The One Thing I Did To Accomplish My New Year’s Goals

Twice a year, both fall and spring semesters, I teach a class on goal setting.  We then revisit my students’ goals throughout the semester to see how they are progressing. Obviously, I am a big believer in not only setting goals but writing them down. I teach and practice it throughout the year.  There are several times a year that I set goals.  At the beginning of each semester (I am an academic after all), my birthday (my own personal New Year’s!) and New Year’s.  I don’t really consider them resolutions but to me these times are about thinking about how I want to grow in the upcoming year and setting goals to make that growth happen.

While I have done this ritual since a child, two years ago I did something so simple but powerful. This change made the biggest difference in completing most of the goals on my New Year’s list. The big secret? After I brainstormed how I wanted my year to be, I set out to accomplish only a few things each month. For me, as for many of us, a lot of change can be overwhelming but tiny steps each month are manageable.

I will give you an example of this strategy. After living in our home for almost two years and staring at bare walls, I realized decorating was overwhelming me. Since I couldn’t do all the things I wanted to do for our interior at one time,I was intimidated to do anything. But I realized completing one home decor goal a month for a year would equal 12 changes in our home. The results? Our home went from bare to cozy with personality in one year.  Now apply that to other big areas in your life!

I apply the one thing a month to several goals in my life and after several months, I see big improvements. Even after just one month of completing a small step, I feel accomplished which gives me the momentum to keep growing!


Make One Goal a Month Work For You This Year:

  1. First, give yourself time to reflect over areas of your life. I like to write in a journal as I think for clarity. Think about all aspects of your life such as faith, family, personal health, hobbies, new experiences, home, career, finances and other people that inspire you.
  2. Now brainstorm how you want to grow in each area.  Some items may be a big goal (for example, publish a book) while others may be fun and lighthearted (always have fresh flowers in the house was my cousin’s goal last year).
  3. Make a list and keep it somewhere you will frequently see. I keep mine in my planner but I have also kept one in the notes section of my phone.
  4. At the beginning of each month, schedule some thinking and reflection time even if you can only steal away thirty minutes. Choose one thing from a few areas that you want to accomplish that month. Make sure to survey the month ahead for how busy it will be because we all know some are busier than others so make sure to adjust accordingly to set yourself up for success.
  5. Each week break your month goal into even smaller steps. See how manageable change and growth can be?
  6. The most fun part is to keep another list of all the things you accomplished each month. At the end of the year you will have a huge list to celebrate!




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