Setting goals in the new year

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.

Napoleon Hill

It’s the end of 2021, and this may sound cliche but, this year has gone by fast.

The end of the year is a great time to start setting goals for the coming year. Depression and other mental health conditions can often make goal-setting and accomplishing those goals challenging.

Following the typical goal-setting tips that you can find anywhere doing a Google search or on social media as you’re scrolling through your feed can leave you to feel like you need to set big goals.

Dream big, aim low

Self-shot in 2019

It’s good to dream big and have big goals to reach your dreams. However, life isn’t always cooperative when accomplishing significant objectives. There is a fine line between dreams that can be accomplished with hard work in a minimal amount of time and plans that need time and patience.

In 2019, I started writing out my goals for the coming year.

I started with a hardbound notebook with a blue cover and gold lettering that spelled out, “Goal Digger.”

I found this notebook at a dollar store a few months before and thought it was adorable.

This is the notebook I’m currently using to write out my goals. I love that it’s reusable, reducing paper waste, and keeps my notes organized online where they’re easier to keep track of.

This was also around when I first started playing with the idea of vlogging. I enjoyed recording the videos even though the process made me very anxious. The few I posted received positive responses.

Many of the vlogs I created were for my business, and a few others were videos giving out advice.

At the time, the idea was to create a YouTube channel. Perhaps I will one day, but it’s not a goal I want to pursue right now.

Know your current limits and work to overcome them

When I was considering starting a vlog, I was still not in the right mindset to make it work.

The idea of recording myself every day and those recordings being watched by people every day was nerve-wracking.

Alluring exposures 2021

My vision was to have a vlog with a community around it that was supportive and positive. Yet when you look at the reality of the internet, supportive and positive is not the majority of what you’ll find at first when it comes to the most public posts, especially those consistently promoting themselves.

At this point in my life, I’m capable of handling trolls and find them amusing. I have a good friend who acts like a troll on my posts, and I have to thank him for helping me grow a thicker skin in that sense because I can’t take anything he comments seriously.

All the considerations

When I sent those first goals in 2019 for 2020, I didn’t consider how many unpredictable factors there might be, and I ended up setting myself seven different goals.

It didn’t take long before I realized how overwhelming that was.

I did manage to accomplish almost all of those goals, but at what price?

I added more stress to my already stressful life by giving myself too much to do. Whenever I felt like I was coming short on my goals, my old habits took over. I found I was constantly beating myself up.

I kept track of my goals and what I did to achieve those goals. At the end of 2019, I was able to look over everything I had done and be fully aware of my accomplishments and mistakes.

With that awareness, I was able to take full responsibility for those mistakes. I could see every choice that led to each success and failure. Now I could see what I could celebrate, where I needed to improve, and what I should not do again.

Adjustments needed to be made

Self-Shot 2021

While setting my goals for 2021, I chose to have fewer categories. Instead of seven, I limited myself to four. I broke these goals down into things that I could do monthly, weekly, and daily.

I also committed to giving myself space when I did not accomplish my smaller goals.

This kind of space is essential when setting goals, as is flexibility. The type of flexibility I mean is to have your original plan in mind while also having an alternative similar to it, may even be lesser than it yet still feels satisfying.

An example might be your primary goal is to save up X amount of money while your alternative plan is to have 80% of that amount. An alternative goal will make you feel like you have accomplished something worthwhile even if you don’t reach the original intent.

Lessons learned

Something we all learned in 2020 was how unpredictable life could be.

There are big things and lots of little things that we cannot control. So the space and flexibility that I give myself when choosing goals keep me from being triggered when these things happen.

When going over my goals for 2022, I made sure to include the flexibility and space I mentioned. I also decided to limit my desired plans even further. This year I’m only focusing on three categories of goals.

Those categories are:

  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Personal

I felt these three categories were more than enough to cover everything I would like to accomplish in a year.

Small Steps Will Get You There

By giving myself less to accomplish, I’m giving myself the freedom to do more with each goal I create.

When you look at your goals objectively, you may notice that they can be broken down into smaller bite-sized chunks. You give yourself a visible path to your bigger vision by doing this.

Instead of having just an A, being where you start, and a Z, where you see yourself ending up, you will also have everything in between clearly laid out.

Defining my vision in one word

Before I even start writing the goals, I choose a word of the year.

In 2020 my word was “Boundaries.” I chose this word because I knew that my ability to set and maintain boundaries was weak and had caused me problems in the past.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

2021 my word was “Health.” In the past several years, I had gone through some big things, which led me to lose sight of my previous healthy habits. I felt it in my body and mind and needed a change.

This year my word of the year is “Creativity.” I feel confident about my boundaries, and my health is in a good place.

I want to focus on those things that allow me to express myself in my way.

Setting goals can be its own motivation

Even without constantly keeping track of my goals, I find that I accomplish them or things similar to them.

It could be just the process of sitting with them, writing, or speaking them out helps my subconscious mind to recognize their importance, which leads me to make choices that further those goals.

Whatever it is, I suggest you set your own goals. It doesn’t have to be a yearly goal or goals set for the new year. It could just be goals for the coming month, the coming week, or just tomorrow.

Your goals don’t have to be significant. Set goals that work for you. They can be as small as having one day when you don’t feel anxiety or just taking five minutes to breathe.

Whatever goals you set, they’re yours, and you should be proud of the time you sat down and created those goals for yourself.

Have you set any goals for the coming year? If so, leave them in the comments below.

Coney Island, NY 2013
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2 responses to “Setting goals in the new year”

  1. Tiffany romito Avatar
    Tiffany romito

    Love this idea of dream big & aim low. Sometimes my “big Dreams” seem Completely unattainable but by aiming low & focusing on smaller goals, my big dreams get accomplished Too 🙂 love ur writing!!

    1. Kathryn Avatar

      Aiming low has helped me so much in accomplishing big things, I’m left with less anxiety more freedom to be creative, and feeling like I accomplished so much more over the long run. Another great way to get goals accomplished is to do the things you hate first (checking emails, bleh). It gets them out of the way and allows you more time to truly enjoy the rest of the process!

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