For me, the term “New Year’s Resolutions” has a lot of baggage. It connotes unrealistic diet/workout plans and abstaining from things I enjoy.

And yet: I think that goals are for everyone. I’d wager that if goal-setting hasn’t worked out for you in the past, you weren’t the problem; your goals were the problem.

How do we, then, set better goals? Here are 5 guidelines that have helped me:

  1. Start where you are, not where you’d like to be
  2. Set goals that excite you instead of goals you’d like to be excited about
  3. Avoid any goal that requires a weekly commitment (e.g. Instead of “Run twice a week” try, “Run a 5k at a ten-minute pace”)
  4. Once you draft a goal, lower the bar by 20% and use that as the goal
  5. Set fewer goals than you think you can achieve

If you’d like some examples, you can see all of my goals for 2021 here.

Let me know what goals you set for the new year!

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Alexander Burlingame

Learner, thinker, and doer. Lover of spreadsheets, books, design, and craft beverages.