Lifestyle · Mental Health

Break It Down – Goal Setting for the New Year

I’ve been super excited about setting my goals and intentions (and wishes) for 2019 already, but I know that for some, goal setting can be really difficult. It’s normal to feel a little anxiety (or a lot, as I’ve experienced some years), or even depression at this time of year. It’s daunting. It’s overwhelming. Time is going so fast and it’s out of our control.

But there is one thing that we can control: what we do with our time.

Now, as a big goal-setting advocate, I want to encourage you to do it for 2019, but do it right. This year and the year before, instead of listing a bunch of things I wanted to do (and inevitably not doing them), I wrote what I wanted to feel instead. What I wanted to manifest for myself.

And it worked really well. There was less pressure, and I ticked everything off.

I said things like:

  • I want to feel healthier
  • More confident
  • More knowledgeable
  • More creative

And I achieved all of those things. I’d taken steps towards big goals, but what was important in the end was how I felt. I’d grown. I’d developed. It was the best thing I could have asked for.


For those of us who are big goal-setters or intentional living experts, we may want to take this further, though. So, this year, I will be saying how I want to feel, but I’ll also be writing a list of things I’d like to do.

It’s important to say to yourself that this list is important to you, but not that it is the “be all and end all” – that just causes stress and disappointment in yourself.

Have fun with this list, saying things like:

  • I’d like to join a club
  • I’d like to go to the theatre
  • I’d like to dye my hair a new colour
  • I’d like to read a book in a new genre

Play around with ideas and write your list in a way that’s not demanding or stressful, but instead gets you excited to start ticking them off.


Then when it comes to progressive goals, BREAK THEM DOWN. Do not give yourself these massive goals and tasks that just make you whimper every time you look at the list. Instead, break them down into manageable chunks.

For example, next year I’d like to get a literary agent to represent me. Anyone in the industry will know that this is no easy venture. So, instead of putting “get an agent” on my list, which will really scare me and probably go unticked, I’ll put “query to a minimum of 10 agents“.

Or I could break it down further: research agents -> write a list of agents -> develop my query -> query to 10 agents and so on…


Breaking your big goals or intentions down into actionable steps or manageable chunks will make it easier for you to see the path to success. It will leave you with very little excuses as to why it can’t be achieved. And it will help you keep ticking things off throughout the year, feeling as though you are accomplishing things and being encouraged to keep going because of it.

If you want to write a book, say: come up with a storyline -> research -> outline -> write an opening…

If you want to run a race, say: work out every day -> fix my diet -> join a class or club -> get a running buddy -> time my runs -> sign up for a run…

If you want to start a business, say: mindmap my interests -> research -> plan and plot ideas for a business -> research businesses like that -> figure out my finances -> save money with a budgeting plan -> get a venue or site -> draw people to the venue or site etc…


Or break your year’s goals down by months or seasons/quarters. In spring, my aim is… In summer my aim is… In autumn…Winter…

This breaks them down and spreads them out, too. And instead of setting big scary goals or huge long lists, you can take smaller things to do in the first quarter, then other things for the quarter after that and so on. You can then move anything you didn’t get done onto the next quarter’s list.

But it’s up to you.

It’s hard because some people like to go with the flow of life, while others are more strict with themselves. I’d just like to see some more people living with intention. This means being neither laid-back or strict, but just aware of what you’re doing and what you want and living your life accordingly.

Ask yourself this before deciding on what to pursue in 2019:

  • What changes would I like to see?
  • How would I like to feel?
  • How can I challenge myself this year?
  • What have I always dreamed of but always put off doing?
  • If there was no chance of failure or rejection or limitation, what would I do?
  • What can I not let continue in my life anymore?
  • How can I develop mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually?


Get specific. People fail when they’re not specific about what they want. Don’t write down “I want to improve my fitness“. Instead, write “I want to learn ten new yoga poses“, “I want to be able to run 5K“, “I want to lose 10kg“, or something more specific which is a real, attainable goal. You can say, “I want to feel fitter and healthier” but for a goal to work towards, you need to use specific language.


After all is said and done; after all the ideas and mind maps and questions are answered, do yourself a favour and keep it simple. You can have lots of behind the scenes pursuits or goals or actions, but always remember to have one simple focus that’s key and sets the tone for your year.

There’s a lot that I want to achieve and areas I want to grow in, but ultimately it all comes down to one key focus – WRITING.

  • Writing my books
  • Writing for clients
  • Creative writing
  • Writing growth
  • Writing rejection and lessons
  • The writing community
  • The industry know-how and updates
  • Genre, voice, tone, audience: the craft as a whole
  • And reading largely to develop myself and my writing


All of my purists and goals and actions can be summarised into that one focus – Writing. And knowing that makes everything easier. It makes decisions easier, because I know to do things in aid of that one goal. It makes focusing and priorities easier. It makes me feel less pressure.

And in terms of how I ultimately want to feel come the end of next year – I want to feel like a real, knowledgeable, confident writer.

So, what are your goals? How do you want to feel? Jot it down, get excited, make it happen! Good luck!

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