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New Year, New Me? Goal Setting Guide

January 2023

New Year, New Me? Goal Setting Guide

The new year often marks the start of new beginnings and resolutions for many people. Learning to appropriately set and clarify goals is a useful skill and is also helpful in bringing a sense of purpose and direction to one’s life.

Identify the domain

Identifying the domain is an important step in providing an understanding of which areas of your life could benefit from greater intentionality and purposeful change. Instead of trying to change everything, focus on one area of your life where you would like to make a change.

Clarify your values

Determining what changes to make can be a difficult decision. It may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions to gain clarity about which change would be the most impactful:

– What is important to me?

– What do I want my life to be about?

– What sort of person do I want to be?

– What would I be doing if I knew I would not fail?

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

One of the most well-known formulas for establishing effective goals is the SMART method. The acronym SMART stands for:

–         Specific (clear, concrete)

  • Ex. I want to be more mindful of my thoughts and feelings.

–         Measurable (trackable, quantifiable)

  • Ex. I will set a reminder on my phone to engage in a mindful activity.

–         Attainable (realistic, achievable)

  • Ex. I will devote 5 minutes of my daily commute to a mindful-based activity.

–         Relevant (important, values)

  • Ex. Improving my ability to be mindful will result in less stress.

–         Time-Bound (definite, fixed)

  • Ex. Complete 5 mindful activities by the end of the week.

Commit to a plan

Building out a successive plan of smaller steps (e.g., A to B, B to C, etc.) is a guaranteed way to reach your goal while also maintaining a mindset of forward progression and accomplishment. Use the template below to guide your plan.

  My goal is to…

  I can break this goal into smaller steps by…

  The first and smallest step I can begin with is…

As we begin the new semester, the IU School of Medicine Department of Mental Health Services encourages you to take a moment to reflect on your personal well-being and the goals you have set for 2023. The provided information is intended to bring helpful insights for personal development and how to better set and accomplish goals that lead to long-term success.

Need to talk? 

For trainees: The Department of Mental Health Services is available to provide mental health and personal counseling services to all students, residents, and fellows. There are two ways to access services:

  • To request an appointment with the Department of Mental Health Services, send a secure message via the online portal at or call 317-278-2383 during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm).
  • In an emergency, call 317-278-HELP (4357), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A licensed clinical health specialist will provide an assessment and help direct you to appropriate treatment options based on the situation. You may also call on behalf of a trainee if you are a family member, friend, or colleague concerned about their well-being. You may call anonymously if desired.

For IU Health employees: 

For IU Employees:

The IU Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides 24/7/365 access to licensed mental health counselors via SupportLinc or 888-881- LINC (5462) for IU School of Medicine team members and their households.