2019 Goal Guide


Goals (n): the end toward which effort is directed (Merriam Webster)

The word “goal” stops some people in their tracks. At Marlow, we think about this word as simply “what you want to do.”

That is to say, where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What skills do you want to develop?


Getting Started

Whether it stems from tradition or stems from the simple fact that new years feel like a metaphorical “clean slate” (and therefore an opportunity to reset), resolutions are a mainstay of stepping into the new year.

Perhaps there’s something special about starting a New Year that inspires us to want to spring into action to achieve goals and make changes to our habits. Whether you call it a “resolution”, a “goal”, or just “something you’re going to do”, this is the time of year when change can feel easiest.

So why not take advantage of that momentum and turn it into meaningful progress?

Set your goals for 2019:

Create a resolution that is sure to stick around for the whole year. To increase your chances for success, align your resolution with your values, make sure they are connected to (and in service of) your long-term goals, and take the time to get clear on what it is you are hoping to achieve.

The reasons for failing to achieve our resolutions can often be traced back to the set up of the resolution itself.

For example, if the resolution is vague, rooted in someone else’s motivation, or just not realistic, it will inevitably become more difficult to achieve.

Your resolution should be clear enough that you can both track your progress and visualize what success looks like.

Finally, your resolution should be grounded in something you really want - something you are ready to work for and dedicate time to.  Otherwise, how will find the motivation to push yourself when the going gets tough?

We’ve created a guide to help you set yourself up for success as you define your resolution and make progress toward it in the coming months.

Long- and Short-Term Goals

Goal setting theory, which was developed by organizational development scholars, Latham and Locke in the 1990s, suggests that individuals who set goals for themselves are more likely to achieve success.

Think of goals as a way of defining your direction and focus.In order to ensure the alignment of your long-term and short-term goals, we recommend thinking through these at the same time.

Short-term goals should be specific, challenging and achievable. These are the goals you intend to accomplish anywhere between the next 6 months to the next 3 years. In addition to being specific, challenging and achievable, they should also be time-bound and have defined action steps.

Long-term goals, on the other hand, can more abstract and reflect what you want to achieve 3 to 5 years from now. They can be more flexible because things often turn out differently than we imagined.

Flexibility in your long-term goals helps you accommodate for new opportunities as they become available to you.

So, What do You Want to Achieve in 2019 and Beyond?

  • Consider these areas of your life: work, money, living environment, personal growth, health and recreation, community, family.

    • What is important for you in each area of your life?

    • What do you value and what do you want do you want to have?

    • What experiences do you want to have in these different areas of your life?

    • What will allow you to accomplish that?

  • What do you want to learn and what skills do you want to master?

  • Where do you want to be 3 to5 years from now? What have you accomplished and what have your successes been?

  • Where do you see yourself 12 months from now? What has changed since you last thought about your goals? What would you like to change between now and this time next year?

Defining Your Action Steps for Short-Term Goals

Consider what needs to happen and what steps you need to take to reach your 2019 goal.

The SMART framework is one way to think about framing your action steps and achieve your goals more efficiently.


SMART goals are defined as specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

  • Specific: clear, concise actions steps and goal

  • Measurable: progress can be tracked and measured.

  • Achievable: goals should be challenging and ambitious, but realistically achievable

  • Relevant: they are relevant to your long-term goals, values and life plan.

  • Time-Bound: the goal has a target end time by when it will be achieved.

Set your goal for 2019

To help you set your goal, consider the questions below

  • What are you hoping to achieve and what are the milestones and timeline to reach that objective? (i.e. what needs to happen by when?)

  • What needs to happen 3, 6 and 12 months from now?

  • What specific steps do you need to take to achieve your goal?

  • How will you know that you are making progress? What specific metrics ore milestone (see above) should you be paying attention to?

  • What are potential obstacles or distractions? How can you mitigate these?

  • What steps will you take to stay accountable to your goals?

  • What steps will you take to stay motivated?

  • How motivated are you to reach your goal? On a scale of 1-10, what is your motivation right now in this exact moment? What could change your rating (in either a positive or negative direction)?

Habits and Habit Change

As you think through what you are hoping to accomplish, reflect on your existing habits. Will you need to change your habits to reach your goal? Set yourself up for success by considering what it means to change or create a habit.

As humans, we have a tendency to want to make big changes all at once. The problem is that we then get discouraged when things don't work out the way we planned.

Even small changes can have a big impact. When you successfully make a small change, you will likely trigger a bot of drive and motivation to help you continue to make even more positive changes.

Successfully making a lasting change in your habits requires determination and a plan.

To help create lasting habit change, James Clear uses the “3 R’s of habit change”.

The 3 R’s are Reminder, Routine, Reward.

  • The reminder is a trigger that starts a habit

  • The routine is the action you take

  • The reward is the benefit you gain from the habit


To help you keep up your motivation, consider the best possible outcome of you reaching your goal and how that will make you feel.

Visualizing your success and really imagining how you will feel in that moment can help you truly visualize what it is you are working toward.

Accountability Partners

Accountability partners are people in your life who can help you stay committed to your goal.  Identify someone in your life who is equally motivated to help you achieve your goal. Share your progress with them and lean on them for motivation and continued support.

Define Success and Celebrate Your Wins

"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”  - John Wooden

To achieve success, we first need to define it. Everyone defines success a little differently and it is important to acknowledge that there are no right or wrong answers.

How we view success, in many ways, is tied to our values and what we fundamentally view as important to us personally. Sometimes the feeling of success alludes us because our definition of success is limited or we are viewing our success from someone else's vantage point.

What’s Your Resolution for 2019?

To define your new year's resolution, start with what you really want - what do you really want to accomplish in 2019? Next, consider how you can make that an actionable goal with clear progress milestones and a timeline for completion. Set yourself up for success by defining and visualizing what success means. Consider who can help you stay accountable and motivated by recruiting an accountability partner. Lastly, don't forget to celebrate your small wins and success.

Happy 2019 from the Marlow Team!