Awesome 2020 End-Of-Year Goals: (Step-by-Step) Plan With Me

Let’s plan some 2020 end of year goals together! 

I’m going to show you my goal-setting method of:

  1. deciding what projects, plans or “goals” to tackle in November and December,
  2. how to break those goals down into big steps, and
  3. making that list of easy “action steps” (that everybody likes to call them), to get yourself up that ladder to getting that goal or project DONE.

Here’s what you need:

  • 3-4 pieces of paper (nice-sized paper, not “sticky notes,” or any paper small enough for you to lose). We are using BOTH SIDES of the paper.
  • A pencil, and that’s it! If you use a pen, you’ll end up crossing things out during your thought process.  It’s just messy and makes more chaos, so it’s better to use a pencil.

If you are more of a visual learner, I recently did a LIVE 2020 end-of-year goal planning session, and here is the video: 

It’s got a TON of ideas for you, and step-by-step instructions. (I used a dark marker in the video so you can see what I’m writing more clearly.)

I used plain paper to plan with you, and I also show you my printable Goal Planner, which has 18 pages of goal-setting templates done for you.

The Importance of Setting End of Year Goals

Now, what’s the difference between regular goals that you have for yourself for the year or the month, and END-OF-YEAR goals, that we are focusing on today?

The end of the year is your chance to “clean house,” before that magical January 1st comes, you know?

As much as I want to say HEY WE DON’T NEED A NEW YEAR TO START ACTING RIGHT, that’s just the way it is, right? It pains me to say that I fall victim to this mindset every year.

Instead of trying to fight it, let’s just go with it this year. 

But, when January 1st comes, I don’t want to be STILL bogged down with the projects I said I was going to get to this year, and didn’t.

Because THEN, I’ll start making excuses:

            “I don’t have time to exercise, because I still didn’t declutter the cabinets.”

“I can’t read more, I don’t even have time to get the laundry under control”

So, End Of Year Goals are goals we can get to now, in November and December, that have been eating at us….

……and get some shortcuts in place now, to smooth out our days, and make January, February and March a lot easier for us to continue to improve going forward.

This way, we won’t be starting from square-one in January. We already have some momentum built into our day.

The MOST IMPORTANT Part of Goal-Setting

I have to tell you, that the one thing that is going to make or break this process for you, is this…

It’s how specific you can get about what you want this part of your life to look like when your goal is achieved. 

Whether your goal is to:

  • eat healthier,
  • exercise more,
  • read more,
  • declutter your house,
  • build a new wardrobe,
  • start a business, etc.

you have to be able to visualize yourself once you’ve reached that goal.  When you close your eyes…what does that look like and feel like?

The more specific you can get with what your end game is, what the transformation is, the easier it will be to come up with the steps to get there. 

The 4 Steps to Setting Easy, Helpful 2020 End-of-Year Goals, and Actually Reaching Them


Step 1: List The Big Life Categories You’ll Be Working On 

You don’t have to start from scratch, I have plenty of year-end specific categories.  Here we go….

Take one paper, make a circle in the middle, and write NOVEMBER right in the middle. Easy right?

Next, draw a few lines out from the circle, one line for every life category you want to work on in November.

One very common category is HEALTH – We are going to draw a box to leave some space for what those health goals are, and label it “Health”:

Another category is MONEY (that’s a big one for this time of year) – Same thing, let’s write the category, then leave some space for what those money goals are:

end of year goals add money block

Another category is HOUSE, or HOME, same thing:

end of year goals add home box

So now we have an idea of what categories in our life that we are going to focus on.

Some other common end-of-year goal categories are:

  • Career (or learning something new),
  • Relaxation and fun (like hobbies or self-care),
  • Relationships (spouse/partner, kids, family or friends),
  • Spirituality 

Step 2: List Specific Goals for Each Category

Next, we will fill in a few specific goals for each category we want to get to in November.

When you fill in your boxes, here’s what you ask yourself:

  • What are the things that are nagging you the most right now?
  • Are there any tasks you have been avoiding?
  • Is there any task that is constantly clawing at the back of your head?
  • Is there anything you wish you could let go of, or not worry about anymore?

Those things are what should go on the boxes for November (and December).

end of year goals add home box

To get you started, here are some examples of some projects/goals that sometimes come up as “not done” at the end of the year:

Health goals:

  • Scheduling your yearly physical
  • Consistent exercise schedule
  • Eating more vegetables
  • Less takeout

Money goals:

  • Starting or reviewing your budget and savings goals
  • Making a plan for extra holiday spending
  • Maxing out your retirement account contributions if you have a retirement account
  • Paying any unpaid or late bills that are nagging you 

Fun/Relaxation, “me time” goals:

  • Read more often
  • Learn something new (how to sew, draw, paint, etc.)
  • Block out consistent “alone” time in your day or week

Home goals:

  • Have a consistent cleaning schedule 
  • Have certain areas decluttered (like pantry, closet, basement)

Spirituality goals:

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Participating more in our religious traditions

Relationship goals:

  • Connect with partner or kids
  • Connect with extended family

Now, don’t fill up the boxes with like six things each!  

(I mean you can if you WANT to, just to jot the ideas down as they come to you. But, know that you are going to probably move some of them to next month, and that’s totally okay.)

12-Month Goal Vision Board Worksheets

I use my pre-made Goal Vision Board Worksheets for each month. It’s just easier for me to have a template.

It’s neater, and it’s got the major broad “life” categories filled in already, so it prompts me to reflect on them, and include them in my goal-setting if I want to.

And, there’s a layout for each month of the year included.  Here’s November and December, they’re super-cute:

pictures of goal planner mind maps November and December

These are in my Etsy shop! 

Anyway, when you are filling out the boxes, remember….try to keep it contained to just the things that are nagging you the most. 

Because the sooner those things are lifted off of your shoulders, the smoother January is going to be, and then you can add your new year goals to your plate. 

Step 3: Brainstorming The Steps (Easy Method)

Take your November paper, and fold it in half the long way, and then in half again the short way:

fold paper in half twice

Open it back up, flip it over, and now you have four spaces for some epic brainstorming:

four spaces for goal setting mini mind maps

Take any one of the four things you wrote inside your boxes, and we are going to brainstorm the steps you need, to make these things actually happen.

We are NOT making a to-do list yet, and here’s why….. 

I made this mistake so many times – there is most likely an ORDER that these steps will need to go in.

For example, “Exercise More.” Before you can start exercising, you have to decide what videos you’re going to watch, or if you are going to the gym, or subscribing to an online membership.

But, before you do that, you have to make sure you have the right equipment….and on and on.

If you just start writing your list, little things are going to pop into your head, and you’ll be writing little arrows in between the things on your list….and then you’re going to have to rewrite it, and the whole thing gets very messy.

So, we are going to get messy NOW, before you make your plan and write your steps.

Let’s do two examples together:

Step 3 Goal Example: “Order Less Takeout”

This is a big one for my family, we have been leaning on ordering in a LOT.

In your first box, draw that same circle in the middle, and write “less takeout:”

first mind map box less takeout goal setting

Here is where you ask yourself – what’s my excuse for my current behavior? Why do I keep ordering in?

There’s nothing in the fridge, I keep forgetting to take meat out to thaw”.

So I add a line or two to the circle:

  • Make sure there’s food in the house, and
  • Take meat out of the freezer each night
less takeout mind map 1

What other excuses do I have? 

“I’m tired when dinner time comes around. I don’t feel like spending an hour in front of the stove.”

So I add another line to the circle:

  • Make cooking easier
less takeout mind map 2

Now that I have a few broad ideas to help me order less takeout, let’s go through each one quickly.  How do I make sure there is food in the house to actually cook? How about planning out our meals beforehand?

What do I need for that? 

  • A grocery list – but how do I know what to buy?
  • I need recipes! 
  • I would also need a consistent grocery shopping day every week or two weeks.

How can I make the cooking process easier? 

  • I can pick a time each week (preferably right after the grocery shopping) to prepare the recipe ingredients for the week, instead of right before dinner time every night.
less takeout mind map 3

It’s looking a little messy here, but now we can see that there is a little path we can take to get to “Order Less Takeout”

Get recipes > Make a grocery list > Pick a grocery shopping day each week or two weeks > Pick a time each week for prepping the ingredients, and so on.

Step 3 Goal Example: “Holiday Spending Plan”

This is a GREAT one, because when you’re done with it, you’ll know pretty much how much money you will need for the holidays NEXT year.  You can start a sinking funds envelope in January for your 2021 gifts, and won’t have anything to worry about when that new year credit card statement comes.

Move to the next box on your paper, draw a circle in the middle, and write in “Holiday Spending Plan.”

holiday spend plan mind map

What do you need to know? How much you are spending for the holidays, right? And to know that, you need to decide on a few things:

  • Your gift list. What am I buying, and how much is each thing?
  • What’s the dinner menu, how much will the food cost?
  • Decorations – am I buying a tree, do I need more lights, etc.?

Next, how are you paying for this?

  • Will it be credit cards this year? No judgment, just know beforehand
  • Are you paying cash?
  • Do you have credit cards with unused rewards points that can be used for gift cards?
  • Do you have a change jar? Roll those coins up and take them to the bank! (Last time we did this we ended up with $124!! That’s the equivalent of like five gifts!)

Now we have another little path forming to have a holiday spending plan: Put together a gift list > Make a menu > Make a list of decorations needed > Decide on where the money is coming from > check credit cards for unused rewards points > roll up loose change, and so on:

holiday spend plan mind map 1

Step 4: Make Your List of Tasks From Your Mini Mind Maps.

This is what mine looks like on my Goal Planner in my Etsy shop, with columns and little check marks:

goal planner checklist picture

We will use a blank sheet of paper – a lined paper is easier, but you definitely don’t need it.

On your paper, write your big goal at the top – let’s go with “Plan Holiday Budget” for this example:

Plan Holiday Budget Goal planner

Underneath, make your chart with FIVE columns:

  • Big Step – this will be your broad steps that you’ll be taking in general.
  • Task – make this a nice, wide column for writing in a lot of detail.
  • Who is doing the task – try your hardest to give the task to someone else, if it has to be you, it’s you.
  • Date Due – if you don’t make a deadline for yourself, the task is less likely to get done. 
  • A check box to mark it done when you are finished.
plan holiday budget goal planner columns

Now onto the tasks.  Remember we started that “path” before? Now we can break the path into big steps, and tasks to go with each step.

So, what’s the first big step? How much this is going to cost.  Write that in the first column:

plan holiday budget goal planner 2

Now from your mini-mind map, you have some tasks you can add to the second column:

  • Make a gift list with prices
  • Make a holiday menu with prices
  • Make a list of decorations needed with prices
plan holiday budget goal planner 3

In the third column, think about who can be in charge of these tasks besides you:

  • The gift list task can be spread out between your partner and kids,
  • The holiday menu can be given to whomever does the majority of the cooking,
  • The decorations will probably be you, since you probably remember best what was lacking last year.
plan holiday budget goal planner 4

In the fourth column, give yourself (or whomever is doing this task) a tight-ish leash to get their task done.

The second Big Step is, “Where’s the Money?”

If you have the cash to cover your grand total from Big Step 1, great!  If not, your tasks can include:

  • Checking your bank accounts and credit card balances, and
  • Checking your credit cards for unused rewards points that can be turned into gift cards.

Rolling those coins needs its own Big Step, trust me!  It takes DAYS but it’s so worth it, especially since you can give almost all of the tasks to your kids!

  • Find all the coins in the house
  • Sort the coins
  • Roll the coins into paper rollers
  • Bring the rolled coins to the bank!

Getting your Goal Tasks Into Your Planner

Now that you have a list of tasks,you can add them to your planner to get a little bit done each day.  You can even break up the tasks on your list into even smaller tasks to fit into your day.

And, when you are putting these tasks in your planner, or making your to-do list for the next few days, think about this:

  • How easy can I make this for myself?
  • If I was making a chart for my kid, or my best friend, or my sister, and I KNOW that they want more than anything to stop ordering takeout so much, how easy could I make these tasks for them to do?
  • How many things could you give to other people in their house, to take some weight off of their shoulders?

For example, if we are talking about “Less Takeout” and you have the task of collecting recipes for your meal plan, can you break that first task down even more?

How about blocking off 5 minutes to find an easy recipe once a day for the next 6 days? 

Or, can you email 6 family members to please send you their easiest recipe?

It doesn’t have to be all in one day, you can go 5 more days ordering takeout, that’s what you were gonna do anyway, right?

Goal Setting Recap

STEP 1 – Write your month down and the big categories where you want your focus your time.

STEP 2 – Jot down the big goals you want for yourself, like more exercise, less takeout, or making your holiday budget.

STEP 3 – Make a mini mind-map to find the tasks that have to be done to reach each big goal.

STEP 4 – List out your tasks in order, delegate as many as you can, and give yourself a deadline to finish them.

And now you have a list to take from when you are planning out your week.

Remember to try to break the tasks down even more, so they take even less time, and are even easier for you to check off.

REMEMBER: concentrate on the stuff that’s nagging you. If you don’t have any old unpaid bills, maybe your savings account balance is nagging you, maybe you want to spend more on your grandkids, nieces, nephews or siblings, etc.

End of Year Goals for December 2020

Now let’s talk about December for a second.  As happy and fun as holidays are, day-to-day, it can be a little bit jarring.

There is a lot of time off, vacation time, more stuff in the house, and so on.

It’s a disruption of the schedule and routine that you’re used to.  And that can be difficult to manage.

So, when you are thinking about what you want December to look like, what things you want to get done and out of the way, remember that there will be a lot of people and things pulling you in different directions.

So, even if you can just fit in one tiny five-minute task each day, that would be a big step forward. 

Don’t pile it on in December, because……it’s already been piled on, you know? You’re already busy.

December’s a great month for some relaxation goals.  Like looking yourself in the mirror after you brush your teeth in the morning and giving yourself a compliment.  

Just turn on the water, flush the toilet and whisper it to yourself if you have to.  Ok? Drop a nice, “You’ve been taking care of your skin, and it shows” in there.

2020 End of Year Goals and The “Motivation” Monster 

One big tip before we say goodbye:

When you are taking these steps and you come across a day or two where you start hearing yourself say, “I’m just not motivated today, I don’t feel like it today.”

The word MOTIVATED, to me, is really a bad word.

You can’t decide to be motivated. It’s something that you either are or you aren’t, it’s something that’s not really in your control. 

I would much rather hear you use the word “dedicated,” or “prioritizing,” and here’s why…..

You can choose to use your time, and your money, and your thoughts, for something.

IT IS IN YOUR CONTROL to choose to make it a priority. When you say yes to scrolling, you are saying no to something that you really want for yourself.  

And at the same time, when you say no to takeout (or whatever it is), you are choosing to say yes to a healthy, easy meal for yourself and your family.

Kick 2020 In The Butt With Those End Of Year Goals!

I hope you had some fun, and found some ways to incorporate some 2020 end of year goals into your days, to get some of those nagging habits off of your plate, and start your new year a little smoother.

Don’t forget to check out my goal planner in my Etsy shop!

See you soon!


P.S., here are some more posts you’ll find useful:

2020 end of year goals pin
Mina White
Mina White
Articles: 89

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