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New Years Resolution: Achieve Your Goals

Updated on September 22, 2012

New Years Quote by Ben Franklin

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man" Benjamin Franklin

How to Achieve Your Goals

How many New Years Eve resolutions have you made that you kept throughout the year? Let’s face it, resolutions are doomed for failure. Why? Because human beings are creatures of habit.

So, what can you do if you want to use the New Year for a fresh start? Set goals to achieve.

Setting a goal accomplishes two things: first, it allows you to transition into a new habit. Second, it allows you to note your progress along the way.

Let’s take a look at the process of dropping one habit to acquire another. Studies have found that it takes approximately 28 days for a change to occur. That’s just four weeks. Four weeks to allow for a new habit to become routine and to re-train your mind. The mind works that way. It moves in the grooves of repetitive behavior.

But, your new ‘habit’ is not going to be complete in just four weeks. Remember, this is a yearlong project. You will have an additional 337 days following the first 28 to fine tune your new behavior and move toward your goal. At the end of the year it will be sweet success.

Know the direction your goals will take you.

Achieving your goals one step at a time.
Achieving your goals one step at a time. | Source

Setting Objectives

It is surprising how many people do not understand how to set a goal. Here are some key points to remember when making goals:

1. A good goal is realistic

One of the key points in setting up a goal is how attainable it is. Even a lofty goal such as becoming a doctor is attainable for some people. However, it would not be achievable if the person has a low intelligence level. In that case the goal is not realistic. If you question whether a goal you want to work toward is realistic and it is not clear to you, ask someone who knows you well, is a positive support for you and who can offer an objective opinion.

2. A good goal is measurable.

Writing a goal in measurable terms offers a way to note your progress. Without specifics there is no clarity about whether you ever reached your target. In the goal for weight loss note the difference between the following two examples: Person A states, “I’m going to lose weight this year,” while Person B states, “I’m going to lose 10 lbs. this year.” Which person will know when his goal has been reached? By naming the amount of weight loss desired the goal can now be measured.

3. A good goal has a beginning and ending time frame.

In traveling toward successful goal achievement one must have a starting point and a finish line. It is an important part of the process of goal setting. Imagine utilizing a travel agent to help you with a road trip. When she asks where you want to start from you have no idea. Then, when she asks, “Where will your trip end?” you say, “I don’t know.” That would be a fruitless endeavor.

Using the above example of weight loss if person A states they will lose weight this year the vague expectation would be by December 31st. While person B may take the amount of weight loss desired by the same number of weeks: "I will lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks" as his deadline. This gives the goal a target date in which the goal will be completed. The end of the deadline will determine whether the goal was met or not; and whether it needs to be revised or extended.

4. Break large goals into small ones.

Don’t be afraid to make goals that will take you beyond this year. If the goal is worth working toward take it one step at a time and make it happen through the process of steps. For example, one might desire getting a college education, but realistically, it will not happen in one year. There are several ways to approach this. One way is by accepting that each class brings you one step closer to achieving your desire. Another way is to break the educational process down into phases, first an Associate’s Degree, next a bachelors degree, etc. This method can be applied to any goal. This is the importance of not being afraid to write any goal that you wish to achieve down on your list. Then you can categorize them into short term goals: "take one class a semester"; and long term goals: "finish my Doctorate Degree by the time I am 35."

5. Evaluate and adjust a goal as needed.

It is important to evaluate your progress along the way and make adjustments if you are stumbling with obstacles. Perhaps the goal needs to be broken into smaller steps; or perhaps you picked an unrealistic goal in which you need more preparation for. Perhaps you are sabotaging your goal and need to become aware of how or why this is happening; or perhaps you have others who are trying to thwart your success. Keeping a steady, positive support group as your ‘cheerleaders’ is another tool for success.

Remember: set reasonable and achievable goals; keep track of your successes along the way for encouragement; tell at least one person you can trust as a supporter for your cause and utilize him when you are doubting your ability; keep your goal in sight visually either through pictures or words.

Smart Goals

Each year on New Year’s Eve, or a few days before, I begin my evaluation process. I look over my list for that year and note how successful I was in achieving my goals. Then, I look forward and either continue with minor adjustments to my former goals or add new ones.

For the sake of balance in my life I focus on all areas in a holistic fashion: spiritual, mental, physical, and financial. I think of issues in each of those categories, which I term the ‘Four Directions'. Then, I decide what I wish to accomplish and make my goals for the next 12 months.

For example, under my list of Spiritual goals I continue my meditation practice by setting the goal to "meditate for 15 minutes in the morning before starting my day." In the Mental category I may list something of a creative nature, or a class I am interested in: take a photography class during February at the local community college. Under the Body I add anything that would involve the physical aspect such as, "Clean attic on first w/e in March." And, for me, my financial house is as important as my physical house. It is the fourth direction that I re-evaluate each year to help me plan and control my finances; the ultimate goal being fiscal well-being and financial freedom. I set my financial goals in small increments that will lead to a successful retirement one day.

Good luck to each of you in the next 12 months and may you enjoy successful goal setting.


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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello DDE Yes, I don't follow resolutions, and if your tips to follow work for you, don't fix what isn't broken. :) Happy February to you.

      Hello Audrey, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. I love January more now then I did as a kid. It is so much more reasonable to start the New Year with goals. Wish I had known that years ago!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      What a smart and useful hub!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Goals are achieved if one is patient and knows what is required of them. I haven't made any resolutions and just go on with my own well suggested tips here.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Suzette. Thanks for reading and commenting. It's amazing to me how much more effective it is for me to think of these resolutions as goals. In the past, I would be left feeling like a miserable failure by March. Now, I just recall the overall goal for the year and continue steadily moving forward. At the end of the year I am amazed at how much I have actually accomplished! Thanks for stopping by.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      6 years ago from Taos, NM

      Interesting hub, Denise. You give some good suggestions and advice for setting goals and achieving them. So many times our new year resolutions fall by the wayside after about two weeks. Your suggestions for sustaining them are good ones. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas with us.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      ChitrangadaSharan, it is so much more realistic to make goals and I've enjoyed doing that for the past few years. Best wishes and Happy Goal Setting to you. :)

      CrisSp-Thank you for reporting your progress to me! I'm so pleased your goal achievement has been positive. May I suggest to re-evaluate the goals you have not yet achieved to find out if they are still important to you. If not, let them go and replace them with others. If so, discover at what priority they are and break them down to smaller, more achievable steps if they are large. Even some progress is good. Some of our goals, CrisSp actually turn out to be long term goals that we may achieve in 5 years, not just one. Don't give up...Happy New Year to you as well.

    • CrisSp profile image


      6 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Great, practical tips! I've applied most of your tips in the beginning of 2013 and proud to say that I've reached (some) my goals...and in time. :) Will re-goal whatever was not met this year and will push it forward for 2014. Well, you know sometimes things doesn't go as we want them to.

      To add in, it requires a lot of discipline and determination on my part to achieve what I wanted to achieve but it's all worth it.

      Good read! Happy New Year to you and yours Denise!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great suggestions! This year I have decided to turn resolutions into goals and this hub has motivated me further.

      Thanks and Happy New Year!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Sharkye11-Thanks so much for your positive feedback. It has made the world of difference to me to make 'goals' instead of resolutions. I've been doing this now for about 5 years and it really sets a nice direction for the upcoming year. Take care, thanks for sharing and pinning. :) Happy New Year to you.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Brilliant way to look at New Year's resolutions! Love these ideas, and how they are something that anyone can achieve. Sharing and pinning!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you, Movie Master, for your lovely comment. I appreciate your reading/comment.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very useful tips on setting ourselves achievable goals, brilliantly done thank you.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi MG-nice to meet you. Thanks for visiting the hub. I agree. I like to encourage and support other writers. Part of the 'give and take'. I appreciate your feedback. :)

    • MeanGreen profile image


      9 years ago

      I think you really hit the nail on the head. Very useful and awesome (which I indicated... people really should try to do it more often when there are great articles like this out there! It really is a motivator!). I love setting goals and am glad you had a hub on the subject.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Amy-nice to meet you. I'm glad you found my hub helpful and 'positive'. I found out thru exper that I HATED resolutions b/c I could never keep them. I dreaded New Year's until I realized, much later in life, that it is all a matter of perspective. Change the outlook and the attitude changes. One is heavy, 'chore-like' as you mention; the other is lighter, freer, moving forward...I'll check out your page, too. Thanks for the 'vote'.

    • amybradley77 profile image


      9 years ago

      Voted up! Very nice page here, plus good timing with the new year good thinking, I have a new year page too. Mine are on recycling and healthier eating tips, so far. There are more of course, but the way you write to see them is more hopeful than as chorelike nobody likes doing chores, this is just more positive, love it! A.B.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey Marky, what a nice surprise. I was just finishing up when I checked into the account. Thanks for visiting the hub and commenting. Actually, I was using you as an example and inspiration to write every day b/c I notice that is what you do. So, I wanted to challenge myself. I actually think I could do it if I wasn't working 12 hr shifts. I get so exhausted coming home, cooking dinner and then trying to stay awake to write and get to bed by 3 a.m and up again by 5:30 or 6 a.m. for work.

      Where is my lottery winnings, LOL !

      Take care, and see you at the forums this w/e.

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 

      9 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Excellent Hub Denise. Goal setting and accomplishing that goal you have set will make life so much easier. Look forward to reading the rest of 30 hubs in 30 days.

      Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Juiceyme-thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Nice to meet you.

    • Juiceyme profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice Hub, Yes sometimes I think to a lot of us have forgotten how to set goals.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you Paree. Glad to 'help out' although I hardly would think you need any help in that department. Your writing is wonderful.

    • paree profile image


      9 years ago from India

      This is really very beautiful. Helped me to how to decide goal.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Karen. Yes, the BIG goals can seem daunting until one realizes it is just a series of little steps...little goals. Thanks for your feedback.

    • Karen Wodke profile image

      Karen Wodke 

      9 years ago from Midwest

      This is a great article. I especially like the advice of breaking down a large goal into smaller ones. Sometimes people look at a big goal and just give up because it seems overwhelming. Good job on this hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks, Atlanta, I'm glad you stopped by. Thanks for your comments.

    • fadibody profile image


      9 years ago

      This is another great and inspiring article to start the year right. Thanks again for sharing this. Happy New Year!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      IGN Andy-nice to meet you. Glad to know we are of like minds here in the hubpage year hits and we are off and running with our goals.

      Danette-thanks for your input...glad you caught the term

      Hello Travel-thanks for the 'rah, rah' I'm going to need all the support I can!

      Hi Pam. Thanks for your comments. You know how us nurses are-set the plan, take action, evaluate the results, LOL

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Excellent steps for making resolutions. I think this is a very good hub.

    • travelespresso profile image


      9 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Good for you Denise. 30 in 30 - I'm full of renewed admiration for anyone who does this. I'm sure you'll achieve it but good luck anyway.

    • profile image

      Danette Watt 

      9 years ago

      Dee, you have some great tips here. I especially like your term Four Directions.

    • Ign Andy profile image

      Ign Andy 

      9 years ago from Green Home Office

      Wonderful hub for wonderful year. I already set my goals and I know I can do it. Thanks Denise to encourage us.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Simon-nice to meet you. Excellent point, thanks for sharing that. I assumed that through the examples everyone knew I meant to 'write them down' but, I shouldn't assume that at all. Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

      Ann-thanks for stoppin in. How are you coming with your next one? Did you get my message I sent to you through your contact email?

    • annmackiemiller profile image


      9 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      nicely done Denise

    • simeonvisser profile image


      9 years ago

      Powerful ideas - goals are of great importance really. In particular if you write your goals down so that you can review them regularly. I intend to do this more myself so that I know what my goals are. If you come up with something you want then having the idea in your head is not enough. Those "I-should-do-this" ideas usually don't turn into reality unless you commit to them by making them a goal.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello Eighteen. The term you are referring to is 'newbie'. The 30 hub challenge is in the forum under hubchallenges. If you scroll down the forum menu you will find it when you open the hubchallenge forum at the top. You can read the rules in there. Good luck to you.

      thanks for stopping in and reading/commenting. Welcome to hubpages. :)

    • Eighteen profile image


      9 years ago from England, UK

      What a great hub. And as a new hubber (is that the right term??) I haven't seen the 30 hubs in 30 days things either .. which will be a great challenge for me! Is there a link to join in? Thanks for visiting me too.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Marie for your comments. Good luck with your goals. :)

    • VioletSun profile image


      9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I really like this! I mentioned in another hub last night that one of my weakness is not completing goals; have several unfinished projects and promises, and this is one of my New Year resolutions, to see the completition of several of my goals. Have bookmarked this hub!

      Voted up!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Rich, you are wonderful. You are always the first one to comment and you are so encouraging. Thanks. I sure do appreciate you. :)

    • richtwf profile image


      9 years ago

      One of my favourite subjects - Great hub Denise and excellent job!

      God bless and look forward to your next one!


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