Dec 18, 2015 · 4 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

Have you started thinking about the new year yet?

I’m not talking about what party you’re going to and who you’re going to kiss at midnight. I don’t even mean new year’s resolutions.

I’m talking about setting your goals for 2016.

Resolutions aren’t very effective, but goal-setting is. With the end of 2015 at hand and the beginning of 2016 right around the corner, now is a great time to reflect on what what our year has been like and what changes we’d like to make in the new year.

With all that has just gone on in the holiday season, it can be tempting to skip over this step, but it really is an important one. It helps bring closure to the old year and opens the door to opportunities in the new one.

Embarking on the new year with a clear focus to achieving a goal can guide your year and make a big difference next December, when you take time to reflect on what went well in 2016.

It doesn’t have to be a big exercise, either. You don’t need a moderator and a conference room. All you need is pen, paper and some time. And maybe a cup of coffee.

I have three questions that I’ll be asking myself in the next week as I move through goal-setting. I’m planning to break things down into categories to help me keep them straight in my head.

These are the categories I’ll be looking at with some areas of focus in each:

Health/fitness/nutrition Eating right, sleeping enough, exercise

Spirituality Church, meditation, beliefs, education

Work My day job and my side hustle

Passion Doing what I love: writing, knitting, spending time with loved ones

Relationships Family, friends, coworkers, etc.

Finances Making a budget!

And these are the questions I’ll be asking in each category:

What worked?

This is where I’ll take a look at the good things that happened all throughout the year. It’s really important to remember all the good things that went well and not just focus on what needs to change. Start with the positive to set a good vibe for the rest of the year. If you’re discouraged in the planning stage, the execution won’t go so well.

What didn’t?

Still, you need to take a look at areas that need improvement. Unless you’re perfect, there has to be one or two areas where you could do a few things differently. If you could go back and re-do those things, what would you do? How would you rearrange things or what would you concentrate on less so you could focus more on what you love?

What do you want to focus on in the coming year?

This is the fun part. What will be your priorities for the next year? Will they include something you love? They should, otherwise what’s the point? Unless it’s something you absolutely MUST do, if it’s not something you love, the motivation and desire to get it done isn’t going to be there. And we’re all about making time for what you love here, so let’s do that.

Just sayin’. You go ahead and put whatever you like in your priorities category. But pleeeeeeeease prioritize at least one thing you love. You matter, and your gifts matter, and you should have a chance to put your beauty out into the world.

This can be a discouraging exercise if your goals for 2016 are the same as they were for 2015. But I’m sure you’ve made a little progress, right? That’s an important thing to remember. Sometimes it can feel like you’re no closer to your goal, but every little step gets you there.

If you can, talk about this with your family. You’ll need their help to meet your priorities this year. You can all plan together or you can just get their input. Whatever works with your family dynamics.

Then, once you’re done, post those priorities where you can see them! All the time! But not somewhere where they just become wallpaper. A daily reminder of what you’re working toward can keep you motivated when your energy or confidence levels are low.

I’m a paper-and-pen kind of girl, but if you’re a digital person, I suggest Evernote. You can access it just about anywhere, and every time you need a reminder of what you’re working toward, it can be at your fingertips. If you’re a notebook-carrier like me, I like the Bullet Journal system because you can tailor it to your needs. I use both and keep my goals in both places since I’m in each every day.

You know what also works? Sticky notes. White boards. Crayons. Do what you have to.

So this weekend I’ll discuss this a bit with my daughter who is old enough to have some input, and the Saturday after Christmas, I plan on grabbing a notepad and spending some time in the morning gazing out the window, thinking.

What changes will you make in the new year?


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.