According to US News & World Report, 80 percent of “New Year’s Resolutions” bite the dust by February.* But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can set goals and actually accomplish them. But it doesn’t happen by accident. You must be specific and intentional.

Here are five steps to help you set and achieve meaningful goals in 2023.

1. Set Goals That Are Truly Important to You

Avoid setting a goal just because it sounds good or seems popular with friends and colleagues. Only set goals that are truly important to you and which motivate you in important ways.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Why is a particular goal important to you personally?
  • What are the significant consequences of not achieving the goal you have in mind?
  • What will achievement of a goal make possible for you?

If you cannot answer these types of questions about your goals, they probably won’t sustain your interest for very long. If you’re not interested, you won’t take action.

Make your goals personal enough to motivate you to press forward when the going gets tough or when you just don’t feel like it anymore.

2. Be Specific

Setting vague goals is tantamount to not setting any goals at all. For example, a goal to “read more books” or “get healthy” are too vague to mean much of anything.

Research suggests that the more specific you are, the more likely you are to make progress and actually achieve something.

Don’t be afraid of specificity. For example, instead of “read more books,” set a goal to read twenty-four books in twelve months, then write down the books you will read, and create a reading schedule that results in the completion of the last book during the twelfth month.

Be crystal clear about what you want to achieve and break it down into bite-sized steps you can take every day.

3. Look at Your Goals Every Day

The common saying: “Out of sight, out of mind” is perhaps most relevant when it comes to goal setting. One of the reasons goals easily fade from view is that we don’t keep them visible and easily accessible.

Avoid this outcome by recording your goals in places where you will see them regularly. This can be on a piece of paper, in a journal or planner, or even a vision board.

Look at your goals several times throughout each week to keep them at the forefront of your mind. Doing so will serve as a continuous reminder to maintain focus on what matters most.

4. Set a Reasonable Number of Goals

As a new year begins, it’s easy to set goals by making a long list of all the things you want to accomplish in your life. Doing this is the fastest way to become overwhelmed shortly after the new year starts.

A long list of life goals is great, but only if it’s broken down into steps you can take consistently. Author James Clear put it well when he said, “10-year dreams; 5-minute actions.”

Try dividing your long list of goals into sets of three or four, then focus on one set per quarter. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with a plan like this!

5. Track Tangible Evidence of Your Progress

What is measured can be improved, so it’s important to track each step you take toward your goals. Whether it’s a tracker in a paper planner or a digital app, seeing daily progress in the direction of your dreams is affirming and motivating. A streak of small successes is sometimes all the inspiration you need to keep going.

The popular Strides app is great at helping you break down your goals down into small steps and easily track progress. It includes snapshot progress charts and graphics. You can download the Strides app here

Happy New Year! I’m excited to ride with you in 2023 right here at QCity Metro’s Queen City Entrepreneurs Small Business Column.

Let’s Talk About It!

What are your best goal setting tips? How do you stay on track as you turn your goals into the actions needed to accomplish them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and perhaps share them in a future column!

Send me your questions and comments using this form, or email me anytime at

I love hearing your feedback!

*Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail, US News & World Report, December 29, 2015: US

Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a nationwide trade organization offering classes, training resources, and product liability insurance to small business owners. Click...

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