“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.
We can help write that story by setting goals.”
–Melody Beattie


Ahhh the energetic buzz of the new year…

A time full of possibility, hope, and opportunity for new beginnings.


For many, it’s a symbolic opportunity of renewal. A chance to turn over a new leaf, clean the slate, and set intentions for the year ahead. What better time than now to take some time to reflect on your personal achievements of 2017 and think about what you want for the upcoming year, in your personal life and school/professional life?

In 2018, what would you like to accomplish?
What decisions would you like to make?
What new experiences would you like to try out?
What parts of yourself would you like to grow?
What challenges would you like to overcome?
What new or existing relationships would you like to build?

If this was the best year of your life…what would have to happen?

Start with Why

Yes, these are big questions.  However, no one else is going to make this year the best year of your life. That is 100% up to you. What needs to be true for {big goal} to become a reality? Why exactly do you want to________ {get more sleep; exercise regularly; volunteer in a field you’re interested in}?

Set aside some time alone to answer these questions and then explore your answers. Clarifying what you’d like to happen this year and why you want it to happen (purpose) fuels how you’ll get there.

“If you know the why, you can live any how.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

Goal-setting is a powerful technique that gives your life direction and boosts both motivation and self-confidence. At Realizing Aptitudes, I coach students on how to use  S.M.A.R.T. goal setting to create powerful and effective career exploration goals. satisfying career path. You can use this powerful and effective technique to set goals and proactively get from where you are to where you want to be.


S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting

  • Specific: What do I want to accomplish? (who, what, when, why, how) How am I going to do it? 
  • Measurable:  How many? How much? How will I know when it is accomplished?
  • Attainable:  With enough effort, can I achieve this goal? Do I truly believe it can be done?
  • Relevant:  Is this meaningful to me? Am I willing and able to work towards this goal?
  • Time-Relevant: Without a time frame, there is no sense of urgency to work toward it. What is the deadline for completion?

Additional Tips:

  • Pursue goals that you’re passionate about and make you come alive (the why).
  • Write your goals down (this simple act makes a huge difference).
  • Do away with procrastination.
  • Learn about how to apply your character strengths to reach your goals.
  • Post your goals somewhere you’ll regularly see them as a reminder.
  • Tell your friends or family about goals that you’ll be working on; they can help hold you accountable.
  • Measure your progress each month and make adjustments as needed.
  • Celebrate successes along the way, both big and small!

My hope is that these tips on goal setting will inspire you to set new career and personal goals for 2018 to make this year one of your best!


“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” –Abraham Lincoln

Ashley Flynn, M.A.
Career Coach & Outreach Coordinator

Known for her optimism and zest, Ashley empowers young adults to discover and shine a light on the best parts of who they are, identify ways they can positively contribute to the world, and plan for thoughtful next steps along their journey. Ashley earned a Master's in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida and a Bachelors from Florida State University. When she's not at work, you can find her enjoying live music, hiking, running, or skiing in the beautiful state of Colorado.