How to set goals for the new year - What Katy Said

How to set goals for the new year

Inside: Why you should make New Year resolutions and 20 ideas for 2020.

Not only are we moving into a new year, but we are also moving into a new decade! As much as I am a big believer in starting right now, there is definitely something inspiring about the fresh slate that a new year brings.

If you don’t like the idea of resolutions, take a look at my Rememberlutions Jar idea instead.

Why you should set goals for yourself

Whether you are starting today or making plans for a fresh start for the new year, you should definitely set goals for yourself.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”

A goal is not the same as a resolution as they have an endpoint. So a resolution might be “I am going to start running”, whereas a goal would be “I am going to be able to run 5k by July”. That goal then gets broken down into a plan such as using the couch to 5k app to build you up.

You are far more likely to succeed if you have a goal and a plan to keep you focused. And starting in the new year will mean you are surrounded by others who are just as excited to wipe the slate clean as you are.

How to set goals

You may be sitting there thinking ok, this all sounds great but how do I actually go about setting those goals? I use SMART goals which help you really drill down into the specifics.


Don’t just say you want to learn to cook, be specific and say that you want to try one new recipe each week.

Don’t just say you want to eat healthier, be specific and say that you want to eat 5 different fruits and vegetables each day.


When setting a goal you need to bear in mind these questions.

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

How many miles will I run? How much weight do I want to lose? How many times will I smile at myself in the mirror? How much money will I have saved?


Don’t take on too much and don’t set a goal that is way out of reach. Want to start running? Aim for 5k and not a full marathon. Want to save money? Aim for £1000 and not £10’000. You know what is within reach.


Does this goal actually matter to you? Is it something you truly want to do or are you doing it to please other people? If you don’t care then you will not put the effort in to be able to achieve it.

Something else to bear in mind is timing. Is this the right time to set this goal? If you’ve just given birth and are living with a newborn, it is probably not the best time to start a new business. Be realistic, be kind to yourself.


There is no point in setting a goal if you don’t have a time limit. If you have a goal to earn £30k, you need to have a timeframe for wanting to have earned it. “I want to earn £30k annually” would be a time-specific goal worth working towards.

20 Goal Ideas for 2020

These are not yet SMART goals – only you know whether they mean anything to you, whether they are achievable or how long you will take to achieve them. But if you are lacking in goal inspiration, here are 20 ideas to get you started for 2020.

1. Move more

Whether it is joining a gym, using the car less, or having a dance around the kitchen, moving more can help you to feel better physically and mentally.

2. Wake up earlier

Many people use their evenings for their ‘me time’ or for doing things that may not be possible while kids are around. Why not get up earlier and enjoy some peace before everyone else wakes up? It will set you up well for the day ahead.

3. Drink more water

Do you get your 8 glasses a day? No, me neither. Drinking more water can help with aches and pains, mental health and energy levels. Our bodies are made up of water so it makes sense that it would make us feel better all round.

4. Sleep more

In partnership with waking up early – why not go to bed earlier instead of trying to stay up late when you’re exhausted? Better sleep will help you feel better so that you can be your best for everyone else.

5. Eat healthily

We live in a society where speed and ease come first instead of good food and health. Why not cut down on sugar or reduce the amount you eat out? We only get one body so feed it well.

6. Spend less

You don’t need more stuff so why not make a pledge to stop shopping for unnecessary items. Can you buy second hand when you do need something? Can you shop around to find deals?

7. Declutter your home

Less stuff = less stress. It’s true, the more clutter around us the more stressed we feel so dedicate time to declutter each area of your home and regain your sanity!

8. Cut out negativity

As well as decluttering your home, declutter the people around you that bring you down. We are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with so choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel great.

9. Read more

Reading is a great way to escape into another world and a great way to better yourself. Why not pledge to read a book a month for the whole year?

10. Be kind to yourself

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the best partners, the best parents, and best friends. But are we best friends to ourselves? Be kind to yourself, know that you are doing your best and that you are more than enough.

11. Spend more time with loved ones

Just as you should cut out or reduce the time spent with negative people, you should also make more time for the people that mean the most to you and make you feel good. Send the text, make the call, pop in for a visit – they will appreciate it and it will lift you up.

12. Start a daily journal

Writing down your thoughts can be so therapeutic and I think everyone should do it. It is also a great way to record daily life so that you can look back and remember the little things. You can write in a notebook or electronically in blog format.

13. Start a blog

Blogging is a wonderful way to record your day to day life with photos as well as share them with family, friends and other people.

Blogging is also a great way to connect with others with similar interests and if you are interested you can also turn blogging into a job. It is harder than it looks though so if you don’t have time to commit then keep it as a hobby.

14. Practice gratitude

Happiness attracts happiness and the more you can find gratitude in the smaller things the happier you will be. Watch my Gratitude Journaling video to find out more.

15. Learn a new skill

When was the last time you learned something new – just for you? Why not take up a new challenge – something that you’ve always wished you could have done but never made the time.

16. Have regular ‘me’ time

“Fill up your own cup so that it overflows to the people around you”

You may think it is selfish to take time away from your family but it is actually crucial. If you constantly put others ahead of yourself then you will soon run yourself into the ground and be of no use to anyone. Regular time to do things just for you is very important.

17. Listen to podcasts

Something I have got into recently has been listening to podcasts. I always loved watching YouTube videos but I find it hard to find the time to sit and watch them properly. Podcasts are so much easier to fit into your day – I listen to them while I do housework to keep me motivated. I have my own podcast if you would like to take a listen!

18. Be more optimistic

Do you find yourself focusing on the negatives all of the time? It is so easy to fall into the trap of feeling down about everything to the point that you feel bad about all aspects of your life. We have choices in our life and sometimes you need to take a step back and decide to choose joy. I am a natural pessimist but I have managed to retrain my brain to see the best out of situations just by deciding it to be so.

19. Be more green

Our planet needs our help and it is very easy to start. It can seem overwhelming but just a few small changes can make all the difference. We have been making changes to become a plastic-free household – take a look at my 7 ways to start here.

20. Use social media less

Social media has so many positives, but there is also a dark side. And by that, I mean the comparison that can go hand in hand with looking at other people’s lives every day. You don’t have to cut it out completely of course, but schedule evenings off or an hour each afternoon – anything to just step back and focus on real life. Real life is what is most important.

Remember, make the goals SMART. Don’t take on more than 1 or two at a time until they have become habits. You’ve got this!


  • Reply
    December 17, 2019 at 4:53 am

    I already practice at least one of the goals you’ve listed and I can definitely confirm that being grateful daily made such a huge difference.

  • Reply
    Claire Rocks
    January 9, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Great goals and intentions for 2020. I love goal setting. Even as a mum, I like to still have a sense of achievement.

    • Reply
      January 9, 2020 at 9:49 pm

      Everyone should feel a sense of achievement. Every day, every week, every month, every year. Striving for more, whatever more looks like to you, should always be a goal as we can always do better. x

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