the best time to set big goals

Most people only set themselves some new goals at the beginning of the year. There are a few others that use their birthday as the start of a new year. Both of these work, but there’s another time that’s great for goal setting. And that time is right now.
But there’s a reason why we tend to set goals around milestone dates like the new year or a birthday. It’s because we like to break our lives down into chunks. Years, Quarters, months and weeks. We can’t forget how many new things start on Mondays!

The best time to set big goals

The new year

There is just something about setting goals for the new year that feels normal yet so inspiring. It’s the traditional time for a fresh start, with a whole year ahead. Use this time to reevaluate what you want out of life and start making steps to get there.
It’s a great time to take on a new habit, like quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol or getting into shape. And for those of us in the southern hemisphere it’s certainly a bit easier to get started on a new exercise regime while the weather is warmer and the days are longer. So whether you set a bunch of new years resolutions or just choose a word of the year, the new year is a great time to take some action.

Your birthday

Your birthday is also the start of a new year. It’s the start of your new year. So your birthday is a great time to set new goals especially when you are approaching a milestone birthday and need that extra push to take on some big goals.
Some big goals you might like to set around your birthday are:

  • Run a marathon/half marathon or 5k/10k
  • Go sky diving
  • Volunteer
  • Perfect a recipe, dance routine or your photo editing skills
  • Get a drastic haircut or colour
  • Travel to certain places

You might even set your own list of 30 things to do before the end of your thirties.

setting big goals

Every Quarter

This might be one you might not have heard of. But you may have heard of the book, The 12 Week Year by Brian Tracey. At first thought, I thought this book was about putting in the hard slog for 12 weeks of the year in order to have the remaining 9 months off. I was wrong. The idea is that people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year. But underestimate what they can achieve in a shorter time frame.
One of my favourite goal setting tools uses the premise of the 12 week year. And I have to say, it works.

We mistakenly believe that there is a lot of time left in the year, and we act accordingly. We lack a sense of urgency, not realizing that every week is important, every day is important, every moment is important. Ultimately, effective execution happens daily and weekly!
― Brian Moran, The 12 Week Year

Right now

There is no time like the present when it comes to setting some goals to work towards. You don’t need to wait until the new year or your birthday or any other time throughout the year. If you want to start making changes there is no better time than now. I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese proverb

the best time to set goals

But really, the best time to set new goals for the best results is during a psychologically significant transition point, which is known as the “fresh start effect”. Or as Gretchen Ruben calls in it her book, Better Than Before, the strategy of the clean slate.

There are a few other times in your life that can give you the push you need to start working towards big goals.

  • When you have more free time (extended holidays, job loss, children start school, empty nest)
  • When you are feeling low
  • When you need a change
  • At the end of an era (school or university finishes, moving house)
  • After achieving a goal, jump right back in!
when is the best time to set new big goals


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