Setting Goals – Tips & Pitfalls

Every January, people all over the country make goals for the new year. Sometimes they are new goals, sometimes they are goals that have been made year after year. Help make this year a positive step toward your best self with these tips for setting goals – and avoid the pitfalls that interfere with making progress!

  1. Create a clear picture of your goal. What exactly do you want to achieve? Can you measure it? How will you know that you are meeting your goal? (Mindtools has a great article on creating SMART goals).
  2. Write it out! This helps you be specific about what you want to do. Post it someplace you can see it. Visual reminders are a great way to keep you motivated!
  3. Share with a friend. Remember the buddy system? It helped keep us on track and not get lost. Find your buddy to help you keep on track with your goals, and maybe even join you!
  4. Break it down into smaller goals. Making a goal for an entire year is a daunting endeavor. How about breaking it down to what you want to do for the month, or even update your progress weekly?
  5. Be Kind to yourself. You will not achieve perfection overnight. Leave the judgement in 2017, and reward yourself when you make progress!

Sounds easy, right? It can be, but it is important to set your goals up in a way that will help you move forward. Avoid these pitfalls that can set you up to fail.

  1. Absolutes: When you use words like “always” and “never” you set yourself up for failure. Most goals need a little wiggle room, especially as we get started.
  2. Generic goals: What do you mean “be healthy”? I heard someone say “I’m going to Be Good this year”. Good at work? Use positive language? Be on time?
  3. Making goals to please others. Many people in the helping professions are people-pleasers. Make 2018 about taking care of you, and you may find that you accomplish more and in helping yourself, you can provide more for others. Goals set just to please others don’t bring the same sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, and are harder to maintain in the long run.

Need more help with goal-setting? Bright Impact can help! Sign-up for an initial consultation before February and receive a 50% discount on your consultation!

Jessica Dugan is dedicated to helping others improve resiliency and self-care. For more information about individual coaching, support groups or workshops, please contact her at

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