It is common to create a New Year’s resolution unfortunately it is also common to put it aside or forget about it all together.  Some people get off track or don’t reach their goal in an expected time line and give up. Some people believe goals are not needed.  Goals are needed!  We all need something to strive for, that is what keeps us going.  A goal can be something very simple or quite complex. It can be something in our daily routine that takes 2 minutes or it can be something that takes many days, weeks, months or years! Most important, a goal does not have to be created at a specific time of the year i.e. New Years. Goals can be made anytime you feel the urge to accomplish something. The key is to have a reason and to set out a plan that is both clear as well as flexible. 

A goal should be specific yet amendable, firm yet flexible and there should be plenty of them. Don’t’ make the mistake of setting one lonely goal, that is too much pressure!  Set many goals that affect multiple areas of your life and be creative about it! Learn a new language, cook with different foods, participate in new physical activities, travel more, attend a course, visit friends/family more. These goals can be very general or quite personal focusing on things like: acceptance and love. 

It is important to recognise your reason for setting your specific goal. Acknowledge why you want to achieve this goal.  Never let friends/family set your goal for you. It’s okay to consider suggestions but the goal must be yours. You may need to consult with an expert to refine the goal or get direction but you must set the goal and have a good reason! Otherwise, you will lack the motivation to complete it. You may find yourself seeking direction, justification, even affirmation from others; you don’t want this.  You want to feel the confidence that comes from the challenge and the reward of setting and achieving your goal.

For a better chance of success, set out steps (short term goals) that get you closer to your main (long term) goal. Consider tiny steps, things you can change and accept until they become routine.  Then continue to expand and adapt to the routine until you reach your goal. When clarifying your steps, think about answering the following questions: What do I have in place already? What supports do I need? How much will this cost? How much time will this take? You need to consider all factors you are aware of and accept that there will be more factors as you make your way through the process.

Consider that you may need to amend the timeline, yes timeline – your goal should have some sort of timeline. You may have a rigid timeline that is dictated or you might create your own but there should be a dedicated timeline that you devote to achieving your goal.  Once timeline is set, give yourself the opportunity to amend it. You may achieve your goal quicker than you imagined. However, you may get sidetracked; you may get discouraged, derailed, you may even decide another goal is more important. 

It is necessary to acknowledge any barriers that may detour you from achieving your goal. Recognizing the good and the bad when setting your goal is important. Then you must put actions into place to help yourself overcome these barriers. You may need to learn a new skill, coordinate with a professional or readjust your timeline. Most importantly, you need to be flexible with your expectations. 

To avoid falling off-track, you need to take time to assess your goals.  You can plan this in your timeline or you can insert it into your short term goals.  You should take time to look back and assess how you are progressing.  This will help you to identify barriers, create new steps, or most rewarding – confirm you are on the right track. 

How do you get started?  

  1. Make a list of long term goals – some people call it a bucket list, others a wish list.
  2. Prioritise the list by time, desire to complete, or by likelihood of completing.
  3. Plan to achieve the top 3-5 goals on your list; set short term goals.
  4. Acknowledge the barriers you are aware of and create steps to abolish the barriers.
  5. Take time to assess your progress: acknowledge your achievements as well as new barriers and create steps to continue towards your goal.

Anytime Goals

You can keep track of your success in a journal, diary or you can use a chart.  If you like charts, I have included a chart that you can copy and complete as you go. Feel free to amend by adding new categories or adding multiples of the same categories i.e. Short Term goals. Please find the chart in the Downloads Section.   I have included an example here.


Goal: Earn Acupuncture Certification
Reason: Expand RMT services
Time Line: As long as course takes
Major Barriers: course availability, cost, course schedule vs work schedule
Step  Step  Step Step Step Step
Research courses Research what is acceptable under RMT Apply to course Apply for funding Reassess schedule for class time Attend Class 
Reason Reason Reason Reason Reason Reason
Know what is available Limited Need acceptance Needed time for class and drive To earn certification
Time Line Time Line Time Line Time Line Time Line Time Line
1 week 1 week 2 weeks 3 weeks 2 weeks Length of course
Barriers Barriers Barriers Barriers Barriers Barriers
No course or too late  Limited courses  Not accepted No funding  Too much time  Loose income Too long, fail requirements
Assess +/- Assess +/- Assess +/- Assess +/- Assess +/- Assess +/-
+ course found  + course accepted  + accepted – only partial funding –  + can work with schedule


Find money in budget


To afford course