operation: goal set 2014!!

the long awaited!

well, long awaited for me, I guess! I have been so so so excited to do this post, but also so so so anxious to make it absolutely right – you know? I want it to be perfect, but I also know that I can go overboard with the details, especially when it comes to this madness, so i have tried to break it down into the most simple and easy-to-follow format possible.

strangely, I was also worried you guys would secretly judge me for being so weird and type-A about this. weird. I know now that is just silly (right??) 🙂 no, really, I’ve moved on from that thought – now i am just  excited about sharing my process.

ohhhh I’m so excited.

okay. here we go. full-disclosure – some of my goals I purposely blurred out on the pictures. i thought it looked cool and arty, but i also wanted to keep some of this stuff to myself. not because I don’t trust or love you all, I just like to have some of this exist only in my mind – it keeps it special for me. I want you all to know that is perfectly fine – it’s not about keeping secrets, or being afraid that you will be held to things if you tell others, but you are allowed to have dreams and thoughts that no one else in the world needs to know. I used to think letting people in on things was the only way to keep me accountable, but it isn’t always the case – although it can definitely help for certain things, and if you are wired that way, but it is not a must – you know?

okay! enough procrastinating! You ready!? In order:

STEP 1) Find a peaceful place.

Find a place you can be quiet and find some distraction-free peace. This can be a favorite coffee shop – mine is a Peets in Dana Point near my parent’s house – your room, a park, the beach, a restaurant – wherever you can be alone for a little while without interruptions. Turn off that phone and just be – this is something you owe yourself.

What you will need:

  • A new, shiny notebook that makes you feel good when you look at it. my absolute favorite is a extra-large size Moleskin with a paper cover – they have great binding, soft/writeable paper with perfect-sized lines, and the pages are wide enough for lots of notes (not too wide). See what I’m talking about HERE. They come in packs of three, and i always end up using all three over the course of a year for other things.
  • A NICE pen. Not just any old pen – your favorite pen to write with. The perfect pen. This is very important!
  • Pictures/magazine clippings/etc that coincide with your goals – vision board style! This is optional – I used to do a lot of this, but now just keep it pretty simple with a cool, inspiring picture on the front. But you do whatever feels right for you!
  • Last year’s goal notebook – if applicable 🙂 If you didn’t do something like that last year (because i wasn’t in your life yet!), just get a few sheets of paper, or a journal/calendar/to do list that you are comfortable writing notes on.
  • Green tea (optional!)

my spread:


STEP 2)  Reflect on your last year, and write about it.

Take a sip of tea, a deep breath, close your eyes, take 5-10 minutes and…reflect.

How did this last year go?

What did you accomplish that you are proud of?

Who have you become that you are proud of?

What didn’t happen that you had wanted?

What did you get, where did you go, who did you meet, what did you start, how did you evolve, what did you stop doing, start doing, change, keep the same, make a habit of, break a habit of?

what are you the most proud of?

This is me reflecting:


Now! Open your eyes (you didn’t have to have them closed the whole time) and start writing all the things that you thought about. Free form, just write it all – even the things that you aren’t sure if you are proud of them or not, just go for it! This year i wrote “became more diligent in hang-drying my delicate clothes”, soooo – nothing is off limits.

What has changed in you that you didn’t think possible or didn’t even think about at the beginning of 2013? Write down every detail.

(This is the beauty of doing a notebook every year – you get to look back at the goals from the beginning of the year and see how far you have come. That will be next year for you!)

At the end of the list, reflect a little more on how you feel about what happened for you, and write yourself nice, encouraging little notes, like this one from me to me:


what a nerd.

Re-read your list several times, putting a mental-star by the things that you are most proud of – the things that had the most impact on your life, the things that required the biggest risks. Think about why those were the best, and vow to recreate that same prize at the end of next year 🙂

STEP 3)  Write down goal ideas for the next year.

Okay! Now, on that same scratch paper, take whatever time you need and write down every goal idea you have for the next year – sky is the limit. I’m sure you have ideas for what you want, but get creative – if lists don’t work for you, write yourself a story about the person you are at the end of 2014. For example:

“Every day I wake up energized and excited about my day. I wear these kinds of clothes, drive this kind of car, I have a job that I love, and I’m not stressed about money. I have made up with this person, have the habit of this, talk and think this way, am in this kind of relationship…” etc! I actually do this throughout the year, if I feel stuck – I will write myself a little story of my perfect life, my perfect day. It’s a really great way to get your mind flowing with the possibilities.

Also, think about what you were most proud of about your last year – how can you gear yourself towards those things to recreate that same feeling on December 31, 2014?


STEP 4) Cherry-pick your goals.

Now that you have all the goods written down, go through and pick the ones that you want to achieve in 2014. Think big, but not silly, unattainable, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot-big.

Example: if you make $20/hour today, set the goal for $80/hour, not $250. You know? Orrr set it for $250 – whatever works for you. I just know when I set things way too high, my subconscious-Laura loses respect and credibility for the entire goal list – make sense? But that’s just me.

Tip: If you have 7 big goals – awesome. If you have 30 smallish goals – awesome. All I ask is that you don’t have 30 big goals.

And if you have 30 smallish-medium goals, try your best to categorize them – I’m sure many of them have to do with each other. Last year, I had ten big goals. This year I have 4 big categories with smallish-medium goals under each category. Make sense?

don’t think/contemplate/go back and forth too much with this step – you know what you want, guys. Trust it. But if you are afraid you are missing something, think longer. Don’t rush this!

Remember! A lot of goals will lead to other goals. So focus on the biggest stuff in your brain, and remember that you will definitely accomplish other things during the year that you didn’t write down. You just don’t want to overwhelm yourself with every single thing in your mind. This is not to a to-do list, it’s more a big picture get-me-where-I’m-going guide!

STEP 5)  Write out small steps towards achieving the cherry-picked goals.

Underneath your chosen few, take 10 minutes and write down every little step you can think of that would get you closer to each goal.

Any little thing. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but YOU – just write the things that remind you of the big goals, things that you know will have to get done to get where you want – big, small, seemingly-insignificant – all!!

Example: I want to make Eat Your Cake a sole proprietorship (smallish goal under my “Writing” category). As a set for this, I literally wrote create a Legal Zoom account. Not even apply for the sole proprietorship, nope – just create an account. Yep. Small things, guys!

this can be messy – just think of a bunch of things and write them. You will refer back to this list throughout the year, so not too messy 🙂

my version of messy:


STEP 6) Make your goal notebook!


Okay!!! So you have done the tough stuff – the reflecting, the thinking, the weighing-options, the discerning, the eye-closing, the tea-drinking, the contemplating, the breaking-it-down…now it’s time for the good part 🙂 Pick up your fancy pen, take the plastic off of your clean, fresh notebook, and let’s go…!

  • Design the cover of your fancy, special, one-of-a-kind 2014 notebook. remember – this will be the thing you pick up often throughout the year, so make it appealing for you. After years of all sorts of covers, I now choose to keep things understated and simple, like so:


(I might add a picture later. 🙂 )

  • write the year something inspiring and theme-ish on your first page. See below: I chose “the year it all begins.” Last year it was “the year i become the girl I have always wanted to be” – have it be a one line phrase that sums up your goals or something that makes you feel good. no limits! have fun.


  • add some extra inspiration on the next page, if you are so inclined (I was and always am!)



  • now, on your next page, write down your goals – the big goals, or the big categories. See mine below: Like I said, I have 4 big categories.


  • now! each goal gets it’s own separate page – see below:


remember, I have 4 big categories, so 4 separate pages. Underneath the heading on each page, I wrote all of the smallish-medium goals within that category.

example: Under my “Writing” category (which I wrote out as a more poignant sentence: “To become a known, consistent, great and powerful storyteller” because that’s how i ROLL), I have a section for Eat Your Cake. See below:


  • IF you are going the route of several big goals, they each get their own page, and under each header, write some smaller steps that will lead you towards these big goals (from Step 5)

Do this for each category/goal, and make it look exactly the way you want it – it is your notebook, and your vibe. I do it clean, simple, with handwritten checkboxes next to each thing, because I like how that looks. You do what looks good for YOU 🙂

By the end of Step 6, your notebook will be done! Admire your pages and re-read your goals – you are going to do so many fun things this year!!!!

STEP 7) Set your weekly schedule.

This is an ongoing step, one you will do every Sunday (or whatever day you deem the end of your week).

Every week, you will take 20 minutes for yourself and write out the goals for your next 7 days, using your “master list” for the year. You can write down the number of each goal, and then give yourself a few small things to do that week that lead to your goal (this is where your Step 5 comes in handy). This should be fun, and excite you because you are setting up your week to be successful, and lead you in the right direction, no matter what gets thrown at you.

Check it out – a few small steps under each of my 4 categories:


On this Sunday, you will also start looking at the past week’s list and reflecting – did you get everything done that you set out to do? Did you do none of it? Did you aim wayyy too high or low?  Did you do something else more interesting and valuable than your list?

If you wan tot be as type-A as me, you can then put all of these steps for a week into a phone app like Carrot (my favorite) or any other online to-do list (I have tried them all. Carrot is so so awesome.). I like this because then I don’t have to haul my precious notebook around everywhere to remind me what I need to do. Carrot gives me the goods, and yells at me if I don’t get things done (really. she’s so awesome.) See below:


Check in with your notebook every night, and, as you do things, manually check them off – like so!


Whew. i did it.


I did it!

the post I so wanted to write but was afraid of! And I’m still afraid I made it too complicated, but it’s not! I promise. just have some fun.

did it all make sense? questions? PLEASE let me know how it goes!!!!!!!!!!!!

love you guys. 🙂


24 responses to “operation: goal set 2014!!

  1. Oh my goodness, you did a fantastic job, and it’s totally understandable and I cant wait to get started. I have already bought a nice journal, that I started writing inspirational quotes in and then I looked to the stars and started writing out my outrageous goals, to my more obtainable goals, leaving a blank page for each. Yipee, I’ve already got that part done. I’ve just got to do the writing and reflecting on 2013, I’ll use the scratch paper idea and just insert it into the journal somehow, and then continue on with the rest of your instructions. I love the picture ideas. I can paste them in my journal, as my hubby does not want me to hang a story board anywhere…..so in the journal the picks will go. Thank you Laura for all of this fantastic information, I cant tell you how happy I am that you have shared it with us all. I hope its okay to ask questions if I get stuck. Lots of Love Trina

    Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 03:39:18 +0000 To: kordik3@hotmail.com

  2. I love this Laura!! 🙂

    I have been putting off starting my goals list for what ever reason comes about… (procrastination of all sorts and forms – my job, housework, etc.).

    I love the idea’s and processes you put into making your lists, sub lists and notes to make it all steps and pieces that come together. I think I heard it before when Jim Rohn was also talking about goal setting, but it has since slipped my mine (even after 4+ re-listening sessions of all 6 CD’s), to make a list for every week to give you something to focus on to accomplish and to work towards your bigger (possibly more intimidating) goals for the long term. Keeping it encouraging and fun is going to help me not get overwhelmed and back away from it and keep me thinking and on my toes about all the GREAT things, not worrying and fretting about all the things I might conjure up that could go wrong.

    It is easier to get to 10 if you count up from 1 😉 .

    I believe that tomorrow is New Years Day. I will have the day off from work (FINALLY) and I plan to make this one of the things that I need to get done on that day so that I can get this list formulated finally and stop putting it off.

    Love you Laura, thank you for sharing!!!

  3. Laura great job with sharing your process for goal setting. Very organized and well thought out. I have a nice journal that I keep quotes in, and I will get another like it to put goals in. This will be a new process for me since I have never really been good at writing them down, nor setting them for that matter! I do have the same favorite pen, love that one, I bought a bunch. I will take your great advice here and try it out for the New Year. Thanks for all your help.

  4. Lovelovelove this. And then some. I like to spend NYE reflecting on the past year and setting intentions for the one to come – you’re WAY more organized about it than I am, but it’s the same general idea. I may take a page from your book (from your journal? Too personal?) and organize a little more, although your level is a little intimidating (in an awe-inspiring way). I do love the free-form writing idea – I think I’ll incorporate that.

    In any case, this is great. This blog is great. You are GREAT.

  5. Laura!! It is amzing and I love it. I am finally done with my goals 2014 and I am so ready! Thank you for sharing your wonderful step by step goal set list 2014! watch out 2014, here I come 🙂

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  7. Great post! I got my Goals Notebook 2014 set up yesterday. To paraphrase that great philosopher, Shoe, my Core Goals have been about the same since 1979 (see >http://www.gocomics.com/shoe/2013/12/30#.Ut1wVvZMGqQ>). Alas, I didn’t get a fancy Moleskine or anything, just an old Steno Book (for you young folks who don’t know what stenography is, well, that’s probably another whole post). Anyway, the big concept I got from your post is the “Small Steps” and the check boxes. So, after getting my old set of Core Goals out, I started thinking about all the Small Steps to get to those Core Goals. Never did that before! Then I put down my first “Week Of” schedule with all the small check boxes for each time I hoped to do each Small Steps that week. My week starts on Sunday and I’ve already checked off a few boxes (the easy ones like “walk that hooligan hound on the treadmill for 90 minutes” under my Core Goal of “Train that Hooligan Hound” – well, it was easy for me). Of course, after just starting my second day, I’ve already modified some of my Small Steps downward to “Baby Steps”! But thanks to you, I am taking some of those Small Steps and Baby Steps – plan to leave Shoe in the dust in 2014!

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