Stuck at home? Perfect time to design your future with the Purpose Canvas!

Sara Vilas

Why use the Purpose Canvas?

First, for all the same reasons you love Business Model Canvas: it's easy because it breaks things down in small chunks and it allows you to focus because you keep everything at one glance.

On top of that, this is the framework I created and used for myself for the last 3 years. I'm an overachiever and this has tremendously and consistently helped me to be productive and highly effective because: 

  1. I'm writing my goals down. Which, as you may know, increases the likelihood of accomplishing them by 42%!
  2. I think about Master Goals (love, health, money) separate from more traditional goals (to learn, to visit, to experiment, to get done) so that I never lose track of what's really important.
  3. It forces me to review the previous period (2019, last decade, Q4 or any other period that works for you). This is SUPER important, because we tend to forget the good that we did. Doing this allows for some needed self-care!

Best of all, I'm giving it away totally FREEDOWNLOAD it and give it a go, I'm sure it will work for you, too! :) 

How to fill it in

Let's go into the nitty-gritty of how to fill it in most effectively. The most important thing to remember is that you need to review first the previous period (2019, the last quarter, the whole decade, etc.) and AFTER that, set the goals for the upcoming period. Let's go!

Review the previous period first

If you're an overachiever like me, you probably set your goals super high, set a lot of them, and end up getting to the end of the year and think: "I could have done so much more, look at all these unaccomplished things".

Well, this is not another guide to try to tone you down. Do not limit yourself, please. What I really want you to do is pat yourself on the back for what you did accomplish. Because it's been more than you think!

For this section, don't use just your memory. Try checking out your calendar or agenda, browse through your emails, or read through your go-to notebook or journal.

01. What went well

And DO NOT write just one thing. I'm sure there are at least 10 things that went well last year, even if they seem small now. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What were my goals for the previous period? Which ones did I accomplish?
  • What did I think was super hard last time around but now I can easily do or I think it was easily achieved?
  • What are the things these year that made me happy?
  • What changed positively? Did you decide not to pursue a goal because you learned something that you didn't know before? This is really good, because it means you're making progress in a different direction.

02. What didn't go so well

  • What goals you had but didn't achieve? Stick to the important, big ones. Don't write small tasks you didn't get to.
  • Do you still want to accomplish those goals or did you change your mind? As I was mentioning above, this is not a bad thing, but it's important to document when you change paths.
  • What is currently not serving you? What is sucking your energy or not making you happy? You should consider do less of this.
  • What do you wish you did more of last year? You should consider doing more of this.

Now go ahead and set your purpose and future goals

After you have all the good and not so good about the past, go ahead and start thinking about and setting your purpose and goals for the future.


Let's set Master Goals first. These are the big ones, the ones that enable all the others. The aspirational ones that create the live you love to live.

03. Master Goal: Love

  • What friends do you wish to reconnect with? Which ones do you want to be more present with? Think about how will you accomplish that too: will you plan a trip with them? Answer their Whatsapps first? Call them more often?
  • Is there anyone in your family you want to reconnect with or strengthen the relationship you have with them? Think about the how here too. For example, I spent 7 years abroad and in 2019 I decided to move to my home town - working remotely - to be able to spend more time with my family.
  • Perhaps you want to start a family this year, or continue to grow it!
  • What are your intimate relationship goals? Do you have a stable partner that you want to get closer to? Do you want to live your best single life? Are you looking for a serious partner? And, again, what are you going to do about it? Perhaps you need to filter out new partners based on what's important to you, get more "out there" or just organize a sacred weekly romantic dinner.

04. Master Goal: Health

  • Any check-ups you need to catch up with? Or perhaps you've been wanting to do one of those DNA tests to learn more about yourself?
  • Any current health issue you need to pay more attention to? How are you going to make sure you prioritise that amongst all the other goals?
  • Any dietary changes you want to make? Perhaps a "no-sugar 2020" or a "vegan at last" goal suits you! Make sure, as usual, you plan - high level -  how is that going to happen.
  • More physical strength? Loose a size or two? Any body-related goal goes here too.

05. Master Goal: Money

  • Are you happy on your current job or career? If not, how can you make a change on that? My personal recommendation here is to list out separately what you like and don't like about your current situation before deciding where to go next!
  • Are you happy with your income? If not, again, what could you do about it?
  • Would you like to diversify your income? How could you do that? Perhaps it's through learning how to invest or monetising your knowledge.


Let's move now to goals. This will draw ideas from the master goals. They are a bit less aspirational, as ambitious as you want them, but specific to more actionable areas.

06. Goal: To Learn

  • Any university program you want to enroll into this year?
  • Any onsite or online courses or workshops you want to complete?
  • Any conferences you want to attend?
  • Are there any blogs or publications you want to keep up with to make sure you stay up-to-date on your area of expertise?

07. Goal: To Visit

  • Any person that you want to visit this year? You might get ideas from your Love Master Goal.
  • Any city or country, near or far, that you wish you visit this year?
  • Any specific place (a building, a religious site, a monument) or event that you've always wanted to see o attend to in person?

08. Goal: To Experiment

  • Is there anything you want to try out this year that you've never tried before? 
  • Have you ever thought of writing a book like I have? Maybe this year is our year to try that out! 
  • Any project that you want to start or play around with?

09. Goal: To Get Done

  • Anything that you just need to get done? Like changing from an annoying phone company or renew your passport, for example.
  • Any obligations lying around that, when done, will give you more time for all the cool stuff?

Keep your canvas on sight and review it often!

You're now done with the canvas, but now the best part comes: make it all happen. Make sure you keep this canvas around as a compass for this year, to keep checking if you're on the right track.

Please remember that giving up goals sometimes doesn't have to be a bad thing. You shouldn't give up on your ambition. Ever. But things change and it can happen that something you wanted so bad 6 months ago doesn't seem like the right move for you. Putting yourself above a list is just necessary.

Go on make sh*t happen, and feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn any time!

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The author

Sara Vilas

I'm currently researching remote leadership in the Location Independence Institute, taking remote Design Lead gigs through Toptal, gathering advice from developers to designers at, writing a book about Design Leadership, and wrapping up an MBA. Previously helped over 100 corporations all around the globe become digital and user-friendly.