, designing the life you love will start with taking all different aspects into consideration. You start with a Life Wheel, which looks like this:

personal annual goals to design the life you love

Then you evaluate each section. This really can be the basis for life design, and the PRE-step to setting personal annual goals, because life design starts with a much deeper WHY in mind. If you feel like you don’t have these foundations set, pump the brakes here and grab the Life Wheel printable ? to fill out and do some soul-searching. I know a year can feel like the blink of an eye, but do you really want to be adrift with your goals if you haven’t thought through the bigger purpose? That’s the whole premise of designing the life you love. ?

personal annual goals to design the life you love

How to set your personal annual goals

First, let me say this: Personal annual goals don’t HAVE to be set at the beginning of the year! If you’ve ever worked for a corporation, you know that many businesses have what’s known as a ‘fiscal year’. It means they just go from some arbitrary date in the year back to that same date the next year for their ‘full year’. I say we should create our own ‘personal fiscal years’! I’ve said before that I feel waaaay more motivated in the spring-time rather than the New Year. This means I set my personal annual goals in the Spring. So do whatever works best FOR YOU!

So in designing the life you love, why do personal goal setting for an entire year? Well, an entire year is sort of a standard mark for setting some pretty significant goals. And it’s also a pretty significant amount of time to look back on to review your habits, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’ve slacked on.

Now, if you’re thinking you need to start with SMART Goals to set annual personal goals you’ll actually achieve, slow down. We’ll get to that. Seriously. Follow these steps to really put some thought into how you want to design the life you love through your annual personal goals.

1. Gather Materials for Your Annual Personal Goals Session

To start with any annual personal goal setting session, you need to begin gathering all your materials and tools. By this, I mean:

1. Your regular day planner or calendar,

2. Your goal planner (if you already have one–including SMART goals you may have already set), and any other things you need. {I’ll be doing a ‘Planner Review’ post soon, as I’ve gone through many, many planners to find the perfect one for myself.}

3. I particularly love using colored pens like THESE, highlighters, and post-its. These are especially helpful if you’re very visual, like me.

And the most important thing you can do is schedule in a quiet time to sit and do your annual personal goal setting session. Which will probably mean getting a commitment from the other grown-up in the house to keep kids occupied and outta your hair!

Once you’ve got all that, I (obviously) recommend printing out my free Workbook for this. {If you’re not a subscriber yet, join the Newsletter and get access to this and lots of other great free resources in the Resource Vault!}

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2. Reflection on your past goals and year

When you look back at your goals from the past year, what do you see? Answer the following questions to get a bit more clarity on how your year went.

  1. Are your goals relevant any more?
  2. Did you stay on track?
  3. Did you find that you want or need to add new goals?
  4. What kinds of things worked out for you? Were there things held you back?
  5. Could you do better on anything?
  6. What do you need to avoid from now on?
  7. What do you need help with?
  8. Did you celebrate your wins (big or small)?

Taking a hard look back should help you reassess how your year went, and how committed you were to accomplishing those goals. It should also help you determine if you’ve been too hard on yourself, OR if you totally underestimated yourself!

Would you say that you could have done more? Or should have planned less?

3. Re-evaluate your past personal annual goals

Next think about any obstacles that came up. What did you do to get around or through them? {Here’s a great post on working through fear and other obstacles getting in your way!}

Make some lists of things that worked and didn’t work, and things you need to do more of, and less of.

Use the Annual Goal Review Workbook to map all these things out so you can get a better idea of things you need to change OR keep doing.

life design with personal annual goals

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This tends to be the time people find they need to work on some habit changes as well!

Ok, so this is the part where you get to go through your past goals one by one and see what you may need to change or update. Do you need to nix any of them? Change dates? Think any through to see if they’re in alignment with your overall life goal?

4. New intentions to design the life you love

Now’s the fun part! We get to write down what our intentions are for the upcoming year, and actually create our MAPS for getting us there! (Notice how this is starting to circle back to an actual life design for yourself?)

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Write down every new intention you have for the upcoming year.

This is the time to dream about things, but also reign it in with some critical thinking on feasibility. You may even need to discuss some of these things with your significant other before making them concrete goals. (Ex. Wanting to take on rental properties SHOULD include a conversation with your partner about all the financials and responsibilities that go with this, and ideally would end with a consensual agreement on the matter.)

Now create a goal for those intentions. Be specific and time-bound, most importantly. {If you need a refresher on how to set SMART Goals, check out this post!}

5. Create your action plan to round out your life design personal annual goals.

This whole part will entail listing your major goals, setting a loose time-table for them, and creating mini-goals, and micro-goals. Mini and micro-goals are basically benchmarks and tasks to get you to your main goal. In other words, mini-goals can be set quarterly, micro-goals can be set monthly, then you can create weekly tasks to accomplish each of the micro goals. Use the Workbook to work all these out.

Once you have your goals aaaallllllll worked out, take those dates for the first month and put them in your planner or calendar. NOW. Do this NOW.

And basically all that’s left is to actually EXECUTE all those shiny new tasks! Cause what’s the point of designing the life you love if you’re not going to actually MAKE IT YOURS? ? 

I do recommend reviewing your progress every month. This will tell you if you’ve been a leeetle too ambitious, or if you need to push anything back due to unforeseen issues. It will also tell you if you can do more to achieve your goal faster! But the point is that you’re taking time for yourself to really sit down and assess your habits, commitment, and feasibility of your life design so far.

Now go through your checklist and make sure you’ve done everything for your Annual Goal Review…


Woo-hoo!! Let’s get those actions started to execute the life you love!!! ?

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How to design the life you love with personal annual goals.

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