How to Make Resolutions and Set Goals for the New Year

At this time of year I’m often asked to explain the difference between New Year’s resolutions and goals. Often goals are the things that get done and resolutions are the things we’d like to do but don’t always have the same commitment to achieve. However, your resolutions can become achievable, especially if you treat them like goals and make a clear plan to help you achieve them.

Creating your New Year Plan

Start by thinking about the things you’d like to achieve this year. It can make it easier to put them under headings, for example personal, health, work or finance. Try and come up with ten promises at least.

Now look back through the list and pick the three that are most important to you and which you believe would excite you and make a significant difference to you if you had achieved them by December 31st next year

Be specific. If one of your three goals is to travel to the Far East decide where you’d like to go. What date will you travel? How much will it cost? How will you save up for the trip? Will you go alone or take someone with you?

Once you have clarified all the details of each goal create a simple step-by-step plan with all the activities you need to achieve them. With all the steps you have already identified you now have the making of a schedule. This way you’ll know if you’re on track.

Look at ways of how to avoid those obstacles that make you delay. You know they will rear their head but if you have considered them in advance and what you will do when they arise, you have more chance of chasing the procrastinators away again. Life is always busy but your goals are now your top priorities and you will need to plan in time to make sure they happen.

Staying on Track - One way to make sure your plans aren’t forgotten before February is to make sure the steps you list on the path to each goal are small enough to be achievable but big enough to make real progress towards your destination.

The early days are often the hardest so write a weekly checklist and put it on your fridge where you will see it and cross the off tasks when you have achieved them. Put a new checklist up each week. It will help to celebrate each step and acknowledge your achievements to give you the courage and determination to keep going.

As well as looking forward, take a few moments to look back every now and again and see how far you’ve come. Replace those completed activities with a photo that represents how far you have come; it is very motivating to see the evidence of your achievement.

One year I announced during a live BBC Radio and TV interview my two goals, both of which were really challenging. One was to meet Billy Connolly and have a coffee with him and the other was to support my son to get a place at his first choice of University. The pressure was on in January and through the help of some great people who listened to my ramblings I did make both of them happen, which is the final tip I will leave you with

·      Tell people what you are going to do and you could widen your opportunities for action.


Good luck with the New Year and I hope it’s your best year yet.