Editorial: A more effective way to set goals for the new year


Serena Bettis

For many, the new year, which starts on Sunday, January 1, 2017, is a time to reflect on past events that happened while the earth made a full rotation around the sun, and a time to set goals for the coming months. Many resolutions revolve around health, as people vow to go to the gym multiple times a week, cut out carbs and sugar from their diets, and overall be better people. It’s also a running joke about how no one ever sticks to their goals, especially ones regarding exercise, because people are lazy and life gets in the way. Personally, I both love and hate the new year. It’s a nice thought to be able to start off fresh – a new year, a new you. But if you really want to make changes to your life, or your outlook on it, the new year shouldn’t have to be an excuse for that. I believe that any day can be a day to change your life. I often think New Year’s Eve is overly romanticized, as though something special is bound to happen as the clock strikes midnight and everything will be changed forever. (Insert mystical sounds here). To me, January 1 is just another day, the only difference being that we will all have to remember to write -17 on our homework assignments. That doesn’t mean, however, that goal setting for the new year is a bad thing, I just think that it could be done in better and different ways than simply calling them new year’s resolutions.

Instead of explicitly writing down what you want to do, make a list of questions about accomplishments you want to make in the coming year and address them to your future self. I got inspired to do this last year by this video made by singer and YouTuber Troye Sivan, and I found myself thinking about some of the questions I posed to myself as different events happened. It’s a great way to sit down and look at how much has changed in one year, not only the things you accomplished and goals you failed to meet, but also to see how your dreams and priorities change as you grow older and those unexpected life events occur.

Some of the questions my pre-2016 self wrote to post-2016 me are simple, easy ones about characters in a book that came out this year, or activities I wanted to do, like go bowling or climb Horsetooth (both of those were indeed accomplished). Others were true goals I set for myself in the school activities I do, things like “Are you on the band leadership team? Are you okay if you’re not? Did you make any honor bands?” (No, yes, and yes) and then there were other questions that just related to life, and growing as a person, such as: “Have you flirted with anyone? Have you volunteered more often? Have you stopped caring about what other people think of you?”. It’s a great way to allow myself to reflect on what I’ve done, and see how I’ve grown as a person. 2016 may have not been the best year on the world platform, but for me personally it was great, and I think that this new way of goal setting helped me get there.

Below I’ve shared some of my goals for 2017, and please feel free to share your goals in the comments too.

Dear future me,

Do you know what college you want to go to? Have you been accepted into any?
Did you try out for All State? Did you get into NoCo again?
Have you been promoted to shift manager?
Did you make macarons? Have you made cupcakes from scratch?
Are you a kinder person? Are you better at sharing your feelings?
How much have you volunteered?