Making goals for the year ahead


photo by Carli Jeen

Making goals for the year ahead

Gemma Gosden

20 January 2017

Planning ahead and setting goals to work towards are easily set any time of the year, however there’s something about the start of a new year and that feeling of having the opportunity to start all over again and make a fresh start that appeals to me most.

Setting goals.

In my recent post Taking the time to think about what you want I talked about making sure you take some time out and really think about what it is you want and how you could do this.

It’s really important to make sure you are working towards your own goals instead of your best mates or something and you have to make sure you figure that out before you start writing a to do list.

We have made a free downloadable chart for you to use.

Find someone to help?

I’m working with a mentor right now for personal and professional reasons and they recently helped me set my goals for 2017.

I had never spent so much time concentrating on what I want before – it was so weird but great. Im really thinking big this year!

Planning Ahead

I love to plan and organise and write to do lists so it kind of comes naturally to me. Don’t get me wrong I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

BUT….. Even the most disorganised of people can find a way to set goals if you find a method that suits you best and you really want to of course!!

Do we really need Goals in our Lives?

When we’re at school our goals are set out for us. Sit these exams, complete this coursework etc. etc. We have constant reminders from our teachers of what we need to do and by when.

This helps most of us to get to a place where we can sit our exams and more than likely pass.

Even at college and uni we have similar messages, although they’re not quite as loud.  By this time we’re supposed to be ‘grown-up’ enough to manage this kind of stuff ourselves. Point is – they’re still there.

So by the time we are on or own in the big bad world those intense goals for your year tend to die away as we’re left to our own devices. 

Why are Goals so Important?

Without clear goals and time scales to achieve them by we can become stagnated and a bit stuck in a rut.

Humans are prone to strive for continuous development and learning and if we’re not moving forward just a little bit then we’re moving backwards and maybe even getting a bit bored.

After moving through such intense levels of goal sprinting at school i.e moving towards your goals at break-neck speed with blinkered focus we all need a break. Time off after leaving school and FE is a good thing but it’s still important to get back on the goal making bandwagon eventually.

How do I know what goals to set?

There are so many ways and none are the ‘right’ way. Start by figuring out what it is that you want depending on where you currently are in life.

Where would you like to see yourself this time next year?

  • At a top university?
  • Starting a fab new job or celebrating a promotion and pay rise?
  • Buying a house?
  • Learning to drive?
  • Have the strength to do 10 propper push ups?

Realistically speaking what do you want? Personally, professional or both?

There needs to be an element of thinking big as well but not too extreme you’ll just disappoint yourself if you don’t reach your goal and never bother again.

Make it a big goal but not out of this world its just not achievable. You don’t need to stop at one big goal, two or three can be done in a year.

Break that goal down into some achievable steps

Each big goal needs to be broken down into steps that will help you reach that big goal.

For example, for the new job you might include something like improve CV and interview technique, research into specific companies you want to work for, making your email address more professional and identifying more of your existing skills to list on your CV.

A timescale for each goal is always useful as well so it doesn’t get forgotten about. 

Keep your goals somewhere you can see them

Put them on your notice board, keep them in your diary or somewhere you can see them on a daily basis. Don’t loose track of what you want to achieve or you might as well not bother in the first place.

Keep them somewhere you can see them or gain easy reach if you’re not keen on sharing with others. Sometimes sharing will help keep you accountable to those goals if you know that someone else knows what you’re up to.

Hopefully over time your goals will become something you think about every day. Soon they will become part of your subconscious helping you steer towards them on a daily basis.

I still don’t know what I want!

No worries! It’s important not to panic, maybe one of your goals should be for you to identify what it is you do want?

If you really don’t know what you want to achieve this year but would still like to move forwards and develop yourself in some way go easy on yourself. Start small with something like personal fitness or keeping in touch with family or simply achieving an additional training level at work.

There are loads of ways to help you figure it out. Realistically most of us have something in the back of our minds we want if you really stop and think about it for a minute or two.

If that doesn’t help, you could try the Girl did Good 7 Day Challenge if you haven’t already. This will over a period of 7 days help you to see what it is that excites you about your current path and what you’re grateful for in life.

Other simpler methods include thinking about your existing strengths and weaknesses and where you need to make improvements or where you would like to make improvements and see where this marries up with your personal and / or personal life.

Getting it all down on paper

Personally I found it kind of therapeutic to get all of these thoughts down on paper – its kind of like a brain dump. Now its all written down you don’t have to waste brain power remembering everything and can concentrate on getting them done.

Once I sat down to really think about it in detail I found all these things came out that I had been thinking about for ages but not really identified. It was awesome.

I’d love to know how you got on!

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Other posts you might be interested in:

8 ways to make yourself truly happy

Taking the time to think about what you want

What am I going to do with my life

Why it can be so hard to choose a career

Why its important to take a break sometimes


GDG E-book, Life after Lessons available now!




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