The New Year brings a sense of renewal that forces people to look ahead at what they want to achieve.

Leverage this time but don’t fall into the mindset that it’s the only time to explore what you want. It should be a year-round activity.

Take control of your year by setting goals. They’ll help you determine whether you’re actually ‘succeeding’ or not. It’s one thing knowing what you want but you’ve got to put the steps in motion to achieve them. There’s techniques to help you do this.

What motivates you?

Your goals should be emotional. You’ve got to give yourself the time to explore what you really want, rather than what you think you do. If deep down you want to visit Italy but you make a goal of saving for a house deposit, you’re less likely to be committed to it. Motivation is the key to achieving goals. You need it to stay committed. Set actions that are high priorities to you. Forget the ‘must dos’ and go within to find out what you really want.

Use the SMART method

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. This strategy helps you design clear, non-fluffy goals. Include precise amounts, dates and numbers, so you can easily measure your degree of success. You can either assign a time to each goal or chunk your goals by the quarter of the year. Frame your goals positively.

The power of visualisation

Make your goals visible to you every day. Put them as the screensaver on your phone. Print them and let them sit on the fridge. Make an inspiration board and hang it in front of your bed so it’s the first thing you see in the morning. And because your goals are emotion-based, you’ll connect with them. It’s easier to feel them and turn them from your dream to reality. Close your eyes and let yourself visualise what life would be like as you’re living out those goals. The mind is a powerful thing. Use it to your advantage.

As you can see, goals aren’t just a January trend. But you can use this month to set the foundation for the year and continue to add to them as the months go by – as you tick off one goal at a time.