Start With Success: Setting Realistic Goals for the New Year

A happy woman taking notes while sitting in the dining room.


The New Year is a time for reflection and new beginnings. It’s when most people set resolutions for themselves to make incremental positive changes. Statistics show that about 38.5% of adults in the US make resolutions for the new year every year. So, how can you set realistic goals for yourself and achieve them?

While having great goals is admirable, it’s important to remember that setting unrealistic goals can do more harm than good. Unattained and unrealistic goals can lead to feelings of unfulfillment and sometimes worthlessness, damaging both mental and emotional well-being.

Anchor Your Goals in Reality

For starters, take a realistic look at the situation and ensure your goals are grounded in reality. This means considering your current circumstances, taking stock of your available resources, and determining what changes would be achievable within the new year.

For instance, if one of your resolutions is to get fit, don’t set a goal to run a marathon by the end of the year if you’ve never been a runner and only have a little free time to commit to training. Instead, set more achievable and realistic goals, such as going on regular walks or taking up an at-home fitness program.

Create Realistic Timelines

Once you have your realistic goals in focus, create realistic timelines that allow you to plan how you will reach them. Break up your goals into smaller milestones and set dates for when you want to achieve each one.

Let’s say you want to learn a new language. Break it up into smaller goals, like learning 25 words per week or mastering ten new verbs. That way, you can set a timeline and check your progress.

Isolate Specific Behavioral Changes You Want

Changes in your behavior are central to achieving your goals for the new year. Ensure your goals are action-oriented and identify specific behavioral changes you need to make to ensure they are achievable.

So you want to put money aside for a vacation? Think about how you need to start bringing a packed lunch from home instead of buying lunch out daily. Or, if your goal is to get fit, try eating healthier and exercising regularly.

Create Measurable, Realistic Goals

Tracking your goals is imperative for achieving them. So make sure your goals are measurable and that you have a way of assessing your progress. This is especially true for goals involving physical activity, money, or work-related tasks.

Come up with specific numbers that you need to reach by certain points in the year, and check your progress against them regularly. If you want to lose weight, calculate how much time you spend exercising each week and track how much weight you lose over time.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

No two people are the same, so it’s essential to understand your personal strengths and weaknesses. This will help you craft goals you can accomplish and give you insight into how to achieve them.

For example, if you know that you’re more motivated when working in a team setting, this could be something to keep in mind when setting goals for the new year.

Team Up With a Friend or Your Spouse

Accountability is essential for success, so don’t hesitate to ask a friend or spouse to help you out. Having somebody else know about and support your goals can make achieving them far easier. Also, it can motivate you to stay on track when things get tough.

The New Year Is Yours to Take

Grab the new year by the throat and make it your own. You can make the coming year a success by setting practical and realistic goals, keeping track of your progress, and partnering up with others. 

Happy New Year, and remember to check out the other posts for more insightful content.

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