4 Steps for Actually Accomplishing Your Goals this New Year

This is Part 1 of the series: Solutions for Making and Accomplishing New Year Goals 

We are all aware that those New Year resolutions you declared at midnight on New Year’s Eve are probably long forgotten. In fact, January 17 is “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day.” That is absolutely true, according to the internet.

But in reality, most people don’t follow through on their intentions. According to a Forbes article entitled Reasons Why We Don’t Achieve New Year’s Resolutions, 80% of people who make resolutions give up on them by mid-February.

That’s been me too. (Hanky wave here.)

In their article, Forbes says that there are five reasons we don’t achieve resolutions. It is because  

– we fail to pick realistic goals

– we don’t plan properly

– we don’t make it a habit

– we don’t have support

– we fail to track our progress

So if planning resolutions for the new year have such high failure rates, what is the allure of making resolutions? Mostly it is because January represents a time of new beginnings. In January, whatever we begin is considered a fresh start and the time to forget what didn’t succeed the previous year.

Yet, whether you start in January or any other time of the year, there is certainly nothing wrong with the desire to plan positive changes! We all want to improve our skills, character, finances, health, education, and careers. We want to make long-lasting changes for ourselves and impact our communities.

No, there is wrong with setting new year goals. I agree with the Forbes article. Many goals fail, not because of desire or intent, but the lack of strategy and tactics to carry them out. If you attended business school, you’d know that any business goal cannot be realized unless strategies and tactics are created to make that goal a success. 

What is your goal?

To explain how strategies and tactics work, here is a straightforward example using the most popular New Year’s resolution: losing weight.  

Your goal (or resolution) is what you want to achieve. So let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds this year to improve your health (and okay, to fit in that swimsuit!). The next question is: How can I accomplish that goal?

With a strategy. 

Form a strategy.

A strategy is a plan for achieving your weight loss goal. In this case, break down that 20-pound goal into something measurable: To lose 20 pounds in one year, you would have to lose approximately 2 pounds a month, or about ½ pound a week. That is now your strategy. A ½ pound a week sounds attainable, doesn’t it?

While planning your strategy, determine if your goal is realistic, considering your personality and lifestyle. For instance, if your goal is to save $10,000 a year, but after rent, utilities and expenses, you only can feasibly save $1,000 – you will need to adjust your goal accordingly.  

Many people get this far. They choose an important goal, and they have planned their strategy. Yet many still fail to carry it out. Why?

Tactics, baby.

Create tactics.

Tactics are simply the step-by-step actions or tasks that will accomplish your strategy. For our example, tactics will be the actions you need to put into place to get that loss of a ½ pound per week. You may decide to: 

— Visit the gym 3 times a week, with 2 days of cardio and 1 day of strength training;
— Wean off sugar by replacing it with healthy substitutes; 
— Add 3 more servings of vegetables a week; 
— Incorporate intermittent fasting by not eating after 7 PM or before 10 AM.

 Don’t forget to build in tasks that will create good habits. If you want to eat more vegetables, it will be necessary to make a weekly trip to the grocery store for fresh produce. If you are going to the gym three days a week, arrange to meet a friend for accountability and support. 

Measure success.

To ensure success, it is essential to periodically check your progress. Suppose you start your 20-pound weight loss goal in January, but by March 31, you have only lost two pounds instead of four. In that case, you will need to look at your tactics and make necessary changes or additions. 

The weight-loss goal is merely an example, but hopefully, it has helped explain the purpose of having a strategy and tactics to reach your goal.

With good planning, how many goals you want to work on during the year is something else to consider. Like the earlier example, a weight loss goal may take all your concentration. In other cases, you may be able to have two or three yearly goals. For myself, I have a health goal,  education (or self-improvement goal), and a writing goal.

For a true life example, let me share my writing goal and how I plan to achieve it.

GOAL: Write 22,000 words on my novel.

STRATEGY:  I need to write a minimum of 1834 words a month, or 423 words a week

As a beginning novelist, I believe this is realistic. Why? Whenever I write a blog post, it averages between 1,000 to 1,500 words. Because of this regular writing pattern, this is attainable for me as a beginning novelist.

 It would be easy to stop here because this is already a pretty defined plan. 423 words a week is simple enough. But is it? What do I need to do to make 423 words a week? How will it happen?

— Commit each Wednesday as a novel-writing day; no other writing planned or required; 
— Choose one Wednesday to write away from home;
— Plan no social media promotions on Wednesdays so I can concentrate on writing;
— Set my phone in another room during my writing time to not be distracted; 
— Join a challenge at
NaNoWriMo to be encouraged by other writers.

Make this year the year to achieve your desired goal.

If you feel like a New Year resolution dud, that doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish a specific goal or dream this year. Whether personal or business, self-improvement or financial, following this plan of action will not only give you a roadmap of where to go but help you stay on track and know when to make necessary changes for success.

Goals without strategies are simply dreams or ideas. Strategies without tactics lack substance, or the meat-and-potatoes, to meet your goals. Tactics without strategies are just time-consuming filler tasks.

Cheers to you for the New Year and your way to success!  

Do you agree with this roadmap to help achieve your goals?
What would you add?

5 responses to “4 Steps for Actually Accomplishing Your Goals this New Year”

  1. Excellent tips!I think another reason why resolutions fail is because it's HARD. It takes discipline and getting out of our comfort zone. One thing that helps me follow through is to actually tell people about my plans. That way they can hold me accountable.

  2. Angie, what a great post! I would add: skip the goal if you have no passion for it. That may be actually someone else's goal. For you, I love that you are writing a novel! For me, taking a particular day each week, and gifting myself no-guilt space to simply work on that goal, sounds luxurious and effective! Best wishes on your novel!

  3. These are excellent tips and you hit on both of my 2022 goals. Finish my first draft of my book and lose 20 lbs. I'm going to print this out for future reference. Good luck to both of us!

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