Setting Goals for the New Year

posted by Andrea | 01/1/2014

setting goals

Happy New Year!

We’ll be enjoying our “Christmas” celebrations with Dave’s family today — but since the start of another New Year is a pretty big deal in the world of organization, I thought I should take a moment today to talk about one of my most favorite things.

Setting Goals! 

In general, I never make “New Year’s resolutions”. They are just silly to me.

However, I’m am a big advocate for setting GOALS. And I honestly do set goals for almost every area of my life (business, home, personal, finances, etc. etc.) on a regular basis, not just at the start of another New Year.

I should mention that I don’t alway hit my goals — but I do set them and continuously work towards them!

Last year, I set one single “umbrella goal” of Ultra Simplicity — and I’m happy to say that after looking back over the past year, I feel like I have met that goal. I’m not sure what type of goals I’ll be setting for myself in 2014 (that will be a post later in the month) but I do know I’ll have goals.

Goals are so much different than resolutions because goals are thought-out, achievable, planned, and organized… not just something you casually make up at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31.

So since the start of another New Year is here, now is a great time to start thinking about specific and achievable goals you want to set for yourself in the coming months and year.

goals

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Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

Personal Goals:

  • Do you want to read X-number of books this year? Write down that list (or that number) and then break it down by month or even by week. Make sure you keep track of all the books you read along the way and continually look back on your list to see the progress you’ve made.
  • Do you want to learn a new hobby or skill? Sign up for private lessons or a group class. Check out books from the library or watch YouTube videos to learn more about it.
  • Do you want to do more volunteer work? Think about what you enjoy doing and what you feel passionate about and then look for organizations like that who need volunteers.
  • Do you want to get more organized? Make a list (it can be a long one!) of areas in your home that bother you. Then take 10 or 15 minutes each day to organize ONE small thing in your home. Stop procrastinating, get up 30 minutes earlier, or stop watching one TV program each day so you have more time to put towards organizing. It will take time, but eventually you will start to see major improvements in your home.

Family Goals:

  • Would you like to have more quality family time? Schedule a family meeting and write down possible ideas for family time. Plan one fun night each week, and take turns letting your children or spouse plan the night’s activities.
  • Would you like a better marriage? Attend a support group, go to counseling, or book you and your spouse on a marriage retreat. Sit down and talk about what each of you wants/needs from your  marriage. Be intentional about bettering your marriage on a daily basis by complimenting your spouse, writing love notes, reading marriage books, going on simple dates, or just hanging out together at home.
  • Want to connect more with your kids? Schedule one-on-one “dates” with each child each month and let them choose what you do for the date. Turn off your phone, computer, TV, etc. and just get down on the floor and play with them at least once a day (yes, I do know how hard this can be to implement!)

Fitness/Health Goals:

  • Would you like to lose weight? Write down the specific number of pounds per month you want to lose, then come up with a diet and exercise plan to help you achieve those monthly goals. Join a gym, get a trainer, find an accountability partner to walk with every day, or tell your friends and family about your goals.
  • Do you want to eat healthier? Research and write down what foods you will and will not bring into your home. Read healthy-living and healthy-cooking blogs, find cook books that specialize in healthier cooking, and learn how to determine the calories in the foods you eat.
  • Do you want to go “green”? Write down one thing you will do each month to live a more green lifestyle. Search Pinterest for “green cleaning” or “going green” and then scroll through the HUNDREDS of ideas it will spit out at you. Try one of these ideas each month (or even each week).

Financial Goals:

  • Do you want to save up for a large purchase? Write down the total amount you’ll need and then break it down by month. Then sit down and figure out if you’ll realistically be able to save that much each month.
  • Do you want to lower your grocery bill?  Start reading deal and coupon blogs to figure out their secrets. Then spend time writing out your weekly shopping lists, laying out  your meal plans, clipping coupons, etc. Make your meal plans based on food that’s on sale, implement a couple meatless meals each week, start making more foods from scratch, etc.
  • Do you want to add to your retirement account? Talk with your financial adviser and set up an automatic deposit each month (this is by far the best way to save in my opinion). It could be as little as $25 a month, but you might be surprised how quickly that money adds up!
  • Do you want to take a family vacation this coming spring or summer? Plan out the details now and then figure out how much you’ll have to save each month to make it happen. Start looking for deals and bargains to save in the area you’ll be traveling too.

Career Goals:

  • Do you want to move up in your job? Write down your qualifications and set a time to talk with your boss.
  • Do you want to find another job? Start thinking about what your “dream job” would look like. Write down what you want from your job, start looking for options, update your resume, and prepare for interviews.
  • Do you want to start your own business? Write out a business plan and talk with someone who’s already doing what you want to do. See if there is a way you can start slowly while still working your day job (or being home with the kids).
  • Do you want to quit your job to be home with family? Talk with your spouse to see how this might work and then write out your plan. How much money would you save by staying at home (gas, clothing, day care) and how much would you lose by staying home (loss of income, etc)? Is there anything you can do from home to supplement your family’s income?

Like I mentioned earlier, setting goals is SO much different than making a silly New Year’s resolution (which you will most likely break within a few weeks).

Goals don’t need to be scary, they don’t need to take hours and hours of forethought (although they can if you’d like), and they certainly don’t need to remain fully “set in stone” with no room for change as the year progresses.

Goals should be fun!

Just ask Dave how much fun I have setting goals.

Actually, don’t ask Dave… you’ll probably think I’m a total nerd!

Take a little time today — or at least this week — to stop and think about what goals you want to set for yourself in the coming months and then write them down! You might be surprised at how many of them you actually achieve!

What is one of your goals for next year?

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20 comments

  1. Debby

    01/01/2014

    thanks for a great post Andrea. I am actually going to sit down with this post tonite and pen and paper. What a great guideline for goals. I stumbled onto your blog around this time last year and I have been a loyal reader ever since. Happy New Year.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Debby — glad to have you as a loyal reader for such a long time! Happy New Year and happy goal setting!

    [Reply]

  2. Jaime

    01/01/2014

    My umbrella goal for this year is to be intentional. I want to be more intentional in how I use time, money, space, everything. I like the idea of having a list of small projects so when I have extra time i don’t end up wasting it. Thanks for the reminders!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    That’s an awesome goal Jaime — I love it! So many areas of life would be better if we were all more “intentional” about what we were doing and how we were doing it!

    [Reply]

  3. j-a

    01/01/2014

    Great post! Thank you.

    I, too, started reading your blog about a year ago and used your budget sheets last year. I fell off the wagon the last 2 months , but even just doing it faithfully those 10 months helped us see spcifically where our money was going in a much more organized way, so we could track it and adjust it easily. I’ll get back on it this year!

    I have had several goals spinning around in my head that I need to get on paper… to help me remember, and to track my progress. One is to get back to weekly meal plans. While it’s not always fun to make the plan, knowing what’s for dinner each day saves stress and money!

    Love your blog, and have passed many of your posts on to my daughters who are young mothers.

    Thank you and Happy New Year to the Dekkers!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well, 10 months is better than nothing at all — and I guarantee you learned a lot by tracking your finances for those 10 months. And just an FYI, my 2014 Financial-Tracking Workbook is coming out in tomorrow’s post!!

    [Reply]

  4. Jane

    01/01/2014

    Hi Andrea! It occurred to me yesterday that you, Our Blog Queen of Organization, would need to come off your holiday break to post something inspirational and motivational for New Year’s Day. You didn’t dissappoint! This post was one of your best! Simple, to the point and oh-so-sensible! Thank you! I loved it! Wishing you a happy, healthy, and snuggly New Year!
    Jane in Ohio

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Jane and Happy New Year!

    [Reply]

  5. Erin

    01/01/2014

    I really want to set some SMART goals this year. I’m a teacher so my mind works best with color and coordination. Does anyone have a worksheet that helps you display your goals?

    [Reply]

  6. Kalyn Brooke | Creative Savings

    01/01/2014

    If you’re a nerd, then I’m one too! I LOVE goal setting, and my husband and I talk through 5 goals we each want to make for the New Year. One of mine is to read 50 books in 2014. I think it should be doable!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — 50 books in one year! I’m not a reader so I doubt I’ve even read 50 books in my entire life :)

    [Reply]

  7. Jen T

    01/01/2014

    Just found your site and have spent a ton of time on it the last couple of days. Just wondering if you’re going to post a 2014 financial worksheet?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen! and yes, the 2014 Financial Tracking Wordbook is coming tomorrow :)

    [Reply]

    Jen T Reply:

    Yay! Thanks so much! Can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store on your blog! Happy New Year!

    [Reply]

  8. Elizabeth | Ready. Set. Simplify.

    01/01/2014

    My goal this year is to get rid of 365 things. There are just too many things in this house!!! So 1 thing a day, 7 things a week, and it will add up. I’m posting about it on my blog, too, because I need that accountability! Happy New Year!

    [Reply]

  9. Tracy

    01/02/2014

    I don’t have any debt but I feel a sense of trepidation going into 2014 and having to buy healthcare. The healthcare.gov website hasn’t worked for me yet, when I called up I spent two hours on the ‘phone until the woman said ‘we’ll have to start over’ but by then I had to get ready for work…it’s a nightmare, I’ve spend about 25 hours on it so far, definitely the most stressful thing I’ve ever tried to buy. And the costs seem very high rather than ‘affordable’- the Kaiser projection for me was almost $6000 a year with $6000 copays and if I am understanding the barely comprehensible website correct various treatments require another 20% copay?

    I wish someone would write a resource explaining it all, but I am very afraid of signing up for twelve months for something I don’t think I can really afford by my usual budgeting methods.

    [Reply]

  10. Amy

    01/02/2014

    Hi Andrea! Instead of a single New Years resolution, I have made a list of 14 in 2014. Its a list of small things I want to do or experience this year. A few examples: get a massage at a spa (never had one!), read at least 3 books, learn to cook a great hamburger at home, do more yoga, just to name a few. I’m sure I can think of more than 14, but those can go on a 40 before 40 or 50 before 50 list! Happy New Year!!!!!

    [Reply]

  11. Melissa

    01/02/2014

    Happy New Year!

    I reviewed my goal list from 2013 and I acheived 3 of 6 of my goals entirely, and made great progress on another. Two got scraped because other things came up. Goals don’t have to be entirely inflexible, but they sure are helpful when it comes to living intentionally!

    [Reply]

  12. Mara

    01/04/2014

    Thanks for a great post, Andrea. Your posts are always inspiring and down-to-earth. I’m still catching up on your posts as I thought you were taking some time off. So glad you didn’t. Best
    wishes for a healthy and happy New Year.

    [Reply]

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