by Miss Adriana Medrano

When we approach the end of a year, we start getting ready to celebrate the Christmas season. We attend parties, “posadas” and family events. Next thing you know, you’re looking forward to ringing in the New Year. The countdown starts….five, four, three, two, one …. Happy New Year!!!!! And what happens next? We make all these New Year’s resolutions because we’re determined to lose weight, kick a bad habit, start fresh, eat healthier, hit the gym, etc.

All great ideas, except for the fact that unfortunately not all of us accomplish what we set out to do. Sometimes we go big and we choose many goals to achieve, or the tasks are really complex and unrealistic. Other times we let our routines or workloads get in the way and we end up giving up our resolutions.

Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. I was recently invited to listen to a podcast that talks about this. The speaker was giving ideas as to how to approach the end of a year and how to greet the new one, in order to have the best possible year.

I found her suggestions quite interesting and this is why I chose to share them with you. She usually gets together with her family and they go over 3 questions that help them reflect on the things they did during the year, and 3 questions that give them a head start in the year that is about to start.

Reflecting on the highlights of the ending year, whether good or bad, helps them get situated. The experiences lived, tell them how much they grew personally, and professionally. By analyzing their planners, calendars, pictures and social media, they are reminded of the many events they experienced throughout the year, and this can be very fulfilling because by looking back, they can see how much they accomplished.

Once they’re situated and they know where they’re at, then comes the part where they decide where they are headed in the New Year. Here’s where they set their goals and decide which things they’ll stop doing, which things they’ll continue doing and which new things they’ll start doing.

To make sure we reach our goals, we need to understand what they are and how to set them. And most importantly, we need to answer the question: What do I want?

A goal is a desired result that wouldn’t otherwise happen unless you do something.

Make sure you align your dreams to your goals, but remember a dream is big, aspirational, and with no timeline. So break down your dream into smaller goals which should be small, specific and with a timeline to be accomplished. Setting successful goals, has to do with research, so take in consideration 2 things:

First, the desire to do it and the why. What do I want? Why is changing my behavior important? Why do I want to change? Why now?

The why is very important because that gives meaning to our goals and helps us feel motivated.

Second, the how. How is my behavior going to change? What skills do I require to have? What’s the plan?

And once you have answered these questions, avoid these mistakes:

1. Focusing too much on the how that we forget the why.

2. Setting too many goals.

3. Missing the right balance while setting our goals. Don’t go too high or too low but just in the right dimension.

4. The goal is too general.

5. Not setting a high/low range goal. For example, it’s easier to say: “I’ll read five to seven books per year” and accomplish it, rather than saying: “I’ll read 6 books a year.”

Setting goals gives a person purpose and meaning in their lives. The happiness is felt when creating them and while working on them. Once they’re accomplished, we move on and that particular goal no longer gives us happiness. This is why we need to continue setting goals so we always have something to work towards, and continue experiencing happiness because we’re heading somewhere with our lives.  

Ready to set some goals for 2024?