There are so many goal-setting systems out there, and so many would-be self-help gurus happy to help you figure out your priorities and turn them into actionable goals. Some of those gurus and systems are worth your time, some are just retreads of the same old thing. A person who has felt adrift for most of their life might be easily roped in to a lot of these systems, hoping the next one will be “the one” that helps them get their shit together.
And by “a person,” I mean me.
I’d heard a lot about the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets, the pricey but extensive goal-setting system that’s sort of planner-y but can be easily combined with your existing systems and practices. I wasn’t willing to invest in a yearlong book but they had an undated six-month version, and that seemed more reasonable, particularly with a coupon code.
First off I should say, Powersheets are not a mere retread. A lot of the ideas are familiar, but they take an approach that isn’t overly woo-woo but also leaves room for whatever woo you do. (Note: The website offers a lot of Christian-focused additions to the system, but those are not part of the Powersheets unless you add them; the workbook itself is happily adaptable to your life outlook or path.)
The first part of the book is dedicated entirely to exploring what you want out of life, what fears are holding you back, and what’s most important for you to work on right now. It’s an in-depth workbook, and takes a while to go through. That part alone was pretty useful, as it helped me figure out what areas of my life I wanted to devote my attention to this year. It also helps you see areas where you’re actually doing all right and aren’t nearly as messed up as you thought. It’s easy to see your entire life as a shit-show and not recognize that there are parts that are, in fact, going okay.
After you’ve decided on your big goals (you can have up to I think ten), you head into the monthly sections, and break those goals down into monthly action items, weekly action items, and daily habits to help get you where you want to go. Each month you start by reviewing the last month, looking at what went right and what you’re going to cut yourself some slack for. Then you move on into the next month.
Obviously a lot of people love this system and use it not just once but every year. The creator and company are clearly making a killing with it, so much so that they’ve got a conference they’re advertising where you spend a couple grand and get to go set goals with the creator herself. There are lots of accessories (stickers! washi! They know who their audience is for sure!) and supplemental materials.
I actually used the entire six month book, which is kind of rare for me. And I do really like the system. I like that it’s encouraging but realistic, and doesn’t try to be a “plan slayer” or “goal digger” or whatever the ladies-who-Instagram term is these days. I also like how it emphasizes breaking everything down, first into one-time things you can do that month (sign up for a writing course, let’s say), then every week (make a date to write with a friend every Thursday), then every day (write 500 words). The format definitely helps you consider things from a fresh perspective.
Was it actually helpful for me? Eh, not really, if I’m honest. Most months I didn’t accomplish 80% of what I had set out. I rarely stuck to my habits. And I don’t feel like I’ve made significant progress on most of my goals.
However, I’ve also had a shit-tastic year. A move in May threw everything for April and May into absolute chaos. My depression has been sucking the life out of everything since then. June was utterly pointless–I didn’t even use my planner for most of it. My bullet journal trackers for June are totally blank. So I can’t really blame the Powersheets for my not getting much out of them!
Do I recommend Powersheets? If you have sixty dollars to spend and love workbooks, sure (the undated six-month is about half the price of the yearlong). It’s great to say “it’s an investment in your future,” but having that much to invest is a bit trickier for many people than the internet wants us to think. Am I going to buy it again? Not likely. I feel like now I can take what I’ve learned and adapt it to my own life without a new workbook. I doubt that’s the creator’s intention but I already have an expensive planner habit, especially now that I’m back in an Erin Condren Life Planner. (And a bullet journal. Lord, don’t get me started. I’ll talk more about that later.)
Note: This post was not sponsored by Cultivate What Matters; I bought the workbook myself.Become my patron for exclusive online content and read new stories before anyone else!