A New Year’s Goal: Why It Is Never Too Late To Start

New Year's Goal

Earlier, I wrote a blog about New Year’s goals versus making a resolution. Thoughts on that post recently came back to me because as we are moving into the new year, goals are my focus. I am actually still formatting some of my goals for this year and we are into January already. But really, it’s never too late to start a New Year’s goal. 

If I had made a resolution for the things I am still working on, I would have given up for sure. Setting one resolution to make a meaningful change in your life is asking for failure. Change comes in steps and so do goals.

That’s why it is important to give yourself the time to make these changes and allow yourself the space to fail and get up again. 

The point of a New Year's goal is really to set your eye on the future

You can start a New Year’s goal in June and work at the tasks to achieve that goal. As long as it gets done by December, the goal is completed over the year. I cannot stress this strongly enough the importance of goal setting versus New Year’s resolutions.

Goal setting requires thought and a breakdown of accountability. We have all heard of baby steps before we run a marathon and a New Year’s goal is no different. In fact, I always make sure that I have at least three tasks (or steps) in place while I am working toward any goal. Some goals actually require up to ten steps, and those are usually the ones that I accomplish.

Give yourself the time and space to adjust your focus as you work on your goals

Some of my New Year’s goals change as I start to work on them. I give myself time to develop into the change involved with a goal.

If I’m going to start eating healthier, which is a very common goal for a lot of people, I wouldn’t expect myself (or anyone else) to suddenly wake up on the 1st of January and be all about nutrition. If you can do that more power to you, but I certainly can’t.

Wood table with fresh fruit and vegetables in a bowl

Start by eliminating some of the things that you are eating that are not nutritious such as French fries or candy bars. And as you dwindle away from excess sugar in your diet, slowly start to introduce more healthy alternatives such as celery sticks or carrot sticks instead of an afternoon sweet snack.

It might also take a week or so to track the times of day when you breakdown and reach for something that is unhealthy. Maybe define what is triggering that lapse and try to work around the triggers.

Set meaningful steps 

The habit of goal setting is one that always requires meaningful steps. That is, it is impossible to achieve things with thoughts of “I will do better” or “I will stop doing this as much”. Those immeasurable tasks won’t get you anywhere.

Over and again you may hear that goals need to be measurable and attainable. While that is true, I firmly believe in the dwindle concept. That is, I will never expect myself to stop anything cold turkey. My success comes from taking it one day at a time and reducing whatever is my obstacle. 

For me, the big trick to New Year’s goal setting is to keep it simple. I see loads of websites with help on goals and they are broken down to such a degree that I don’t even want to read their advice much less work on a goal that way.Simplicity is best. Here’s the thought process that I find to be the most effective.

  • Determine a goal
  • Focus on two or three triggers as to why I haven’t achieved this goal yet
  • Create at least three tasks or steps to eliminate each of the triggers
  • Allow myself the space to fail and get going again
  • Set a few milestones in the path to success & reward myself along the way

Rewarding a milestone is crucially important when you are working on goals in life.

Most people will automatically think of a big chocolate cake or an expensive pair of shoes or jewelry as a reward. Those are too much and may preclude you from continuing to the finish line.

Make your rewards small so you are still hungry for the prize.

Your reward can be as small as posting on social media that you hit a milestone. Just listen to your friends and followers chime in with congratulations on your progress. Now that is something to keep you going for sure!

I’m excited about my current New Year’s goals. I am also really proud to say that last year I set ten goals for myself and I completed all ten by the end of the year. I don’t think that’s ever happened. The pressure is on now! 

There is plenty of time to set some goals for this new year

Goal setting is an ongoing way of life for me. I wonder if it is for you as well. If you are new to goal setting, feel free to reach out. I am happy to chat and share some of my successes as well as my challenges. I am not too proud to admit some things that I have failed at along the way.

Having this platform to share information lends itself to the feeling that I have a perfect life and everything is glorious every day, but it certainly is not. But goals help me stay on track when life gets in the way of my task list.

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Designer, Organizer, Mom, Retired Athlete, Yoga Junkie, and Travel Enthusiast

Ellen Phillips

Living a Beautiful Life