A fresh start: setting intentional goals for the new year

As my friend Lara Casey says, "there is nothing magical about January 1st".  But this time of year, everyone is working on wrapping up their projects, assessing the current year, and setting goals for the year to come. Although I do believe that intentional goals can be set and achieved any time of year, the end of a year is the perfect time to set yourself up for living intentionally in the year to come.

There is just something about starting a new year that makes me want to start fresh. It's a time to organize, de-clutter, and simplify for both your work + your life. This year, I am using the PowerSheets to help stay organized and on track with my goals, and though I've barely scratched the surface with this wonderful tool, I can tell it's going to be a game changer for me. If you know me, you know I'm all about being intentional and purposeful, and the PowerSheets support that philosophy all the way. I couldn't be more excited to have a tool like this to go along with my goal setting and help me be even more intentional in 2016. But even without a system like this, you can set intentional goals and give yourself a fresh start too. 

Look at the big picture

I always say to look at your goals with the big picture in mind. Think about where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, or even 20. What does that look like for you? What are the things that will matter in the long run? You may think that certain things are important to you now, but in the grand scheme of things, they may not matter. Sometimes we feel like there are things we should be doing in our lives or businesses because we see so many others doing it so well and we feel like we should be too. So we set a goal to achieve that same thing only to find out that it wasn't right for us. If it doesn't help you reach your big picture goals, or help you live your purpose, don't do it. The key to being intentional with your goals is to only choose those things that are right for you. And the best way to do that is to know what your big picture looks like and what you need to do to get there.  

Assess your past goals

Even if you didn't set any goals for the year before, you can take a minute to look at what you accomplished this year and how effective those things were in your life. Assess what goals you reached, which ones you didn't complete, and how they impacted your life. Did you achieve certain goals that weren't as fulfilling as you thought they'd be? Did you avoid certain goals because you found that your heart just wasn't in it? Did you set too many goals? Did you not dream big enough?  

These are all things you can ask yourself to evaluate how you did in you current year. Once you take some time to think about these things, you will be better prepared for setting more intentional goals moving forward. Looking at your last year gives you more insight into how you've grown, what your big picture looks like now, and what you need to do differently in the year to come. 

Write a dream list

After I think about my big picture and evaluate my past goals, I'm ready to dream big. This is when I take time to write down anything and everything I would like to achieve. Don't think about a timeline here. You can write down anything that comes to mind. Write down anything that has been on your heart or mind that you want to do. It can be for your life or your business. It can be something you've always dreamed of doing and never thought possible. This is where I let it all out. Don't hold back. Don't let fear get in the way here. We are just emptying all of those thoughts and ideas onto paper.

Break it down

This is where things get really intentional. Using all of the information gathered so far, this is where I like to get serious about the next year and what that will look like for me. I break down my dream list into reasonable and attainable goals that will really help me move forward toward that big picture goal. I make a short list of things I would like to accomplish in that year and then prioritize. As much a s we all like to pretend to be Superwoman, I also know that we can't do it all. This is where I choose the most important goals and decide when I think I can accomplish those goals. 

Be easy on yourself

One of the most important parts of setting intentional goals is to give yourself grace. At the end of the day, know that not everything will get done. You may not reach all of your goals. But give yourself grace and recognize what you did accomplish. Also realize that not reaching a goal doesn't mean that you failed. It may mean that you weren't meant to complete it and follow that path. It may mean that you did something bigger and better. It may mean that you spent more time doing something you love. The key here is to focus on your wins. Think about all the things you did. All the goals you reached. Think about all the goals you accomplished that you didn't even have set. We do our best to set intentional goals for the year, but ultimately life takes us where we need to go, and sometimes that means we won't reach those goals we set.


Give yourself a fresh start for next year by setting intentional goals for your life and your business. But take it one day at a time too.

Are you working on setting goals for next year? How are you being intentional about it?

PS: If you liked this post, you might also like Do One Thing and Do It Well.