Setting and achieving goals  

Say goodbye to broken resolutions and hello to achievable goals. The traditional approach to “new year, new me” resolutions often leads to disappointment. Goal setting, on the other hand, offers a more effective path to personal growth and development. Discover the techniques for setting SMART goals, effective strategies for staying focused, and steps to take if you get off track.

Resolutions vs. Goals

Worry less about resolutions and set goals

Resolutions are a popular tradition each year, but they often end up being broken before the end of January. This is due to several common issues with resolutions, such as being too lofty, too rigid, based on someone else’s expectations, too vague, and lacking a realistic plan for achieving them. Setting goals, however, is a more effective approach to personal growth and development. 

Goals are fluid, adaptable, and trackable, making them easier to achieve and stick to. If you’re looking to make positive changes in your life, consider setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive (SMART) goals rather than making resolutions.

Goal Setting

Goal setting

Goal setting is a much more effective way to bring about positive changes in your life. Goals are fluid, adaptable, and trackable, and if set correctly, are much more likely to be achieved. Here’s how to set SMART goals that will help you make the changes you want in your life:

  1. Specific: Your goals should be clear and specific, with a clear end goal in mind.
  2. Measurable: Make sure your goals are measurable, so you can track your progress.
  3. Attainable: Ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable.
  4. Relevant: Make sure your goals are relevant to you, and not based on what others want you to change.
  5. Time-Sensitive: Give yourself a deadline to achieve your goals, so you have a sense of urgency.

Write down your goals and put them somewhere where you can see them every day. You could use a planner or journal, or even stick them on your fridge. The act of writing your goals down will help to solidify them and make them feel real.

If you’re looking to break a bad habit, the best way to do it is to break the bad habit down into three parts: 

  1. Cue: “I feel isolated”
  2. Routine: check Instagram
  3. Intended reward: feeling connected

Start by identifying the cue, the trigger that sets off the habit, for example, feeling isolated. Next, identify the routine, for example, checking Instagram. Finally, identify the reward, which would be feeling connected. 

Then, create a parallel breakdown for the new habit you want to create. The cue would remain the same, but the critical change would come with adjusting the routine action. By adjusting the routine action, the reward moves away from an intended, if usually unfulfilled, reward to an actual reward. We can see how this works by modifying the routine in the bad habit example:

  1. Cue: “I feel isolated”
  2. Routine: call a friend 
  3. Actual Reward: feeling connected 

Tips for Staying on Track

Staying on track for goals

Create new habits: Think of what you’re adding, not taking away. For example, “eat more healthy foods” instead of “eat less junk food.”

Avoid comparing yourself to others: Although this can be challenging with social media, try not to focus on what others are doing, and instead focus on what your personal goals are.

Find a community to support you: Find family, friends, coworkers, etc. who have similar goals. This will give you a support network to help you stay on track.

Review your goals regularly: When necessary, make adjustments to your goals in order to stay on track.

Take care of yourself: It’s important to take care of yourself and create balance when working towards your goals. If you don’t allow yourself the time to relax and replenish, you might become overwhelmed and burnt out.

Reward yourself: Celebrate your achievements, especially when you reach a milestone.

What To Do If You Get Off Track


Sometimes, life catches up with you and you get off track in accomplishing your goals. Here are some tips to help with what to do when you get off track from your goals:

  • Adjust your goals if needed: If your goals are not achievable, adjust them so they are.
  • Embrace failure: Remember that failures are learning opportunities, and use them to grow.
  • Be kind to yourself: Be gentle with yourself, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve your goals right away.


Goal setting is a much more effective way to bring about positive change in your life. By setting SMART goals, breaking down bad habits, and following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to success. So why not give it a try and see what positive changes you can make in your life this year!

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