How to set New Year’s goals that you can and will achieve!

As we bring another year to a close, how many of you are also thinking about your ambitions for next year? Dare I utter the words ‘New Year’s resolutions’ without you backing away in horror or inwardly groaning at the prospect.

We know that setting ‘resolutions’ isn’t the best way to maximise your success. How many times have you set a New Year’s resolution just for it to fizzle out after January comes to an end? If your resolutions rarely come to fruition, it’s time to rethink the way you create goals. No matter what your goal is — develop yourself, change careers, get a better work life balance, learn something new etc. — it’s important to take the right approach.

As you set big goals for next year, think about your own plans in the way you would approach running a business. Make a solid plan so they become a reality.

Here are some pragmatic tips on setting effective goals the right way and help you achieve success:

  • Tangible Goals Means Real Results

A major predictor of a goal’s success is how founded it is in reality. While it’s natural to have big dreams for yourself, assess your plans to see how realistic they are based on your current situation. Think of what your best-case scenario might be and outline the steps it would take to achieve that. A realistic goal is one grounded in tangible, solid data and clear actions. Lack of quantification can make your goal — and the path it takes to get there — obscure. Without a clear route and set of actions, the process is more prone to fall apart. 

Setting realistic expectations is a matter of identifying what you want and creating a solid plan. Ultimately, you want to identify the change you’d like to see and create achievable steps to lead you to that goal. Think about approaching it as follows:

  1. State what you want to achieve in the simplest terms possible.
  2. Identify strengths and weaknesses. What are you capable of? How will you overcome any potential pitfalls?
  3. Examine your resources. Utilize apps, programs and support mechanisms that can help you organize yourself and stay on track.

By clearly outlining the goal and your plan, you can transform an intangible idea in your head into a real, obtainable agenda.


Starting a goal may feel easy at first, but as the months go on and you encounter obstacles, it can be all too easy to give up. Follow through on your promises. Hold yourself accountable and if needed get yourself an accountability coach. Securing the services of a professional coach means you are significantly more likely to achieve the outcomes you want but if you don’t want to or can’t secure a coach, get a good friend or trusted advisor to hold you accountable.  

Many times, we drop things when the going gets tough so you need an incentive. The mind, body and spirit need something to sense as a reward, and these work well even if they are self-created.

Follow Approach-Oriented Goals

Before you set off toward your New Year’s goal, be sure you’re getting started with the right footing. Studies show that approach-oriented goals are tied to long-term success, while avoidance-oriented goals can have the opposite of the intended effect. What this means is rather than framing your goal from a negative standpoint e.g. ‘I will give up dairy’ or ‘I will give up smoking’, view goals through a positive lens. Consider the wording you use to describe your goal. Instead of telling yourself, “I must accomplish this goal or I will fail,” think of what you can realistically achieve using your current resources. Performance anxiety is real and can cause you to overlook important details, so reviewing your goals and ensuring they are solid is key to success.

Identify Pitfalls

We often think of a new year as a fresh start. As you look at the future with high hopes, don’t forget to turn to the past to see what you’ve learned. Many times, we learn more in retrospect, so look back to see where you might have struggled in the past. Whether it’s self-sabotage or something not immediately within your control, list pitfalls and build a plan. Identify core causes and eliminate them or find a workaround if the former isn’t possible.

What might impact you meeting your goals? For instance, if you tend to overextend your expectations, break the large goal into smaller steps that can be achieved each week or month. Compare long term to short term. What is obtainable now? It’s easy to overshoot and focus on the big picture but doing so makes it harder to see what needs to be done currently. See what you can do each week and set small goals rather than one large overarching one.

Set Yourself Up for Success

The start of a new year is a new opportunity. Rather than reserving yourself for another year of failed resolutions, get off on the right footing by thinking critically about your goals. Building a plan prepares you to overcome any rough patches and gives you time to organize. With these tips, you can tackle anything that happens in the upcoming year.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Chryse Coaching.