The #1 Thing You MUST Do Before Any Goal Setting!

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i know everyone is still heavily focused on christmas approaching (and hanukkah is here) so you may not be in the goal setting mind frame yet. if you watched the video my husband and i did last week, i mentioned putting together some goal setting information specifically for people who get sort of freaked out at the prospect of setting them (like me).

before we get to the goal setting or new year’s resolution or whatever you call it so you like it more, we have to do one vital thing first.

this is something i had never done before this year but as my husband and i were sitting down to talk about goals for 2015, he suggested we do this. it’s simple yet incredibly profound for goal setting and life in general.

The #1 Thing You MUST Do Before Any Goal

drumroll please….

the #1 thing you must do before any goal setting occurs is that you have to write down what makes you happy.

sounds simple enough but i am telling you it changed something inside of me not only for future goal setting but existing in my every day life.

my struggle with depression started when i was 14 and it has gotten better in the last few years but “happiness” isn’t something that flows freely from me (yet). i continue to work hard on being less pessimistic and finding the good in the world and myself.

whether or not you plan to set any goals this year, i strongly encourage you to still make the list of what makes you happy. sit down with a pen and paper (there is something powerful in pen to paper) and think about what you last laughed at, what makes you smile, when the feeling on contentment washes over you and you feel happy. write that down.

a few of the things from my list that make me happy include:

  • when my husband tells me he loves me and gives my hand an extra squeeze
  • seeing a gorgeous sunset
  • going for walks with my puppy
  • sitting in the dining room and talking with my mom
  • twinkly white lights
  • driving through the mountains with my dad
  • drinking a good latte or hot cocoa
  • traveling to new places
  • eating delicious food
  • being in control of how i spend my time
  • crawling under my cozy down comforter
  • taking photos
  • a bubbly bath with wine in one hand
  • a good belly-laugh
  • snuggling on the couch watching a movie with my husband
  • doing crafts and watching harry potter alone and with friends
  • having an empty seat next to me on an airplane

next, write down a few things that you think would make you a little happier

  • getting back on a regular workout schedule
  • breaking my addiction to sugar to be healthier
  • being more financially stable each month
  • having a better handle on my anxiety and mindset

when i reviewed my list and shared it my husband, i was amazed to see how many little things i get to do each day or week or month that make me happy. as cheesy as it sounds, i felt as though i had a mini-epiphany that for the most part, the life i’m living each day is making me happy and to not take that for granted.

make sure you also write down the few things that you think would make you happier because this will help to play into the goal setting. for the time being, grab a warm cup of cocoa, your favorite pen (we all should have one of those) and think about when you feel happiest.

1) how comfortable/enjoyable do you find goal setting or new year’s resolutions?
2) i’d love to hear a few things that make you happy!
3) what’s your favorite warm beverage of choice?


  1. Victor

    December 18, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Fabulous post, Chelsea!

    1) how comfortable/enjoyable do you find goal setting or new year’s resolutions?

    I love setting intentions for the New Year; not just goals or resolutions, but intentions. They have power behind them.

    2) i’d love to hear a few things that make you happy!

    a. Contra dancing makes me happy.
    b. Seeing my kids smile and hearing them laugh
    c. Sunsets and sunrises
    d. Walking my dogs
    e. Jogging every morning

    3) what’s your favorite warm beverage of choice?

    A venti latte from Starbucks — yummy!

    Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 to you, Ryan and all those dear to you.

    • chelsea

      December 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      thanks victor and absolutely love that you set intentions for the year! that’s fantastic and very powerful.

      all those things that make you happy totally brought a smile to my face, especially hearing your kids laugh! so sweet. merry christmas to you too and a marvelous 2015 to you and yours!

      ps. hope you get a venti latte from starbucks soon 🙂

  2. Paula Howley

    December 18, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Excellent post Chels.

    I am going to do this exercise for sure.

    1. I like New years resolutions and goal setting. I like the feeling of getting a clean slate.

    2. A few things that make me feel happy are
    a. making m daughter laugh
    b. seeing the progress that my students make
    c. giggling in bed at night with my husband before we go to sleep

    3. I love coffee with vanilla but it doesn’t sit well with me!
    Paula Howley recently posted…Head Start Public Speaking For Kids- Week 10- Opening and Closing Your Speech! p.s. no Snorefests!

    • chelsea

      December 18, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      thanks paula because it really did amaze me making this list. some profound stuff. there is something about starting the new year off on a ‘clean slate’ that feels great!

      ahh all these children laughing is making me feel all warm and fuzzies. giggling with your hubs before bed is so sweet too 🙂 sounds like you have to be careful when you indulge in your favorite beverage!

  3. Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties

    December 19, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I love this!!! Isn’t it crazy how many little (free) things can truly make you happy?! I love making lists like this to remind myself that whenever I’m sad there are SO MANY THINGS I love doing that can immediately make me happy!

    My list includes: reading a good book, drinking tea, watching the food network, and going to the library! oh, and to steal one of yours: twinkly white lights. I’m already planning on going out right after christmas to buy a box that I can use above my desk year round…
    Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties recently posted…Canada, Sugar Cookies, and Ugly Sweaters

  4. Amanda Wood

    December 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    this is perfect. It makes figuring out what goals you NEED vs. what everyone expects or the cliche goals everyone makes but doesn’t keep.
    Amanda Wood recently posted…Grateful Heart

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