Five Steps to Achieving Your New Year Goals

January 2, 2018


Setting goals for the New Year? Since 92% of people who set goals never actually achieve them according to, follow these five steps to increase your odds of success.

1. Reflect on the past year. Before setting New Year goals, it’s wise to have a baseline by creating a ‘year in review.’ What did you accomplish last year? What were the barriers to your success? What could you have modified to make the goal more attainable? What would have made you feel successful? Dale Carnegie said, “The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.” The key is to be 100% honest with yourself during this evaluation process.

2. Write your goals down. You’ve more than likely heard how important it is to write goals down. Consider the results of a Harvard Business Review study.

  • 83% of the population does not have goals.
  • 14% have a plan in mind, but are unwritten goals. The study revealed that the 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals.
  • 3% have goals written down and are 3 times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals.

Writing down what you actually want out of life increases your chances of getting what you want out of life.

3. Use present tense. A common mistake people make when setting goals is to write in future tense as in, “I will be promoted to…,” or “I will lose X amount of pounds.” Instead, write all goals in present tense, e.g. “I have been promoted to…,” or “I am X pounds thinner than last year.” There’s inherent power in using the present tense when it comes to realizing your goals.

4. Be specific. The more specific your goals are, the greater your motivation will be in achieving them. So instead of, “I will be punctual,” you could say, “I arrive at meetings and appointments on time, if not a few minutes beforehand.” Instead of using vague language, be as specific as possible. If the goal is a big one, break it down into digestible chunks. For example, a goal of ‘I own a home,’ may result in sub-goals of “I deposit $400 into my savings account each month,” and, “My average monthly spending is $200 less per month than last year.”

5. Commit and recommit as needed. Beating yourself up about falling off of the wagon is a waste of time and energy. Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Should you suffer a set-back, remember that everyone has a bad day/week/month and considers throwing in the towel and giving up. The trick is recommitting yourself by reflecting on why you set them in the first place. For example, if you want to lose more weight to live a healthier, more active lifestyle, envision yourself doing your favorite physically-intense activity.

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