Resolve to make actionable goals this year for yourself, not resolutions. Why? Because, typically, the stereotypical and generic New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier or sleep better are quickly forgotten by February due to their intangible nature. Let’s start off this year the right way. Forbes sets forth a realistic pathway for goal setting in their article “This New Year’s Set Goals, Not Resolutions.”

Before committing to a goal, take time to reflect on its purpose and how achieving this goal will improve your life. By definition, goals set for yourself should be personal to you, addressing an area that you personally wish to improve upon. That could be in your relationships, health, profession, finances, mental health, self-care or spiritual aspects of your life. How you choose to reflect on what you hope to work toward in the New Year is entirely up to you. Decide if you prefer setting goals alone or asking for input from family or friends. Goals should have personal meaning to you or else they will probably be forgotten. Similarly, pick your top five goals to focus on because anything more than that will bog you down and make it impossible to keep up.

Forbes created a clever acronym to help you set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

  • Specific- The goals should focus on what you truly want to accomplish and why it matters to you.
  • Measurable- Find a way to quantify your goal in a way that you have influence over. Don’t wait for someone else to notice and praise your efforts or give you a raise at work. Focus on what is within your control to change.
  • Achievable- Dream big but break things down into smaller steps if possible.
  • Relevance- This is another chance to evaluate. Why is this goal important to you at this time? Is it relevant to where you currently are? This relevance issue especially relates to professional goals.
  • Time-bound- Set a deadline. This creates a sense of urgency and motivation.

An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal might look like this. “I will save $20 a week (specific and measurable) to put money aside for my weekend trip (relevance) in March (time-bound) by packing lunches three days a week instead of eating out (achievable).”

To keep your personal commitment in your mind, post your goals in a place where you can see them. Ask a trusted friend to help hold you accountable and keep them informed of your progress. Oddly enough, sharing your goals with everyone you know tends to be less effective, so be selective with whom you share your goals.

One last note: Be flexible, as necessary. Sometimes after review, our goals turn out to be irrelevant or outdated to our personal journeys. Don’t be afraid to ditch an outdated goal. Identify new goals that are relevant or see if you can tweak your other current goals. Happy New Year and have a wonderful 2023!


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