Organization, Podcast

Ditch the 2021 Vision Board: Using Trello for Goal Setting

Around this time of the year, people start to plan vision board parties and building out a new list to guide their next year. But what if I told you that there was a new strategy to get you real results? Enter Trello!

Paired with my top goal setting strategies, Trello can help you make an action plan to reach your goals within the year (or sooner). Here I talk about my top strategies to tackling your goals and then walk through the benefits of Trello. And because I was feeling extra helpful this week, I made a tutorial for you to see this strategy in action!

Listen to my podcast episode about this topic, or keep reading for a quick synopsis of what we discussed.

Ditch the 2021 Vision Board podcast cover image

🔊 Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | SoundCloud | Spotify | Stitcher | Amazon Podcasts

Productive Goal Strategies

When setting a new goal, of course, there is a level of accountability that has to be made. Whether you share with a family member, friend, or publicly on social media; that helps you stay on track even when you’re unmotivated. 

✨ Read my other new year goal setting posts: Your Most Successful Year (2018) // Setting 2020 Goals

This next one may sound counterintuitive, but it works well! Keep your goal big, especially if it’s for the entire year. You don’t want to have something so specific that it is achievable in a few months. You may plateau, forget about the goal, and even start to back track. Set a “big goal” with specific parameters that can easily be broken up into smaller milestones throughout the year. 

My next goal setting hack is to research and gather information. You may have heard the cliche, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” but there is a lot of truth in that. Research the best way to approach your goal, adjust as life happens (because it will but you don’t want to relapse), and then reflect on your success. I love to intentionally journal about my progress towards my goals. It helps me sort my thoughts on the topic and potentially reflect on new information I’ve learned from a related resource such as a blog post, article, or social media post.

Now, the last hack is my favorite, and that’s to track your progress at regular benchmarks. Checking in with your goals each quarter is a non-negotiable in my eyes. If you’re not checking in, you’re probably not thinking about your goals nor are you progressing towards them. Checking in is another form of accountability to log where you are at that moment in time. It also allows you to pivot if that goal is just not applicable anymore. Instead of it looming over you with no success in sight, your check-in gives you time to adjust to something you can progress towards. And yes, that includes lowering your “success” standard if that’s the case.

For example, if you realize that losing 50 lbs in one year is just way out of reach come June, you can lower that number to 30 lbs if you know it’ll be achievable. That adjustment will lower your stress, increase your motivation, and set you up for success.

Trello for Goal Setting and Tracking

Let’s go into the specifics of Trello and how to use it as an action plan to replace your vision board and/or supplement it, whatever floats your boat.

Trello is built off lists and cards. So I suggest creating lists for broad categories like health/wellness, finances, relationships, etc. Then list your individual goals in each section as cards. You can customize your cards further and add notes as the year progresses.

So let’s talk through an example. For a mental health goal, I want to read 20 new personal development books for the year. I’d make that a card on my mental health list. Within the card I can put a brief description of the goal and even add links to book lists, author pages, or other resources. 

Still within the card, I can add an easy-to-edit checklist of books I want to read. Now, with the premium version, I can also attach due dates to the items on my checklist. But with a free account, I just add the due date to the card and mark it done for each milestone check in before resetting the due date. 

After check-ins, I’ll make a note in the card to log my progress. This process continues with every goal at every check-in. What I love about this setup is that I can continue to look up new books, add them to my list, and even attach book cover images or links to another tracker, say on Google Drive. 

The organization options are endless, but what I want you to see is that Trello helps me create an action plan for an overarching goal.

Image of a sample Trello board organizing 2021 goals instead of a vision board.
Example 2021 Trello (Vision) Board

So I briefly mentioned the reminders, but this is crucial. Like I said before, having goals without tracking your progress does you no good. I use the reminders in Trello to stay on track. Set benchmarks within your lists or cards and the reminders will appear on one big calendar. This is another level of accountability. Wow, this must be the word of the day! But having reminders keeps you on track to meet your milestones each quarter or even month and week.

And the last few things I want to point out again are the attachments and mobility in Trello. You can put attachments in the cards such as links, images, and documents. I have a few cards that I’ve attached the actual related document for easier access. For example, we finally sent our wedding thank you cards but I had to collect all the addresses. So I attached the spreadsheet for quicker access when I was ready to print my labels. 

Another bonus, with the cloud storage, you don’t need to be on your personal device or logged into your email account–just Trello. And yes, this works with third parties like Google Drive and Dropbox. It’s quite awesome.

And of course, they have an app! So I like to login to Trello on my laptop when working from home, but when I’m on the go, the app is just as handy.


For my visual learners, watch the Trello board tutorial below for more direction on how to use it for goal setting/tracking.

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