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New Year, More Motivated You

December 26, 2023

How to Set New Year’s Goals You’ll Actually Want to Achieve


“What’s your New Year’s resolution?” 


It’s a common question this time of year. Many of us can find it stressful to think about setting goals for the upcoming year. Maybe we’ve made resolutions in the past and fallen short. Perhaps the idea of adding new goals on top of our already busy lives is too daunting. Maybe we just aren’t even sure what our goals are.


Setting goals can be an essential factor in our personal and professional growth. The good news is that goals don’t need to be massive accomplishments to impact our lives for the better. Start small with the tips below and reclaim the excitement of a new year ahead of you!


Why Goal-Setting Is Important


Goals and intentions act as roadmaps for our days and lives. They provide direction and can help us find more meaning in our day-to-day activities. Humans are meaning-makers – we thrive when we feel a sense of purpose. Setting goals can help us reconnect to that purpose, making us feel more fulfilled and connected.


Setting goals has also been associated with improved decision-making abilities, increased motivation, better focus and productivity, and enhanced clarity about how we want to spend our time. Communicating our goals to our colleagues, friends, and family – and listening to their goals in return – can also enhance our accountability and strengthen our relationships.


You can set intentions for your year rather than concrete goals if you prefer. These intentions can reflect how you want to appear in various aspects of your life or how you want to feel throughout the year. You can adapt the steps below to intention-setting as well!


How to Set Meaningful Goals – and Achieve Them!


Approach goal-setting as an art rather than a science. 

There is no right way to set or pursue your goals. Rather, goal-setting should be a practice in experimentation, exploration, and learning. You may identify a goal in December only to find it needs to be tweaked to better align with your capacity or your long-term vision in July. Flexibility is critical when it comes to both setting and achieving goals in a sustainable, effective way. Try to approach goal-setting with a sense of curiosity and fun. You will likely both get more out of the practice and find much more joy in the journey!


Protect your goal-setting time.

While your goals themselves don’t need to be monumental achievements, you should still treat the goal-setting process itself as a priority. Set aside a solid chunk of time – no less than half an hour. Block the time off on your work calendar. Another option is to let your family know you will not be interrupted during this time. Put your phone on airplane mode – or better yet, in another room entirely. Before you settle in to work on your goal-setting, do something meditative to clear your mind. Examples include:

  • A guided meditation
  • A short walk (sans technology)
  • A quick workout – whatever helps get you in the mind for deep thinking


Think about your values and long-term vision. 

The most crucial factor in setting goals is ensuring they are your goals. That means goals that align with and reflect your values and vision for your life rather than goals you “should” be achieving or that others may want you to succeed. Spend some time identifying your core values, what motivates you, what’s most important to you, and how you see your life in one, five, and ten years. These will help you choose goals that genuinely mean something to you.



You’ve likely heard this acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The advice to set SMART goals is because it simply works. Using the SMART framework can help make your goals truly actionable and ensure that you are both thinking big and being practical about how you will achieve those dreams.


Be emotional. 

However, don’t just stop at being SMART. Make sure your goals truly excite you on some level – either the steps involved in pursuing the goal itself or how the goal will help you get closer to where you want to be in life. We are much more likely to stick with activities with that emotional component, even on days we don’t feel like it.


Chunk it down.

Once you have a goal in mind, think about what pursuing it will look like in the months, weeks, and days ahead. Break it into six-month, three-month, one-month, one-week, and daily steps. This “chunking things down” can make long-term goals feel less daunting and ensure we set ourselves up for success with actionable, bite-sized steps.


Enlist allies. 

Finally, goal-setting might call for private time, but achieving our goals requires community! Once you’ve set your goals, reach out to a trusted family member, friend, or colleague. Ask for their help holding you accountable. These goal-setting allies can be essential when you feel less motivated later in the year or are unsure whether you are on the right track.


New Year’s goals or intentions don’t have to be wishful thinking! Use the steps above, and you’ll wake up on January 1 ready to tackle the year ahead with excitement, motivation, and a plan.


WORKPLACE SOLUTIONS is a group of dedicated professionals who provide assistance and resources to individuals and families to create a satisfying and meaningful life. We’re counselors, attorneys, financial professionals, and experienced specialists in a wide variety of fields. Because life’s challenges and opportunities show up in a range of different areas, we assist in a number of different ways.



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