New Year Resolutions: Healthy Goal Setting for Success

We are all probably very familiar with the annual ritual of setting ambitious New Year goals only to find them fading from memory by the end of January. But there are effective ways to set goals that are both healthy and achievable, in turn bolstering your confidence and wellbeing as you commence a new work year.

To create an achievable goal, you should consider more than just the outcome you want to achieve. Setting a proactive and intentional goal involves anticipating challenges, managing stressors, and fostering resilience. Whether it’s starting your mindfulness journey or expanding on your leadership skills, setting these intentions is just the first step. In this article, we explore healthy ways to transform your intentions into actionable steps to bolster your success while maintaining and fostering your wellbeing.

Tips to Achieve Your Goals in 2024


Consider your values and strengths.

It’s important to set goals that hold genuine significance for you and enable you to leverage your strengths. Self-concordance theory tells us that goals that are aligned with our intrinsic values and interests are more likely to be pursued with enthusiasm and persistence, leading to higher success rates and enhanced wellbeing [1]. With this in mind, give yourself time to reflect on the underlying motivations or reasons that drive you to pursue a particular goal. If you’re not sure where to start, check out the free Values in Action (VIA) classification survey. The VIA classification, comprising virtues like wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence, provides a roadmap to harness innate capabilities. By identifying and capitalising on your individual strengths, you can better cultivate a sense of intrinsic purpose and fulfill your goals. This is particularly vital for work-related goals; studies indicate that individuals who have honed 4-5 of their strengths are more likely to advance within their organisation [2].

 Stay Targeted.

We all have a mental laundry list of all our life and self-actualisation goals we want to accomplish, and it can be tempting to take an all-or-nothing approach when setting our goals in the new year. However, this is a slippery slope that not only precipitates goal-abandonment, but also leads to negative self-talk and feelings of inadequacy or failure. It is better to choose one or two goals that are the most resonant and important to you at this point in time, and which genuinely believe you can attain over the course of the year. By staying small and targeted, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed, practice self-compassion, and are more likely to persevere with your goals.

 Make Your Goals Proximal.

A common mistake when setting goals is creating only distal goals, or “long-term goals”, which tend to have a lower likelihood of achievement and are challenging to stay motivated for. A more effective approach is to integrate proximal goals alongside your long-term objectives. These are goals that can be accomplished in a shorter time frame, providing continuous motivation. For instance, if your overarching goal is to enhance your collaboration skills, consider achieving smaller milestones such as contributing at least two ideas in the next team brainstorm or practicing active listening in the upcoming meeting. By breaking up your long-term goals into smaller, proximal goals, you are customising the journey to your own needs and giving yourself permission to grow at your own pace. And as an added bonus you get rewarded with a dopamine rush every time you accomplish even a small step towards your overarching goal!

Adopt a Growth Mindset.

A growth mindset is the belief that any ability can be developed through dedication and effort [3]. Embracing a growth mindset fosters a proactive and resilient approach to challenges, viewing them as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles. This perspective fuels perseverance, as setbacks are perceived as temporary setbacks, not definitive failures. People with a growth mindset are more likely to persist towards their goals, and adapt strategies based on feedback and experiences. This adaptability and resilience significantly enhance the likelihood of achieving goals. So if you fall short of targets due to external variables, do not fret. Avoid negative self-talk, and instead, seek ways to enhance the flexibility of your goals, adapting to the demands that life may unexpectedly present. You can also develop alternative plans for how you can contribute to your goal in case of setbacks. By adopting a growth mindset and focusing on learning and improvement rather than validation, outcomes and perfection, you are better able to tap into your intrinsic motivation, gain satisfaction from progress, and promote your overall wellbeing.

Start Habit-Stacking.

Habit-stacking involves the integration of small, manageable habits to achieve larger goals. Start by identifying existing habits and seamlessly integrate new, positive habits into your routine. Incorporate your habits into your goals using this format:

After/before (existing habit), I will (new habit).

By connecting your new habits to an established behaviour in your mind, you will be more likely to stick to this new behaviour! Here are some examples [4]:

After I make my morning coffee, I will practice a minute of mindfulness.

After I take my work shoes off, I will put my workout clothes on.

Before I brush my teeth, I will think of one thing I’m grateful for today.

These new habits are more likely to be achieved when they are associated with habits of everyday living.

Start Self-Monitoring.

Not every goal you create will seamlessly fit into your busy life, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw it out the window. Be sure to reflect on your goal as the year goes on and be prepared to alter aspects of it to make sure its achievable within your lifestyle. Intentionally scheduling moments for self-reflection is vital in goal attainment and will ensure that the actions you take towards your goals become ingrained habits. Regularly assess your progress, celebrate achievements, and learn from setbacks. Solicit feedback from mentors, peers, or even self-assessment tools to gain valuable insights.


In a world where the pace is relentless, approaching goals in a healthy, meaningful and intentional way is the key to success. By incorporating these tips into your new years resolutions, you can transform aspirations into visible achievements and maintain your wellbeing as a priority along the way. Share these strategies with your team, and make a collective commitment to prioritise your mental health as part of your goal-setting throughout the year to create a sustainable roadmap to a thriving professional life.


[1] Sheldon, K. M., & Elliot, A. J. (1999). Goal striving, need satisfaction, and longitudinal well-being: The self-concordance model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(3), 482-497.

[2] Zenger, J. 2019. Developing Strengths or Weaknesses. Zenger Folkman. 

[3] Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House.

[4] Clear, J. (2020). How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones.

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