5 Tools for Planning & Goal Setting

It’s no secret that I absolutely love planning. “Intentional” is a buzzword of mine (HELLLOOOOOO, I even wrote a 2-day workshop on it!!), I’ve been creating 5-year plans for myself for 15+ years now (and helped to write this!), and I’m a sucker for fresh starts (new journals, new years, birthdays, etc). The week between Christmas and New Years is (quite possibly) my favorite week of the entire year!!

For me, planning is less about controlling my future (because… you can’t), and more about feeling confident that I’m using every minute and resource to the best of my ability. I want to reach the end of my life without regret over wasted opportunities or untended relationships, and that doesn’t happen without planning for it.

I’m a sucker for great planning tools, so today I’m sharing 5 Tools for Planning & Goal Setting.

1. Powersheets

This is the 4th year that I’ve used Powersheets by the Cultivate What Matters shop. The first year I was in the middle of a rebrand, and they were the perfect tool to help me focus on building a brand with heart and intention. I’ve purchased a set every year since. Powersheets focus on setting broad goals, setting practical steps for achievement, and then intentionally implementing those steps on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. I prefer the 12-month set, but the 6-month set is great as a starter.

2. The Day Designer

I was first introduced to The Day Designer by my friend Abby Grace. We were at a coffee shop, she pulled out her planner, and I about fell out of my chair— it had everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a paper planner, and was perfectly branded (black, white, gold, & stripes). I went home and purchased one the same day. I just purchased my FOURTH, and if they ever stop production, I swear my heart will break.

3. Journal & Pen

This may seam obvious, but I don’t think you can plan well for the future without taking stock of the past. I love to spend the first few weeks of January reading back through my journal from the previous year— I find I’ve usually grown more,  achieved more, and matured more than I thought. Once I’ve taken a look back, I stop and practice intentional gratitude— I list out as many causes for thanksgiving as I can think of, as quickly as possible. In my experience, a joyful heart makes wise plans, and gratitude feeds joy. A good pen helps the process.

4. Read helpful books

I’m currently reading Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, and am planning to start Living Foward by Michael Hyatt next week. I’m planning to read one business book per month in 2017, and am starting an online book club for other business owners! Comment below if you’re interested in joining!

5. Year in Review Questions

There are many helpful tools out there for taking stock of the previous year and setting personal (non-work) goals, but my favorite is this list by Don S. Whitney. I’ve used this every year since 2001, and love reviewing past lists as I think about the upcoming year. Want a printable version of this list? Click below!

What are your favorite planning tools and resources?

comments +

  1. Heather Reckner

    December 28th, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Great points. Have you ever used Passion Planner? What are you thoughts on it?

    I would love to be added to the book club group!

  2. Renee

    December 28th, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I just purchased my first Day Designer, I am so excited about it! I have heard wonderful things about trello-might give that a try for projects.

    I would love to join your book club! 🙂

  3. Angela

    December 29th, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I stumbled upon your blog while looking through #Powersheets on Instagram (I NEVER search hashtags, but wanted to see everyone’s word of the year!), and I’m so glad I did! Your photography is gorgeous! I’m starting my third Day Designer and can’t live without it! This is my first time doing Powersheets, so I can’t wait! That book club is music to my ears, so I’ll be on the lookout!

  4. Tammy

    December 29th, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Love to hear more about your book club.

  5. Maria Spady

    December 30th, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    For some reason I can’t click on your download link, but I’d love to be added to your book club!

  6. Sarah H

    January 6th, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Hi! The download link isn’t working. How can I download the questions? Thank you!!!

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Hello, I'm Sarah Bradshaw! Classic-obsessed, coffee-loving D.C. wedding photographer. I’ photograph because I believe that all of life is beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.

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