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A Simple Guide to Setting Realistic Goals for the New Year

December 28, 2022

Setting goals for the new year is a great way to start off the new year with a sense of purpose and direction. If there’s any aspect of your life that you’d like to improve, set clear and attainable goals to help you get there. So how do you do this? This article will discuss how to set goals for the new year successfully.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to set goals for the new year:

1. Reflect on the last year

Before setting goals for the new year, take the time to examine what these past 12 months were like to be more mindful and intentional in your choices for the upcoming year. You can start by asking yourself:

  • What worked well?
  • What did not work so well?
  • What were my biggest lessons?
  • What were my most significant accomplishments?
  • What am I most grateful for?
  • What areas of my life do I want to focus on?
  • What positive changes will I make for myself in the new year?

Related Resource: 25 End-of-Year Reflection Questions for Personal Growth

2. Set SMART goals

One of the best ways to guarantee success is to ensure that each of your goals or New Year’s resolutions fits the SMART formula. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. When your goals have these characteristics, you are likelier to achieve them.

Follow this strategy to set SMART goals for the new year:

SMART goals are specific.

Your goals should be clear and concise, with no room for misinterpretation. Get very clear on what you want to accomplish and what success looks like for you. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight in the new year,” a more specific goal would be, “I want to go from 165 pounds to 145 pounds,” or “I want to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year.”

SMART goals are measurable.

To know whether or not you achieved a goal, you must be able to measure your progress. SMART goals are goals you can track and measure with a clear end or point of attainment. To create measurable goals, you need a number or a percentage involved. For example, if you’re building a new business, a measurable goal could be “sign 10 new clients each month” or “increase my website page views by 20%.”

Measuring your progress is vital in setting and achieving your goals. Once you have some form of measurement in place, you’ll be able to track your progress and determine whether or not you’re moving in the right direction.

SMART goals are attainable.

All goals should challenge you and push you outside your comfort zone, but at the same time, they should also be attainable; otherwise, you will be disappointed. Think about it: it is doubtful that someone will be able to lose 50 pounds in 30 days, but setting a goal of losing 3-4 pounds per month is probably more realistic. So when setting goals for the new year, ensure they’re attainable — something you can realistically achieve, given available resources.

SMART goals are relevant.

Your goals should align with your overall values and long-term objectives. Think about what positive changes you want to make in your life and create goals around those.

SMART goals are time-based.

Smart goals have time frames. When you put a realistic time frame on your goal, it gives you something to work towards. To simply “lose 10 pounds,” without a time frame lacks motivation. “Lose 10 pounds by my birthday” has a realistic time frame that gives you something to work for and a date for completion.

Bottom Line

Setting SMART goals for the new year is the best way to guarantee success at achieving what you want. By setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals, you can understand exactly what you need to do (and when you need to do it) to achieve your desired outcome.

Ready to start creating SMART goals for the new year? Grab your free worksheet below to get started.

3. Create a plan

Now that you know how to set SMART goals, it’s time to create a plan. It’s easy to say: “I want to lose 50 pounds,” but a big goal like this will take time and effort. Studies have shown that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February, and gyms will experience a decrease in traffic after the first and second months of the year.

So, creating an actionable plan for each goal is essential to help you stay motivated and on track. Break large goals into smaller, achievable steps you can take to work towards your goals. Smaller steps will help you to be more intentional and prevent you from trying to accomplish too much too quickly.

For example, if your goal is to exercise more, you can create a plan to go to the gym three times a week for 30 minutes. Additionally, set up rewards for yourself when you reach milestones to keep yourself motivated.

Goals for the new year action plan image

4. Visualize the outcome

When you run into snags in the road, as you’re bound to in life from time to time, it will help to visualize yourself reaching your end goal. Visualizing it makes it feel real and motivates you to work hard to make it happen. One of the most fun ways to do this is to create a vision board. On your vision board, pin beautiful and inspiring images and words of your end goal. Place your vision board somewhere you can quickly see it each day.

5. Have the right attitude

If you’re practicing the right attitude, you can go far. All you need to do is believe in yourself and keep a positive and open mind. You’ve probably realized that if you don’t think you can accomplish something, you simply won’t. How can you expect to achieve great things if you don’t believe in yourself?

An optimistic attitude is critical to your success. Think about how you felt when you first set your New Year’s goal. Chances are that you had a positive attitude, so try to maintain that mindset throughout your journey to success with your goal.

Final thoughts on setting goals for the new year

Once you’ve determined a realistic goal and divided it into short, achievable tasks, you’re bound for success. Carve out time each day to take action towards your goals. With commitment and dedication, you can reach your goals and make this year a success!

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About Author

Valene Lindsay

As the founder of the Unfolding Rose and certified life purpose coach, I am passionate about helping women reconnect to their higher self, discover their purpose & create a life they truly desire.
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