The Ultimate 2024 Planning Guide: How to Effectively Set Your Goals & Plan Your Schedule

Intentionality, Simple Living

Let’s start 2024 off strong and with a plan in mind to reach our goals!

At the beginning of the New Year, the gyms are packed to the max, new years’ challenges or resolutions are in full steam ahead, and the commitment level is at an all time high. However, the burn out level will be at an all time high in a few weeks or months. 

Why? It is because of 2 reasons:

1.) We overcommit.

Why do we over-commit and push ourselves to the max and then we get burned out a few weeks later? Is it because we pack our schedule so tight that we do not even have time to eat lunch? (We are talking to some of y’all here. Please take the time to eat lunch!)

2.) We do not write down specific goals and map out how to get there.

On the other hand, we tend to set goals or habits but we don’t ever write them down, tell people for accountability, set a deadline, or we lose our motivation when the new year’s feels fade off.

There’s a tip for creating goals that works- by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, & Time-bound. For example, if you want to read more- try this out: I want to read 1 fiction book per month. 

All Spheres of Life

Before we get into all the systems and ways to set your goals effectively and plan your schedule, these are all the aspects of your life you may want to think on if you want to improve on if you are just getting started or don’t know where to start: 

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Finances
  • Work/School
  • Relationships/Friendships/Community
  • Faith / Spiritual
  • Home
  • Creativity
  • Personal Growth

Overlapping Aspects & Examples

There are some aspects that can overlap and be interconnected while setting up your schedule and habits. For example, for personal growth, you may want to read more books this year but do not know where to begin or how to start this habit, especially if you have not read a book in a long time.

You can choose to put up your phone and leave it charging in another room so that you can read your book – that is connected with mental health because you aren’t on your phone as much which can improve your mental health, such as lowered anxiety, less comparison, and better sleep. Or if buying books to read them may be out of your budget, you can opt for getting library books by buying a library card to save lots of $$ – this would be personal growth and finances!

 

3 Systems of Schedule:

As you begin to be motivated on the benefits of setting goals and planning your schedule, you are now probably thinking, “Where do I begin? Or how can I do better?” 

We will share the 3 systems you can use to plan your schedule in order to effectively achieve your goals.

1. PHYSICAL Planner & Calendar

If you love having something tangible and physical to write down, then this is for you. We know that there are lots of planners out there in the world and online that you can buy. But, please do not feel the need to buy an expensive one when you can get one at Walmart or Target for $12 or less.

This is proven that if you write down the top three most important things that day, you will most likely get those accomplished instead of getting distracted with the lesser important tasks of your day. Writing goals and tasks down will help you follow through.

Be sure to stick with the planner daily, weekly, and/or monthly or else you won’t be writing down your goals and schedule after a while. Or, you can get a physical calendar for your household to keep track of everyone’s schedule and not fall off the track for your own personal goals.  a calendar for you to use or a family calendar. 

 

2. DIGITAL Planner or Calendar 

For us, we have tried to have a physical planner, both individually and together, but we’ve had a hard time keeping up and if we do not have it on our phones or computers, we will likely forget to add things to it.

So, we introduce to you – Google Calendar! We love Google Calendar and have been using it for about almost 4 years now almost consistently.

Here’s why we love it: THE FEATURES!

  • You can add more “calendars” for business or personal use
  • Share & sync your calendars with others so they can see it and even make changes on their end.
  • You can use on the computer and your phone.
  • Best of all – it’s free! You can also adjust time slots and dates on the go super easily without having to search for a pen or having to scratch out or erase any changes

While there are many more like Google Calendar out there, there’s also the option of doing a digital planner. We do not know much about that, but that is something worth looking into if you want more of a digital planner.

 

3. HYBRID (Physical & Digital Planner and/or calendar)

How can we use a physical AND digital planner or calendar? So let’s say you share an online calendar with your supervisor or spouse that covers the big topics of each day.

Then, in your home, you have a physical calendar with important dates, events, doctor appointments, bills to pay, etc. so that when you are at home, you are reminded about those pending tasks or dates in the  future in a visual way. You can also have a digital planner/calendar in case you prefer that but your spouse likes an actual calendar.

*side note: you can have a notebook with you in case it’s easier to brain dump or write out your to-do list for the week, along with your physical or digital planner*

5 Ways to Start Scheduling Your Life NOW

After reviewing the 3 systems of scheduling, we will share 5 ways you can get started to plan out your week or month, literally, right now. No more procrastination. No more anxiety. No more getting stuck.

1. Pick a scheduling system.

This is a no-brainer and lucky for you, you have three that you can reference right now. It’s much more easier on yourself if you pick ONE system of scheduling your week or month, not 3, 4, or 10. It’s so you’re not quickly overwhelmed or lose track.

2. Be consistent & review.

Consistency is the pathway to success. Pick out a day when you are scheduling your week and a time for each day to review what needs to get done, the status of your goals, and tasks that needs to be done.

For example, Sundays can be your day to go over and plan your week; 9 am is when you review your day/week; and 5 pm is when you review what you did and go over the next day.

3. Write down the important tasks *first* before anything else.

If you are the type of person that gets overwhelmed or is easily distracted, this is for you. Take some time before you do anything else to write out the most important tasks you need to do for your day or week.

Little tip for you- it’s easier to break down the big important task into smaller steps to get it done. It’s better than being daunted by one big task that you end up procrastinating and don’t get it done!

4. Actually do it.

We know this may seem like a dumb way to schedule your week, but it needs to be stated. It can be easy for us to talk and write down about all what we have to do, but it’s difficult to actually do it. So, here’s your reminder to accomplish your tasks for each day.

5. Take time to rest and don’t overpack your schedule.

As much as we can share about planning your schedules, we have to remember to take time to rest, give ourselves a break, schedule a vacation if you have to. Overpacking your schedule can lead to burnout, anxiety, and discontentment with your life.

*Bonus Tip: Remember that you do not have to schedule only for work, school, or productivity. You can schedule and plan out your grocery lists, meal plan, napping, social media screen time, friends hangout, and more

 

How To Accomplish Goals and Habits

This topic is difficult for us to write about because there are just so many ways to go about accomplishing your goals and habits. However, we want to really write about the absolute basic and most effective principles that have worked for us in our marriage. Then you can tweak yours to make it work for you. 

With us, we suggest it is easier to actually write down. Writing down all the things you want to do will help you visualize a pathway to accomplish your goals. 

However, we can only create so many goals or build so many habits; we cannot do it all.

So, if you want to read more books but also cook home-cooked meals every day, exercise daily, start a business, and more, it may be too overwhelming to do it all. You may fail before you begin or soon after you attempt juggling all of the goals and habits.

So, here’s a few tips in setting effective goals and achieving them:

  • Pick 2-3 goals you want to set for the year, or even for the month as long as it is still achievable.
  • Break down the goals into smaller goals and map out your schedule. It may take months before the goal is accomplished, so be patient
  • Stay consistent with your smaller goals – it will lead up to you accomplishing the main goal.

Example of Breaking Down a Big Goal

If we can think of the first most basic thing to do before goals or habits in mind, is to ask yourself and ask God. “Hey, what do I want in this life? What do You want me to do in my life?” Those are some of the starting questions that you can ask yourself and pray about to further align and connect with God and  those goals, habits and dreams.

{FYI-  if you are interested in being connected with God while setting your goals and schedule, read this post where we share 3 ways to stay aligned with God and His will while creating your plan for the week and year.}

A few years ago, I (David) had a huge dream to write my first book and I honestly had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into. All I knew was I wanted to share my story to the world. So, that was my goal….but nothing happened.

What did I do wrong? I only said I wanted to write a book but I didn’t create a map to accomplish it. So, the next year after I did nothing to write my book, my wife helped me to create a smaller goal of writing the outline of what I truly wanted to share.

Once I did that, I was way more motivated to write my book just because my wife showed me to break down the big goal into smaller, achievable ones.

Honestly, the last four months before my book came out was probably my most productive time because I had a well-thought out plan.

I set a goal of writing up to an hour (minimum) every day in order to finish. I set reminders, wrote on my physical and digital calendar, sticky notes, everything. But, you know what is crazy? Once I decided this, I wrote consistently for ONLY 2 weeks until I was finished!

In those few weeks of really staying focused, it was so challenging and difficult to stay on task and delegate time to writing. Life happened and things came up. There were times I was eating my lunch and typing away, get up extra early to write, or sometimes I was writing in bed late before going to sleep.

I had to work really hard to stay focused and stay on task and sure enough the book came together quickly and things went more smoothly and I was so much more focused. Why? Because I set a realistic goal that was a daily one but kept in mind the time frame as a whole I set to get it all done by.

If you are interested in reading my book, Work Hard, Pay The Price, Make it Happen – head here for more info on how you can get it today!

A Perfect Resource for Habit Building

Atomic Habits by James Clear, is another great book on habit building! We really recommend reading this book if you would like to build better habits or goals or to break bad ones. He laid out the framework of setting new habits in a practical way. Start with one new habit at a time within a 2 minute rule. We will share below.

Say you want to start reading more books but don’t like to read as much as you used to, try reading one page per day. Then, add more to the habit like reading 5 pages, or reading 10 pages or reading for 30 minutes.

The point is to have a measurable but attainable goal or habit, like moving my body daily for 15 minutes by walking versus exercising at the gym for an hour when you haven’t exercised in months or years.

Then, you will quickly give up. Overtime, once you have established a habit, you will add more to it and challenge yourself more and more as you grow more confident in yourself. Little by little, you will be building your habits and fulfilling your goals.

In the end, it takes small daily goals to reach or accomplish your large long term ones. I think that if we focus more on the small daily goals that it will be easier to accomplish the larger ones. Overtime, the task of accomplishing goals will come more naturally.

We hope this will be a great resource and reference for your 2024 planning and setting goals and schedule. 

For more encouragement, slow living, and intentionality, follow us on Instagram @thesimplemission

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Thank you for reading,

 

David & Lianna Bond

The Ultimate 2024 planning guide: how to effectively set your goals and plan your schedule
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