Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson


Jaunty Post

Making resolutions is one of my favorite things about the new year. With the old tucked away, it feels like we have a clean slate and anything is possible. When I wrote my goals and resolutions for 2013, I decided to revisit the tips I offered in a goal setting workshop a few years back. I thought it might be fun to share some of the suggestions here…just in case you want to join in on the New Year’s resolution fun.

1. Make sure the goal you are working for is something you really want, not just something that sounds good. For years I’ve had “learn to speak French” on my goal list. While I know some key words and phrases, the reality is I even though learning to speak French sounds fun, I don’t know that I really have time to do it right now. So, “learn to speak French” did not make my list of goals this year. Not that it would hurt anything to have it on the list, but it’s much more fulfilling to check off the things I have accomplished than to regret the ones I didn’t.

2. Develop goals in 6 areas to ensure a more balanced life:
Family and Home               Financial and Career
Spiritual and Ethical           Physical and Health
Social and Cultural             Mental and Educational

3. Make sure your goals don’t contradict each other:
For example, if you’ve set goals to improve your health, staying up all night to work on your manuscript when you have to get up early to go work at your full-time day job will not do anything for your health. In fact, it will probably send you into a spiral of burnout causing you to not be able to meet any of your goals.

4. Write your goals down and write them in the positive. Writing down your goals is your roadmap to success. It proves that you know what you want and how you’re going to get there.

5. Write your goal out in complete detail. Take care that most of your goals are performance goals (things you have control over) rather than outcome goals (things you have no control over).

6. Make sure to set your goals high enough and have a mix of performance goals and outcome goals. Although you want most of your goals to be things over which you have control/performance goals: I will write three pages every day; I will exercise three times per week… throw in a few outcome goals: I want to get published; I want to hit the New York Times list.

7. Revisit your goals at various times during the year. Life happens and things change. It’s not only okay, but it’s necessary to tweak and readjust your plan. I revisit mine quarterly.


What are some of your goals and resolutions? Do you have any tips to help achieve goals?

4 thoughts on “I Resolve…

  1. My goals are lengthy and in categories like yours, N! I love making a new list each year. I break it down into quarters so that I know what I’m working on in the first three months of the year. It helps me to focus. I also hang my list right above my computer so I see it every day. It helps me remember what’s really important to me.

  2. I’ve never done this, Nancy, but I do have a daily mantra: do your best for today. This keeps me from getting nervous about the entire year and all that has to be done in that timeframe, and keeps me focused. And “best” varies…do my best at a manuscript, do my best as a mom, sister, friend, person, etc. So far, it’s been working really well!

  3. Shana Shana says:

    This probably sounds bad, but my resolution is not to volunteer for anything. I volunteered for too much this year. My goal is to stay on track with all my books and find time for family too.

  4. Terri Brisbin says:

    I’m going simple this year – write more and move more! I can’t get those confused and it’s pretty easy to tell if I’m doing it!

    Happy New Year, Nancy!

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