How to Set Goals and Achieve Them in the New Year

January 20, 2020 • Shannon Flynn


Are you unsure how to set goals and achieve them?

As another new year begins, people are excited about what’s to come. You may anticipate certain movies premiering in upcoming months or new tech hitting the market soon. Whatever gets you excited about the new year, you’ve probably thrown a few personal goals in the mix as well.

It’s natural to want a fresh start when you enter a new year. Everyone makes resolutions and promises to make positive changes for themselves, but what if you don’t know how to set goals? You might have some ideas in mind, without a plan to make them come true.

Read on to learn how to set goals for the new year and actually achieve them. Say goodbye to the days of failed resolutions. You’ll conquer your dreams before you know it and soon make new ones before the year even ends.

Find Your Motivation

No one can accomplish any worthwhile goal without putting in a little work. At first, you’ll want to try hard because everything is new and exciting. After a while, you’ll get tired or discouraged and want to give up.

Find your motivation to push through the work when you lose track of what you’re trying to do. Your motivation might be to get your family out of debt, experience a new culture or use a new skill to advance your career. Think about life after your goal to hone in on your true motivations.

Make SMART Goals

Imagine that you decide to eat healthier for your New Year’s resolution. When put into practice, that could mean anything from eating only salads to drinking three sodas per day instead of five.

Make SMART goals instead of regular ones. They’ll help you conquer your resolution list because they’re:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Each goal comes with a built-in plan. If you want to eat healthier, you could word your objective like, “I will quit eating sugar by February and replace it with new recipes that focus on organic nutrition.” It’s a much more focused way to set realistic personal goals than to state your general desire to stop eating junk food.

Put Them in Writing

At the start of the year, you have your resolutions in mind. They’re important to you so you don’t think you’d forget them, but life gets busy. You’ll get back into your daily routine and quickly forget what you want to accomplish. You should put your goals in writing and tack them up where you’ll see them all the time.

You can also make your goals writing-focused so you can do them at any time during the day. One way is to make a gratitude list your new goal for the year. Instead of thinking about what needs to change, write down what you’re grateful for every day to create and maintain a positive attitude. Writing these things down will be a visual reminder of the goodness in your life. It’s much easier to remember positive things or goals when they’re in a list in front of you.

Create Baby Steps

Once you have your goals in mind, create baby steps to make them happen. You won’t run that marathon or move across the country overnight. Tiny steps forward will help you focus on the small changes you make that lead to greater ones. Fist pump the air after your first half-mile run, even if it takes you an hour. Cheer yourself on after you apply for a potential future job. Each small victory on the road to your final goal is worth celebrating.

Remind Yourself Why

Decide on your new goals and ask yourself why they’re important to you. Once you have the answer, remind yourself why you’re starting new habits and ending old ones. It will keep you going as the months fly by until you’re able to look back with pride at what you accomplished. With a little practice, you can learn how to set goals and achieve them!