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Why I hate setting New Year goals

As I emerge from the piles of Quality Street wrappers and empty bottles of prosecco back into the world of work everyone seems to be talking about the importance of setting yourself goals for the New Year. How to visualise your future, manifest your best life and set goals that are achievable.

And to be honest, I am kind of over it.

I've never been a fan of setting goals in January, it always leaves me feeling like I am under a lot of pressure and expectation. You may feel the same too?

There are a number of reasons for this

  1. Getting the goals right. We put expectations on ourselves to nail that one big thing that we are going to achieve this year. Have you ever tried to decide on one big thing? It's really difficult and can lead to more indecision not less. This leads me on to the 2nd reason.

  2. We overthink it. This means we don't start anything and become stuck.

  3. We dream small. Fear of failure has to be one of the biggest barriers to setting goals. We end up going to the very edge of our comfort zone rather than looking that bit further for something a bit bigger and a bit more stretchy.

So here's my antidote to the above, how I approach goal setting in the New Year and also what I have seen work for others too.

Direction over destination

Think of the goal less about the final destination but more about the direction you want to head in. What is it you want to feel when you are working on this goal? Focus on those first few steps you can take in the right direction rather than having every step figured out before you start.

Progress is the goal

Progress is actually the real goal. More than the goal itself! Nothing is ever going to get achieved if you don't start. The key to making progress is replacing those expectations for perfection with something much more realistic and kinder to you. Good enough is good enough

Celebrate the small things

Goals can often feel long into the future and far away, we say to ourselves we will reward our achievement when we get there. It's hard to keep your motivation sustained. Recognising the small things along the way is as important if not more important than getting there. When those London marathon runners are pounding the streets, the crowds don't wait until the finish line to cheer them on, they are there ever step of the way, clapping and whooping! We have to do the same for ourselves if we want to reach the finish line.

So, here's to dreaming big, to taking action, to not sweating the small stuff and to being our biggest cheerleaders.


If you would like to discuss how coaching can support you in setting inspiring goals and achieving them, then feel free to drop me an email at


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