5 Action Steps to Create Balanced Life Goals

“Having a goal is a state of happiness.” – E.J. Bartek

Sitting in the back corner of my closet (yes, you read that correctly, my closet), I finally found a moment of peace and quiet to think about what’s to come in 2018.

It was the day after Christmas, and my first chance to pause since my holiday planning started in early December.

I wandered through my house looking for a quiet spot to think, all I wanted was 15 minutes to myself (a lot to ask, I know, when you have toddler twin boys, but just call me a dreamer).

I peered into my closet, freshly organized from my winter clothes purge, and that’s when I saw it: Peace and quiet personified by an empty closet floor. 

For all of 2 seconds I questioned the sanity of hiding out in there, and then plopped myself on the floor with my notebook and pen in hand, and started to write.

Because sometimes mom’s need a little break. And sometimes we can only get it in the crevices of our days and quite literally, our homes.

This is when I started mapping out my goals for 2018.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10

There’s something about utter silence to quiet the soul and bring forth what’s most important. To put us in touch with our Creator and welcome wisdom to flow from Him.

And when you’re thinking about the big picture for your life over the next year, there’s no better place to start then totally engulfed in His presence.

And for me, silence was the way to enter into this process.

Often when I think of my goals, I focus on those most closely associated with my career. My word for the year—2016 was Action, 2017 was Discipline–even those were directly related to my profession. I think we all kind of lean towards this area in goal setting because it’s the focus of our dreams for what we want to accomplish in life. 


But, after spending 2017 as part of a mastermind group through Life Younique, where they help you discover your personal vision and life plan, I discovered there was more to think about when it came to goals. And I was able to divide my life into 4 specific areas. And through this division, I found balance in planning and execution for all I want to achieve. 

While the course was a three-part journey over the span of a year, this part of the goal-setting process can be easily understood through this blog post.

What I discovered was when it comes to life-planning and personal vision, it’s not just our careers we should focus on. There’s the spiritual/character component. There’s family and friends, and there’s health and fitness.

Last week we discussed how to determine what goals from 2017 should be carried forward to 2018. If you didn’t get a chance to read that post, I highly recommend starting there so you don’t carry any unnecessary weight into the new year.


This week we want to help you cast a big net to capture your goals, before we drill down on how to make them smart and attainable for the year.

And it starts with Balanced Life Goals.

The 4 areas we are going to focus on goal-setting are as follows:

  1. Spirituality/Character
  2. Career
  3. Health & Fitness
  4. Family & Friends



When was the last time you started the year thinking about your spiritual/character goals? Sadly, it wasn’t the first thing I started with when goal-setting, but I’d argue it’s one of the most important.

I put Spirituality with character for a reason. When it comes to our spirituality, I believe it’s fundamentally important to allow for character transformation. Often, we’re focused on behavior modification—pray more, go to church more, do less of this, more of that—which are all well in good as disciplines in our spiritual life.

But, I find if we don’t get to the root of WHY we’re doing these things, they become empty tactics which don’t lead to the deeper connection with God we’re seeking. And for me, when it comes to my faith, I want every action I take to spur from a desire to love God more, grow closer to Him, and in turn be transformed so I can love others better.

Isn’t this what all Christians should aspire to when we boil down our spirituality to its essence? This is how we avoid rote, dead religion, and find an alive, flourishing faith.

As you start 2018, what character component do you want God to transform in your life? If you don’t know where to start, take a peek at Galatians 5:22, and maybe select one of the fruits of the Spirit to focus on cultivating in 2018.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23


This is where your dreams usually collide with your goals. As a passionate, purposeful woman, I doubt you have a shortage of things you want to achieve in this area of your life. And you can make these things happen, if you bring focus and clarity to your actions for the year. And there is no better way to bring necessary focus than to have clear and concise goals in this area.

This is where my word (or words) for the year typically come from. I mentioned above what my 2016 and 2017 words were, but for 2018 I have a phrase that defines what I will do for this year: “The year I write my book.”

My words for 2016 and 2017 were both related to my writing. And yes, I took action and started getting my writing out to the public in 2016, and 2017 I did find discipline with my writing, but all along I wanted to write my book and it just didn’t happen these past two years.

This year, no messing around, I’m getting specific (the S in S.M.A.R.T. goals) and not leaving any room for misdirection with my focus. And I want the same for you! We’re going to get focused together and not arrive anywhere by chance this year.

Beyond dreams and aspirations, if you have any financial goals for the year, this is where they would go. Since the two are intrinsically linked, this section is a natural fit for your financial plans.

“Choosing a goal and sticking to it changes everything.” – Scott Reed


I’m pretty sure most everyone’s year starts with wanting to improve something in their health, whether it’s lose weight, exercise more, or maybe even run a half-marathon. Gyms know this, and that’s why you see major advertisements and deals on gym memberships the first week of the year (Planet Fitness I see you and all your hats people were wearing in Time Square on New Year’s Eve).

But you don’t have to only hit the gym to improve your health. You could cut back on fried food, you could drink more water, there is a plethora of things you can do to improve your health in 2018. Even taking time for yourself to relax and de-stress is important for your well-being.

What’s key in this category is to make realistic goals. I mean, realistic goals are important in all categories, but this one in particular we tend to set overly ambitious targets. If you haven’t been to the gym in over a year, then working out 6-7 days a week isn’t the place to start. Maybe getting 2 days of exercise in would be a better approach. Either way, it’s important for us to make sure we have a goal for our health and fitness and it’s something we can stick to for the year.

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn


It’s incredibly important to be intentional with our family and friends. And easy to forget to make this a part of our goal-setting. But, if we want to maintain a balanced life, and if we get so focused on the other areas, it’s easy to let the days, weeks, and months slip by without a date night with your husband or a phone call with one of your best friends or playing with your children.

We need to be intentional with our time, and make sure we cultivate our relationships, with both our family and our friends. I’ve found actually stating what it is you want to do more of—whether it’s have sit down family dinners during the week or to add in a weekly game night or a monthly dinner with your girlfriends—if we get it down on paper as a goal, it’s far more likely to happen. This is how we get intentional with our relationships, giving them the same importance we put on our personal and career growth.

“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” – Leo Christopher


Now we understand the importance of these categories and what we need to figure out for each of them. Here are your action steps for the week.

*Make sure to save everything you write down, because we’re going to build off of this next week when Tracey helps us make sure our goals are S.M.A.R.T. and helps us pick a top goal for each category.

What you will need: 

  • Pen and paper
  • A quiet space
  • A timer
  • 20-30 minutes to yourself

What you will do:

  1. Find your Peace and Quiet
  • You don’t have to hide out in your closet like I did, but find somewhere you can get 20-30 minutes of calm.
  • Open up this time with prayer and invite God into your planning process. You just might be surprised by what comes up when you allow Him into your goal setting.
  1. Word or Words for the Year
  • Before we brainstorm our goals for each of the 4 categories, let’s determine what our word or words for the year will be.
  • Set a 5-minute timer, title the top of your paper “2018 is my year for…” and then let the ideas fly.
  • Don’t censor as you write, put everything that comes to mind down, no idea is a bad idea when brainstorming.
  1. Goals Brainstorming
  • Next, turn your paper over and fold it horizontally and then vertically, so the creases divide the page into 4 quadrants (if you’re using a note book, feel free to just draw lines or use a separate page for each category).
  • Title each quadrant (or page) with the following headings: Spirituality/Character, Career, Health & Fitness, Family & Friends.
  • Now, for each of the categories, you’ll set a 5-minute timer again, and just write down everything that comes to mind for that category.
  • Remember not to edit. There’s time for that later. Right now you just want to get everything out of your mind and onto the page in front of you.
  1. Top 3 for Each Category
  • In front of you, there should be lots of words, ideas and potential goals for the year.
  • Starting with the “Word for the Year” section, read through this and select your top 3 contenders for your 2018 word or phrase.
  • Next, repeat this step, selecting your top 3, with each of the 4 goal categories: Spiritual/Character, Career, Health & Fitness, Family & Friends.
  1. Star your Top 1 for Each Category
  • Beginning again with your “Word for the Year” section, looking at your top 3, put a star next to your top choice for this category.
  • Repeat the above step for the remaining 4 categories: Spiritual/Character, Career, Health & Fitness, Family & Friends.
  • DONE!!

Ok, that’s a lot of work! Let these top 3 goals simmer during the week and start to focus your drive for the year. Pat yourself on the back, grab a cup of coffee, and give yourself a little relaxation time. You worked hard today and should reward yourself!

Next week, we’ll drill down on how to select your top goal from each of these categories and how to make these goals attainable. The following week, we’ll delve into how to break-down these goals into bite-sized pieces to work on over the course of the year.

What is your word for the year? Do you have a top goal from one of these 4 categories? What do you think of breaking your goals into 4 areas of your life? We would love to hear from you in the comments and encourage you in your goals for the year! Look forward to hearing from you below, an we’ll be sure to join in the commenting fun as well.

Dominique Richardson