How To Set Goals for the New Year

Sticking to your resolutions can be difficult if you aren't aware of how to approach your goal-setting technique. 

Cindy Hsu
January 30, 2020

The first month of 2020 is coming to an end. How have you been maintaining your resolutions for the year? If you haven’t been, it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

When new years rolls around, it is easy to get pumped and be ready to charge into our new resolutions. We have our eye on the prize, nothing can stop us! We tell ourselves, I am going to start going to the gym 3 times a week, I am going to eat healthy, I am going to meal prep! And it doesn’t always work out, does it?

What we need to remember is that motivation is limited, finite. As soon as motivation strikes, it can leave just as fast as it came.

If you’ve found yourself in this limbo, here are some ways to make accomplishing your resolutions a lot easier:
  1. Be realistic about your goal—To reach a goal, it must be attainable. How can we meet a goal if it is not possible? This is a clear way to set ourselves up for failure.
  2. Keep the goal simple and direct—The more simple, direct a goal is, the easier it is to focus on it. This vision helps guide where we need to go.
  3. Break it down, set time frames—Now that we have a goal in mind - how do we get there? Breaking the goal down into steps helps to develop a plan on how to achieve it. Make sure to pat yourself on the back for each step you accomplish. The little goals are just as important. Small steps lead to success.
  4. Set time frames—Setting time frames and timelines help keep us on track. This helps guide the steps that we spoke about in step 3. Remember that it is okay to re-evaluate to adjust your timeline.
  5. Focus on one change at a time

    When we try and do too many tasks at once, what happens? Things become overwhelming, leading to burnout and fatigue. By focusing our attention on only one thing at a time, this prevents distraction from other resolutions and more chance for success. We don't want to spread ourselves too thin.

Now that we know what it is we want to achieve. Here are some ways to keep the stamina going:
  1. Track your progress—Tracking down progress helps us see how far it is that we have gone. Reflecting on these steps helps to evaluate if what we are doing is effective or do we need to try a different approach. There are many ways to reach a goal but some ways are more efficient than others.
  2. Celebrate the small victories—Don’t forget to notice your small achievements. It is all these little wins that help create the big picture. Pat yourself on the back for them, it is okay to gloat a little bit.
  3. Stick to it—Despite roadblocks that get in the way - keep going. Don’t be too negative with yourselves if you slip up. Change takes time. Studies have shown that it takes 66 days to form a new habit. There will be challenges and setbacks along the way. Continue to check in with yourself and evaluate your approach. The path to success is not straight.