I like making plans for the new year. I think it’s fun and motivating. I don’t think I’m more likely to accomplish New Year’s Resolutions than any other goal throughout the year. I just like to do it.

I used to smugly say that I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. If you’re a no-resolution kind of person, that’s okay. No hate from me.

But now I like it. I like having something new to start the year with and strive for. A full year feels like it’s long enough to set some ambitious goals and I tend to dream a little bigger.

How I Make Resolutions

When I make a New Year’s Resolution, it’s not always constrained to that year. Some of my resolutions are goal-based and I hope to hit those goals long before the end of the year. For example, I’d like to lose a certain amount of weight this year. That definitely should not take a year.

Some are longer than a year. For example, I’d like to thru-hike either the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. Neither of those will happen this year, but this is the year I set my eyes on a big hike. That means this year I’ll be working toward that big hike by making several smaller multi-day hikes.

For all of my New Year’s Resolutions, I start softly in October or November. This year I’ll be setting an exercise goal, related to my weight loss goal, and I started that exercise routine in October. I like to build habit and routine as momentum heading into the new year. I feel like this gives me a better chance of making it to Easter with consistency on habit-based goals.

Finally, I don’t talk about my specific goals for the new year. I used to, but I don’t anymore because I’ve read that talking about your goals isn’t helpful unless you’re working with an accountability partner who has some authority to help you accomplish your goals.

Apparently, if you talk about your goals before you accomplish them, you get the pleasant chemical release (dopamine?), which disincentivizes you from continuing toward your goals. The dopamine acts like a reward before you’ve earned it.

My Goal Categories This Year

The areas where I’m aiming to improve in 2019 are:

  • Health: exercise routine, eating habits, and two specific goals related to amount/volume of exercise completed in 2019 and a goal weight
  • Growth: book and Bible reading routine, number of books read this year, and learning a specific new skill I’ve been meaning to learn for a while
  • Business: revenue and profit margin growth, customer count growth, and launching a specific initiative aimed at international missionaries
  • Fun: travel-related goals, hiking and camping goal, and blogging/vlogging goals

When it comes to my health goals, I’ve already established the exercise habit, but the eating habits will be harder for me. My growth goals are more straight forward and can be planned with a calendar. My business goals are completely interdependent on my team, which means my business goals are really leadership goals. My travel and hiking trips are already planned and paid for the entire year, so those will be happening unless God intervenes.

What About You?

I’d love to hear how you plan for the new year and what your goal categories are. And if you’re documenting your progress online, share a link so I can follow along.