Directed Journaling Workflow for Goal Setting and Goal Getting (Debra Eckerling)

Debra Eckerling


To get what you want, you need to know what you want.

However, figuring out what you want often requires contemplation and reflection. People tend to under-think or over-think their goals. They try to figure things out in their head…and they don’t have a plan.

Creating the foundation for your goals is key!

If you are struggling, pivoting, or just need a reset, try Directed Journaling.

My Directed Journaling process can be used for:

  • Honing in on your vision
  • Figuring out your mission
  • Deciding what personal and professional goals to pursue
  • Discerning what tasks and benchmarks you need to accomplish in order to achieve aforementioned personal and professional goals
  • Making decisions regarding projects, partnerships, and pursuits

How directed journaling works

Step 1. In your electronic calendar, schedule between three to five 15-minute sessions over a few days. Be sure to set a reminder.

Step 2. When you get the alert for your appointment, set a timer for 15 minutes, and start writing.
Note: While there are numerous benefits to writing by hand, if you are more likely to complete the process by typing on a computer, go for it!

Step 3. During each journaling session, ask—and answer—questions, focused on the challenge at hand.

For your vision:

  • What does my ideal life look like?
  • If anything were possible, what would I pursue?
  • What is my ultimate goal? To build a business? Run someone else’s company? Become known? Work-life balance?

For your mission:

  • Who am I?
  • What makes me unique?
  • What do I do/want to do?
  • How do I help?
  • What drives me to succeed?

For goals:

  • To fulfill my mission, what do I need to do?
  • To start, build, or grow my business, what’s next?
  • To get a new job/excel at my company/start a new career, what are the possibilities?
  • To become known, what are my options? Write a book? Start a podcast? Create a course?
  • What does work-life balance look like for me?

For next steps:

  • I chose X professional goal: what are all the benchmarks and action items?
  • I chose X personal goal: what are all the benchmarks and action items?

For challenges:

  • What’s the problem?
  • How can I resolve it?
  • What are all the possible solutions?

Reminder: When you do your journaling, think outside the box. Be as logical and as extreme as you want. Your journal rants are for your eyes only. And don’t worry about repeating yourself. The idea is to get everything out of your head and onto the page.

Step 4. Do not read any of your journal entries until you have completed all of your appointments.

Directed journaling: assessment and action

Step 5. Once you have exhausted your thoughts on the topic, then you may go through the journal entries. Read them once straight through.

Step 6. Now, go through your notes with a highlighter or separate piece of paper on hand. Note the ideas you repeat—those are what you are most drawn to. You may also come up with ideas or solutions that appear to come from left field. That’s what happens in the freewriting process.

Step 7. Take action!

For your vision:

  • Create a visual representation of your ideal life.
  • Put it somewhere you will see it every day.

For your mission:

  • Create a few versions of your mission statement.
  • Decide which one best speaks to you.
  • Put it somewhere you will see it every day.

For goals:

  • Make a list of short-term and long-term personal and professional goals. (I recommend setting three of each!)
  • Put it somewhere you will see it every day.

For next steps:

  • Make a detailed list, organizing which action items lead to benchmarks and which benchmarks will add up to achieving short term goals.
  • Set appointments in your calendar to complete assignments.
  • Give yourself deadlines.
  • Celebrate accomplishments along the way.

For challenges:

  • Write out a few solution options.
  • Decide which one is most in alignment for you.
  • Sleep on it.
  • If you are still comfortable with it, put it into action. If not, make another decision, sleep on it.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Final thoughts

Achieving goals starts with intent, purpose and passion.

If you are ready to make 2023 your best year ever, give yourself the time and opportunity to first decide what that means for you. Then make a plan to turn all of your goals into reality!

What are your personal and professional goals for 2023? Please share in the comments.


Debra Eckerling @deckerling
Goal-Setting Expert, Virtual Speaker


Tell Us Below:

How do you come up with and organize your goals, and your action steps to achieve them?

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