7 Steps to Setting Effective Goals for the New Year + Free Template

An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.

Deepak Chopra, M.D.

New year, new beginnings? Whether or not one sets goals specifically for the new year, goal setting is important because goals allow us to identify the changes we want in our lives. Identifying our goals provides us with clarity that we need in order to lay out and focus on the steps necessary to align ourselves with ultimate achievement of those goals. 

Continue reading below to learn how to effectively set goals for the new year (or at any time). I provide three reasons why it is important to goal set. Additionally, I have included a list of the seven steps that I currently use to create personally meaningful and effective goals.

At the end of this post, there is a free template for you to use in order to successfully set your own goals. Feel free to download, print, and share with your family or friends. 


Behind every goal there is an intention. Whether this intention is hidden or exposed depends upon whether or not that intention is living within the conscious or subconscious mind.

When we understand our intentions, we are able to align our thoughts and actions when we set out to create goals. Without knowing the intentions behind why we are creating a goal, it becomes more difficult to align the why to the how. Recognizing our intentions is thus the first step in effective goal setting.

According to Deepak Chopra, “an intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create.” Chopra says, “Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.”

Intentions can be thought of as the underlying, unseen forces that drive manifestation and allow us to create the reality that we want. Once we know our intentions, we are able to set goals that help aid us in creating the reality we want.

If intentions are the underlying forces that allow us to create the reality that we want, they simultaneously act as personal compasses that help guide us along the paths we wish to forge to our futures. Intentions come from deep within, so they are the reasons behind our actions, choices, and behaviours.

By becoming clear with our intentions, we better understand the drive that is prompting us to live in accordance with our desires. Knowing our intentions allows us to live with more focus and clarity, which aids us in determining which goals to set to help us create the conditions for the futures we wish to be part of.

There are a many reasons why goal setting is important. Below, I have listed three important reasons to goal set

  1. Goals are important because they allow you to visualize pathways towards living a life that is more personally and spiritually fulfilling. Goals provide direction for your life based upon what inspires you and what you value. Visualizing the pathways needed towards living a life that is more fulfilling allows you to set priorities based on the vision that you have for your life. By setting priorities, you are taking a more productive approach in deciding what you want out of life and the specific steps on the pathway that will take you there.
  2. Goals are catalysts for self-growth. Goals challenge you to reach and overcome some obstacles. Setting goals forces you to define your passions. When you evaluate your passions and determine how you want to change your life, you have the ability to identify opportunities for change and growth. Once you set goals, you are able to then take action to realize those changes that lead to your self-growth and development. Goal setting is also an effective way of building self-confidence and self-esteem. You are able to believe in yourself when you notice that you are indeed capable of achieving what you set your mind to.
  3. Goals allow you to take more control of your life. Goals allow you to be in the driver’s seat instead of living life in the passenger seat. Setting goals allows you to determine where to put your focus. By deciding where to put your focus, you are able to have more control of your future by allotting more of your time and energy to that area of focus. When you know what you want to achieve, you are able to trigger new behaviours that help you to sustain the momentum needed in order to reach your goals.

To summarize, recognizing our intentions is the first step in setting an effective goal and, consequently, creating the life that you want. Without recognizing our intentions, one is unable to set a specific, effective goal, and if we don’t have a clear goal, how can we consciously work our way towards achievement of that goal? 

If an intention is consciously unknown, our subconscious might strive towards reaching some goal, but pulling that intention towards light of the conscious mind allows it to become known. Once pulled to the conscious, we are now able to interact with this intention more lucidly. This leaves the space (and free will) for us to either maintain an effort to reach a goal based on our intention or let that intention return to the subconscious expanse once more. 

Listed below are the seven steps that I use to create effective and personally meaningful goals.

  1. Figure out your intention. One way to do this is to connect with yourself and self-reflect. Once in an appropriate space and mindset, ask yourself the following questions: What deep desire do I feel within my heart? What does my soul long for? What force is driving my actions and behaviours?
  2. Once recognizing your intention, name a specific goal that will aid you in co-creating a reality based on that intention. Make sure you name a specific goal to strive for. If you make too general a goal, it will be more difficult to focus your efforts.
  3. After setting a specific goal, set a realistic timeframe in which you would like to reach that goal. Setting a realistic timeframe increases accountability and planning. It also provides motivation while reducing procrastination. Make sure that your timeframe is realistic; otherwise, you may become disheartened when you do not meet your expectations. 
  4. The next step is to determine how to measure your growth and progress towards your goal. Being able to measure your growth is important in providing you with motivation to continue and persist in your efforts to attainment of your goal. Seeing the progress allows you to visualize how far you have come and enables you to see where you are on your journey towards accomplishing what you set out to accomplish.
  5. Once you determine how you are going to measure your growth and progress, break your goal into attainable steps. Breaking your goal into attainable steps allows you to more easily track your progress while allowing you specific milestones to reach along the way towards reaching your goal.
  6. Now, look back at the goal that you just set. Recheck to make sure that your goal is in alignment with your intention. You can ask yourself these questions: Is the goal I chose aligned with my intention? How? Will the goal aid me in living a more personally fulfilling life? How so? If your goal is not aligned with the intention that you determined, it will be more difficult for that goal to come into fruition because there is an energetic mismatch. The universe is designed on frequency.
  7. If your goal and intention are in alignment, match your frequency of the present moment to the frequency of your future reality. Merge your energy with the intention and imagine yourself in a reality where your goal is achieved and where your frequency is in synchronicity with that of the reality you are attracting. Determine which affirmation you will say each day. Be sure to make your affirmations in the present tense because we are in the Eternal Now. Finally, thank yourself and the Universe / God / Consciousness (whatever you believe in) in advance and start living aligned with the frequency of the reality where your vision has been successfully realized. 

If you are acquainted with goal-setting in general, you will notice the similarity between my seven steps and the common, widely-used five-step SMART goal template. I intertwine SMART goals with spirituality in order to create a more holistic way to actualize the potentialities that are driven by our intentions

Because human beings are (in my opinion) most likely spiritual beings having a human experience, it is important not to forget to add this spiritual component — especially in the creation of goals, which ultimately comes from our intentions, which come from our hearts, passions, and innermost yearnings.

Below, you will find a free template that you can use in order to create your own meaningful, effective goals. Feel free to print this template out and set goals that help you to create, and attract, the reality you envision for yourself. Make sure to click the download button to view the template!

I wish you love and luck on your journey of self-growth and continuous transformation.

Tat tvam asi,

Ananda