Setting New Year Goals

Last updated: December 2022

With 2023 right around the corner, you will probably hear of people wanting to set New Year resolutions. A few examples are to exercise more, to learn a new skill, to save money, or quit smoking. Setting resolutions may seem a bit daunting, so some people have started to have New Year goals instead.

The difference between a goal and a resolution is that a goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort while a resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something.1 Like most people, I have a few goals that I want to achieve.

Setting goals is a great way learn or change, but the process can feel overwhelming, especially when you are already managing living with cystic fibrosis (CF).

I recently learned about the three main types of goals and how to increase the chance of achieving a goal.

Types of goals

There are three main types of goals that you may want to achieve. They are called Process Goals, Performance Goals, and Outcome Goals.2 These different types of goals focus on different motivations and different ways to achieve them.

Firstly, Process Goals are goals that have a specific action or “process” of performing. For example, a process goal is aiming to practice a specific act, such as writing or reading. Setting a goal to read one hour a day is a process goal.2

Secondly, Performance Goals are based on a personal standard. For example, a performance goal is striving to make a good grade. Specifically, if you have a test coming up and you set a goal for yourself to make an A+. That is a performance goal.2

Lastly, an Outcome Goal is based on winning. These are harder to control than the previous two goals. For example, an outcome goal is a goal of winning a specific sporting match, like a Tae Kwon Do tournament. This type of goal depends on both the ability of the athlete setting the goal and the ability of their opponent.3

How do you set a goal?

Wanting to do something new can motivate you to want to set a goal, but setting a goal can sometimes be overwhelming. How do you set a goal? Also, how do you increase your chance of success for achieving that goal?:4

  1. Write down your goals. Start by writing down a list of potential goals and figure out what it is that you want to achieve. Maybe you want to cook more CF friendly recipes at home this year.
  2. Determine how to measure goal achievement. Identify measures that help determine or indicate when a goal has been achieved. Time is a good way to measure some goals. For example, taking time for yourself to destress and reading one hour a day is a measurable goal, because you use time to gauge whether the goal has been achieved.
  3. Establish a deadline for achieving the goal. Setting a deadline can help to create a realistic timeline necessary to achieve a goal. You are juggling many priorities living with CF, and deadlines can help you check things off your list.
  4. Identify obstacles to achieving the goals. Obstacles can be a variety of things. For example, obstacles to achieving goals may be people, knowledge, skill, resources, or procrastination. You have a natural obstacle with CF, so adapting your goals around managing your health will be important.
  5. Identify how to overcome obstacles. Once you have identified the obstacles, create a plan to overcome them. For example, if you cannot buy a book, maybe you can rent one from your local library for a better cost. As you tackle each obstacle, you are one step closer to achieving your goal. Remember to break down each problem, find a solution, and be persistent. You must be flexible to overcome obstacles.
  6. Review the list. After you create your goals, think about how to measure them, determine a deadline, and overcome obstacles you will need to review the goals you have. It is important to do this to ensure that they are reasonable.
  7. Monitor progress and continue to set goals. Once one goal has been achieved, it is okay to want to set a new goal. Remember to start from the beginning.

One step at a time

As we read earlier, setting goals can sometimes be overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to start, how to determine if the goal has been achieved, and what to do afterward. One of the first steps to setting goals and accomplishing them is realizing what you want.

Taking one step at a time to reach your goals is so important. Getting bogged down can happen easily, but with support and good planning goals can be achieved! Each person has different desires and wants in their life so your goal will probably not look like your friend’s goal. That is okay. We can all do our best to reach our goals and encourage others along the way.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Cystic-Fibrosis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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