Setting goals of any kind during the start of a new year is exciting, but creating a plan for success and following through is a whole different beast. Consider these tools and methods for behavior change when helping clients follow through on their New Year goals. 

Expectations vs. Reality

Hopefully, before you’ve even set out on achieving your new year’s goals you have completed SMART goal setting. It’s perfectly fine to dream big dreams, but make sure that those dreams are vetted through the truth of reality. For example, you may have made a goal to make $1 million in net revenue for your business this year. That’s a great dream, but if the truth is that you are in your first year of business, buried in debt, and your only paying clients are friends and family who you’ve given a 50% friends and family discount to, that dream is not realistic and you have some other goals to tackle first. If you identify what is realistic for you, you will feel more satisfaction and less disappointment. 

Goals (Article Body Image)

Inviting others to join you

Though it may feel more comfortable to keep your goals to yourself, there is power in sharing your vision for your year with others. If you have a goal that you know other people may have or may benefit from, invite them to join you in your journey.

For example, if your goal is to run a half marathon invite someone else to train and register for a race with you. Or maybe your goal is to start recycling more; invite others to build recycling bins and participate in a recycling challenge. Incorporating a social aspect to your goals may be the boost you need to stick with them all year long.


Make your goals visible 

Keep your goals physically visible to you. If you can see your goals at home, at work, on your phone, in your car, you aren’t likely to forget what you’ve committed to. Some ideas to get started are: 

  • Frame your goals in a picture frame and place it on your night stand or desk
  • Write your goals on a mirror with dry-erase marker 
  • Make your goals the screensaver on your phone or computer 
  • Write in a journal every day about what you did to work toward your goal 

Tackle one goal at a time 

Changing too much at one time is a great way to set yourself up for failure. If you’ve never done most of the things you’ve set goals to do, it’s going to be very challenging to change your habits overnight and maintain them. Take your time and establish habits one at a time. Once one goal is achieved, you’ll have the confidence and experience to achieve the next goal. 

Change your surroundings 

If you want your life to be different in the new year, it will need to look different than it has in past years. Surround yourself with people and places that support your goals. For example, if you have set a goal to improve your nutrition, your kitchen should be filled with different, more nutritious foods. If you have set a goal to read more, there should be interesting books in your home. Let your surroundings reflect the lifestyle you are working to attain.


Create opportunities for little successes 

If you’re tackling your goals one at a time, it’s easy to set yourself up for little successes. For instance, if your overarching goal is to improve spiritual wellness through gratitude, start by writing five thoughts of gratitude in a journal every day for 21 days. Once you’ve accomplished that little success, add on to it. Start journaling 10 thoughts of gratitude in a journal every day for 90 days. Once you’ve accomplished that, continue to journal and express gratitude to one person every day, etc. These little successes make the big goals easier to chip away at and achieve. 


Accountability and tracking 

If you feel comfortable sharing other goals with a trusted friend, family member, mentor, or coworker, they can help you stay accountable to your goals. There’s power in letting others remind you of what you’ve promised yourself. This can also help others to be cognizant not to accidentally pull you away from you goal path (e.g. inviting you out for a night of drinking when you’ve made a goal to participate in Dry January). 


If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your goals with others or don’t have someone you trust to keep you accountable, consider using a habit tracker to plan and track your goal progress. It’s simple, choose a habit that you want to perform every day, every week, every month, etc., and record when you perform it. Habit tracking can bring accountability and satisfaction by giving you a visual representation of the habits you are establishing.


The fact that you’re here, reading this blog means you care about improving your life and setting goals to achieve your dreams! Don’t get overwhelmed in the process, but use the tools and strategies available to you so that you can achieve your goals in the most fulfilling and impactful way. 

Hanna Riley

Hanna Riley B.S. in Kinesiology, NFPT CPT is a passionate trainer, writer, and graphic designer. Hanna’s greatest passion is working with people who want to better themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. She believes that we are all stronger than we think and she aspires to extend patience, kindness, education, self-motivation, confidence to her clients to help them unleash their strength. For more from Hanna, connect on social media on Facebook as Hanna Riley and Instagram as @house.ofhanna.