365 Days to a Better Me: Week 1 – Setting Goals that Get YOU Excited

 2018 is the Year of the DO! Let’s DO this!

“But Tracy, what exactly are we about to DO!?”

Good question! DOing is just doing, if we don’t have a target. We need goals! If we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and we don’t have faith that it exists, then our journey becomes a never-ending game of Ring-Around-the-Rosie…..and I’m getting dizzy!

The first week of 2018, and my 365 Days to a Better Me Challenge, was dedicated to goal planning. I created a series of goal setting worksheets to help me sort through the sea of ideas ricocheting through my head and turn them into concrete goals that I am going to reach this year. I’ll show you how to rein in the chaos of the mind and create a clear path to your 2018 DOing goals. Have faith, the light is at the end of your tunnel!

The Swimmer

When she looked ahead, Florence Chadwick saw nothing but a solid wall of fog. Her body was numb. She had been swimming for nearly sixteen hours.

Already she was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. She had managed to finish that swim in a record time, 16 hours and 22 minutes on August 8, 1950. Now, at age 34, her goal was to become the first woman to swim from Catalina Island to Palos Verde on the California coast.

On that Fourth of July morning in 1952, the sea was like an ice bath and the fog was so dense she could hardly see her support boats. Sharks cruised toward her lone figure, only to be driven away by rifle shots. Against the frigid grip of the sea, she struggled on – hour after hour – while millions watched on national television.

Alongside Florence in one of the boats, her mother and her trainer offered encouragement. They told her it wasn’t much farther. But all she could see was fog. They urged her not to quit. She never had . . . until then. With only a half mile to go, she asked to be pulled out.

Still thawing her chilled body several hours later, she told a reporter, “Look, I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen land I might have made it.” It was not fatigue or even the cold water that defeated her. It was the fog. She was unable to see her goal.

Two months later, she tried again. This time, despite the same dense fog, she swam with her faith intact and her goal clearly pictured in her mind. She knew that somewhere behind that fog was land and this time she made it! Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the Catalina, eclipsing the men’s record by two hours!


~ Author Unknown ~

Source: inspirationalstories.com

Photo Courtesy: pixabay.com


Step 1: Creating a Mind Map

When I start thinking about new goals I always have a ton of ideas running through my brain! I used make lists (a ton of them), only to be disappointed when I had scratch-outs and arrows and utter confusion…until I was introduced to the Mind Map! Mind Maps are perfect for organizing the abundance of ideas flying through your head when you’re excited about a new idea. Try it out!

Follow these instructions to fill in your mind map:

  1. Start with the square in the middle. Put the focus of your goals here.
  2. Branch out from the center square with ideas pertaining to your focus.
  3. Expand your ideas by free association, adding brackets and sub-brackets as needed.
  4. Be FREE and keep adding ideas as they pop into your head. Don’t think about it too hard, just write down everything! You will go back later and “think.”
  5. Work quickly. Add blank lines where you want to continue an idea at a later time.
  6. Capture your explosion of ideas in any way your heart desires! Color coordinate, include keywords, doodles and symbols when you feel inclined to, or add photos and cut-outs.
  7. You are NOT limited to this 8.5”x11” printable! Get out your markers and butcher paper (or tape a bunch of pieces of paper together).


Step 2: S.M.A.R.T Goals

Once you have your beautiful Mind Map, then you can pull out your goals. Be sure to use a positive tone and follow the SMART goals system when defining your goals!

What is a SMART goal?

When you are defining your goals, you should be sure to use the SMART goals system! You will be more likely to reach your goals and have a written plan as to how to get there.

S—Specific— Clear, Concise, and Tangible  *What exactly should be realized?

M—Measurable—Dollars, Volume, Time, Experiences  *How will we measure this?

A—Attainable—Feasible, Realistic  *Do we have control/influence over this?

R—Relevant—Alignment, Responsibilities  *How is this relevant to my situation right now?

T—Time-Bound—Deadlines, Timelines, Commitment  *What is a realistic time frame?


  1. Create SMART goals using the main bubbles on your Mind Map. List each SMART goal on a separate Yearly Goals worksheet.When I write my goals, I write about the accomplishment I just completed and how I feel now that it’s done.

Example: “It is January 1, 2019 and I feel healthy, energized and pumped up because I have lost 30 pounds by eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising at least 15 minutes everyday.”

2. Use the branches and sub-branches of your Mind Map to fill in the rest of the Yearly Goals worksheet, including the tasks and topics that must be addressed for each main topic and when they will be completed.

Example: To lose 30 pounds I will have to complete several tasks, including eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising. Other tasks could include setting up a meal plan, joining a gym, or starting a food diary.

3. Add tips for getting yourself back on track if you happen to miss a deadline. It is easier to come up with a game plan for procrastination and set backs BEFORE they happen. When you find your self behind schedule, take a look at your tips and get back down to business!

Example: In my weight loss example, as we all know, it is easy to have that brownie that leads to a sweets binging day. My tips would suggest removing all of the remaining tempting indulgences and a reminder to get back to my original tasks because one bad day does not cancel out the goal. Another suggestion would be to call your accountability partner, confess, and ask for encouragement.

4. Transfer the tasks that must be completed to reach each goal from the Yearly Goals Worksheet onto the correct month on the Monthly Goals Worksheet.

Example: In this example, I would break down the 30 pound goal into monthly 5 pound goals, then add one new healthy behavior (or task) to each month. Did you know it takes 28 days to develop a new habit? Therefore, it is easiest to work on one habit at a time, one month at a time, until you reach your goal.

5. From there you can plan your weekly and daily tasks, using the Weekly and Daily Goals Worksheet.

Example: To help adapt to the new habit, each is then broken down into smaller tasks. These tasks can be scheduled weekly and daily. The first month of my sample weight loss goal would be dedicated to increasing exercise, so the task for each week would increase the amount and intensity of exercise performed. Each day would include a specific workout plan. When you get up each morning, you know exactly what you have to get done that day to reach your goal!


[Goal Planning Planner: Tracy Benson, CPhT]
You can find my Goal Setting Planner HERE in the Healthy Printables Etsy Shop. I have also listed the Mind Map Worksheet and the Goal Setting Worksheets separately, just in case.

I look forward to seeing what you came up with! Please share your Mind Maps in the comments or in the Facebook Group: Karma for Health.

Have you done a Mind Map before? What did you learn?


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