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Gentler Ways to Reach Your New Year's Goals

Goal-setting is deeply rooted in self-love. You love yourself and want the best for yourself, so you set out to achieve what you truly want. Very similar to how a parent will sacrifice and work tirelessly for their children, we desire to replicate that same level of dedication towards ourselves. The caveat is that grinding and taking on a go-getter attitude can lead to burnout. 

It’s not uncommon that new year goals get forgotten around late spring, according to Forbes the average resolution lasts around 3.7 months. Here is why:

  • We set on new habits that are completely foreign to us, we expect that we can all of a sudden take on a completely new lifestyle from 0-100, and we aren't gradual enough with ourselves
  • We take on an all-or-nothing mentality, if we miss too many days of our new workout regime, we consider ourselves failures and wave goodbye to the gym, what’s the point if we are just going to miss the mark we’ve set for ourselves? We begin to associate the gym with our incompetence. This isn’t fair to ourselves, and it is crucial to be gentle and gradual when taking on lifestyle changes that are completely new to us. 

Here are some things we are going to focus on when it comes to goal achievement.

  • We are going to focus on how we feel
  • We are going to make goal-setting and achievement pleasurable. 
  • We are going to make it easy for us. We are going to create lots of opportunities for success
  • We are going to accept that we may slip up. We are going to be gentle with ourselves when we make a human error. We are going to accept our humanity. 

So, you want to actually achieve your goals this year, but you don’t want to hate yourself doing it. Here is a step-by-step guide to gently reaching your goals this new year:

1. Set the goal 

The first step sets the path we are about to take. The first step to reach your New Year’s goals is to set them. How do we set a new goal?

Feel it 

Go beyond what you think you should set out to achieve, what is your body and soul asking for? You may think I ought to shed a few pounds, I really should eat healthier, I should make more money. But what is your gut telling you? What is your soul quietly crying out for? What runs through your mind when you silence the noise around you? There lies your true goal. 

Get creative 

Vision board, script, whatever feels best to you. What is key about this step is having fun with it. Do what gets you in a flow state. When we are in a flow state, ideas and our best work come out of us in an uninterrupted way. If it’s using lots of different colorful pens, cutting out magazine images, or making a mood board on Canva. Make this process inspiring and enjoyable. 

Finalize the goals you want to achieve

After looking inward and letting your creativity flow to visualize the goals, take a step back and look at what you’ve set out to achieve. Try to condense these abstract ideas into a list of tangible goals you are setting for yourself. Then we can begin the process of achieving them in a gentle way.

2. Set yourself up for success

Just because you are taking on a gentle approach to goal-setting does not mean you have to be passive. Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible with your methods. The objective here is to make it easy to achieve your goals. Anticipate roadblocks, and how you will overcome them. 

Pre-plan and strategize

Take inventory of what you know about yourself. 

  • Do you tend to overthink, or struggle with anxiety or depression and this keeps you from achieving your goals? Consider committing to one therapy session a month to counteract that roadblock. 

        Here is the American Psychological Association's guide to finding a therapist.

  • Do you tend to bite off more than you can chew, resulting in not getting much of what you truly want done? Consider practicing the art of setting boundaries and making it a goal to be more clear about what you are and are not willing to take on this year. 

Brainstorm a routine that is simple and effective. Instead of a grueling 2-hour workout every day, can you start with a walk around the block followed by some squats and lunges? 

Instead of taking on a whole new way of eating, can you change one meal per day? How can you make this simple for yourself? Consider: 

  • Setting out outfits for the week
  • Meal prepping at least one meal weekly 
  • Taking credit cards off Apple pay
  • Setting monthly bills on autopay
  • Setting screen time restrictions 

Automate, so you free up some mind space and energy for putting the work in. 

Set checkpoints

Pre-write in your planner or calendar check-ins. For example, if you have a goal of making a certain amount of money this year, you might want to have a budgeting/income plan before each month, and a review towards the end of the month.

For example, if you have a goal of making a certain amount of money this year, you might want to have a budgeting/income plan before each month, and review that plan towards the end of the month.

Make goal setting feel good

Make it a joy to set goals. Take yourself to coffee or lunch to review, brainstorm, or journal all that you want to achieve and your plan to get there. Release the tension of getting it all right. 

3. Be realistic, without limiting yourself

While grounding is important, do not let being grounded lead to thinking you cannot elevate or change your ways. Know that you are human, but that humans do truly incredible things each and every day. 

Remember that to err is human 

A quote we love is “Fall down 99 times, get up 100”. It is human to have a bad day or even a bad month. This is why anticipating downtime is crucial to setting goals in a gentle way. 

Write yourself notes, leaving gentle reminders throughout your living space 

Things like:

  • "Remember your skincare routine" in the bathroom mirror 
  • A note that says "How has your water intake been?" by the refrigerator 
  • "Remember, no screen time the first hour of waking" on your bedside table 


Small gestures like these are gentle reminders of what you’ve set out to do for yourself. 

Remember why you started

Finding your “why” is a big part of being realistic. These goals have not been set for no reason. What is it about your reality that you wish to change? 

Why do you want to become more fit, why do you want to increase your income, why do you want to break unhealthy patterns in your relationships? Have an unfiltered, raw conversation with yourself. 

Knowing the true reason why we want to set new goals for ourselves allows us to be realistic about who we are, and how we are going to make our dreams reality. 

A final note

We know that you can accomplish absolutely anything you set your mind to. The path to achievement does not have to be one paved with more hardship than necessary. The great news is, there are actions you can take to have a gentler relationship with your New Year resolutions. We hope this article provides you with tangible ways to feel good about yourself and develop self-trust this new year. You got this!

We want to hear your New Year's resolutions! Join our Insiders Community on Facebook for vulnerable conversations, accountability, and more. Get access to a community rooted in self-love and improvement, all are welcome. 

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