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Setting Goals for the New Year

Friday, December 15, 2023

Setting Goals for the New Year

How to Plan for Success and Really Follow Through!!

The New Year is right around the corner, and you know what that means... it's time to set some goals!

Navigating the maze of setting and maintaining New Year's resolutions can feel like an annual struggle. It's an all-too-familiar story: the burst of enthusiasm in January wanes by February, leaving us back at square one. That's precisely why I sought the wisdom of my good friend Heather Baird, a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Her expertise in guiding individuals toward sustainable lifestyle changes makes her the perfect ally in conquering the challenge of setting meaningful goals and actually seeing them through.

In her insights below, Heather delves into the art of effective goal-setting, sharing actionable steps to ensure your resolutions aren't just lofty dreams but tangible achievements. From deciphering the underlying 'why' behind your aspirations to crafting actionable and realistic plans, she unravels the intricacies of setting goals that resonate deeply and inspire lasting change. Heather's approach offers a refreshing perspective, emphasizing not just the 'what' of goals but the essential 'how' to make them a reality.

I hope you enjoy...

The New Year is upon us! For many, that means it’s time to set New Year’s resolutions or brand new goals for a brand new year. The New Year can be a fresh start and a chance to approach things in a whole new way. It’s exciting! The tricky thing is....how do we set goals that we’ll actually follow through with?

Have you ever found yourself setting resolutions in the past - goals that you FULLY intend to follow through with - only to find yourself right back where you started by February? It’s really frustrating, isn’t it?!

This happens more often than you’d think, so if this is you, you are not alone! But let’s talk through how you can make this year different than all the rest.

As a Health and Lifestyle Coach, I work with people who are trying to build sustainable, healthy lifestyles. Setting goals is our JAM. But it’s also kind of an art form. There are certain aspects to goal setting that can either hold you back, or propel you forward.

Goals that might not give you what you want tend to be vague, too lofty, not sustainable, or missing actual action plans behind them. So let’s dive into a formula for setting goals that WORK.

1. Get clear on your WHY. You already know WHAT you want, right? Now it’s time to dig deeper into the underlying WHY behind it. This is something that I love about Kyle’s financial courses - he doesn’t miss this step. Getting clear on your WHY is key; It’s what’s going to ensure that you keep moving towards your goals even when times get tough. The WHY is the ultimate motivator.

Let’s use weight loss as an example here. Many people come to me in January and say they want to lose X pounds. I say, cool! What’s important about losing X pounds for you? Maybe then they’ll say, “I want to feel better.” And now you might be thinking, done! Makes sense! They want to feel better...we get it...time to move on to the next step! But you guys, this isn’t going deep enough. We need to keep digging to get a really specific WHY - one that when you land on it, you get all tingly from head to toe with excitement. So from here, we could ask questions like this:

  • What would "feeling better" actually feel like for you specifically? What types of things would improve?
  • What would having more energy, feeling more confident, feelign more clear-headed, etc...do for you? What could you do with all of that extra energy and confidence? (Maybe with that extra energy you could travel like you've always wanted, or you could play with your kids more often. Maybe you could show up in new ways for work, or have the courage to go out for that promotion...)
  • And what would having THAT do for you? What would happen when you show up in new ways at work? Perhaps you could get more done in less time, and then have more free time to work on passion projects or cuddle with your babies when you get home?

You see where I’m going with this? Keep asking yourself “what would having THAT do for me? What’s important about THAT?” Until you land on something that LIGHTS YOU UP.

That’s when you’ll know you’ve found your ultimate WHY. You can see it, you can feel it, and you can’t help but get started on your journey towards having it.

2. Create a clear action plan. With your underlying WHY in place, now it’s time to get into specific actions you can take towards achieving your goals. This is another delicate step, because we often start thinking we need to do ALL THE THINGS in order to reach our goals by like, yesterday. But keep in mind, when you bite off more than you can chew, it can feel really overwhelming really quickly. You can spend a week or two turning your life upside down trying to make all the changes at once, but this is often when you realize how much that actually sucks and isn’t sustainable, and you quit. SO. That won’t happen this year!

Instead, choose ONE thing you can work towards first. ONE action that will take you towards your ultimate goals, that feels really doable and realistic for you right now.

Sticking with the weight loss/more energy example, let’s get curious about what an action plan could look like. While weight loss is something that takes more time, there are things you can do to have more energy pretty quickly. Maybe it’s choosing healthier meals, or drinking more water...maybe it’s prioritizing an earlier bedtime or moving your body more often. Choose ONE. What ONE thing will most *easily* fit into your life right now? Remember, the better it feels, the easier it will be to follow through with. The more sustainable it will be. So choose one that would feel good and won’t feel like complete torture to you as you get started.

Once you choose your ONE thing, get really, really clear on how you’d like to take action on it. You want your small goal to be specific, measurable, time-based, and realistic. Let’s take drinking “more” water. How can you turn this into a specific, measurable goal? How many glasses will you drink each day? Where do you see those extra glasses most easily fitting into your routine? What will be your measure of success? How long would you like to work at this goal before you reevaluate how it’s going and what might come next?

3. Set yourself up for success.
This step is often missed. You set your goal, and expect it to just happen naturally. But, that doesn’t always happen! So, there are more questions to be asked: “How can I set myself up for success with this goal?”

Take your goal of drinking 8 glasses of water a day (or whatever amount YOU decided was most realistic to start with. It could be 1 glass a day, or 10. This is about YOU and what feels most doable for your life!). How can you set yourself up for success here? Do you need to invest in a reusable water bottle that you can bring with you on the go? Do you need to set alarms on your phone to drink throughout the day? Would it feel helpful to drink a glass of water before each meal? Are there any potential barriers to these plans? How can you plan ahead for those barriers?

How can you make success INEVITABLE?

4. Write it all down. There’s something very motivating and final about writing your goals down on paper. Create that clear picture for yourself of your goal and your underlying WHY and write them down. Keep them somewhere you’ll see them often. This can be a GREAT motivation booster and a way to keep your goals at the top of your mind.

*EXTRA PRO TIP: Assign an “anchor” that will ground you into your goals and serve as your little accountability partner. Maybe it’s a bracelet you’ll wear, or sticky notes around your house with your goals on them... maybe it’s a motivating quote as the background of your phone, or a picture...maybe it’s a candle you light, or a song you like to sing....what is one thing in your environment that you will see often that can remind you of why you’re doing all of this? What’s that one thing that when you see it (or hear it or smell it or feel it), you’ll be like “oh yeaaahhhhh I’m working at these new habits so that I can have more energy and create the life of my dreams. Time to make another healthy choice for myself!”

And there you go! You’ve figured out WHY your goals are truly important to you, you’ve pinpointed one action step you can take to get to that ultimate goal, and you’ve planned out how you’ll set yourself up for success in making this action plan happen. You’ve written it all down and set it in stone. You might even have your anchor already picked out to serve as another reminder of your goals and your WHY.

Now all you have to do is take action! And as you do, don’t forget to CELEBRATE yourself. It’s really easy to focus on the things we’re NOT doing, but that can really fizzle out our motivation fast. Instead, congratulate yourself for all those small things you ARE doing. Focus on the things that are going WELL. This will help boost your motivation to keep going, and over time you’ll be ready to build on the next goal. And the next. And come this time next year, you’ll be amazed at the new healthy habits you’ve built.

Heather is a Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach, specializing in habit change and the deeper mindset work behind lasting change. She opened her own private coaching practice in 2017, and has most recently been working as a Health and Wellness Coach with Noom, the weight loss and behavior change app. While coaching professionally, she has continued her studies and earned the title of Master Transformational Coach (through Health Coach Institute), in addition to studying Functional Nutrition with Andrea Nakayama. As a coach, she has helped guide her clients towards understanding their body’s natural feedback so they can become their own best health expert, while also building awareness around habitual behaviors that might be holding them back and creating shifts in mindset that lead to more intrinsic motivation and lasting lifestyle change!

* Heather is not currently working in her private practice, but you can still find her on Instagram (@heatherb.healthy) where she shares inspirational messages around energy, health, wellness, and simply living a good life.

Stay Curious,



Kyle Fowler

Founder of Financial Flippers

The personal finance world is packed with TONS of information. And while it's not all bad, it's not all good. I work hard to make sure I am sharing helpful content that keeps you on track while still providing different perspectives. If you ever have questions, want to share ideas for other topics, or want to know more, shoot me an email: kyle@financialflippers.com

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