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How to Use Journaling to Track Your Goals in the New Year

Debra Eckerling January 1, 2021

By Goal-Setting Expert Debra Eckerling, founder of The D*E*B Method and author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals

Someone asked me the other day, “What’s the one thing anyone can do today to start working toward their goals in the New Year?”

My response: “Celebrate last years’ wins!”

Tracking your actions and celebrating ALL wins is a surefire way to stay motivated throughout the year, as you progress toward achieving your goals. 

Write Your Wins for 2020

So to start 2021 right, take out a new journal for the New Year … and write down five to ten things you accomplished in 2020. 

Remember, anything you achieved toward your professional and personal goals counts as a win. This ranges from education and self-care to business and passion-project accomplishments]. 

Need some ideas? Here are some options for you to fill in the blank:

  1. I journaled ## days/week
  2. I wrote/created/published /launched/released [this]
  3. I did [this nice thing] that helped [this person/community]
  4. I learned [this]
  5. I read [that]
  6. I reconnected with [this person]
  7. I worked out ## days most weeks
  8. I cooked/baked/gardened
  9. I pursued information on [something] that has always interested me
  10. I survived

Congratulations. You now have a list of 2021 accomplishments, which you can look back on whenever you need motivation to keep going!

Ready to move on? Excellent.


What do you want to accomplish in 2021? 

Remember, to get what you want, you need to know what you want. When you close your eyes and think of the life you want, what does that look like? What is your GoalTopia? GoalTopia is that magical place where you are achieving your goals and pursuing your dreams.

Having trouble picturing your future? Try Directed Journaling

Directed Journaling is when you schedule several short free-writing sessions, when you are concentrating on the answer to a specific question or series of related questions. In this case, “What do I want my life to look like?” “What do I want to accomplish?” After you have done this exercise several times, go back, read over your journal entries, and find common themes. Your words will tell you what you want. Then you can make a plan to get it!


Write Your Goals for 2021

Now that you visualized GoalTopia – which you can also sketch out in your journal, btw – turn the page and write down five to ten goals 2021. This can be a mixture of personal and professional goals, dream goals, fun goals, and easy goals. And, yes, you can use that previous list for inspiration.

Once you know your goals, take a picture with your phone, put copies throughout your home (in your kitchen, by your desk, on your yoga mat, etc.), so you look at them on a regular basis.


What’s Next?

You now have a log of where you have been, as well as where you are headed. Now, use your journal to track your progress throughout the year.

Every Sunday or Monday, write down that week’s To Do list. Then, each day – or every few days, depending on your schedule – write down a line or two about what you worked on. Create a system to highlight any and all wins: little fanfare for small wins, big fanfare – and rewards – for reaching benchmarks and goals.

And, when you need a burst of energy, skim through your journal, get excited about your projects, do a happy dance, and move forward.

And remember, you can do it!

To your success!


About The D*E*B Method & Your Goal Guide

Directed Journaling is just one component of my brainstorming and task-based system the D*E*B METHOD®. DEB stands for Determine Your Mission, Explore Your Options, Brainstorm Your Path. The most important component is that D – Determine Your Mission – which you get to by visualizing the life you, writing your current bio, writing your future bio, creating your mission statement, and shortening your mission into a motto. For more details and to go through the process, check out my latest book, Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. 

Part 1 of Your Goal Guide goes through the D*E*B METHOD and Part 2 is filled with strategies for success, which range from staying motivated and productive to dealing with roadblocks and sidetracks. The appendices have worksheets, as well as a variety of websites and communities (including mine) to support readers on their journey.




Deb EckerlingAuthor bio: Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD. Debra helps individuals and businesses figure out what they want and how to get it through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the founder of Write On Online, author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChatLive on Facebook. Please connect on LinkedIn and follow @TheDEBMethod on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.





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