Setting ACHIEVABLE goals in the New Year

By Stephanie Barbee | Dec 19, 2022

The new calendar year often makes people want to set goals. For many people, it can be hard to set goals when there is a fear of failure or disappointment. That was my experience for a long time, giving myself the perspective that “you can’t fail if you don’t try”. It was an excuse. What I really meant was my ego couldn’t take a devasting blow if I never failed at a goal. So, I wandered aimlessly, sure I’d get there without the goal being set. I ended up somewhere, but not where I wanted, so I changed. Here are 5 steps that can start helping you make a change too.
1) Get clear on what you want. Use your imagination and focus on the area of life you want to focus on. Career? Relationship? Finances? Self-growth? Once you get clear on the area, ask yourself, What do I want? Why do I want this? When do I want this? Get specific and set a timeframe so there is a sense of urgency.

2) Find harmony with other areas of your life. Make sure your goal is aligned with your values, beliefs, other goals, lifestyle, and priorities. Some questions you can ask yourself: Does this support my current lifestyle? Is there any potential conflict? Will I need to adjust my priorities to make room for this goal? If you notice misalignment, make adjustments so your progress isn’t continuously sabotaged.

3) Check the impact. Every goal comes with a set of helpful or unhelpful outcomes. Consider for yourself, who will potentially be affected by this goal. How will these people be affected by this goal? What sacrifices will I need to make? What’s clearly at stake here? What will achieving this goal help me to do for myself and others? If the impact is too great, go back to the previous steps to tweak your goal.

4) Create a game plan. Plan for obstacles. Roadblocks are a part of every journey and we can’t control everything. Taking time to ask yourself what potential obstacles could stand in the way. How could they delay my progress? What resources do I currently have that can help? It’s also important to plan for support and consider who you’ll need to become to achieve your goal.

5) Make a plan of directional action. This plan doesn’t have to be detailed, it just needs to help guide the journey. Having a deadline for the big goal and the small steps along the way. Also, consider milestones, rewards, and progress tracking. Most people can get started, it’s the finishing that’s hard.

With these steps, I’m less afraid to move toward setting a goal because I understand the process better. Use these steps to help you get closer to achieving the things that really matter to you. Don’t limit yourself to Jan 1, start making and taking action toward your goals now!
Stephanie Barbee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri. She serves primarily Black Queer people who seek to understand their identities, overcome traumatic experiences, or explore how to move through a world that sees them as invisible. She also speaks, trains, and consults. She can be found in the Clinicians of Color directory here:


Stephanie Barbee

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