Setting Goals for the New Year

A How-To

A new year rolls around, and it’s pretty customary to want a fresh start with a fresh year. According to statistics gathered by Forbes, 45% of Americans will make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 8% will keep them. I’m not here to brag about falling in that 8% because honestly I probably don’t even fall in the 45% who make resolutions. But this year I am making some because life is getting too exciting not to achieve some goals.

I was a SPED teacher before I became a SAHM. If you know anything about Special Education, you know that the paperwork is sky-high sometimes. Every child on my caseload had to have specific annual goals written by yours truly. So if I know anything about anything it’s about writing goals. So maybe this will help you set your own goals for 2016.

Your goals should always be S.M.A.R.T.

Intend to Succeed in Your Goals I know it’s sometimes hard to look at a full year ahead of you and set your sights on success. I think this is what has kept me from even making goals in the first place; I don’t like to fail. Creating this blog has been such a fun project that I just want it to succeed in my own definition of success. So in creating goals centered around my blog, I have all the motivation in the world. I’m not creating fluffy goals that have no intention behind them. There is no one around saying you must have an “XYZ goal” to start the new year because guess what goals are personal to you. So if you want to be healthier in 2016 and you’re motivated to do so, there’s a goal in that. If you are so excited to become more organized this year, there’s a goal in that.

Create Measurable Goals This is important in success. You need to know what you’re aiming for. This means be specific however you want to, but make sure it’s measurable. “Be healthy” is a great thing to aim for, but what does that mean to you? Do you want to be able to run a 5K without stopping? Do you want to lose 15 pounds? Do you want to go to the gym 3x/week? Those are measurments to use in your goals. I want a happy family in 2016 because who doesn’t want a happy family? But this is not a measurable goal because there is no defined success. So in order to make it measurable, I need to decide how I will define the success of this goal.

Create Goals the are Attainable There is nothing more discouraging than becoming bogged down by your goals. It’s important to stretch yourself because that is kind of the whole purpose of goals. This is not the only importance though; your goals must be attainable. If you start a goal that is not attainable, you will soon find that you are much more likely to give up. More is not always better. For example, I used to be a runner and plan to get back into running. I ran a half-marathon a few years ago, and I’m glad I did, but I never want to again. So in creating running goals for 2016, I would never strive to run over 10 miles at once because that won’t be attainable for where I want to be. It is perfectly fine for me to have a goal to run at least two 5K races and one 10K race in 2016. Will this be easy for me after taking three years off from running? No way. Do I have the ability to achieve this goal? Yes way. Creating attainable goals really forces you to evaluate your abilities and what you actually want. To do this you must be honest with yourself, but that is sort of an important step in creating goals.

Make Your Goals Time-bound Give yourself a deadline. We all work better when there is a time to beat. This is pretty easy to do for New Year’s Resolutions. Your timeline can simply be in 2016. Or if you’re feeling really daring, you could create goals for each quarter or (gasp!) month. Sometimes I like my goal to be accomplished by the end of the year and my objectives (see below) to be accomplished quarterly.

Create Objectives Sometimes referred to as benchmarks, objectives make achieving broad goals easier. Don’t make your big, final goal your only stop along the way. In order to stay motivated you need small victories to celebrate. I would love to potty-train my son by the end of 2016. That’s great, but it’s a process. So I’m going to celebrate every small step in the process.

Example: By December 31, 2016, E. will use the potty without any accidents 4 out of 7 days.

  • Obj. 1: E. will use the potty when Mom or Dad puts him on the potty 4 out of 5 times.
  • Obj. 2: E. will, verbally or with sign language, request to use the potty 4 out of 5 times.
  • Obj. 3: E. will go on the potty only the entire time he is awake 4 out of 7 days.
  • Obj. 4: E. will request to use the potty during the night 4 out of 5 times.
  • Obj. 5: E. will go an entire night without an accident 4 out of 7 nights.

Your goals don’t have to have that many objectives; two-three works fine. But objectives are specific and measurable just like the goal. When you knock off an objective, celebrate it!

Institute a Reward System If you have kids or have worked with kids you know how valuable a reward system is. Do this and then you get this. There is no reason why adults can’t partake in the reward system. The rewards don’t have to be huge, but they do have to be meaningful. I would like to lose some weight in 2016, so whenever I reach an objective I created, I would like to treat myself. Then when I reach the ultimate weight-loss I will really, really treat myself. My ultimate reward will probably be a day at the rock-climbing gym because I used to love rock climbing back in the day but haven’t allowed myself to waste the time and money if I’m not in shape to enjoy it. This reward is not going to break the bank or my motivation to keep a healthy lifestyle.

Record! Record! Record! I am going to have a goal journal. This is where I am going to keep track of all my goals. They won’t just live in my head; they will live on paper for me to refer back to because remember they must be specific! I will write my goals and objectives at the beginning of the journal. Then I will check in periodically and record progress. I will also celebrate in my journal when I accomplish an objective or entire goal.

Find Accountability You need accountability because you can’t do this alone. Whether you confide in your significant other or friends or readers, confide in someone who will lovingly hold you accountable. Find someone who will kindly ask you how you are doing in your resolutions and listen to you when you need to talk it out. I will be your accountability partner if you’re looking. Simply fill out this form, and I will put you on my accountability list. I will send you encouraging emails and ask for your progress peridoically throughout 2016. Use #2016goalsandobjectives on social media to connect with others who I am connecting with or to see my goal progress.

Click the link above to become my accountability partner.

Setting goals should help you grow as a person. They should not weigh you down or cause you stress. Look at this as an opportunity to have fun while succeeding in an area you want. Bring it on, 2016!