How to stay grounded while reaching for the stars.

I hope we agree that goals are important. Goals give you direction – if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know how you’ll get there.

But let’s be honest – How many times have you said to yourself, “I know I need to do this, but I really can’t be bothered”? Your energy is telling you something! You may think you need to do a particular task because you set a goal to complete it. But if you’re addressing the wrong goal, not only does the strategy you develop to achieve it not feel right, you waste energy.

What is Mindful Goal-Setting?

Mindful goal-setting, on the other hand, helps you discover your true north and ensures that your over-arching goals align with your values and your current place in life. When your key goals feel true, strategies come together easily. Then you simply work your plan without asking, “Why am I doing this again?”. Even if you are on a long and winding road over many years, when you know what your true north is you’ll find a way to get there. As a result, you’ll be able to organize your day, week, month, and year more effectively, and you’ll be more productive.

The process of mindful goal-setting allows you to:

  • Identify your values, and the lines you won’t cross
  • Start with the end in mind
  • Determine your priorities
  • Decide the tasks required to address each priority
  • Create a realistic and useful to-do list
  • Complete tasks, because they make sense and carry you forward towards your goal
  • Increase the odds for success in achieving your goals

A quick note here. It’s important to write down your goals. Seeing them in black and white forces you to get clear on what you want. If you attempt to do everything in your head, or even on a screen, your brain will end up looping over the same things. Putting everything on paper provides the helicopter view that allows you to see beyond the restrictions of your internal dialogue. It’s only then that you can really see all the possibilities open to you.

For your first draft, work fast – just write down what comes to you without over-thinking it. It should take you 15-20 minutes.

  • Step OneIdentify your values. If you make decisions that are in line with your values, then those decisions will feel right and natural. What you value, for example, could be around work, family, community involvement, spirituality, health, or self-development.
  • Step Two Identify a long-term goal. Being clear on your long-term goal enables you to determine the medium- and short-term goals that will get you there. It’s okay to have more than one long-term goal but work with only one category – e.g. professional, family, or personal – at a time.
  • Step Three Brainstorm a bunch of medium-term goals. Choose no more than five. Then cross off any that don’t relate to your long-term goal.
  • Step Four Jot down a few short-term goals for each medium-term goal.
  • Step FiveCheck for relevance. Do the medium- and short-term goals relate to each other, and to your long-term goal?

Example of a sequence of short-medium-long-term goals that works:

  • Finishing breakfast and being dressed by 7:30am is a short-term goal.
  • It matters because you set yourself a medium-term goal (a new habit) – to be at your desk and working by 8am.
  • Why is that important? Because being consistent makes it easier to work in chunks of dedicated time, and accomplish more than by constantly being distracted.
  • Why is that important? Because you want to achieve another medium-term goal – to gain x number of new clients per month, or increase your annual revenue by $x
  • This is important so that you can achieve your long-term goal of having a healthy work/life balance.

Keep the plan visible so that you can see – and celebrate! – your progress as you move forward.


Most of us will, consciously or unconsciously, set ourselves goals at one time or another. Intentionally stating your most important goals – for your career, family, personal development – begins the process of achieving those goals. Pairing that intention with well thought out medium- and short-term goals enables you to work your plan with confidence and enthusiasm. Curious about whether it will work for you? Take 20 minutes to list your key long-term, medium- and short-term goals and then work your plan for a month. I’d love to hear about your experience!

Email Ellia@MindfulOrganizing.NET with “Pyramid” in the subject line

Ellia Harris

Organizing & Productivity Coach

Through her company Mindful Organizing, Ellia works with professionals who are stressed by their messy home, scattered brain, or project deadlines. She helps them intentionally change how they use their home and their head so they have more time, peace, and results in their life. Ellia offers both onsite and virtual (video call) sessions.

With a background in nonprofit project and team management, group training and executive coaching in the US and the UK, Ellia transitioned to professional organizing in 2015 with a mission of helping people achieve their goals and live up to their potential, by being more organized and productive.

If you’re curious about whether she could be a good resource for you, Ellia offers a free 20-minute phone consult. Contact her at Ellia@MindfulOrganizing.NET with your preferred dates/times to schedule a call.


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