It’s the time of year to decide your next year goals, but before you do that….please do these 3 things:

1. Know yourself.

I can hear you saying to yourself..

“Why does knowing yourself have anything to do with goal setting for the new year?”

Well, let me dive in with a few good reasons.


Picture of a coffee cup and napkin. On the napkin are written lots of core value words. Part of an article ‘do these 3 things before deciding you next year goals’.

This is probably the most obvious. We need to know our own values before we decide what goals we are going to set.

Here is an example:

You might decide you want to start a business, but your values will dictate so much about what happens. Will you work all hours day and night to get it going, or do you value family relationships more and so will set less ambitious goals for the growth of this business?

If you tap into knowing yourself first you can be more successful at setting goals for the direction you want to take your life.


It is very important to know your motives before setting out on any endeavor. With a few hard truth questions you might discover that you keep setting goals for yourself that are actually based on avoiding judgement from those around you but that are not really of importance to you.

You might ask:

  • What do I want to change?
  • Why do I want to change that?
  • Is this based on my guilt or someone else’s view?
  • How do I REALLY feel about that action?
  • What values of MINE does this fit into?

2. Reflect on the past year.

The next step before you decide your next year goals is to reflect on the past year. It’s super important before thinking about the next year.

Now I did another article here on the power of reflecting if you want to read that, but for now let’s specifically see what we can learn when we reflect on a year.

Things to keep

One of the sections of reflecting is we look at things we want to keep. What lovely memories we had, what we want to keep doing and what good things we learned about ourselves.

When we look at these positives first we can have an appreciative or grateful mindset which helps before moving into the next set.

Things to toss

Part of looking at yearly goals is deciding what to quit. So we can without judgement ask ourselves what we were unhappy with in the past year. What we absolutely don’t want to do again.

Things to tweak

Some things are not black and white, they might be a work in progress. So this looks at what happened in the last year that we want to tweak and improve on.

A nice template for looking at the past year is here.

3. Be honest about your starting position.

A sign post with two signs. One says old habits pointing to the left. Another says new habits pointing to the right. Part of an article ‘do these 3 things before deciding your next year goals’.

The final step before embarking on yearly goal setting is to be honest about your starting position.

Here you are at the end of another year. Maybe you are about to write down exactly the same goals as you did last year, that you didn’t accomplish..

Lose weight, eat healthy, get more exercise.

So let’s not do the same again for next year goals.

This links back to the first point a little, but be honest about NOW!

Here we are about to finish off December and head into January. But life goes on, another month and another month.

It actually doesn’t work to make sweeping goals that are not realistic and not measurable.

For example:

Imagine last year you decided I’m going to get more exercise next year. That’s it. And …You are a person who usually walks when doing your shopping, and that is the only current exercise you do.

Then this might go better for you next year:

I now walk only 2 hours a week when I do my grocery shopping. My yearly goals include: joining a dance class once a week, finding a partner to do a weekly park walk with me, and learning more about why movement is important for the body.

Why is this better?

Because, now that you see that you are naturally driven to exercise, you realize you are going to need help. You need exercise that is going to be more your style…a dance class, rather than a HIT workout in the living room.

You are going to need accountability and drive so you see that pulling in a partner is going to get you out the door than if you are doing it in your own steam.

Hopefully now you will see how being honest will help you for your next year goals.

Why ‘BEFORE deciding your next year goals’?

Well, you are right, the truth is these things are good to do anytime.

But since it is this time of year for yearly goal setting then these things are really good to do to get the right mindset for the task of goal setting.

That’s it, let me know if this was a helpful article and what your planning for next year. As always .. Happy Planning.

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