By Kate Matsudaira

Making Your Goals Your Reality


A couple of years ago, I read a book called The Slight Edge and it changed the way I thought about my goals. Before, I would always make these big hurrahs to lose weight, or push through on a project. It was all or nothing. Afterward, I started examining all the little decisions I made […]

A couple of years ago, I read a book called The Slight Edge and it changed the way I thought about my goals.

Before, I would always make these big hurrahs to lose weight, or push through on a project. It was all or nothing.

Afterward, I started examining all the little decisions I made every day, and starting thinking smaller. How could I do one thing today, something that was easy to do, that would move me forward?

And that epiphany was what helped me design the Spark System in all of the Spark Notebooks and Planners.

This is about making things happen. Putting your goals into practice. Getting the rubber on the road.

The big lesson

Success is a product of a lot of small decisions your make every single day. And making good decisions is what leads to favorable outcomes.

Just think about it – you won’t gain 10 pounds if you eat that cookie. However, if you decide to eat the cookie every day you will eat an extra 200 calories per cookie, which over 365 days is 73,000 calories; which adds up to about 21 lbs per year! All from a simple daily cookie.

And now if you walked an extra 1000 steps, which would burn 100 more calories you could lose 36,500 calories, or 10+ lbs in one year. It is pretty amazing how these things that are easy to do can lead to such big results when compounded over time.

And this analogy can be applied to all your goals:

  • Reading 10 pages in a good book (reading all those books in a year will make you smarter)
  • Putting a little extra into your savings account each paycheck
  • Skipping a meeting you don’t need to attend and working on something that matters instead
  • Spending 15 minutes on one of your goals instead of watching TV or playing video games
  • Success and failure don’t happen overnight. Those outcomes don’t even happen in a few days or a couple of weeks. Your success and failure is determined by your consistency. What you do day in and day out over the next year. It is the compounding of all the little things.

How does that affect your goals?

I want you to think small and I want you to think long term. For each of your goals you listed in your yearly worksheet last week, I want you to categorize them and then craft an action plan. This way I know you will accomplish your goals next year.

It is helpful to think about goals falling into two buckets:

  1. Concrete things you accomplish (i.e. finishing a book, traveling to Hawaii, completing a project)
  2. Habits you want to stop/start/change (i.e. start working out, eating healthy, drinking more water, not biting your nails, getting up early, etc.)

The Spark system was designed to work with you on both of these directions. The goal pages are all about the things you want to do, and in many cases these resemble your regular to do lists. And there are the monthly challenge pages which are all about fostering good habits.

Depending on the goals you established last week, your action plans may vary. I have included different worksheets for each type to help you break down your plans so that you can make consistent, regular progress (which is the real key to success).

DOWNLOAD YOUR GOAL PLANNING WORKSHEETS

One of the great things about having a planner is that you can plan. So in addition to planning out you goals I want you to write some checkpoints into into your planner throughout the year.

For example:

  • Put one a month out to go back and look at your yearly theme. Are you living it?
  • Add a note in 3, 6, and 9 months to revisit your yearly goals and theme. Do you need to improve your action plans (and save these worksheets so you have them).
  • On the back pages make a list of 12 potential monthly challenges you could do…
  • Write the title of a book you plan to read each month (or every other month, depending on how fast you read) in your planner so you don’t forget some things you really want to learn

And of course if you have other ideas, feel free to leave a comment on social media! I always love hearing all the great things you are doing.

Here’s to a fantastic new year!