5 Steps to Crush Your New Years Goals


At Christmas this past weekend my future father-in-law asked me what my wishes are for the New Year.

I responded, “Are you asking me what my goals are? Or what my wishes are?”
He said, “Aren’t they the same thing?”

Personally, I feel that wishes are things that are gifted to you. Exciting things that you may or may not have much control over.

Goals are things you set for yourself. A goal is something you can work towards and invest time in. You have a say when it comes to reaching your goals.

Wouter (my fiancé) and I have been discussing our goals and our tactics for reaching those goals. Yes, we did get started a little before the new year (I was too excited!) but so far I think it’s going well.

I’m sharing what we’re trying in hopes that you too can get this year off on the right foot.

1. Write it Down

Don’t be afraid to dream big! Reach for the stars. Give yourself a challenging goal, one that you might not know how to approach yet. It can be financial, fitness inspired, or perhaps a big promotion or career change.

But Liz, what happens if I don’t reach that goal?

I know. It is so satisfying to set a goal and then achieve it. But if you already know a goal is within your reach, you’re not pushing yourself to your fullest potential. If you can easily achieve it, just put it on the to-do list and finish it tomorrow! If you don’t save all the money, or you don’t get the new job, or you don’t lose every last pound you wanted to, so what? Almost reaching a big goal gets you much further (and gives you more bragging rights) than easily achieving a tiny one.    One more thing: make it an affirmation, not a future tense. Instead of “I will…” make it “I am…”

What did I do? I wrote down some specific goals I wanted to achieve. We’re talking nitty-gritty specific. I have 20 regular fitness/nutrition clients. I am visiting 5 new countries this year. I can complete a half marathon in 1:50:00. Make sense?

I wrote down some of these goals and Then I made it scary. I doubled or tripled it, or added something extra.

Say I wanted to save $10,000. Now it’s “I have $20,000 in my savings.

Or I want to create a lifestyle blog. Now it’s “I’ve made a lifestyle blog and make $12k from it.

You see what I’m saying? Make it big and make it specific!

2. Find the “WHY”

This tip is from my brilliant fiancé. Both of us are avid podcast listeners and we’d heard that finding the “why” makes everything more vibrant and compelling.
Take the goal you’ve set and start jotting down every teeny tiny “why” you can think of. For example:

To fit into my jeans from high school, to make climbing the stairs at work easier, to impress Cindy from the gym, to be financially independent, to have the extra time to devote to my spelunking hobby….

You get it?

Anything. There is nothing too big or small. Aim for 50+ “why”s. You don’t need to do this all in one sitting, you can add to it as you think of things. Having all these reasons why you want to achieve the goal will make every step you take towards it that much more passionate.

3. Set a Date

In the interest of more specificity, we also gave ourselves time frames. Specific dates to reach these goals.

“I can run the November 12, 2018 Rock and Roll half marathon in a time of 1:50:00.”

It might seem a little preemptive, but I promise, this makes the next step easier and again, more specific.

4. Work Backwards

Now that you have your nice big fat goal, lots of “why”s to give you motivation, and a specific time to light a fire under your bum, its time to work backwards.

What Wouter and I are trying is to take that big goal, and then split it up into months, weeks, and even days. Take a financial goal. I have $30,000 in my savings on December 31, 2018. Breaking it down, that means:

I have $30,000 in my savings

—>I save $2,500 every month

———> I save $625 a week.

Once you have those smaller broken down goals, you can more easily make little to do lists in order to reach those small ones every day. You want to save $625 a week? Cut that daily starbucks, buy your groceries in bulk, cancel that Spotify membership you never use…you get it.

That big, scary, unattainable goal you’ve set for yourself is now more chewable and you can take steps towards reaching it every day.

5. Read Your Goals Daily

So now that we’ve documented our goals and ways we want to achieve them, we wake up and read them every day.

Every. Day.

I have mine in a notebook by the couch that I sit on to drink my coffee every morning. So while I’m sipping I can also skim over my goals, read my “why”s, look at the smaller goals and check off my daily to-do.

This is what I’m implementing in 2018. I will keep track along the way, maybe make some changes, try some different tactics. The lovely thing about these goals is they can change! That daily check-in means you can measure whether that goal is still something that speaks to you and you can change it accordingly.

Either way, achieving a portion of a big goal is a much more impressive and boast-worthy feat than an easy peasy chore disguised as a goal.

I love a good list and I can proudly say that the first day of this new year has been a smashing success. Try it for yourself and very best of luck on your 2018 goal crushing!


  1. Tori Waples
    January 1, 2018

    Elizabeth, this is amazing. I look forward to following your blog and journey. I love your approach for health and wellness and your writing style.

    I was sitting in church yesterday and was touched by the message and began making a list of goals for 2018! I am giving your 5 steps a go and see what I can accomplish.

    1. ElizabethHake
      January 2, 2018

      Aaagh that makes me so happy! I’m giving this goal setting method a try too and so far it seems to be going well! I’ll keep posting about how this is working for me (and for Wouter) and hopefully it will lead to some really awesome things for all of us in 2018 🙂

  2. Gregg Hake
    January 2, 2018

    My father used to set defined, achievable goals and would always be stated “in the present”. These were called affirmations and would help break down the limiting barriers in the brain and would keep him focusing on what was important to him every day.

    1. ElizabethHake
      January 2, 2018

      I remember you saying that! Going to try implementing in in my life too!

  3. Colleen Nickel
    January 3, 2018

    All you say is right on! Thanks for the reminders that make me want to redo my goals! Colleen


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