Goal Setting: New Year Resolutions vs. Monthly Goals

We discuss New Year resolutions and monthly goals as two types of goal settings.

It’s the start of a new year. So it’s the time where we decide what goals to set. Today, we’re discussing two types of goal setting: New Year resolutions and monthly goals.

New Year Resolutions

The intention of New Year resolutions is to make improvements in the upcoming year. Popular ones include losing weight, spend less,  learning a new skill, investing in your health by eating healthier, etc. They reflect our hope in changing each year and January 1st is synonymous with a new start. You can have 1-2 resolutions or multiple, it’s up to you. I love the notion of having an overall theme or focus for the year.  For example, if your New Year resolution is to volunteer more, you can find opportunities to help your community throughout the year. But for myself, I usually struggle to remember what they are halfway through the year.

Monthly Goals

I find it more manageable to have smaller goals throughout the year, specifically monthly goals I can focus on. When setting monthly goals, you can use the acronym SMART to assist in creating goals. S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. Specific means making your goals more descriptive to be clear on what you want to achieve. For example, I want to make an additional $300 per month from a part-time job. Measurable means determining how you’ll know when you have achieved your goal. Attainable means determining if you can realistically achieve your goal otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It can be a challenging goal to help you grow. Relevant means the goal should be relevant to your life and what you want to accomplish. You can consider why you want to have the goal. Timely includes setting a timeline for when you want the goal to be completed by. SMART can be applicable to any goal including career, finance and relationship goals. By using SMART to create goals, you’re creating an action plan to increase the likelihood you’ll achieve your goals. But if you’re unable to achieve all your goals, you can consider how to fail forward to reframe your thinking and learn from the experience.


I prefer monthly goals as I can focus on a different area of growth each month or every other month. But that’s worked for me. You can decide to use both types if that works for you. It’s key to remember that the idea of monthly goals and New Year resolutions is to focus on process.

How do you set goals for the year? What are your goals for this year?

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