Are Resolutions or Goals Necessary? Thoughts for a New Year or Any Time of the Year

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​No matter the time of year, we often talk about setting resolutions, goals, or outcomes. Yet, we rarely follow through ​and achieve them. Here are three strategies that will help you be successful.


As we prepare for a new year, I can’t help but to provide my own thoughts about resolutions and goals.

Over the last several weeks, I have read numerous posts and watched several videos with advice on how to prepare for the new year. Everyone has a slightly different take or strategy.

They include ways to reflect on the past year, how to plan for the upcoming year, how to make resolutions, how to create goals, recommendations to abolish resolutions or goals, or methods to identify one’s purpose.

Despite all of varying opinions and advice, I noticed that there are three basic tenants interwoven into all of these pieces of advice. Whether you create goals, resolutions, or outcomes, they should all be grounded in these three tenets:

  • ​Have intent
  • ​Know the Why
  • ​Be Realistic

​Have Intent

When planning for the new year, getting caught up in the ideal such as losing weight or earning more money is a common approach. However, by focusing on the ideal, it is really hard to create an environment for success.

By creating a statement of intent it shifts one away from the ideal to a grounded intention.

Examples of intention statements

  • ​I eat foods that are healthy and nourishing for my body
  • ​I engage in daily activities that increase the number of people on my email list
  • ​Two hours every day are focused on activities that help me complete my book.

​By creating a statement in the present instead of in the future, it really focuses your intention and to follow through on that action.

The key is to say this intention statement ​often - daily is the best.

​Know the Why

This is an aspect of planning that many people overlook.

Simon Sinek talks about know your why when it comes to building brand identity and customer loyalty. The concept is similar when creating goals or resolutions for the new year.

Take some time and really understand why you want to do X (e.g. lose weight, eat healthy foods, or earn more money).

For example, in the case of weight loss, is your why to watch your grandchildren grow up or raise money for a charitable cause by running marathons?

Once you are clear on the why, it is also easier to create a statement of intent.

​Be Realistic

In practically every post I read or video I watched, the author talked about being realistic with your goals or resolutions.

Being unrealistic just perpetuates one’s sense of failure or lack of purpose.

Using earning more money as an example, identifying a specific amount of money you want to earn by a certain date is beneficial. Just make sure the amount of money you identified is achievable in the time period you allotted.

An example of an unrealistic expectation, would be if you are just starting out as an entrepreneur and you don’t have a large customer list, setting a goal to earn a million dollars in three months will be difficult to achieve.


​In cutting through all of the do’s, don’t’s, and how to’s when it comes to setting goals or resolutions for the new year, remember the three basic tenants: have intent, know the why, and be realistic.

  • ​Create an intention statement that is grounded and in the present.
  • ​Be very clear on why you are setting a specific goal or resolution.
  • ​Make sure the goal or resolution can be achieved.

Sticking to these elements of goal/resolution-making will ensure success for the new year.

In the comments below share with the community your successes in using these three aspects of goal/resolution setting.


Jennifer has 15+ years of public speaking experience - ranging from groups of 5 to 5000. She draws from her experience as an instructor, academic, and librarian to help others with their presentation skills. When not presenting she loves creating and designing online courses, video, images, slide decks, handouts, conference posters, and infographics.