The new year always seems to arrive faster than we think. But it’s never too early or too late to think about your goals for the year—there’s no rule that you have to make all your resolutions on January 1! Figuring out your yearly goals can be an ongoing process.
So, the idea of setting goals for the year isn’t meant to lock you into a rigid mindset of success or failure; it’s simply meant to help you reflect on what you want out of life and create steps to get yourself there.
You can set yearly goals in any or every area of life. Let’s check out 24 ideas on yearly goals for your finances, career, health, relationships, and personal development!
Yearly goals for your finances
Since this blog is all about finances, it makes sense to start with a bunch of yearly financial goal ideas! The best goals for the year will depend on where you are in your financial journey, of course.
You might already have some of these money goals checked off the list! However, it's always good to see where you stand and update your goals if needed.
1. Build or replenish your emergency fund (One of the most important yearly goals to have)
An emergency fund is the perfect first financial goal to have because this is the savings that will allow you to weather a job loss or other surprise expenses without going into debt.
The recommended amount you should have in your emergency savings is 3-6 months of basic living expenses. But if that seems overwhelming, work on saving your first $1,000 and build from there!
2. Create a monthly budget
Budgeting is also a foundational financial goal because this is what allows you to get a full picture of how much you’re making, how much you’re spending, and where there might be leaks in the ship. There are a variety of different budgeting methods; learn about them here and pick the one that appeals to you most.
3. Start a side gig for extra income
We could all use a little extra cash, whether it’s to pay down debt, increase savings, achieve a financial goal, or retire earlier. No matter what it is, starting a side hustle can help you speed up your goal timeline.
Check out these 21+ ways to earn an extra $1,000 a month, like freelance writing and starting an online store. If you’re thinking more along the lines of starting your own business on the side, make sure to read this side hustle business guide.
4. Contribute more to your retirement accounts
There’s no rule that you have to wait until you’re 65 or older to retire. The sooner you start saving, the sooner that coveted financial freedom will be within your grasp. Haven’t started a retirement account yet? Here’s everything you need to know about retirement savings!
5. Try a no-spend challenge
Have you heard of no-spend challenges? They're a period of time, usually, a couple of weeks to a month, in which you eliminate all non-essential spending. You’ll still pay for rent, gas, utilities, groceries, and other necessary things, but this is a chance to identify bad financial habits and find new (free) ways to entertain yourself.
It's a fantastic and simple way to save money. You can start with a no-spend week and then work into an entire month without spending excess money.
6. Plan your financial goals
There are different kinds of financial goals. Some will be short-term, like saving for Christmas gifts or vacations and some will be mid-term, like saving up a house down payment or paying off a car.
And then others are your long-term goals—the big stuff like paying off a mortgage or reaching a certain net worth. Resolve to outline your financial goals so you can start measuring your progress.
Also, be sure to set weekly goals to help you make the big goals easier to achieve!
Yearly goals for your career
Since most people work 9-5, five days a week, it’s important to enjoy what you do and make career goals for the year. Here are some ideas!
7. Learn new professional skills (One of the most lucrative yearly goals to set)
Learning new things doesn’t end after you graduate from high school or college. It’s a lifelong process! Improving your current skills and adding new ones to your arsenal keeps you engaged, passionate, and competitive in your field.
It prepares you for promotions and enables you to switch jobs more easily if your circumstances change. Here are some high-income skills to help bring in more of that money!
8. Apply for a promotion
Sometimes, promotions just fall into our laps. Other times, you have to be bold and ask for them! This might sound intimidating, but there’s a right way to go about it.
You need to think about what value you’ll bring to the role, ask your manager or coworkers if they see areas where you could improve, and let the higher-ups know you’re interested and ambitious. The conversation can be as simple as asking your boss what you need to do to get to the next level.
9. Create (or update) your website and resume
So, if you don’t have a personal website yet, building one would be a great yearly goal. A website is your own professional “home” on the internet.
You can use it to introduce yourself, highlight projects you’ve worked on, write blog posts to demonstrate expertise on certain topics, let recruiters know how to contact you, and so on. Update your resume at the same time (even if you have a job gap)!
10. Strive for a healthy work-life balance
Is “work less” really a valid career goal? Definitely! If you’re starting to feel burned out, it’s your body and brain’s way of telling you that what you’re doing is unsustainable. When you spend all your time working, you’re taking priority away from other important areas of your life—because you only have 24 hours in the day.
Over time, burnout will start to affect your career performance, so it’s important to stop it in its tracks. Check out our article on why time and money are both valuable (and how to play the balancing act between them).
11. Network in your industry
These days, you can’t just walk into an office with a resume, shake the manager’s hand, and walk out with a job. And submitting online applications doesn’t feel much better: no matter how great your cover letter skills are, it’s still hard to distinguish yourself from dozens (or hundreds) of competitors.
This is where the phrase “it’s not always what you know, but who you know” holds true. The more you network and meet people in the industry, the more connections you’ll have for career opportunities, referrals to new companies, professional mentorship, etc.
Yearly goals for your health
You only get one body, so it’s important to take care of it. Here are some great health goals for the year.
12. Focus on fresh, clean eating
When life gets busy, eating habits are often one of the first things to falter. It's so easy to swing by the drive-through on your way home and certainly not so easy to plan meals, chop and prep ingredients, cook, and wash dishes.
But the food we eat does have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing, so even though it requires a little added time and thought, clean eating is a worthwhile goal. A whole food plant-based diet works well for me; I love sites like BudgetBytes for quick, simple meal ideas. Learn more about living a healthy lifestyle on a budget.
13. Spend more time in nature
The Japanese have a beautiful term—shinrin-yoku—which translates to “forest bathing.” The concept is all about the many benefits we get from nature, both mental and physical. Forest bathing is as simple as wandering along a nature trail, breathing in the fresh air, and admiring your surroundings.
Time in nature lowers stress, and blood pressure boosts our immune systems and lifts our moods. Check out the AllTrails or TrailLink websites to find hidden gems in your area!
14. Find an exercise routine you love
Ideally, you can combine this goal and the one above by finding ways to exercise in nature! Going for a bicycle ride, jogging on a nature path, yoga in your backyard at sunrise, a fitness class in the park...the options are plentiful. There’s nothing wrong with an indoor workout or hitting the gym either, of course; any kind of movement is amazing for our health.
15. Practice good “sleep hygiene”
Sleep is another daily habit that has a drastic impact on the way we function. According to the American Sleep Association, skimping on sleep affects our cognitive functioning, moods, heart health, immune system, weight, and even how long we live.
Sleep “hygiene” is a collection of habits that help improve sleep quantity and quality. Tips include following a consistent nightly routine, turning off electronics 30-60 minutes before bed, and sleeping in a cool, dark, comfortable room.
Yearly goals for relationships & family
There are few things more important than the people we share our lives with, so make sure to include them in your goals for the year.
16. Learn the love languages
The “five love languages” aren’t an exact science, but they are a great way to start conversations with your loved ones about what makes them feel most loved and appreciated.
The main five are:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Physical touch
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
A lot of relationship strife comes from simple miscommunication and not understanding what the other person needs. If your partner most values quality time, a cheap picnic in the park might mean more than a $1,000 necklace.
17. Practice positivity and gratitude (Essential yearly goals to establish)
Sometimes, we can get into the habit of taking the people in our lives for granted. They’re the ones you turn to when you need to vent about your problems and bad days...and while this is important, too much complaining can turn the relationship negative.
Whether it’s with your partner, your best friend, or a parent or child, make it a goal to regularly share why you’re grateful for them and always do your best to find silver linings in situations.
18. Try new experiences together
Falling into a dull routine is another phase many relationships go through. Go to work, come home, make dinner, watch TV, sleep, repeat. Carve out time to mix things up a little by trying new activities!
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and you don’t even have to leave your house—check out these budget-friendly at-home date ideas like a paint night or backyard campout. Involve the whole family in some of your ideas too.
19. Prioritize your friendships
As people get older, their social circles can get narrower since everyone is busy with their own families, jobs, and lives. Be intentional about not letting treasured friendships fade!
Your “circle of influence” impacts everything from your mood to your eating habits to your finances. Surround yourself with the right people, and make an effort to see them, and you’ll reap the rewards.
Yearly goals for your personal development
Lastly, here are some goals for the year that are all about making your life fulfilling and figuring out who you really are.
20. Read a certain amount of books a year
Books hold an incredible wealth of knowledge, entertainment, and life advice. Depending on how quickly you read, make it a goal to read a certain amount of books per year.
Try starting with one a month to see how it goes. You can choose fiction, nonfiction, or a combination! Check out our recommendations for finance, career, business, and personal development books.
21. Define your personal core values
When was the last time you sat down with yourself and thought about what’s actually important to you? This is your time to get a little existential. What kind of person do you want to be? What traits do you admire in others? How will you cultivate those traits in yourself and practice them in the real world?
Grab a journal and start brainstorming. For example, you can jot down something like…
- Independence is important to me, so I want to be debt-free and learn more skills for self-reliance.
- I value compassion, so I want to get involved with charities/animal shelters.
- I value adventure, so I want to make more time to travel and try new things.
Discovering and defining your core values can help you lead the life you want to live.
22. Outline your strengths and weaknesses
Along the same lines of “knowing yourself,” make it a yearly goal to assess your own strengths and weaknesses. This can be professional skills, personal traits, or whatever else you want to self-evaluate. Start with what you’re good at.
Do you keep a cool head in a crisis? Do you have a natural affinity for numbers or words? How can you leverage those strengths in your life? Then, move on to the areas you could improve.
Are your communication skills a little lacking? Do you struggle with time management or self-discipline? Self-awareness is the first step to fixing a problem!
23. Limit social media & TV
Did you know that the average internet user spends 145 minutes a day on social media? That’s almost two and a half hours every day scrolling through posts and pictures you’ll barely even remember tomorrow! TV is even worse, with the average American logging 3-4 hours per day.
So, if you have issues with procrastination, poor sleep, or a short attention span, all that screen time is likely one of the causes. Make it a goal to spend less time in front of screens this year! Also, a social media detox can even be beneficial for your finances.
24. Start a new hobby
So, what will you do with all that extra time once you’re not spending it scrolling on your phone or plunked in front of the TV? Start a new hobby! Try out a whole bunch to see what makes you feel passionate and energized.
It could be an outdoor hobby like hiking or kayaking, an indoor hobby like baking or playing an instrument, or even a hobby that makes money like woodworking or photography.
Yearly goals are a great idea! Set Goals for the year to improve your life!
In practice, these yearly goal ideas will look different for everyone because we all have different lives and circumstances. Now it’s up to you to figure out which goals for the year are most important to you and how you’ll achieve them!
However, setting financial goals should definitely be on the top of the list because getting your money right leads to wealth and success. Learn how to create the right financial goals with our completely free course!
Also, don't forget to follow Clever Girl Finance on TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for key financial tips and motivation to reach your goals!