The main strategy that I would suggest, though, is to be realistic. It's very easy to make goals that can't be kept, or even that shouldn't be kept--if your goal is to not miss a single day of work next year and you come down with a bad cold, is it worth the risk of infecting all of your co-workers and getting even sicker yourself just to meet a goal? Definitely not. Should your goal be to start working as a welder if you have no training at all in the field? On the other hand, improving your cooking skills by attempting one new dish a week is possible--and by the end of the year, you'll have tried 52 new dishes, and that experience really can't help but make you a better cook.
Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!
William Arthur Ward
The most important strategy of all, though, is this: Once you've made your lists and set your goals, you must keep in mind that life is a day-by-day process, not a series of results. If your goal is to become kinder and more compassionate, then you must make an effort every day to be so. If your goal is to be more forgiving, then you must focus each day on forgiving people their trespasses and letting go of your own resentments. One way to do this is to write a set of goals for each day and commit yourself to reviewing them each morning. For example, you might write, "Today I will be kind and generous and loving, and I will write one page of my novel." If you read this each morning to remind yourself of what's important here and now today, then you'll increase your chances of actually fulfilling the goal.
Of course, the most important advice of all is to be yourself, follow your dreams, and explore your passions. At the new year, though, we tend to take stock of just how little we've been doing these things, and we try to promise ourselves that we'll do them more next year--but we don't always come through on those promises.
Our goal, then, is not just to set the goals for ourselves, but to make sure that we follow through on them; not just to make promises about our futures, but to make decisions each day that will help us to fulfill those promises all year long.