A Holistic Approach to Goal Setting

Holistic Approach to Goal Setting

Can I confess something?

I’ve set a word for the year for the past 3 years.

But, every December, I have to go back and look up what it was.


Well, after reading Essentialism last year—and rereading a chapter or so every other week!—I’m slowly trying to weed out the “shoulds” in my life.

Surprisingly, Word of the Year was something that had to stay—it was my approach to goal-setting that needed to go.

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear claims that the only behavior change that actually sticks is identity change.

Once I read this and internalized the concept, I realized the problem was that my word was about who I wanted to be and my goals were about tasks I wanted to complete. Though the two overlapped in many ways, I wasn’t intentionally connecting them.

And, OF COURSE, that’s why my goal-getting was really hit or miss.

So, what did I change?

I decided to take a more holistic approach to my Powersheets goal-setting this year.

  1. I established by word for the year.

  2. I wrote each goal with my word for the year nestled inside (I got this idea from Val!)

  3. I made a list of some approved-related-words that will help me focus on my intention as things change + evolve throughout the year!

What did that actually look like? Good question. I’M GETTING TO IT, OKAY.

1. My word for the year:


(n.) the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible

(v.) make something start burning; ignite

I chose this word because I’m a 4 on the enneagram. I know. I mistyped before as a 1, but through a bunch of reading + wanting to knuckle punch the 4-description in the face repeatedly, it’s official. I’m a 4: The Individualist.

I honestly think it should be renamed The Tortured Artist. The key here is this: I want to be 100% authentic, but I’m afraid if I am I’ll be intensely misunderstood.

MISUNDERSTOOD? (gasps) I KNOW. The worst.

Because of that fear, I tend toward darkness.

I focus on the darkest parts of me; what’s wrong with me? why do I do things that way? how can I be better/different/like them?

I tend to hide. Sometimes I sneakily call it “rest,” when really it’s a defense mechanism. If they don’t know me, they can’t reject me, right?

I fear truly shining because I’m afraid everyone else will hate me for it. This is the ugly-underbelly of self-awareness. I didn’t want to share this part with you, but I think it’s important… so… don’t hate me for it.

This is the year I stop hiding in the darkness.

You know that whole salt + light thing? Well, I’ve taken a more bland in the darkness approach, and I’m tired of being afraid of the light God has set ablaze in my heart.

2. Tie this word to your goals for 2019.

My goals ended up being a lot less task-y and a lot more intention-based. I’m here for it.

I basically named off categories for improvement: business, marriage, living (as in health + home). Then, for each of those categories, I thought, What would it look like to find the light in each of these places + let my own light shine as bright as possible + be fueled by God’s light from the depths of my SOUL? (Okay, goal-setting is dramatic, people.)

And THEN from that list, I set some tasks.

But here’s the deal: This allows for so much more flexibility because these goals are not set in stone. They’re simply agents for allowing me to become a person who focuses her eyes on the light instead of the darkness.

And THAT is very helpful for someone who shatters when perfection is tainted a goal isn’t reached 100% in its entirety.

Ya still with me? Finally… in the interest of further flexibility…

3. Make a list of approved related words that will help you stay focused if/when things change.

I don’t like change, but this year where we’re moving states, I’m completing my first full year of business ownership, and we have to learn how to shovel snow and stuff… it’s bound to happen. So I’m planning ahead.

Side note: I also don’t like to make decisions that feel final. This helps with that.

I decided to write down some related words that would apply to my more individual tasks + goals beneath my intention for the year.

Here’s what I came up with:

Shine: (n.) a quality of brightness, especially from reflected light.

This word was ALMOST my word for the year, but it felt a little too ME ME ME, and a little less “beaming with light from within.” However, this works PERFECTLY for my big scary speaking goal for my business this year. Repeat after me: I will not hide. I will not hide. I will not hide.

I also love that this word relates to the next one…

Reflect: (v.) show an image of; think deeply or carefully about.

These definitions are very different but equally important. I love that both SHINE + REFLECT are more about where you’re facing. You can’t reflect an image of one thing if you’re directly facing something else. Similarly, you can’t SHINE, as in reflect light if you’re not a clean surface, primed for shining (so to speak). So I really want to make sure that I’m setting myself up internally for giving off the most light possible. That starts from within (the thinking deeply + carefully, meditating on the one I want to show an image of). I told you we were getting deep.

4. Finally, keep it front of mind.

Here are a few ways I’m planning to make sure I don’t have to look up my word at the end of this year!

  • Literally, keep it in front of you. My desk doesn’t face a wall, so I plan to doodle “light” on a card and put it in a frame on my desk! (Or, who knows, maybe I’ll paint a chalkboard wall in my new office!)

  • Reflect on it in my CEO Report each week. If you haven’t heard of the CEO Report, head to Reina Pomeroy—who’s a genius—and download her freebie! I have a simple question that says, “Did you embrace your word of the year this week?” It’s a yes or no question that helps keep me focused!

  • I SUPER WANT a piece of jewelry with my word on it! I know Stamped & Finch is doing it this year, and probably many other makers on Etsy would be happy to make a sweet custom piece for you.

So, if you take one thing away from this blog post, it’s this: Your goals don’t have to look like everyone else’s. And just because you’ve done things one way for years doesn’t mean you can’t change it up + see what happens.

What do you think of my holistic approach to goal-setting? Have you ever tried anything like this?

Action Step:

Share your word for the year!

PLEASE share your next step with me in the comments or tag me over on Instagram (@jessjordana) so I can cheer you on and share with the masses!

Also, feel free to DM me. I’m a fan of other people who stalk Insta stories, so don’t be shy!

Jess, XO


I'm Jess,

iced-coffee-obsessed, saved-by-grace, allergic-to-small talk, and one of the biggest dreamers you’ll ever meet.