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It’s the beginning of a new year and many people are thinking about setting goals for the year ahead. Many people are making “New Year Resolutions”, and businesses are planning for the future. If you are setting New Year resolutions it’s best to make a small number of resolutions, and break them into the first month or the first three months rather than for the whole year.  A year is a long time and circumstances can change. It’s good to pick a maximum of three that are achievable, so that you are setting yourself up for success. 

It’s helpful to break this planning process down into goals and purpose. Goals are the action steps that you want to carry out or what you hope to do.  Your purpose is what you want to come out of this for yourself or for other people. This is finding out why you want to take this action or achieve this goal. What is “your why” for your goals?  

Use visualisation. Picture how you will feel or look when you have achieved your goal. When you have a clear vision of what it is you want to achieve then it is easier to work towards it. This can be achieved by creating a vision board or by having written plans or by having a clear picture in your mind. This choice depends on your own style of learning or planning i.e. are you more visual, auditory or kinisthetic (tactile) in your approach.  

Believe in yourself or your business. Make your goals meaningful for you, and ensure that they are aligned with your values, and this will remind you of why you set them in the first place. If you are doing something you care about you will just act on it without needing any extra motivation. You will then feel internal rewards such as a sense of accomplishment, or enjoyment. This is turn helps to build self-confidence which helps to drive you on to the next task. 

Self-awareness is a very important factor in setting appropriate goals. Is the goal for you or for someone else? Is the goal meaningful to you? If it is a personal goal then it is vital to consider the impact that it will have on you, and that you don’t sacrifice your own well-being or mental health to set a goal or fulfil a goal to make someone else happy. If it is a business or family goal then it is vital to consider the impact that the goal will have on other people, as well as yourself.   What resources do you have to help you? What do you need to start? What knowledge do you have or what knowledge would you need? What books would be helpful to read or what podcasts would be worthwhile listening to? Who can help you? Have you got what you need in place?  What is a good starting point? 


Ways to feel a sense of achievement on a daily basis. 

It might help to make a to do list every day and set deadlines for each small task and reward yourself when you have achieved one.

Break each task into smaller steps. When you know exactly what you need to achieve it is easier to make more progress. 

It is helpful to have a growth mindset where you are open to learning and accepting that it isn’t possible to know everything and learning is an achievement in itself.  


The S.M.A.R.T. tool (George T. Doran) can be very helpful for business and personal goal setting. 

S - specific

M - measureable

A - achievable

R - realistic

T - time-measured


The CAR tool (Positive Success Group) helps to cement the plan with neuroscience, incorporating steps that will promote neurochemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins, which will generate positive internal feelings and an environment that will help with reaching a successful outcome. 

C - commitment

A - accountability

R - reward


Examples of personal goals

1. To meet new people

Step out of your comfort zone, join a night class and start a conversation with people when you get there.  

2. Develop confidence

Speak kindly to yourself, focus on what you have done well, not what you haven’t done. Schedule “me time”. 

3. To create an improved work-life balance

Use a planning tool such as Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix to prioritise tasks and eliminate unimportant tasks. 

Set a time to start and end work and stick to it.


Examples of business goals

1. Increase market share

Develop your connections with company heads, HR departments. Invest in marketing and advertising to your target market.  

2. Maintain or increase profits

Do research and make investments to keep up with changing trends and demands.

3. Increase community outreach

Become part of the community that you want to reach. Become involved by sponsorship or attending local events. 

4. Invest in leadership skills and emotional intelligence awareness

Providing training and coaching for leaders and employees helps them to feel skilled, valued, confident and comfortable in their role. This encourages creative thinking, improved communication skills and improves interpersonal team performance. 

5. Improve customer service

Providing training and coaching for employees who are the external face of the company means that the image that you want to be conveyed is being conveyed, and customers are more satisfied with their experience with the company. 


What if the plan is not going to plan?

Be patient with yourself if things go wrong, and start again the next day. It’s okay to try something different and renegotiate your goals if they are not fit for purpose. Resilience is the ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. We can build our resilience, as neuroplasticity of the brain means that we can learn and grow throughout our lifetime. Congratulate yourself for starting, and for making the effort.