Make 2016 great with effective goal-setting step-by-step

by Gideon Hanekom
December 30, 2015

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With 2016 knocking on the door I’m sure you’ve started thinking about the new year. So, in this post, we’re gonna look at some ideas on effective goal-setting.

“New Year = A New Life! Decide today who you will become, what you will give how you will live.” 

Tony Robbins

As people, we like to move forward in life. 

We enjoy getting better at things or getting better results. 

In fact, growth and overcoming challenges are what makes us come alive.

The inconvenient truth is however that unless we set better or new targets, we will continue to achieve the targets we are focused on now – consciously and unconsciously. 

Setting our sights on something new will direct our focus, behaviour (actions, rituals and habits) and energy in a new way. 

And all it requires is getting clarity and then taking the first new step.

However, most of us have only a vague idea of what we’d like to accomplish, but few have true, concrete goals.

A goal is analogous to a target.

Without a goal, you’re just drifting along hoping for things to improve.

With a goal, you have a definite direction and purpose.

Though we’ve all been told and know how important targets are, few of us have ever formulated effective goals let alone move towards them. 

So, let me share a few thoughts with you to help you on your way to a great new year and season in your life.

Give your goal(s) these characteristics and you’ll be on your way to effective goal-setting and possible success:

1. Be Specific.

Acquiring a new car isn’t specific.

Acquiring a 2015, silver Honda Civic with the navigation package and luggage rack is specific.

Be as specific as you need to be, but not more.

If your goal is to meet the man of your dreams, does he really have to be over 6 feet tall and have a dimple in his chin?

It’s important to have a clear target, but too much specificity limits your options.

Stick to the important characteristics.

2. Big reason “why.”

Once you know “what you want” you also need to know the “why” you want it.

We often lack the emotional and physical energy to pursue our goals because we have impotent reasons why we wanted those goals in the first place.

For example, if you ask almost any parent what they would be willing to do to help their child in trouble, their answer would most likely be “anything!”

And they would mean it.

Now, why is that?


They value their kids so much that they would do whatever it takes to achieve the goal of helping their kids in trouble.

We need the same emotional and psychological edge/leverage to drive our behaviour and choices in order for us to reach our goals.

Make sure you write down what you want AND also why you want it.

If the reason is too small get a bigger one, or change the goal.

3. Time-bound.

Without a timeline, you might find yourself waiting for a long time because you’ll be unlikely to ever get started.

Having an endpoint date creates focus and urgency.

An effective endpoint date is no more than 12 weeks into the future.

If your goal will take longer than that, break it into smaller goals.

Anything beyond 12 weeks will cause your focus to wane.

It’s far too easy to procrastinate with goals set too far in the future.

4. Possible.

If you don’t believe you can achieve your goal, you won’t pursue it.

What would be the point?

Start with a goal small enough that you believe it can be done within the timeframe you’ve set.

Do you have the necessary resources and time to reach your goal before the deadline?

5. Make it Measurable.

If you can’t measure it, how will you know if you’ve achieved it?

How will you know if you’re making progress?

Goals that deal with money or bodyweight, for example, are easy to quantify.

A goal to take a trip to Hawaii is also easy to measure because you either did it or you didn’t.

Goals that deal with less quantifiable characteristics, such as money, can be a little more challenging.

You might have to develop your own measuring scale.

Ensure your goal can be measured before you get started.

6. Reviewed regularly.

One of the most effective ways to prioritize your goals is to review them at least twice daily, first thing in the morning and last thing before bed at night.

With so many thoughts and ideas flying around in your head, a daily review of your goals will help them to rise above the noise.

Take a few minutes each day to review your goals.

Take enough time to re-write, read, and visualize your goals.

After you’ve created your goal, make a list of actions that will lead to attaining your goal.

Too many of us spend too much time in our heads to be successful.

Things only change when new actions are taking place.

Start at the end and work your way back to the present.

What step could you take today toward reaching your goal? 

You must take action immediately! 

Don’t wait, but start moving in the direction of your goal today. 

Do something new, something different, and something that will add up in the end.

Goals are the key to major achievements in your life.

Ask your successful and unsuccessful friends about their goals compared to their results in life.

Those with goals regularly outperform those without.

If you don’t have any goals, hurry up and make some today!

If your life isn’t fulfilling, a few goals can make all the difference.

Until I see you again in the new year – Happy New Year!!!

I hope it’s a good one filled with joy, abundance and massive success!

See ya!

About the author 

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a renowned relationship blog that ranked among the top 50 relationship blogs and top 100 marriage blogs in 2021. The blog is dedicated to providing valuable insights on cultivating healthy relationships and love in daily life. Gideon holds a Master's degree in theological studies and transitioned into professional counseling almost a decade ago. In addition, he completed graduate and post-graduate studies in Psychology at Massey University. With over seventeen years of marriage to his wife and two children, Gideon brings both professional and personal experience to his relationship advice. His articles have been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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