There are a lot of New Year’s plans we make, only to break them come February. This may be a result of thinking short-term and setting unrealistic goals that are easy to shrug off when they aren’t met.

Strategic long-term planning allows you to shoot for personal and professional goals within reach, such as continuing education for a profession you are already in.

As we continue into 2019, reassess your resolutions that you have made for this year. Determine whether or not they are obtainable. Reserve some time to sit with yourself to figure out if those resolutions will truly best serve you and what new ones you can set that will.

The goals you set for yourself are meant to truly benefit you, not to fulfill expectations of what society thinks will make you happy.

Here are some ideas for making goal creation part of your year-round routine, rather than simply a list you check off (or don’t).

Continuing Professional Education

It is possible that 2019 could be the year you finally set your sights on the promotion that you have been eyeing for years. Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals to motivate you to move in the direction to make them come true.

If possible, set a meeting with your supervisor to discuss the direction you see yourself evolving with the company. See what you can do to get there.

Continuing your education within your professional field is a way to make yourself more competitive. It also garners experience by continuing to work within your current role. If paying enrollment fees is what has been keeping you from visiting the admissions office, look into federal, private student loans or explore grant opportunities by filling out the FAFSA online.

If you are an educator looking to further your education outside of those hours required to maintain your current licensing, there are ample opportunities. Curriculum and instruction degrees online for current educators, tutors, and working adults interested in pursuing professional education online now are more accessible than ever. You can complete them on your own timeline, outside of work hours.

Acquiring a Master’s in Education with a focus in leadership or curriculum development will open up a new realm of opportunities. These can aid in broadening your career options.

Short-Term Views to Reach Big Goals

Starting the year off by stating that you are going to accomplish a vague or unmeasurable goal will make it feel unobtainable.

For instance, let’s say you tell yourself that this is the year that you are going to write a book. It may be easier to go the whole year being afraid even to start the book. Why? Because of the feeling that if you don’t finish it, you haven’t accomplished the goal.

Instead, try telling yourself you will write a chapter a month in 2019. Or sign up for a writer’s workshop to fine-tune your ideas with others.

If you have a large life event coming up that requires a large amount of attention, such as wedding planning, set out a timeline of benchmarks for yourself, so you continue to make progress. If your wedding is in the fall, create a calendar that will remind you when to contact the cake designer or the florist and when the invitations should go out. It will make planning more simple for you as long as you stay on top of your tasks.

If you are unable to keep up, enlist the help of others like your bridal party, your mother, or your future mother-in-law to make sure that it all gets done on time.

Personal Growth

Take a moment to ask yourself some of the following questions:

Not all goal-setting should focus on a specific reward or financial gain. Evaluating what other realms of your life could use your attention to help you feel more fulfilled is a worthwhile activity. Committing to acts of service, adopting a spiritual practice, or an exercise routine in your daily schedule can all be rewarding in their own ways.

Allow yourself to set goals that are fun and help to create long-lasting, healthy lifestyle changes. Daily practices, such as journaling, painting, or crafting, help to alleviate stress and are a creative outlet most people fail to give themselves in their busy schedules. Finding time seems too often to be a hindering factor but it is possible.

For instance, a commitment to daily exercise will prolong your life, and you may improve both your mood and sleep.

You can still set goals for the year after the first month has come and gone. Ask yourself some prodding questions to help you to focus your goals that can add value to your life. Don’t place unneeded stress upon yourself by making them unobtainable. Write down realistic goals and take pleasure in checking them off throughout the year.

Noah Rue

Noah Rue is always wondering where his next trip will take him. When he’s not traveling the world, he writes about sustainability, technology, workplace management, career development, and other interests. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can contact him at