New Year, New Goals, New YOU

Ahh…the New Year brings great anticipation…a feeling that this year will be the year when you’ll accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself.

But a nagging reality tugs at you…you had some of those same goals last year. And as you flip the calendar page to the new year, doubt begins to cloud your mind. Can I really achieve my goals?

Yes, you CAN!

Setting Goals: A Starting Point for Success

A recent article in Psychology Today highlights an important aspect of goal setting: It makes people feel good about themselves. Achieving a goal produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. And Dopamine also activates neurons that makes you eager to pursue new challenges. A truly natural win-win situation!

Goals provide a roadmap for us, a direction for us as we journey through life. They enhance productivity and increase self-esteem. But sometimes, just setting a goal isn’t enough. We need the motivation to carry forward. We’ve all experienced the excitement of setting a specific goal for ourselves, only to be intimidated by it, afraid to take that first step, afraid of failure.

But there are ways to take that first step and keep your momentum going, even if the going gets tough!

Tips for Achieving Your Goals

Most studies agree that writing down goals is an effective motivator. Molly Cain in Forbes takes it a step further – she suggests looking at it. “A goal that you can actually see is massively more powerful than a goal you write down on a checklist,” writes Cain. She suggests a vision board. As an example, if you want to lose weight, cut out a picture of a realistic model whose weight you’d like to achieve. If you’d like a dream vacation, cut out photos of your exotic destination and paste them on your board.

Cain has other suggestions on how to achieve your goals. Among them are:

  1. Tell people about it. It makes you accountable. When you stumble along the way, there’s someone who has been there and can help you get back on track.
  2. Break your goal up. A big goal can be intimidating, so break it down into smaller, more manageable parts. (And don’t forget to reward yourself for achieving each step you achieve along the way!)
  3. Set a date on your calendar. Marking important dates on your calendar is a great way to encourage you to check in and see how you’re doing.

The Importance of Goal SettingNew Year-New Goals

Ashley Feinstein writes in Forbes that a recent study by Gail Matthews at Dominican University revealed that people who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write them down. Similarly, an article by Nancy Anderson detailed Dr. Gail Matthew’s results: Three key elements combined to achieve successful goal setting are: accountability, commitment and writing down one’s goals. Dr. Matthews randomly assigned participants to five groups:

  • Group 1 – analyzed their goals and resources to accomplish them
  • Group 2 – wrote down their goals
  • Group 3 – defined commitments after writing their goals
  • Group 4 – did all of the above – then told friends
  • Group 5 – did all of the above and sent weekly reports to friends

Not surprisingly, at the end of the study, Dr. Matthews found Group 5 scored the highest in achieving their goals- an average of 76% in the group completed their goals compared to just 43% in Group 1. So, don’t forget to involve your friends this year!

Let 2016 Be Your Year

Start by defining your goal. Try out some of the suggestions noted above – write your goal down, picture it, imagine it, plan it, share it…and go for it!

Remember, what you get by reaching your destination isn’t nearly as important as what you become by reaching your goals – what you will become is the winner you were born to be!
Zig Ziglar

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Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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