personal growth

Setting End of the Year Goals

Stephanie Lanik

Strategic Marketing Coordinator

Stephanie Lanik

Strategic Marketing Coordinator

An activity you can do before setting your goals for the New Year.

During the busy months of November and December, it’s easy to get caught up in all the chaos of the holiday season, making those New Year’s goals fall to the bottom of your priority list.

However, according to research from the University of Scranton, about 92 percent of people who set goals for the New Year never actually achieve them. I am sure most who are reading this now can add themselves to this group, myself included. That leaves about 8 percent of people who actually achieved their resolution each year. ( So, what do they do differently that 92 percent of us are missing out on?

It’s a natural thing to look back on the past year and focus on the things you wish you had done, maybe even to the point of ignoring the things you did do. Before setting your goals for the upcoming year, take the time to do a little exercise to put things into perspective.

Let’s Get Started!

We’re going to do a goal-setting exercise, so grab a pen and paper. Draw a big square, then divide it into four smaller squares by drawing lines through the middle horizontally and vertically. If you want to do this on the computer, just create a table on a word document.

Goal-Setting Chart

1.   At the top, over the upper left square, write ‘Things I have’

2.   Over the upper right square, write ‘Things I don’t have’

3.   To the left, next to the upper row, write ‘Things I want’

4.   Below step 3, for the bottom row, write ‘Things I don’t want’

Take a few minutes to reflect, and then fill in the squares using the guides at the top and left side.

  • The upper left square should contain things that you want but already have. A loving family and friends? A warm place to live? It’s a time to count your blessings.
  • Below it, put the things you have that you don’t want. Debt? A cold?
  • In the second column, the top right square will contain things you don’t have that you want. Maybe a new job or promotion, a college degree, or a faster mile time.
  • In the final, lower right square, write out what you don’t have and don’t want. Like chronic illness, and so on.

See what we have here? You’re able to relish the things you have that you want, celebrate not having things you don’t want, and realize what you do want and don’t have.

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Goal-Setting for the Upcoming Year

If you built the matrix described above, use it as a guide for building goals for the New Year. Look at the quadrants for what you want but don’t have and what you don’t want but have. Which of these things have some actionable steps you can start to work toward in the upcoming year? How will you transition these things into either the I have and want orI don’t have and don’t want squares?

Failing to meet goals is pretty frustrating and can set you back — this is less likely to happen with a little bit of self-reflection and planning! It’s so simple and doesn’t require much of your time, yet it keeps you on track by promoting self-awareness and helps to hold you accountable.

Finding out for yourself what you truly value—focusing on needs and wants—is the ideal strategy to create goals that are both meaningful and achievable. By being grateful for the things we have, the path to achieving new goals becomes a little less intimidating.

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