How to slay those new year’s resolutions

With the new year around the corner, we're all thinking about what we want to accomplish in 2021. But creating and sticking to goals isn't always the easiest thing to do. Check out these tips on how to create resolutions that will last the year. 

Do you want to level up in life? Setting goals - and keeping your eye on the finish line - is essential to transformation and self-growth. Think of goal setting as a life-long journey to create meaningful and lasting impact for yourself, your community, and the world: Set goals. Work hard. Achieve goals. Repeat. Ultimately, the most important step in goal-setting is to choose ones that truly inspire you.

Before setting your goals, take a moment to think about what you want to achieve and why. Do you want to be more organized? Get a new job? Run for office? Great! But what is the motivation behind these goals? Why do you want to achieve these things? Once you know your “why”, you're ready to create a plan of action.

Making a road map to reach your goal

Grab a pen and paper and start planning! Write down any goals or ideas you come up with throughout this process. It will keep you organized and make your goals feel more tangible. To help guide you, use the tried and true SMART method. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

  • Be specific. Set goals that are crystal clear so you know where you're going. If you set goals that are vague, you risk losing sight of the end-goal and could become overwhelmed when trying to figure out what to do next. For example, if you want to run for office and you're interested in public education, your goal could be: “I will run for school board in my district in 2021.” With this level of specificity, you can more quickly visualize the next step.


  • Choose a goal that is measurable. Choosing a goal that has measurable outcomes helps you gauge both your process and success. These outcomes give you valuable feedback and allow you to shift your plan of action as needed. For example: “Before I publicly announce my campaign for school board on March 1, 2021, I want to speak with 100 parents in the school district to seek their support.”


  • Make sure your goal is attainable. It's important that the goals you set for yourself are achievable but still challenging to some degree. If you choose a goal that isn’t attainable, you risk feeling quickly burnt-out and disappointed. Starting a campaign to run for school board may seem daunting, but a goal like this is achievable given the multitude of resources available to you. Check out IGNITE’s five-step guide on how to run for office. And, know that thousands of people before you have successfully run for and won seats on local school boards. If they can do it, so can you!


  • Pick a goal that is relevant to you. Choose a goal that is aligned with your interests and relates to what you have already been doing. This makes it easier to follow through on reaching your goal because you’re working towards something aligned with your values. Maybe you've always been interested in running for office, and running for school board is your chance to do so. Whatever the case, make sure you’re doing something that inspires you.


  • Set goals that are time-based. Whether it's a short-term or long-term goal, setting deadlines for yourself will hold you accountable to put in the work to get the outcome you’re hoping for. For example, it's important to have mentors that can help you on your path to success. Create a time-frame for when you’d like to have a mentor and look into opportunities like IGNITE’s alumni network, which gives you access to peers, mentors and elected officials.


Keep in mind that you might not reach your goals as quickly as you hope. If that’s the case, it's important to be forgiving of yourself and remember that achieving your goals is a process. Your goals and the steps necessary to reach them are fluid, meaning you can rework them in any way, at any time. And when you do reach your goals, don’t forget to treat yourself!

Worksheet: SMART Goals for future candidates:

I will run for office in _________________ (year). I want to be elected to ___________________________(office) in ___________________________ (city, state). The filing deadline for this position is _____________________ (date). I will publicly announce my candidacy on ___________________ (date). Before I announce, I want to lay a strong foundation. This means I will find ______(#) mentors, recruit________(#) campaign volunteers, and raise __________$ in donations from friends and family.