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New Years Resolutions: How to Set Goals and Stick To Them

Marlene Shalton CFP Great BritainBy Marlene Shalton, CFP

The idea of a new year and a new start is fine in principle, but most resolutions, it seems, that are made on January 1st are broken before the month is out.

I generally do not make New Year resolutions but instead revisit the goals I set last year, normally with my husband, and set different ones as well. By setting specific, measurable, attainable and realistic objectives for the short, medium and long-term, there is a sense that they are likely to be achieved.

I believe it gives my goals more meaning when I first discuss them with someone else, write them down and revisit them throughout the year. Also, setting goals at the beginning of the year allows for the prospect that they can be worked upon.

How To Set Goals

When setting goals, it is very important to make sure that they are specific. For example, telling yourself that you are going to lose weight or give up drinking is far too general. Also, if you don’t commit to your goals with somebody or on paper there is less chance that you will stick to them. Having specific, measurable goals such as losing so many pounds per week/month and how and recording progress has always proven to be more successful for me.

Having an ultimate direction and making manageable targets are both good ways to keep moving along your chosen path.

This is so true for any form of planning, whether personal or in business: people who are successful in whatever they do tend to have a plan, stick to it or review it and change it if necessary. Whatever circumstances arise, they use their plans to help determine how flexible they should be or to just hold fast to whatever they are currently doing.


Yes, you do need a certain amount of determination if what you desire is to happen and not remain just a dream or a hope. There is a huge difference between wishing for something and believing that you can obtain it.

The most intelligent of people cannot hope to succeed without plans that are practical and workable. Remember that when any plan fails, it is just temporary and not necessarily permanent defeat.

Be Honest with Yourself

Before embarking on a plan for 2012 and beyond, be honest with yourself if you failed to achieve your goals last year and see how you can avoid making the same mistakes again. A little bit of self analysis will ready you for a more fulfilling future and the ability to create a plan that is capable of being accomplished.

Resolve this in 2012:

  • That you will make plans to achieve your dreams and ambitions
  • That you will work with others who will respect those plans and help you to commit to them
  •  That you do this regularly, working in harmony with those prepared to assist you

If you do this for yourself, your business or career, and your clients, think how truly successful you will become in any area of your life.

May some of your dreams come true in 2012, then others in 2013, 2014, 2015….Happy New Year!


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