set goals in the new year

Have you started setting goals for the year? Let’s look at how to set goals in the new year so whether you’ve started or not you can find some additional help and direction.

I’ve heard quite a few people talk about how they will not be setting goals for this year. For some, it is a choice to focus on habits instead of results and for others, it’s a way to try to allow themselves to relax.

I think habits are important and are a crucial piece to achieving your goals, but I still like to also think about the big picture and dream about the possibilities.

How to set goals in the new year

In my journey to live more intentionally, I’ve spent more time thinking about my goals and making a concerted effort to work toward them.

Goal setting can feel overwhelming at times. Initially, it was hard for me to not look at goals as a way to fix everything I was doing wrong.

A few years ago I started creating a ‘good things’ list at the end of the year. Having that list of good things helped me as I set new goals. My perspective shifted and it reminded me to be grateful first.

Goals are meant to help you fine-tune or improve in new areas. They aren’t meant to shame or make you feel not good enough. It’s helpful to reflect on the good and keep a positive mindset as you move forward with setting goals.

First, you need to know what success looks like for you. We often think of goals as being big grandiose things, but your goal could be to do less. Be aware of what you feel like you need more or less of in your life as you set goals in the new year.

You also need to create space for your goals. Goals shouldn’t just be another thing added on to your heaping pile of to-dos. You need to include time for them in your schedule.

set goals in the new year

Setting SMART goals

You are more likely to achieve goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Vague goals are hard to define and more difficult to take action on.

Creating SMART goals helps you to clarify your goals and think through the specifics. When you spend more time creating your goals and defining them, you’re more invested in making them happen.

Writing down your goals helps to solidify them in your mind. Put them somewhere you will see them regularly to continue to remind you what you are working towards.

Yearly vs Quarterly goals

I like both yearly and quarterly goals. I tend to try to set yearly goals, but have found that a lot can change throughout the year which can mean shifting or changing my goals.

When I learned about setting goals quarterly or seasonally I found them to be an easier amount of time to predict (not that everything can be predicted) and less challenging to plan for.

If trying to think of goals for the year is too challenging or intimidating for you, try setting seasonal goals instead. You may find the shorter timespan brings more clarity to your action plan.

Overcoming obstacles

Life happens. Our perfect plans can be thrown out the window due to a variety of life circumstances. Obstacles can be small things or they can be life-altering changes.

While you can’t plan for every eventuality, it can be helpful to think through the potential day to day obstacles or challenges that may arise. When you have a plan for how to deal with adversity, you’ll be more likely to overcome it.

How to achieve your goals

Once you’ve set your goals, there are key elements needed to help you achieve those goals. If only it was as easy as simply setting the goals, but it turns out you also have to do the work and take the steps to make it happen.

In addition to prioritizing, focusing, being committed, consistent and flexible it’s also helpful to have accountability and review process for your goals.

Looking at habits

Your daily habits will have a big impact on your progress. If you haven’t read Atomic Habits yet, check out my summary & review.

In order to work towards your goals, you will need to examine your habits. It may mean needing to work on quitting bad habits and adding some new good habits.

Thankfully it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. Very small and simple changes can yield really big results over time.

Word for the year

Many people like to select a word for the year as their theme or goal for the year. Some opt to do this in place of setting more specific goals and others do them in addition to writing other goals.

I love the idea of combining the two. Vague concepts don’t tend to work well for me but selecting a word along with creating a list of specific goals that align with the word works great.

A resource to help with your goals

To help you with your goal setting and implementation, I created the Simply Focused Workbook. The worksheets are designed to help you think through your values and goals, to create specific goals, and to break those goals down into actionable steps.

There are pages for picking a word of the year and for planning celebrations as you meet milestones towards your goals. Included are sheets on assessing habits and tracking them to help you stay the course as you create new habits.

Studies have shown that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down and these worksheets will help you to think through and plan out your goals for the year.

Start today setting goals that will change your life!

Contents of the Simply Focused Workbook:

  • Identifying your purpose, priorities, & values
  • Potential roadblocks & how to overcome them
  • Clear your mind worksheet
  • Goals brainstorm
  • SMART goals worksheet
  • Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly & life goals worksheet
  • Daily goal planner
  • Weekly goal planner
  • Monthly goal planner
  • Goal breakdown worksheet
  • Word for the year ideas
  • Word for the year worksheet
  • Declutter your workspace
  • Focus worksheet
  • Habits worksheet
  • Habit tracker
  • Gratitude practice
  • Personal mission statement
  • Family mission statement
  • Celebrate your victories
  • Plan for review and reassessing

For further details on the Simply Focused Workbook and to order click HERE.

As you set goals in the new year, think about what’s most important to you. When you get to the end of this year, what do you want to think and feel about how the year went?

The great news is every day is a new opportunity. Choose to make the most of it by setting goals and starting new habits that help you get to where you want to go. Live intentionally and purposefully as you think, plan, and set goals.

Want to keep up to date on the latest Simplicity Habit information? Sign up below and also receive the SMART goals worksheet!

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7 Comments

  1. Hi Julianna!
    All the ideas in this post are amazing! Especially having a plan to overcome adversity – I think that’s a big one. I also love the word of the year idea, I actually do this myself as well! 🙂 Thank you for this informative and actionable post!
    Here’s to 2020!
    -Giovanna

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