Goal Setting for the New Year

Resolution season is upon us again but did you know that the majority of people give up on their New Year’s resolution within 1-6 weeks, and often make the same, or similar, resolutions each year? When most resolutions are destined to fail, what can you do differently this year to become part of the small group that is successful?  

To start, you need to shift your mindset and begin thinking in terms of “goals” versus “resolutions.” This is helpful because goals tend to be action-oriented and more specific than resolutions. The concrete nature of a goal makes it easier to create a plan and work toward achieving it. But still, where and how should you start?

Set a goal that’s both doable and meaningful 

Many resolutions fail because they aren’t personally meaningful or reasonably achievable. You are setting yourself up for failure if your resolution is:

  • Based on what someone else, or society, is telling you to change. 
  • Lacks a realistic plan.
  • Ambiguous or vague.

Your resolutions, like any goal, should be SMART. That’s an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. When you start to set tangible goals with intention, you set yourself up for success. Why are you setting this goal? How does this serve your greater purpose? What do you hope to achieve?

Be Specific

Make your resolution or goal is crystal clear. Something like “I want to lose weight” is much harder to stick to because it’s so vague. How much weight do you want to lose and in what time-frame, and why is it important to lose the weight? “I want to lose 10 pounds by April 1st so I can hike without joint pain during my Hawaiian vacation” is far more compelling and attaches meaning to your resolution which helps you stay on track. 


This may seem obvious if your goal is a fitness or weight loss related one, but it’s also important if you’re trying to cut back on something, too. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be.


This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals but setting the bar too high, without measurable steps along the way, can leave you frustrated. It’s also easier to break down large goals into smaller, attainable ones to help you stay on track. Your goal may be to retire early but focus on creating weekly and monthly savings habits and celebrate those victories to stay on track for the long haul. 

If you’ve read Atomic Habits by James Clear, he talks about how 1% movement is what leads to lasting habit changes. So when trying to reach your goals, think about the smallest possible step you could take to build a new habit that will help you reach your goals.


Make sure your resolution is pertinent to you and your life and then surround yourself with the type of people that will support your goals and reinforce the healthy habits that will help you achieve it. Ask yourself if your goal is relevant to your current situation and lifestyle? Waking up early to exercise is a fine New Year’s resolution, but it’s probably not realistic if you work the night-shift. 


A goal without a deadline is just a dream. You need to create a timeline for reaching your goal and then focus on the small wins along the way. This will keep you focused and moving forward in the direction of your goal even when the initial excitement around your resolution fades. 
Lastly, sharing your goals or making your New Year’s resolution public can help with accountability. If your 2023 goals are health related, consider joining a studio for the community, camaraderie, and support. Ohana’s $99 introductory offer or 14-days free of online movement, is a great place to start, with a huge library of classes including yoga, barre, restorative, and mindfulness classes.