How To Set Goals for the New Year

Posted by Jeree Brunson, Contributing Writer, on Dec 27, 2022

How To Set Goals for the New Year

Who’s ready for a fresh start after this past year? With the end of the holiday season and a new year upon us, we look forward with anticipation and expectation to all that awaits us in 2023. Whether your hopes for the new year are big or little, it can help to take time to think through some goals.

Goal setting is different than generating a typical list of New Year’s resolutions or wishes. I tend to take on too many tasks and set my sights on the “big “things I want to accomplish.” Goal setting keeps me on track to accomplish those things.

For example, a few years ago, we helped our oldest son and his wife build a house. Before we began, we made a list of all the jobs that needed to be done. Then we divided the responsibilities and assigned time limits. We called these “next steps.” Every week, my husband sent out an email with goals for that week, so we all had clear expectations to help us make progress toward the bigger goal we were trying to achieve.

I learned to apply that idea to every aspect of my life. I realized that setting good goals could help keep me focused and intentional in the new year. Other benefits of goal-setting  have been well-researched and documented.

The SMART Method

There are multiple methods that can help us set goals. My favorite method is the SMART method. Each letter of the acronym “SMART” stands for a key description of a good goal:


Set a goal that defines exactly what you want to achieve. Most goals are not reached because they are too vague. For example, saying I want to get in shape is great, but without specifics, how can it be reached? What does “getting in shape” really mean—am I thinking of physical, emotional, and spiritual fitness? Or just one category?


The goal must be measurable in order to succeed. How do we know if we reach our goal if there is not a way to measure it? Make a plan that will let you know when you have met your goal. If my goal is to be in better physical shape, will I measure that by the distance I can run after 12 months of training? The numbers at my next physical exam with the doctor? Five days a week of healthful eating over the next three months?


The goal must be attainable; otherwise, it is a dream. When we set something so far out of our reach that it becomes unattainable, we tend to give up and return to our everyday routines without pursuing our goals. How fair are we being to ourselves if we set goals beyond our reach? For the majority of us, getting in shape will not be realized with an invitation to compete for our country at the next Olympic Games. But it might mean being able to walk a mile comfortably for the first time ever or running your first 5K.


The goal needs to be relevant not only to your life and long-term plan but to the daily activities in your life now. For instance, wanting to get in shape is more difficult when life is stressful due to an illness, an upcoming event such as the holidays, or an out-of-town business trip. When setting goals, keep your calendar in mind to ensure your goals fit your lifestyle.


Most goals need a time limit in order to succeed, so determine the time needed to achieve the goal and give it a deadline. Again, goals without time constraints tend to simply fall away as time moves on throughout the year. Some of your goals may be incremental, with smaller deadlines that lead to a much bigger time frame. Perhaps aiming to walk that first mile comfortably over the next three months can lead to two miles by June, or jogging a half mile by August.

Involve Others in the Process

By using this method to set my personal, spiritual, and professional goals, I have been able to see the results and adjust as needed or completely re-evaluate my goals to possibly set new ones. We actually make goal setting a family affair. Together, we talk about and create a list of what is important to us as individuals and as a family. Then, we devise a plan to meet those goals. Younger children and students may need some additional guidance on goal setting, but the benefits are just a real for their age group. 

For my family, talking about goals keeps us connected and provides conversation starters and opportunities to reconnect throughout the year. Find a community that will help you reach your goals. For example, if your overall goal is to get in better shape by running in your first 5K within the year, join a training program or invite a friend or family member to join you in a None to Run training schedule.

There are many goal-setting methods available. I challenge you to find one or two methods, put them into practice, and set a few goals to help make the coming year one that is intentional and rewarding.

Do your goals include better connections with God and with other people? 

Share This:

Recent Stories

Swipe to Discover more

10 Interesting Facts About Jesus That Might Surprise You

Feb 27, 2024

Jesus Christ is one of the most controversial figures in history. When you look at his life, there are some interesting facts about Jesus that are truly surprising.

Easter Eggs: What Is the History Behind This Tradition?

Feb 27, 2024

Ever wonder what eggs have to do with Easter? We've done some research, and the answer behind this common tradition lies in the roots of early Christianity. Read more, here:

3 Ways To Keep Learning About Black History

Feb 25, 2024

Black History Month celebrates the heritage and achievements of black Americans, past and present. But why and how can we keep learning, once February is over?

Remembering the Dream: Honoring MLK, Jr.

Feb 23, 2024

Several Chase Oakers share their reflections on the impact and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Five Things You Can Do For Lent This Year

Feb 11, 2024

What's the history of Lent? How is it observed? It's not just a way to pass time before Easter. It's a great opportunity to take some steps toward personal transformation.

Creative Ways that Everyone Can Celebrate Love

Feb 09, 2024

Valentine’s Day: love it, hate it, skip it? Whatever your view, love is for everyone at any age or life stage. We’ve got some fresh ideas for how everyone can celebrate love this week and beyond.

Where To Celebrate Lunar New Year 2024 in DFW

Feb 05, 2024

Happy Lunar New Year 2024! We've listed just a few of the many places you can celebrate the Year of the Dragon in DFW.

Four Reasons Why We Should Celebrate Black History Month

Jan 30, 2024

Black History Month is a celebration of the lives and achievements of African Americans who have made a difference in our world.

The Local Good Pantry: Nourishing Communities, Creating Hope

Jan 26, 2024

The newly opened Local Good Pantry offers hope to the surrounding community by addressing hunger and food insecurity with dignity.

12 Bible Verses for When You're Feeling Anxious

Jan 21, 2024

Feeling anxious? You're not alone. Be encouraged by these 12 Bible verses and the reassuring perspective they provide.