Setting realistic goals for the new year is so important if you want to grow as a person. However, too many people have no idea where to start when it comes to goal setting, so they usually end up thinking about some things they would like to do, but they have no clear structure or plan in place, and that’s what differentiates someone that will be successful from someone who won’t. In this blog post, I share with you 5 easy steps that you can apply right now to set your goals for the new year.
Setting goals for the new year is definitely one of my favorite things to do every single year. I just get so excited about the thought of writing my vision, dreaming big things, being ambitious, and trying to make progress for the next 365 days, which will help me to become a better version of myself. I always set some time aside between November and December, I get a brand new planner, and I start setting my goals.
My goal-setting process has changed a lot over the years, as I learned to make this process smart, effective, and sustainable in the long term. I have finally found a system that I absolutely love and I can’t wait to share it with you, so let’s dive in!
My 5-step process to set goals for the new year
1. REVIEW YOUR GOALS FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR
This obviously only applies if you did set goals for your previous year in the first place. If you didn’t, you can now learn that it’s a very important step in the goal-setting process, so keep reading to learn why you need to do this. Reviewing the goals you set the previous year, is an essential part of your goal-setting strategy, and that’s because you need to be able to see the progress that you made over the 12 months just gone, you want to see which of your goals (or all) you achieved, and even how you managed to achieve them (what actions you took, how realistic and achievable those goals were, etc.). If you didn’t achieve a specific goal, you will need to know why that didn’t happen and decide whether you want to put it down in your list for the new year, or eliminate it because it no longer aligns with your bigger vision. A lot of things can change in a year, and you can change as well, I’m sure 2020 is the proof of that, so it’s really important to have this as your foundational step.
2. WRITE DOWN A LONG TERM VISION
Before you even start writing a new list and setting all your brand new goals, you need to have a long-term vision. Ideally, you will have a 5-year plan and vision, but it’s also a great idea to write one for each specific year so that you can proceed to list your goals according to that. For example, if improving your finances is not part of your vision, it won’t make sense to write goals related to finances in your list, because it won’t align with your vision. So make sure that before you go into the step-by-step and listing every single one of your goals, you write down a broader statement of where you want to be by the end of that year, what you generally want to accomplish, and what transformation you want to achieve when the new year will have come to an end.
3. WRITE YOUR GOALS USING CATEGORIES
Now we are diving into the actual list you need to write. My advice when it comes to this step is that you don’t just start writing a list of things without any specific order, but that you write specific categories, depending on what you want to work on in the new year. That’s because a messy list isn’t going to help you achieve your goals, but it’s likely going to make you feel confused and overwhelmed as to where to start and how to tackle your list. When it comes to lists, if you have no idea where to start and how to do it, you can check out this post where I give you a step-by-step strategy to help you create an effective list.
When it comes to writing down your goals for the new year, I suggest you take inspiration from your bigger vision and then write down a few categories so that you can start writing specific goals for each category. A very simple example that I want to use is being healthy as a long term goal. You will likely need to eat healthy food, exercise, take care of your skin, drink your water, look after your mental health. So these are all practical goals and steps you can take and write down in your ‘health’ section. You can write that your goal is to have a meal plan every week, exercise at least 3x per week, etc. Apply this principle to every other area you want to work on, be it your business, your relationship, your finances, etc.
4. MAKE SURE YOUR GOALS ARE ACHIEVABLE
This is a step that seems unnecessary, but it’s actually where a lot of people trip over. That’s because when you are excited about your new goals and thinking about where you could be, it can be easy to write 200 goals and think that you will be able to achieve all of them. The truth is unfortunately, that doesn’t sound very much achievable. I don’t want to give you the exact number of goals you should set because that’s completely up to you. I personally usually only have 4 categories to work on, and I set a max of 5 goals in each, sometimes even less. You want to make sure that you will be able to work on and achieve every one of those things you’ve written down, so keeping it concise and avoiding “over listing” will help you do just that.
5. ALWAYS ASSIGN A DEADLINE
Deadlines are essential to track your progress, keep you accountable, and help you to truly achieve your goals. If you write a list of goals, no matter how long or short, and you have no deadline attached to it, you’re more likely to procrastinate, lose track of your big vision, and get lost in the many events that happen in our life every day. So to really make sure that by the time you get to your end of the year review you can tick off as many goals as you can, always set yourself a deadline for each one of those goals. Of course, certain things might last all year long (e.g. eating healthy), but perhaps when you are setting a deadline, you might write something like “buying groceries every X day of the week, and meal prepping on X day each week”. By doing this process regularly for each one of your goals, you can make sure that you don’t skip any goals or procrastinate because you’re taking little steps every day to meet your deadline.
Final thoughts on setting good goals for the new year
If you found this post useful but you also feel like you still need some help, why don’t you check out my 2021 planner inserts? I’ve created them to help you set and achieve your goals, and planning every area of your life (with both essential things and extras) to really help you be more in control of your life and feel more organized and less stressed out!
I hope this post helped you understand how to set your goals for the new year, so that you can truly go after your dreams and achieve success in your own terms!