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The Lazy Man’s Guide to Goal Setting for the New Year


Did you wake up an hour earlier to do that run or forgo that cookie after dinner?

Yeah, me either.

The excitement and prospect of starting anew is so intoxicating…until it comes time to do it.

I went to the gym today – not because it was January 2nd, but because it was Wednesday. The parking lot was full. By now, we are all familiar with the peaks of gym memberships in January and then the nosedive for each subsequent month after that (with the exception of April/May when thoughts of summer give some of us a second wind).

I can’t speak for you but I know that history has taught me the hard way that the self-loathing associated with NOT following through with something far surpasses the excitement of “a new start”.

The good news is that this is where being present in the moment can really pay off. Rather than focusing on how much progress you are making toward your goals for a long period of time, this is a good way to give you a daily dose of encouragement and if it turns out to be a failure for the day (and there will always be days like that), you always have another one.

The question is how to do this without feeling like it’s half-assed and there’s no real commitment. Here’s a suggestion that seems to work for me: I have a list of 5 things with a goal of making sure I hit at least three of them each day. Truth is, I may only get to two of them but this way, it assures me that I am always keeping important things front and center.

So, I may have exercise, meditate, write, stretch and work on music as my 5 items. Each day, I try to work on at least 3. As I mentioned above, this can be challenging – especially with kids, work and other responsibilities (not to mention the unexpected water leak or blown tire) that can take priority. What it does for me, however, is ease up on the end goal (run a marathon, complete 15 pages of a script, finish recording the song) while not deflecting from the actions that will ultimately get me there.

It’s not ideal and I’ll probably never make it onto a Tim Ferris podcast but it works for me. Maybe because it is too discouraging to see how slow progress is any other way.

So, on this 2nd day of the New Year, if you’re already wondering if any of those ideas ruminating around your head may ever come to fruition – welcome to the lazy man’s goal setting for 2019. Good luck and let me know how it works out.

Until next time,


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