How to Plan Your Year On Purpose (+ free workbook)

LIFE ON PURPOSE! It is a way of approaching your day with intention.

For our family, it means sitting down at the beginning of each year to reflect and plan out the year ahead.

We started about three years ago and it has helped us to start forming the life we want to live.

Writing out lists of reflection and direction won’t magically result in living out that dream life, but it sure helps you to stay on track (Beyonce wasn’t built in a day, etc.).

UPDATE: THIS POST SHARES THE BASIS OF HOW WE STARTED PLANNING OUR LIFE ON PURPOSE. Since then, I have used this framework, exercises I use in life coaching, and action plans, to develop the in-depth guide called the Life on Purpose Workbook. Click the photo to check out the workbook.

I get a lot of messages asking me about the goals we set each year. So I will take you through our approach to planning the coming year.


First, we have reflected on the past year by answering:

What worked well? We look back on our last year’s list and consider new things we tried to do in the year (like camping trips and family meetings). It helps to pump your own tires a little before you do the next step.

What will we do differently in the coming year? This is a nice way of saying, ‘what did we suck at?’. Sometimes it is new things that have come up over the year, sometimes it is a failed goal altogether. Either way, it helps us to pinpoint some of the roadblocks we need to work around to be more successful in the coming year.


Then we go through each area of our lives and set common goals

But, here is something we did the very first year that has helped us direct these goals every year: We set our ‘vision’.

Vision-casting sounds frivolous and unattainable but it is quite simple.

For example, we asked ‘what do we want our home to feel like?’ or ‘what do we want our family culture to be like?’. We just listed out words or phrases that came to mind.

Then you can look at each vision and ask, what kinds of things can we do to make that happen? These are your goals (which I have started to break up into ‘projects’ and ‘habits’).


Here are all the areas we covered for the coming year:

House Projects

The renos we want to tackle. We have an endless list (and mine is a little different than my husband’s) so it takes some discussion to set out the priorities of what we want to focus on for the year.

House Habits

How we want to be running our household this year. Things like decluttering and how we will organize things (which means some of the house projects need to happen for this habit to be developed).

Conor has also adopted a new motto ‘no more piles’. It’s ambitious, but if I can do the Whole30, I can do this….I’m sorta sure.

Finance Habits

For this one we set out a motto ‘live beneath our means’. It must be a saying for a reason! (my friends Mike and Marie have this video on how they set out their spending for the whole year)

We also set out the ways we want to assign our income to debt and savings, as our goal is to buy a trailer this spring.

We also decided that if we wanted to live beneath our means we needed to see how we are spending. So we will get back to tracking all our spending again. Though I also noticed the RBC app has a tracker built into it now! Might just rely on that instead of posting it on the fridge like we did last year.

Family Habits

Our vision for our family this year is ‘more fun, more adventure, more patience’. And not like the ‘constant-zen, free-range parenting, kids are already parkouring at 4’, kinda goal. We just want to yell at them less, make everyday things fun (like singing Celine Dion at the top of our lungs during road trips) and get outside more!

Family Bucket List

The activities we want to do with our kids this year. We sat with the kids to make this list so it also includes things like candy hunts, popsicles and playing in nature.

We also added a couple things Conor and I were hoping to do solo this year like a winery tour and something special for our ten year wedding anniversary.


This list was my own. I wrote out how I wanted to pour into each of my kids. I feel like they are all over the map in terms of their needs and personalities. SO I wanted to stop and think of what each one is struggling with and wrote a sentence on how I could help them grow through this. Not really sure what my next steps will be but I’ll just re-read it from time to time and try to focus on it more.


Then we each wrote out our own lists for these topics:

Hobbies, health, work, friendships, marriage, personal growth, and community. If you are curious, the answer is yes. Yes, my list is much longer than Conor’s.

This list can feel daunting, but if we treat it as a guideline rather than a list of errands then it is a lot more inspiring.


Check out the free Live Your Vision and Live Your Values worksheets, in the freebie library