Setting Goals for the New Year – You’re Doing it Wrong

You’re setting goals for the new year wrong.


As we begin 2016, there’s obviously a motivation to use the new year as a new start.

Maybe they are more general fitness, spiritual, or business goals.

Maybe you’re sticking with the most popular resolutions of losing weight, saving more money or doing a better job at staying organized.

All are great ideas.

But here’s why phrasing your goals that way is a mistake:

You’re choosing end results.

Instead, choose the actions that will get you there. 

With this method, I think you will do a lot better and keeping your resolutions into the year when a lot of Americans give up.

Want to save more money? Instead of saying you’re simply going to “save more” or that you’re going to put away $X amount this year, ask yourself how you are going to do that? Choose an action. 

Are you going to transfer $25 per week into your savings account?

What about limiting yourself to only eating out once per week and then using that money to move to your savings account?

Both are good options.

If you’re like the majority of Americans who set losing weight as their main goal, you could just say that you want to drop some pounds or that you want to lose 10 pounds, but both should be taken a bit further.

Specify what you are going to do to get to that goal of losing weight.

Rather, you should say that you’re going to exercise 3 times per week and you’re going to make 5 healthy dinners per week.

Again, you’re choosing the actions that will lead to the end result.

I understand that some goals may be hard to do this with, but the idea is that you’re trying to put your goals in the context of your actions.

If you’re still looking for some more help, here’s what many businesses use as a template for their employees to set goals.

Heard of SMART goals?

In business, many use the acronym “SMART” to develop goals.

It means that you should create goals that are:






These can create a solid layout for you, or at least give you a guide for how to properly frame your goals.

Consider monthly goals

The last suggestion I have is one I’m trying out this year, and that is having monthly goals instead of only having a full, year-long resolution.

This way, I ask myself what I’m going to accomplish in January that will help me reach my year-long goal. The shorter time-frame helps make the goal seem more realistic.

Then, based on how you did on your January goals you can always adjust accordingly for the next month.

My goals for January 2016?

  • Plan a date night each Friday with my wife where we try a new place to eat
  • Increase this sites’ audience by spending at least one hour per day working on the site
  • Reduce my intake of added sugar by sticking to oatmeal or a self-made fruit smoothie for breakfast & lunch.

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