How To Set Goals You’ll Actually Achieve Next Year

Happy December Everyone!

2018 is right around the corner, can you believe it?! Whether you’re ready or not to accept another year coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about your goals for next year.

Oftentimes with the close of one year comes inflated optimism in setting goals and “resolutions” for the new year. Many of us know the classic New Year’s Resolution trend of setting unrealistic goals to start January 2nd (because we all know they don’t start the first day of the year when you’re recovering from a massive hangover and all you want to do is sleep) and by the beginning of February, those resolutions are out the window and we’re back to our old habits.

Setting realistic yet ambitious goals is somewhat of an art, but where do you start?

Don’t fret friends, I’m here to help! This past year was the best year of my life both professionally and personally. The reason I share this with you is not to gloat but to share that the effective process of goal setting I went through this time last year WORKS and is a process I’m want to share with you!

You may want to grab a notebook with a bunch of blank pages of paper or you can scroll to the bottom of this post and check out the PDF I’ve poured quite a bit of energy into to use for this process! The PDF will lay the ground work for your 2018 goals and don’t worry, it won’t take place of your planner if you like to use one!

So, let’s dive in.

Step 1, Evaluate how this year went. 

First, celebrate yourself! Celebrate the big and the small you amazing badass! Think about what you did this year that you’re proud of. And of course, think about the areas of your life you feel like you’re lacking. Is there an area you’d like to improve?

Step 2, Revisit your BIG dreams. 

This is the hard part. You don’t have to know exactly how you want your life to play out years down the road, but RIGHT NOW, what do you dream of? What do you visualize yourself doing? Is there a goal that scares the absolute shit out of you? Again, take a blank piece of paper and just write without trying to be perfect. Whatever you’re thinking, just write it all down. Remember, you’re brainstorming and nothing you write here is written in stone.

Step 3, Ask yourself… “What would I like to improve or focus on next year?”

Living a life completely balanced between all the different areas of your life is the big challenge and goal. If you excelled in one area of your life this year, chances are, another area of your life suffered (even if it’s in the smallest way possible). Assess where you stand in the following areas of your life.

  • Career/Business
  • Financial
  • Relationships/Family
  • Physical/Health
  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Social/Lifestyle

Now that you know where you’re lacking, keep that in mind for the following steps.

Step 4, Write down at least one thing in each area you’d like to accomplish next year. 

Pretty self explanatory. What are some goals in each area that you can get excited about? Have you been stuck in a certain area that you’d like to break through? Given your progress from this past year, what can you realistically see yourself accomplishing?

Step 5, Now ask yourself… “What three things on this list would make me PROUD to accomplish next year?” 

Yep, only three. Try and pick these three from different areas of your life. What scares you the most? If you visualize yourself this time next year, what gives you chills? What would make you think “Wow, I am a total badass, I am PROUD of myself.” Pick only three that give you that feeling.

Step 6, Refine those three goals into SMART goals. 

You’ve probably heard the term “SMART Goal” and yes, we’re going to refine those top goals into SMART Goals. Here’s how to create a SMART Goal.

     S – Specific – Your goal cannot be ambiguous. Make it as specific as possible.

     M – Measurable –  How do you know you’ve “achieved” this goal? Define success.

     A – Attainable – This is where many New Years Resolutions fall short. Is this a goal you can chip away at day in and day out or does it require drastic action?

     R – Realistic – Your goals SHOULD scare you but think about what it will take to achieve this goal. Can you see yourself achieving this goal?

     T – Time Sensitive – The most important part. Give yourself a deadline.

Step 7, Ask yourself… “What must happen in the first quarter in order to achieve each goal?” 

In order for you to achieve these big and scary goals, you need to break them down into bite size pieces. Here’s where we start that process. Look at the next three months ahead. What would be a good milestone to hit given your goal deadlines? What progress do you realistically expect to make?

Step 8, Ask yourself… “What must happen in the first month in order to achieve each goal?”

Same thing as the last step, except look at the quarterly milestone for each goal. What must happen in the first month to be one third of the way to the first milestone?

Step 9, Ask yourself… “What must happen weekly in order to achieve each goal?” 

Yep, we’re breaking it down even more. Look at that monthly goal for each of the three goals. What progress do you expect to make weekly?

Step 10, Ask yourself… “What must happen daily in order to achieve each goal?” 

There you have it, your day-to-day marching orders. These things you just wrote down will become your daily habits. I suggest writing these down so you can make sure you’re making positive progress to those big year goals daily. You’ll also know if your goals are realistic or not if these marching orders are not sustainable throughout the course of a year or until your goal deadline.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” 

NOW is the time to start planning your goals going into the next year. Not January 1. Really take some time over the next few weeks to assess the areas of your life you’d like to work on next year and create your plan to achieve those goals!

Again, below is my Building Your Best Self goal setting PDF for you to download and use for this process. Take advantage of this freebie because come January 1, you’ll have to purchase it via Etsy! Enjoy and feel free to comment below if you have any questions!

Building Your Best Self Goal Planning PDF  (DOWNLOAD BELOW)


(While I’m not a certified performance coach, my coach from this time last year Pete is! I can absolutely attest to this process from personal experience this year. If you’re looking for someone to help you create and hold you accountable to your goals and dreams, I highly recommend turning to Pete!)

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