How do you set goals and actually achieve them?

For some of us, goal setting is the easy part but actually determining how to break down a goal into smaller goals and actionable steps can be a challenge. There are many systems and items out there to help you reach your goals but do they really work?

In 2021, I ordered the MakseLife companion notebooks and started using them. They kinda worked. Then I fell off the wagon. I picked them back up in 2022 and have been using them most weeks. They are helpful. Of course, they can’t tell me how to break down a goal or what my action steps should be but they give me a structure to follow. 

Since I moved to the A5 daily duo in the agenda, I decided to separate the companion notebooks, punch them, and keep them in rings. I think that also helped me to keep using them because they are with my daily planner.

Recently, MakseLife had a warehouse sale and I browsed through it thinking I’d grab more companion notebooks for 2023. Instead, I kept going back to the A5 undated daily planner. I don’t need a daily planner but I thought the inserts offered a few things the notebooks were missing that might fill the void I didn’t realize I was missing with the notebooks.

I ordered one quarter in the sale and am going to compare them for you!

Each product comes with a how-to use this, compass assessment, and setting goals. For the notebooks, this all comes in a separate little book while the inserts are part of the inserts. After all of that, they each have a blank calendar, a spot for your monthly goals, and then weekly actions pages for each week of the month.

The companion notebooks have only the weekly actions in the month. The inserts have the weekly actions followed by a weekly overview page. This is what I really wanted. I plan to use the weekly overview page to assign days to my weekly actions. 

After the weekly overview is seven daily pages. I don’t need all of these, as I use the daily duo for my regular planner. I like the layout of the daily pages and plan to use the one page to help plan out my goals even more. The daily pages I removed, I figured I will use somehow. I can use for other projects or for super busy workdays when I want to get all the days to dos outta my head!

After the five weeks both the companion notebooks and inserts, both have a monthly reflection page. This pattern continues for the other two months of the quarter. After three months, there is another quarterly assessment. 

The companion notebooks then have some blank dot grid pages and the back inside cover is a folder. The inserts include an extras section with nine months of future plans then the blank dot grid pages and folder. The inserts also have month stickers for the tabs and came with a sticker sheet. The companion notebooks did not have stickers. I ordered the sticker book to go with my companion notebooks (and never ended up using them)

The differences are small and I could probably recreate the weekly overview page with the companion notebooks. Especially when you look at the price. The A5 inserts are $44 each. For a quarter. That’s $176 for a year! Not sure I can justify that price point. The companion notebooks are $56 for all four. I figured the sale price was a good time to try out the inserts. If they work, I may do the companion notebooks and create my own weekly overview page since I can put them in rings.

Do you use a goal-setting system? If so, which one? Maybe I will look at a new way for 2023!

Interested in the companion notebooks? Head over to my YouTube and watch the video comparing the notebooks to the inserts. There may be a giveaway hidden in the video for my final quarter of the notebooks!

Categories: Planning


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.