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Goal Setting for the New Year

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

"What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year." -Vern McLellan.

Every year, we set a goal, and we tell ourselves, "You got this!"

Fast forward to February, we've given up and kissed our New year's resolutions goodbye.

According to Merriam-Webster, A New Year Resolution means "a promise to do something differently."

According to, studies have shown that at least 80% of New Year's Resolutions fail by February.

According to psychology today, our resolutions fail by February, not because we cannot achieve them but because we are not ready to facilitate the change by January 1st. According to the transtheoretical model of change, there are five primary stages that one has to move through to be ready to facilitate change.

The five stages of change include:

Stage 1: Precontemplation: There is no intention to change the behavior in the foreseeable future. Some individuals are also unaware of their problems during this stage.

Stage 2: Contemplation: The individual becomes aware that the problem exists and begins to think about overcoming the behavior but has yet to commit to the change.

Stage 3: Preparation: The individual is preparing to make changes in both their intention and their behavior

Stage 4: Action: Individuals commit to and modify their behavior, experiences, and environment to overcome their problems.

Stage 5: Maintenance: The maintenance phase is the stage of change where relapse is prevented

Instead of slowly moving through the stages of change when making New Year's Resolutions, we force ourselves to make drastic changes by January 1st when we are not prepared to make the established changes.

How to succeed with goal setting for the New Year

Setting a goal/resolution to begin focusing on, on January 1st is possible. You can take steps to ensure success by setting and accomplishing those goals for the New Year.

According to Psychology Today, some of these steps include:

  1. Think about goals you want to accomplish: Why do you want to accomplish this? Why is this goal important? How will achieving this goal make things better?

  2. Explicitly Write out your goal: Whether you write it out on paper, create a vision board or place it on your refrigerator, write out what makes your goal specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely SMART (Psychology Today).

  3. Create steps for your goal: Write out what can be done today, tomorrow, and in the future to move closer to your goal in an achievable manner

  4. Have a plan B: sometimes goals change, or things simply don't work out. Having a Plan B or an alternative plan can be useful to avoid feelings of failure.

  5. Forgive yourself: Sometimes, life can get in the way of completing or accomplishing your goals. Give yourself a break. It is okay not to accomplish everything that you had planned for your day.

  6. Use Positive Self Talk: Think about the bright side. Thinking in positive terms can be useful for motivation.

  7. Celebrate: celebrate your accomplishments. Tiny, small, unplanned…all accomplishments should be celebrated. After all, there's success in your attempts.

All in all, goal setting can seem daunting and cause us to feel like a failure when the goals we set are not achieved. Setting achievable goals and believing in yourself will assist with making this year's New Year's Resolutions come true.

Get inspired, Think about it, and shoot for the stars this 2023 with goal setting!

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