Digital Shortcut to Goal Setting: Play and Pie Charts

Looking for a quick way to get those “new year’s resolutions” logged? How about a way to ensure you actually find the time to accomplish them? Here’s my fresh take..

My New Favorite Hack for Goal Setting

In the past, I was all about vision boards and goal journals and benefitted greatly from them. However, the last two years felt different as I went back to work full time (and now part time). I went short and sweet on setting goals about two weeks into the month and new year. What that looked like for me this year: Opening my (free) Microsoft To Do: Lists & Tasks app for Android > Copying my 2022 bulleted goals list > Checking off the one thing I completed and tweaking a few of the other items to carry forward and adding one. Did I get discouraged that I only got to check off one? Nope, and here’s why:

I have 9 items on the list – mostly because they all fit on one screen. They don’t have specific numbers (I don’t care if I read exactly 12 books per year anymore as long as I make time for reading.) They are brief (one or two words each) and have loose timelines like daily, quarterly, or by the end of the year. And they fall into four buckets:

  1. Growth: Daily practices I want to add to my life more regularly like meditation, journaling and reading fiction books
  2. Fun: Big things I want to accomplish that just bring me joy like getting a new car, booking a family trip to Disneyworld, and signing up for a class to learn Spanish
  3. Social: Ways to grow in community and surround myself with more like-minded people like planning my first girls’ trip and joining a group at our new church
  4. Service: Things to do to give back like participate (or lead!) in volunteer projects

Did you notice that only part of my list is around growth? For years my list started with revenue goals at work, weight loss goals on the scale, or things I thought I “should” do like organize my house. Who says goals have to be all work and no play? My recommendation is to add some fun goals to your list too! Remember, the health triangle? Don’t forget to feed all sides of your wellness: social, mental, and physical.

Oddly none of my nine goals mentioned physical health like workout more or lose a certain number of pounds. I think by putting that down in writing and then often coming up short it can be more of a deterrent for me. But it was something on my mind, so I needed to ensure I made wellness a priority and changed something over what I’d done the year before. (Note: scheduling your annual physical in December can be a great motivator to kick off January in a new direction!)

168 Hours in a Week

That’s where the last item I have on my digital goals comes in to play. The last item on my list isn’t an actual task or goal but a list on its own. I heard about this “strategy” last year and it really stuck with me. It’s the idea that we all have the same 168 hours in a week… so how are you spending it and how do you want to be spending it? Being as I excel with a spreadsheet (pun intended), I loved the concept of getting analytical and calculating how I spend my time current-state. You can get a specific as logging an entire day in minute blocks and then going back and bucketing it or you can stay high level and quickly jot down in your phone where your time is spent totaling 168 (56 hours sleeping, 40 hours working, etc.)

Actually breaking down my week was eye opening and really made me appreciate what I do well and be much more conscious about what and where I want to change things. Some of it, I really had to contemplate as to where the rest of my time was actually going (don’t forget to add your social media scrolling!).

As someone who is always saying, “I don’t have time” to commit to another project or find time for self care, or trades sleep to get things done, this was a game changer. So in my app I added a task bullet called “168 hours” and in the notes section I wrote out how I’m currently breaking down my week and notes next to each of where I want to change.

Blank Pie Chart

If you don’t get tactical and figure out where you are going to cut something in order to grow something else, you likely won’t succeed in forming any new habits or routines. As they say “hope is not a strategy.” This is where I made sure I added more time for social outings and exercise over the previous year.

When I look at 30 minutes 3x per week of exercise or only 1.5 hours out of 168 in a week, it seems much less daunting to find time to workout. When I see how much of my time is still going to my children when I add up after-school and weekends, it ensures I don’t let any mom-guilt take over when I try to make excuses to give up my moms’ night out or workout class.

So give it a try this year if you haven’t already locked in those goals for 2023 and go digital. Find out what is draining you and where you can shift and prioritize to make room for a little fun!


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