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Why You Should Set Goals Instead of Resolutions

*This is a collaborative post.*

2018 hasn’t been a great year. OK, scrap that. It’s been pretty disastrous on a personal level for me, but the only way is up, right? 2019 is going to be my year, I can feel it! I won’t just sit there and wait for good things to happen. I’m going to make things happen! How? By setting goals instead of resolutions for 2019.

Earlier this month, I reviewed how 2018 had gone in terms of my freelance work, through a free course with Aby at ‘Mamapreneur Revolution’ and set my goals for 2019. I’ve been taking part for the past three years and I like reflecting on the year just gone and setting targets for the year to come. 

The reason I focus on my goals in December is to avoid going for silly resolutions on the 1st of January. I’d love to hear about anyone who’s done brilliantly with the resolutions they came up with at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s day. Please humour me if you have success stories. 

I’ve personally never achieved anything that way. “I will stop eating sweets, save £200 a week and go to the gym three times a week” used to be regular resolutions of mine. It sounds like a great resolution for someone who loves a treat and sees walking to the shops as her favourite way to exercise, doesn’t it? I did practise yoga three times in January that year, but definitely didn’t set foot in a gym or practise yoga more than once a month that year. Let’s be real here: resolutions tend to last less than a month (A week? A day?), so I’m going for goals instead.   

5 reasons I’m setting goals instead of resolutions for 2019:

1- No More Fluff

Resolutions are wishy-washy and most people tend not to stick to them or do what it takes to achieve them. Fact.

2- Action Rather than Wishful Thinking 

Instead of wasting energy hoping for a different life, you could be working towards achievable goals. If you write down your goals rather than wistfully whispering them to a friend, you are much more likely to work towards these goals and achieve them. 

Here are 5 reasons you should be setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year, plus practical tips to stick to your goals & smash your targets.

3- Be S.M.A.R.T. 

The main reason I went for goals instead of resolutions a few years ago stems from my performance management when I was a teacher. All my targets for appraisal had to be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive) and I’ve found that it helped me set targets for my personal life as well as my freelance career. 

For example, instead of a resolution like “I will spend more time with my children and be fully present,” one of my targets for 2018 was:

Plan a one-to-one day or evening with each of my four children every three months.

I planned these ahead. For example, between October and December, I had a whole day with my boy at home doing crafts (his sisters were at school and he had the day off after Blitz Night). My 6-year-old’s birthday present was a day out with me to go and see The Nutcracker at the Coliseum and go for lunch together. I also spent an afternoon baking cakes with my youngest and took my 8-year-old to the cinema. The activities do not necessarily cost a lot (or anything at all in some cases). I give them my time and undivided attention. This goal has now become a habit and I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. 

4- Keeping Track

It’s important to keep track of your progress and see how far you’ve come, especially if you feel like you’ve failed or not done as well as you hoped. Settings goals comes hand in hand with keeping track of whatever it is you want to improve (Finances? Weight? Amount of me-time? Exercise?). I have a spreadsheet that I update on the first of every month to track progress and I have found it really useful for measuring success (or lack of). Want to go even further than that? Get yourself an accountability partner. 

5- Goals Are more Fun than Resolutions

When you have goals, you can move forward so much more easily than when you go live your life without purpose. 

I am a night owl and I have always been. I can work until 4 or 5 a.m. and still have energy left when I go to bed. I’ve always thought I could never ever be a morning person. If you let me sleep in, I rarely wake up naturally before 12 p.m. (100% true, just ask my mum!).

I’ve wanted to be better in the morning for years and years, stop snapping at people who dared look at me before 9 a.m. and not rely so heavily on coffee. Even setting it as a goal was not working, but I discovered The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod recently, and it has been life-changing (read on for more information). I now get up at 5.30 a.m. most days and I have fun with it. Before the kids are up, I read, write, visualise what I want our life to become, say my affirmations, meditate and even exercise a bit. I am a changed person!

My goal to get up earlier and be productive has become an enjoyable one and one I want to turn into a habit. When ‘become a morning person’ was my resolution, I just couldn’t be bothered from day one and kept snoozing (my favourite hobby). I could snooze for hours. I don’t snooze any longer (most days!). 

Here are 5 reasons you should be setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year, plus practical tips to stick to your goals & smash your targets.

My Goals for 2019

My goals for 2019 are all about…

  • being present with family, 
  • getting up at 5.30 a.m. most weekdays, 
  • working clever, 
  • actively seeking work with companies I love, 
  • doubling my income, 
  • keeping on top of admin, 
  • refining my social media strategy, 
  • lifting others up, 
  • taking my four on a press trip
  • and improving my photography. 

Here are 5 reasons you should be setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year, plus practical tips to stick to your goals & smash your targets.

This is obviously a very short summary with only a general idea about all the things I am going to improve, but I have a detailed version with S.M.A.R.T. steps and time-bound targets for each of these goals.  Are you ready to set yourself goals instead of resolutions?

5 Things to Keep Motivated and Help with Goals

Now you’ve decided to go for goals instead of resolutions, how do you make sure you really stick to them and improve steadily? Here are five things I couldn’t do without when trying to achieve my goals:

1- Looking after Myself

That was my biggest lesson of 2018. Glandular fever completely floored me and it took months and months for me to feel like myself again. Taking part in my friend Sophie’s Life Reboot Camp online course taught me that if you don’t look after yourself, no one will. I appreciate that it might sound narcissistic to always put myself first, but if I’m not at the top of my game, I can’t look after my four children, be a good mum, sister or friend. So in 2019, instead of putting others first, I’ll try very hard to put myself first.

Here are 5 reasons you should be setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year, plus practical tips to stick to your goals & smash your targets.

Photo credit: Sara-Jayne Jones

2- Baby Steps

Don’t expect it to be easy or to be motivated every single day. There will be setbacks, there will be goals that are harder to achieve than others, and there will be days hen you just want to give up, stay in your pyjamas and eat out of a cardboard box. It is all normal. Just take it slowly, one day at a time. The big targets are sometimes daunting. You end up procrastinating because you can’t face tacking them or even start thinking about them. My friend Sophie said something that really resonated with me last week. It went something like this: “If you’re going to eat an elephant, eat it one bite at a time.” This is so true! If you break gig goals into tiny baby steps, the work will get done, one day at a time.  

3- Passion Planner

My friend Emma first mentioned using a Passion Planner a couple of years ago and last year, I got my first. It is so much more than a planner! It helps you break down your short and long-term goals and incorporate them into your daily life, and I use the ‘personal to-do list’ section as my personal activity and target tracker. The planner encourages you to plan for the future, but also reflect on the past and act on the present. It’s there to hold my hand as I work towards my goals and  wouldn’t be without it. 

Here are 5 reasons you should be setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year, plus practical tips to stick to your goals & smash your targets.

4- Miracle Morning Practice

Rather than paraphrasing what  the Miracle Morning practice is, here is the description for the life-changing book on Amazon: “The Miracle Morning shows how a morning routine built around 6 key practices known as “Life S.A.V.E.R.S” – silence, affirmations, visualisation, exercise, reading and scribing – can help you get more done and live your best life. Most people don’t think they have time to change their lives or achieve their goals but Hal has proven you can start achieving your goals today by devoting only 1 minute to each of these practices every day.”

I read The Miracle Morning a couple of months ago and as soon as I started reading it, I couldn’t stop until I’d read it from cover to cover. I’ve found it inspiring and I started on the morning rituals straight away and despite a few days off here and there, I haven’t looked back. Whenever I practise each of the S.A.V.E.R.S for ten minutes, I find my mornings and days much more productive and positive.

5- Vision Board

I have just created my vision board for 2019 (and life in general) and it focuses on all aspects of my life: 

  • the person I want to be (happy, organised, relaxed, making my kids laugh, a grateful way-of-life), 
  • things I would love to change (long term) in our home (new armchair, a comfy sofa, a wood burner, a Thermomix, a working TV attached to the wall, a pretty bathroom and bright, a new front door, an airy open plan kitchen),
  • my big aspirations (improving my photography, abundance, a trip to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas, a safari in Botswana, going skiing every year, a camper van)
  • things that would make our life easier (a big, sturdy car that would also be reliable, as much fruit and veg as we need, a cleaner).

Here are 5 reasons you should be setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year, plus practical tips to stick to your goals & smash your targets.

It feels so odd sharing my vision board for the world to see. It makes me feel a tad vulnerable, but funnily enough, I also feel empowered because now it’s all out there, I have to work towards these and become the person in my vision board if that makes sense. 

I printed my vision board  using the Envy 5020 printer HP kindly sent me last week. The printer comes with HP Instant Ink and I absolutely love this system! Until now, I was always running out of ink at crucial moments (just before an interview, when proofs for photos were needed the next day, and so on and so forth).

Here are 5 reasons you should be setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year, plus practical tips to stick to your goals & smash your targets.

HP Instant Ink is absolutely brilliant yet very simple. When you are close to running out of ink, your printer automatically lets HP know to send more. HP Original Ink is then delivered straight to your door before you run out. It only comes when you need it: genius! New cartridges also come with free postage to return and recycle the used one.

You can chose between four different HP Instant Ink price plans, from printing 15 pages a month for free, to £1.99 for 50 pages, £3.49 for 100 or just £7.99 for 300 a month. That’s so much cheaper than what I’m currently spending on ink! Unused pages roll over to the next month and you can change your price plan at any time. All you need is a compatible HP printer. 

Once you’ve had HP Instant Ink, I don’t think you can go back to anything else…

Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by HP, in collaboration with Mumsnet. I was sent the Envy 5020 printer and given a prepaid card for HP Instant Ink. All photos and opinions are my own.

Save me for later on Pinterest:

Here are 5 reasons you should be setting goals instead of resolutions for the new year, plus practical tips to stick to your goals & smash your targets.


  1. 16/01/2019 / 10:35 am

    I can’t wait to see all the things in your vision board come true. You’ve got this xx

    • Mel
      22/01/2019 / 10:08 pm

      They will! 🙂

  2. 16/01/2019 / 1:43 pm

    Gosh I do need that printer. This is such a lovely post and I think I need to read Miracle morning too

    • Mel
      22/01/2019 / 10:08 pm

      It’s brilliant not to have to worry about ink running out. I absolutely love it.

  3. 16/01/2019 / 9:34 pm

    I love this Mel and this year really is going to be your year. You are the strongest person I know and I am sure you will smash every one of your goals x

    • Mel
      22/01/2019 / 10:08 pm

      Thank you so much Donna: it means so so much!

  4. 17/01/2019 / 11:03 am

    Wow – 5.30am each morning. That’s impressive! I do like the idea of setting goals rather than resolutions. It seems so much more positive.

    • Mel
      22/01/2019 / 10:08 pm

      5.30 a.m. every morning is the plan, but it doesn’t happen every morning. I am still a big sleeper 🙂

  5. 17/01/2019 / 4:00 pm

    I love this Mel; I love the idea of making change — but resolutions for me are just something that can slide. I like to say I’m causing revolutions — rather than making resolutions! Happy new year lovely (is it too late to say that!!!??) xxx

    • Mel
      22/01/2019 / 10:07 pm

      I love that: you’re my kind of lady, Caro!

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