Are goals and dreams really necessary?

Ayda Page
3 min readJan 10, 2023

One more year has passed and we have had one more opportunity to do something different in our lives, and hopefully our lives are all getting better in every way. Of course, that’s what we wish for. And even if we don’t have specific New Year resolutions we most likely do have our own subconscious wish list for what we want to get or achieve.

Maybe we want to make improvements to our health, finances, or relationships, or maybe we want to travel or learn something. Yes, we need to have a target to work towards, we need to make a plan and then stick to the plan, ideally with an expiration date for when we want to achieve it. Is that too much to focus on at once? I think yes. So how can we simplify it and still get what we want?

I found the first step that works for me is to make sure that you’re choosing the correct goal for you, without overthinking or getting stuck in the details. Whatever your goal might be, make sure that you’re feeling what it will be like when you have achieved the result that you want. For example, if you want to make improvements to your health then you need to have the mindset of someone who is healthy. If you want to change your finances, you need the mindset of someone with no financial issues. Whatever your goals are, think as if you had already achieved them. When you start out of course that is not true yet, but if you have the mindset that it is true then you are already a big step on the way to achieving it.

You may be thinking now that this all sounds a bit vague or that you’ve heard the same thing so many times before and it just doesn’t work. That’s a fair point! Here are some ideas that might help:

  • Pick only one thing that you want to improve. Focus on just that.
  • Start thinking in reverse — for example, if your goal is to lose weight, question how you will feel when you have lost all the weight you want to lose. What behavior will you then demonstrate?
  • Aim to stay on track for six days out of seven. We all make mistakes, we repeat them, but ultimately we can learn to not repeat them any more. It can take one shot or as many as we need to really learn and make better choices.
  • Most importantly, don’t compare yourself with any else’s success or failure. We really never know what is going on in someone else’s life.
  • Read or watch about the subject that you want to achieve. Become knowledgeable on the subject. Education will give you confidence.
  • Ask friends or family members to keep you accountable.
  • Remember that having a goal that you are working towards and looking forward to achieving is so much better than having no goals in your life.
  • Start to change the way that you think. Changing your perceptions will change the route you follow. Sometimes we need to step back to see the full picture of what we’re doing.

Starting something like a New Year’s resolution with a fresh mindset will actually often lead to more success. If I’m working towards a goal then I personally like to set little goals four weeks at a time, and I keep a whiteboard on the fridge where I check each day, just to remind me what I’m doing. I have little challenges with my husband too, we each have something we’re trying to achieve and checking the box each day makes it a little bit competitive and keeps us both accountable. Having the awareness of your current behavior, and reminders of what you want to achieve, are already a very big step on the way to achieving it!


“Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers”; John C. Norcross, Marci S. Mrykalo, Matthew D. Blagys, March 2022;

“New Year’s Resolutions Are Notoriously Slippery, but Science Can Help You Keep Them”; Katy Milkman, January 2022;



Ayda Page

Check my website for lots more articles as well as my full story and bio :)