New Year’s Goals: How-to Successfully Set Them

With us going into the fourth week of January, how are everyone’s New Year’s goals coming along? Are you kicking ass and striving towards them? Or, have you gone off course and stopped? If you’re on the kicking ass side of the fence, great job! Keep up the good work. If you’re having a challenging time, don’t feel discouraged or ashamed.

I was reading this great article from Making Sense of Cents that stated, “only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions each year. And, only around 75% of those who set goals follow through with them after the first week of the year.” Yes, the lack of will power plays a part, but another huge component is poor goal setting. But rest assure, I’m going to guide you step-by-step to help you get back on track to reach your goals in 2017.


1. What is Goal Setting

Goal setting is going beyond what it is you want to accomplish. It’s a process that’s broken down into smaller measurable goals with a specific timeframe to achieve the big goal.

2. Reflection of 2016 (successes and failures)

Take some time out to look back on everything you did in 2016. What were your goals then? Did you achieve them? What would you do differently? These questions will help you develop your new goals.

Here’s a review of what my goals were in 2016:

  • Goal 1: Save 10 to 15-thousand dollars—Success. 🙂 It wasn’t easy. This took a lot of budgeting and smart shopping.
  • Goal 2: Volunteer every other month—Fail. 😦 Volunteering is a goal of mine to do this year, but not every other month. Looking back, I realized that was too much of a commitment for me to fulfill based on my circumstances at the time.
  • Goal 3: Try something new every month—Success. 🙂 I made it my mission to get out and do something I’ve never done before. Even if it was something as small as going to a new restaurant or something more adventurous like going ATV riding, I did it.

3. State Your Goals

What is it that you want? Lose twenty pounds by the summertime? Start a non-profit? Become richer than Oprah? Ok, that one may not be the most realistic (especially in a year’s time), but you get the point. Once you figure out your goals, write them down.

4. Why Those Goals

Why are your goals your goals?

Get clear on your intentions for the goals you have. Do you want to lose those twenty pounds, so you can look and feel good in that cute bikini? Do you want to save twenty thousand dollars, so you can pay off your car? Knowing why you have these goals will serve as a reminder to keep you working towards them, especially during the difficult times.

5. Prioritize your Goals

Without priorities nothing would get done, because you’d be running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to focus on everything. Prioritizing your goals will help narrow your scope to only a few. This way you can start working on those immediately and won’t become overwhelmed.

To start prioritizing your goals choose the three most important ones from your list. If you don’t know which goals are most important, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is important to me right now?
  • What needs to be immediately done?
  • Are there any goals that need to be completed before others?
  • Which three goals grab my attention the most?
  • Which ones excite me the most and motivate me to get up and start working towards them?

6. Develop SMART Goals

Ok, this is a biggie right here. I’m sure we’ve all heard of SMART goals and learned about them, but did you apply these principles when mapping out your New Year’s goals? I didn’t at first and was completely loss. SMART goals work as a blueprint to help layout the actionable steps you need to take to achieve your goals—and by when. A SMART goal is:

SMART goals

  • Specific — Be simple and straight to the point. What exactly do you want to? If your overall goal is to make an extra ten thousand dollars this year, how do you plan to do that?
  • Measurable — How are you going to monitor your progress? What are you tracking to make sure you’re on the right path?
  • Attainable — What are the ways you can make your goal come true? Be sure to see how attainable your goal really is based on your resources, circumstances and time. These elements will help determine if you are able to take the actions needed.
  • Realistic—To find out if your goal is realistic or not, consider your current circumstances and your willingness. Even if it’s a high goal that you have to stretch for, you have to be willing and able to do the work necessary to achieve it.
  • Time—Having a timeframe to accomplishing your goal by.

7. Break Your Goals Down into Smaller Goals

Figuring out your goals and what all it entails to achieve them can look like a mountain and have you wondering, “How in the world am I going to get to the top?” and wanting to turn around before you even get started. Having mini goals for each month will not only make that mountain seem smaller, but keep you motivated in the process by seeing the progress you’ve made. This is how my monthly goals look for wanting to create a second source of income as a freelance blogger:

  • January—Find my niche
  • February—Come up with a blog idea and name
  • March—Create blog and strategy
  • April—Publish 4-8 blog posts
  • May—Create social media pages and strategy
  • June—Develop editorial calendar
  • July—Guest post on 5-10 sites
  • August—Attend a blogger-related event (online or in-person)
  • September—Grow email list to 1,000 subscribers
  • October—Grow social media accounts by 100 followers
  • November—Submit profile to freelance-related sites
  • December—Officially a freelance blogger!

8. Write Your Goals Down

I had to write down my top five goals for 2017, because I’d only remember the first two if I didn’t. Writing down your goals will help you remember them and here are some great ways to do that:

  • Put sticky notes of your goals around your home and/or office.
  • If you’re like me and always have your phone in your hand or in arm’s reach, set reminders or make a to-do list.
  • Create a vision board. This is a fun and creative way of writing your goals, and if you don’t know how to make one, I’ll show you (future blog post spoiler alert!).

9. Have Accountability for Your Goals

Share your goals! Tell your friends, family, significant other, dog or cat about what you set out to accomplish this year. Sharing your goals with others will put some fire under your butt to actually get things done, because at some point in time they’re going to check-in and ask how your goals are coming along—what will your response be?

10. Speak Your Goals into Existence

If you plan to reach your 2017 goals, speak them into existence. Tell yourself, “I can do this.” What you believe you will conceive. So, imagine yourself accomplishing them. Envision what that will look and feel like. Then claim it.

11. Bonus Tip: Celebrate The Little Victories

Along the way, don’t forget to celebrate your mini goals, because they’re the building blocks leading you to the big one.

Now you’re ready to successfully start and finish your goals for 2017. It may seem like a lot—and truthfully, it is, but it’s totally worth it if you really want to reach them. What type of goal setting techniques would you like to share?


Author: shesamillennial

I know I know my name looks like Brian (story of my life), but it’s actually pronounced bree-an. Let’s see, I’m a 24-year old donut eating wine drinking stylista from Chicago. I started She's a Millennial to serve as a space that unites, empowers and excites millennial women to make the most out of life.

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