For many, the beginning of a new year is the promise of a fresh start–something to look forward to. It gives us a push to try things we never had the courage to do or to finally turn our attention towards things we’ve been put on hold in the past. In reality, you can always start whenever you want, but ticking off goals from your list just feels way better with the new year rolling in.

A new year is a perfect opportunity to reset and reevaluate. What better time for a new beginning and a chance to get on track, whatever that may mean to you? As a nanny who is so engrossed in helping others achieve their goals, it can be easy to forget your own. Let’s make sure we keep the focus on you this year, nanny!

So let’s talk goals vs. resolutions. Having resolutions can help us stand firm with our decisions. Although resolutions can motivate us to do (or not do) something, setting goals is way more intentional. Short-term or long-term, specific or general, they can be completely tailored to you and your needs.

Think of it this way: when you set your goals, be SMART. Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. With this in mind, your goals become clearer and easier to accomplish. So let’s get started!

1. Be specific with your list

Specificity is crucial when it comes to creating goals, especially if you’ve got big plans this year. Specificity encourages you to not only consider what you want, but also how to go about making it possible. Being specific can help you to really embrace not only what you want, but why you want it and how you’ll go about working towards it, all things that make reaching your goals more encouraging and practical.

An easy way to keep these thoughts and ideas fresh and hold yourself accountable? Put them in writing! Writing them down serves as a reminder of what you want to accomplish and takes off the pressure of keeping them fresh in your mind. You’ve got enough to remember on a daily basis, nanny! It also helps you track your progress and gives cause for celebration when you’re able to tick goals off your list.

2. Make goals measurable

Keeping track of your goals is much easier when you are able to measure your progress. If focusing on your professional development is a part of your goal this year, there are lots of measurable goals you can set. For a start, you can aim to read child development books or take a childcare class. You can join a community of readers like Goodreads to look for book recommendations, reviews, and even join a reading challenge! A challenge could include setting a number of books you want to read this year, allowing you to monitor your progress with each book you read. When you enroll yourself in a class, your progress can be monitored through assessments and goals set through the training. And these are just a few ideas out of infinite best-for-you possibilities!

The best part of making a goal measurable is that it doesn’t have to be exclusively long-term for you to be able to measure it. You can always keep track of your goals by doing a weekly, monthly, or quarterly review.

3. Do what’s realistic and attainable

While we are always here to encourage you to dream big, it’s also encouraged to check in with your goals and see if they can be achieved given the time and resources available. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by all your big goals, do what’s within your reach and capacity. Or, better yet, separate your goals into long-term and short-term categories with the knowledge that what’s realistic and attainable is flexible and has the capacity to change!

It’s okay to take small steps in working towards your big goals! Big steps without proper planning have the potential to be overwhelming. So, when you write down those goals, make sure to do a reality check as you go!

4. Set time frames for each goal

Be more consistent with your actions by giving yourself a deadline or a target time frame for your goals. Tailor each goal’s time frame accordingly depending on how and when you want to achieve them. And remember: for long-term goals, though you’re setting them this year, there’s no need to limit yourself to achieving them within the year. So if you set your mind to accomplishing something, tie it to your calendar!

Setting a time limit to your goals doesn’t necessarily mean putting pressure on yourself. It just means that you’re recognizing how far you’ve come and how much more you need to accomplish!

5. Believe in yourself

All the tips in the world won’t matter if you don’t believe you can do it. Believe wholeheartedly that you’re capable of accomplishing all you want and that you can achieve whatever you set your heart to!

“You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals,” says Sir Edmund Hilary, the first person to climb Mt. Everest. Of course, there’ll be challenges and setbacks that may make you think of stopping along the way, that’s just how life is, after all. But always remember why you started in the first place. So whatever roadblock you may encounter, carry on knowing that you’re capable of doing hard things!

Go and conquer 2023, dear nannies!