How to set goals, not NY resolutions!

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve

Napolean Hill

I love this time of year where I reflect back on all I achieved in the year gone by and then spend time planning goals for the following year. I always set aside some time to do this as I feel it is a very important exercise. Luckily for me it is one I enjoy doing and actually get excited about goal setting!

Here are some steps I have found useful to help me when setting goals for the year ahead:

1) Invest the time

Dedicate some uninterrupted time for your goal setting. Make it a top priority as you would if planning an event or any other big project. This is about giving yourself the time you deserve and is a basic step in self-care. Investing this time will reap big rewards for you in the next year. Make sure you are in a calm, clear environment without possible interruptions.

2) Reflect and let go

Always start by looking back at the past year and acknowledging all you have achieved – you will be surprised and how much you have actually done when you take the time to think about it. I like to break my goals down in sections such as health, work, family, finances, relationships, social, spiritual, intellectual, experiences etc. but find the headings that work for you. As you review the past year in these areas you will identify some new goals you would like to achieve in those areas so jot them down so you don’t forget. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What were the highlights of your year?
  • What brought you the greatest joy?
  • What were your biggest challenges and what did you learn from them?

Then let go of the year and shift your focus and energy to 2019.

3) Decide on your new goals

Decide what areas of your life you want to set goals for and write out those headings. Then think about what you would like to achieve under each of these headings. When writing your goals it is helpful to make sure that they are SMART Goals. Use the guide below to help you with this. Try to identify key goals rather than having an endless list.  Usually there is one overarching goal that many of the ‘smaller’ goals can fit under.  For example, having 5 key goals for this year (one for each of the headings you identified) will make it easier to keep focused on them and to visualise them and really feel them. Having too many makes it hard to remember them all – I am streamlining my goals this year with the less is more philosophy in mind!


SMART goal setting brings structure and accountability to your goals and helps bring them closer to reality. Smart goals are ones that are:


Try to be as specific as you can by answering who, what, when, where, which and why


How will you know when you have reached your goal, what will your measure be? This helps refine what exactly it is you want to achieve.


When you identify your goals, you must then figure out how you can make them come true – what attitudes, abilities and skills do you need to achieve them? Is your goal too high / too low?


Your goal must be something that you are willing and able to work towards. You must truly believe you can accomplish it.


Every goal needs to have a time frame linked to it. Having a deadline to achieve your goal can help move you into action. Breaking down the timeline into smaller time frames for actions can help keep you on track.

An example of a SMART goal might be:

I will walk around the river trail for 40 minutes, 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks.

Something else to keep in mind when setting SMART goals is to make sure that they are written in a positive way. Energy follows thought so make sure you are focusing on what it is you want to achieve rather what you want to avoid! Becoming a better version of you starts by being SMART!

I often tend to overdo my goals and write lots of them so this year I am going one main goal for each area and 3 other goals (yes, I used to have pages of goals!)

4) Feel your goals

You want to make sure your goals really resonate with you and explore how they feel for you. Asking yourself some of these questions can help?

  • How will my life be when I have achieved X?
  • Do I really want this?
  • What would it mean for me to have achieved X?

This helps clarify whether the goal is a good fit for you – it has to be one that is going to make you feel good. Refine your list until if feels right for you.

It is really important to connect with the feeling of the goal you want to achieve so ask yourself – How will I feel when I achieve X goal?

Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are. Let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it. C. Assaad

5) Bring your goals to life

The last step is creating a vision board around your goals as it really helps to bring your goals to life. The vision board will keep your goals alive and fresh in your mind and seeing your goals clearly will help keep you motivated.

Find images that resonate with your goals and use them to create a vision board that inspires and motivates you. You can add quotes or anything else that feels right for you. There are no rules with this so have fun creating! You can read more about Vision Boards on another blog here.

The main thing is that when you look at the board it really brings those feelings you are trying to create when you achieve your goals to life. This will really help inspire and motivate you towards them.

So, these are 5 steps to help you get clear on your goals for 2021. Planning and creating actions to achieve them is the next step. If you want help with this check out my upcoming 2021 Vision goal-setting workshop which is being held online on Saturday 23rd January.

Here’s to a very happy and successful 2021! Let’s shake off 2020 and rock this year!