How to set your goals for the New Year (and how to make sure you achieve them!)


It’s now the 3rd day of 2019. At this time of the year, you may be on your 3rdday forward to achieving your goals……OR if you are like thousands of people around the world, your feel like you have already failed at them.


Each New Year I have similar conversations with my clients – they go like this….


Them: So I have sat down, re-evaluated and this year I am really going to focus on making change. I am going to {insert goal here – let’s pretend it’s to exercise}.

Me: Great!! So how are you going to go about doing that?

Them: Well………um….I’m going to get up earlier.

Me: Ok, so you haven’t tried that before?

Them: Well….yes I have….but this time it will be different!

Me: Great-  let’s talk about what didn’t work last time.

Them: Well I really had trouble getting up earlier because I was so tired and when I did get up early, the kids were up so I couldn’t do it then.

Me: Great – so how are you going to change this for next time?

Them:…………………….  [insert crickets here]


One of the biggest mistakes people often make is they set their SMART goals and get really excited about achieving them (which is fantastic and really important), however they forget to look at how their life and the lives of those around them are going to impact, or be impacted by the changes required to achieve those goals. Here are a few tips to consider AFTER you have made your goals and when you are developing strategies to achieve them.


Are you in a point in your life at the moment where you CAN set new goals?

If you are already going through a large period of change, it may not be completely appropriate to set new goals – simply focus on achieving the old ones first! If you are moving, have just had a break down (or are in a new) of a relationship, just started a new job or something equally as important, it will be very difficult to implement further change.


Have you considered those around you?

Do you have a partner, kids, pets? What changes need to happen to these elements of your life for you to be successful at your goals? Consider whether it is realistic to add something else to you morning or afternoon routine – especially if it is going to impact on time with these people. It can often be a good idea to have a chat with the people around you (or your furr-babies) and work out the best way the changes can happen so these people can SUPPORT the changes required to achieve your goals.


What do you have to DO to achieve your goals.

Even though it can seem really difficult, setting the goal is actually the easy part. We can set every goal under the sun, but these goals will never be achieved unless we DO something different. What change are you going to make to achieve your goals?


How are you going to create more time?

Often goals require us to do things different, either in our behaviour or our thoughts. For us to be successful, we need to have time to practice these things – initially it will take us a lot longer and it will be a lot harder to do something new. You really need to think about what your priorities are – if the activities associated with your goal is not one of your priorities, you might need to consider whether the goal is actually that important to you. If it is a priority – it is easier to carve out time.


Change your mindset.

Debbie Millman is famous for saying “Busy is a decision”. If you are to busy to achieve your goals – you need a mindset shift – you either need to abandon your goal, or look at why you are always too busy.


Following on from above make sure the goal fits within your priorities and your values.

If you goal of say to do more exercise, takes away too much time from your family, and one of your very strong values is around family time – you will naturally find it more difficult to take time aside from yourself to exercise. Instead – look at a goal that fits your values and priorities – this may mean involving the family in your exercise or it may involve changing your goal completely!


So what next?

Over the next few weeks, we will look at a few other important components to consider when setting goals so you are giving yourself the best possible chance to achieve them, however these tips are a great place to start when evaluating your them.


So what’s stopping you from achieving your goals? What do you need to put in place to give yourself the best chance to achieve your goals for this year and set yourself up for success?


The Psych Professionals have a number of psychologists who have a wide variety of experience in ma ny different areas of life, from treating complex mental health conditions to family problems to general wellbeing. Give us a call to find out how we can support you today.

Photos by Richard Felix and Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash