Planning Your New Year's Resolutions: Making Goals that Matter

Part of achieving a happy, healthy life is setting goals for ourselves. Unfortunately, many have trouble sticking to our goals, and a whopping 92% fail to see them through. The Your Best Year Yet series is here to change that. Read on to learn how to make meaningful, attainable goals and strategies to help you accomplish them. Cheers in advance to your achievement!

Well, Glow Getters, it’s that time of year again. The holidays are over, and after a couple weeks of overindulging, both with your diet at holiday gatherings and with your wallets shopping for gifts (for others or for yourself – no judgment here), you’re probably looking forward to a fresh start when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. If you’re like me, you’ve heard (and cringed at) the phrase “New Year, New Me” countless times in the past couple weeks. The saying itself may be trite, but it’s gained traction for a reason – the new year is a great time to evaluate where we’ve been and where we’d like to go.

Before we make our resolutions, let’s take some time to reflect on the past year and think about our goals for the one coming up. This guide will get you ready to make New Year’s Resolutions that actually mean something to you, making them more easy to attain.

Step 1 – Set the Mood

This step is all about making some “me” time. Block some time on your calendar, close the door, put the kids down for a nap – whatever you need to do to signal to others (and yourself!) that you’re unavailable at the moment. What helps you get comfortable? This is where I’d light a great-smelling candle and brew a cup of tea in my favorite mug (my favorite at the moment is Vanilla Spice Perfect Energy by Yogi Tea). Whatever it takes for you to signal to your brain that you’re in a happy, relaxed place, do that.

Now, grab your favorite writing method – some people have a favorite journal, some prefer to type things out on a laptop, whatever floats your boat. I have to admit here I’m a stationery nerd…I have several favorite pencils and pens (shoutout to Sharpie for making the G.O.A.T. pens), and although I love the journals with the pretty sayings, I’m partial to the regular spiral notebooks that you can find in the school supplies aisle in your average drugstore. 


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Step 2 – Reflect

Let’s get ready to look back. The following ten questions help you hone in on what worked for you this past year, as well as where you’d like to improve. Take some time to truly think about your answers before jotting them down. And remember to be totally honest...no one will see these answers but you!

1.       How would I describe this year in three words?

2.       What was my biggest achievement this year?

3.       What was my favorite memory from this year?

4.       What new activities did I try?

5.       What people (up to 5) did I enjoy spending the most time with? The least?

6.       What is the state of my Big 5 (Health, Relationships, Spirituality, Career, Money)?

7.       What was my biggest challenge this year? How did it affect me?

8.       If I had a fairy godmother, what one thing would I ask her to change about this year?

9.       What was my most common mental state this year?

10.   What would I like to leave behind in this year?

Step 3 – Project

Okay, now that we’ve given this past year some thought, let’s look to the future. We’ve seen where we’ve been – this is our chance to visualize where we’d like to be. As before, answer these questions with full honesty. No thought or ambition is too small or too big. This is the fun part!

1.       What are the top three goals I want to accomplish in the new year?

2.       What three words do I want to be the theme of my new year?

3.       What do I want to attract in my life in the new year?

4.       What experiences do I want to have in the new year?

5.       What do I want to cross off my bucket list in the new year?

6.       What new things would I like to try/learn in the new year?

7.       Who do I want to spend more time with in the new year?

8.       What personal quality do I want to cultivate or strengthen in the new year?

9.       What habits do I want to get rid of?

10.   What do I want my everyday life to look like in the new year?

Whew! I’ll bet that was a lot. Answering the above 20 questions can be both empowering and energizing, and maybe at times disconcerting, as we think about what we want and don’t want out of life. Maybe you realized you that while you love your job, you hate the pay. Perhaps you realized for the first time how important one of your friends was in your life.

Take some time to think about what you wrote today, and maybe even jot some preliminary resolutions down. In the next post, we’ll learn how to B. SMART when making goals. We’ll use today’s reflections to make sure we’re making resolutions that reflect what we really want out of life and not the arbitrary “lose weight” or “eat better” goals most people make that are doomed to fail.

What did this exercise do for you today? Share some of your reflections in the comments!