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  • Melissa Paulsen, MA, LMFT, RPT-S

New Year, New Goals!

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” – Edith Lovejoy Pierce, Poet


Happy New Year!!!


It’s the first day of 2023 and many of us are trying to pin down what we want to achieve, change, try, or learn this year. According to James Clear, “If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.”


Goals tell you where you want to go/end up but systems are needed to get you there. Anyone can create a goal but unless you also create a strategy to accompany the goal, you will likely be done with that “resolution” by February.


There are 3 layers of behavioral change you should be aware of when creating goals and resolutions:

  • Outcome – what you get

  • Process – what you do

  • Identity – who you are

Your identity emerges out of your habits. We all know the outcome we want, but again we need to identify the process we’re going to use to get to the outcome. What steps will you take to make sure you achieve the outcome you desire?


If you’re trying to set a new goal, make it a SMART Goal:

  • Specific – Your goal needs to be specific to what you’re working towards! If your goal is related to health and wellness, your goal may focus on losing weight but more specifically on working out 1 hour per day and eating fast food less.

  • Measurable – Having a measurable goal will help you know whether you’re making progress or not. If you want to save money, you can easily track how much you saved within the account you’re putting your money in. If you want to read more, you can easily keep track of how many books you’ve read (check out Goodreads).

  • Achievable – Use “The Goldilocks Rule” by finding the optimal zone of difficulty and make sure your goal is not too hard, not too easy, but just right.

  • Realistic – While many goals can be achievable, they must also be realistic to be SMART. Is it possible to work out for 2-3 hours per day? Absolutely, but it’s not realistic for most people on a daily basis.

  • Time-Based – Set a realistic deadline. Paying off all your debt in 1 month is not a realistic deadline for most. Losing 50 pounds in 1 month is also not a realistic deadline. You can also set a long-term deadline with a total goal and break it down into sections with short-term goals too. If you want to save $12,000 by 12.31.23, you could have a halfway goal of $6,000 by 06.30.23.


I highly recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear to get you motivated on your 2023 goals!


If you would like to work on goal-setting and personal-development, visit our Getting Started page and fill out our New Client Information Form. We are happy to help you RISE!


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