New Year Goal Setting: Strive for 5

It’s a new year, a time when many people generally come up with New Year’s “resolutions,” which research shows only last about three weeks. And let’s face it – it’s usually a weight loss or health goal. This year, try a different approach with new year goal setting and use what I call the “Strive for 5” approach.

Keep New Year Goal Setting Simple

With the Strive for 5 approach, you select one simple goal in each of five different areas:

  • Health
  • Personal Habit
  • Financial
  • Job or Business
  • Relationships

Goals should follow the S.M.A.R. T. formula.


What exactly do you want to achieve? make your goals specific and narrow. Use action words when with written goals (and definitely write them down). For example, if you want to drink more water, write “I will drink 64 ounces of water daily.”


How will you measure your progress? Define what will prove it. With the example above, write “I will note my water intake in ounces, on my calendar.”


Make sure your goal is attainable and something you could accomplish. It also must be realistic and actionable. For example, “I will achieve this goal by keeping a 32-ounce water bottle with me at all times, filling it up twice a day.”


Sometimes you’ll see the “R” in SMART goals represent “realistic.” Either way, the goal should align with your values (better hydration). If you need to drink more than 64 ounces of water daily, simply setting a realistic amount is a good start. After all, you’ll get more water from food and other sources.


Set a date for when you want to complete this goal. For example, “I will complete this goal in 30 days and then re-evaluate if it needs to be adjusted.”

Ideas for Each Category

Here are a bunch of ideas that fit within each category. Keep the big picture in mind with new year goal setting, ensuring that your goals align with your core values.


Many people want to improve their health and so this is a popular category. A health goal can involve nutrition, fitness, or personal health. Although you may want to pick several (lose weight, eat better, exercise), just pick one. Ask yourself, what one thing would make a difference and improve my health? Then once you have selected a goal, turn it into a SMART goal by writing it down. Here are some ideas in the health category:

  • Drink [number in ounces] of water daily
  • Exercise twice a week
  • Eat two servings of vegetables daily
  • Limit processed food to once a month
  • Reduce coffee to 1 cup per day
  • Avoid snacks after dinner 5 days a week
  • Schedule a comprehensive physical
  • Eliminate alcohol for 30 days (click here for a free challenge)
  • Practice an overnight fast (12 hours) 4 days a week
  • Schedule two dental cleanings this year
  • Practice 5 minutes of stretching daily
  • Eat a breakfast containing 15-20 grams of protein daily
  • Limit added sugar to 20 grams or less daily

Personal Habit

Is there a new habit you want to implement? Maybe you want to remove a negative habit and replace it with a positive one. It can include something from any category. Think about your habits and pick one that you want to create and make a regular part of your daily routine. Remember, habits are formed by repetition so again, just pick one and keep going. Here are some ideas:

  • Each morning when I awake, say two things I’m grateful for
  • Avoid checking my phone or e-mail each day until I’ve completed my morning routine (define)
  • Meditate 10 minutes daily for 30 days
  • Go for a 15-minute walk after dinner
  • Send a birthday card to my closest friends and family throughout the year
  • Take a relaxing bath once a week
  • Practice 5 minutes of deep breathing after work, before I arrive home
  • Go to bed each night with a clean kitchen
  • Make my bed every morning
  • Reduce my cell phone screen time by 10% weekly
  • Prepare a new recipe once a month (find my recipes here)


Many people fail to set financial goals. Since finances can be a major source of stress, it’s really important to keep it simple and realistic. Ask yourself, what financial goal do you want to accomplish in 2023? Here are some ideas:

  • Write down everything I spend for 30 days; where can I improve?
  • Save $100 a month (put it in an envelope) and use it for holiday gifts at the end of the year
  • Enroll in an online financial health course
  • Contribute an additional 2% to my 401K
  • Eliminate one subscription service for one year
  • Sell clothing on Poshmark and make $200 this year
  • Limit eating out to once a week

Job or Business

Think about your work. What do you want to accomplish in 2023? This category can include specific goals with your current job or business or goals having to do with retirement. This category can include so many different goals. Again, just pick one thing that will make a difference in how you feel about your work and accomplishments. It’s easy to set more complex goals here, but keep it simple. Here are some ideas:

  • Arrive to work 10 minutes early every day
  • Create a monthly report of my work accomplishments
  • Set specific times for checking e-mails
  • Look for new employment or opportunities for advancement
  • Set up a training plan for my work team
  • Start a newsletter for my business
  • Prioritize my projects at the beginning of each month
  • Update my resume/CV
  • Learn a new work-related skill
  • Get professional photos taken
  • Optimize my setup/environment for virtual meetings
  • Organize folders in my e-mail


This can include relationship goals with a significant other, friends, or family members. Strong relationships and social interaction are important for good health. What one goal do you have in the relationship category? Be sure to write your one selection as a SMART goal. Here are some ideas:

  • Kiss and hug your significant other once a day
  • Call your mom (son, daughter, sister, brother) once a week
  • Play a board game with your spouse or roommate once a month
  • Schedule a date night once a month; make it special
  • Eat dinner at the table as a family once a week
  • Go on a hike or walk with a friend
  • Write a letter of appreciation to a friend or family member
  • Meet your neighbors
  • Say “Thank You” regularly

How to Keep New Year Goal Setting Simple

As I was writing this article, I realized how complex goal-setting can be. It’s important to keep your goals for the year simple. You don’t have to accomplish everything in the first quarter. Spread out your five goals over the entire year. If you keep your goals simple and small, you will be more likely to achieve them. For this month, you can start with just one. Then in a couple of months, you can set another one in a different category. And so on. Discuss your goals with an “accountability partner,” someone who will help you refine them and keep you inspired during the year. Most likely, this will work better for you than a typical New Year’s Resolution.

Happy New Year 2023!

  1. Donny Ward says:

    I love this approach. I will apply it to my life and make some changes. Thanks

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