Unveiling the Secrets Behind New Year's Resolutions

The Active Goal Setting Method


As the New Year dawns, countless individuals embark on a journey of self-improvement, armed with resolutions that promise transformative change. It's a ritual as timeless as the ticking of the clock striking midnight. But why do we set these resolutions, and more importantly, why do so many of them fall by the wayside as the months unfold?

Dr. Shad Helmstetter, a beacon in the realm of personal development, sheds light on the intricacies of goal setting in his acclaimed book, Having Meaning Finding Purpose, and features his Active Goal Setting Method. Helmstetter emphasizes the transformative power of having "a real goal—that's written out so you know what it is, and you can read it every day." It's not just about resolutions; it's about creating a roadmap to the life you envision.

According to Helmstetter, your goal can be anything you want to reach. Whether it's conquering a professional milestone, achieving personal growth, losing weight, or mastering a new skill, the power lies in defining it clearly. He aptly notes, "A goal that is not written down is a want, a wish, a hope, or a dream—but it isn't a goal."

Here's where the magic of the Active Goal Setting Method unfolds. Each goal, meticulously crafted and written, is accompanied by exploring potential obstacles and a strategic plan of action. This trifecta—Goal, Obstacles, and Action Steps—forms an actionable roadmap, a guide to navigating the twists and turns on your journey.

Imagine your goal as a treasure map and the obstacles as the challenges hidden along the path. The Action Steps? Your trusty compass and sword guiding you through the dense forest of setbacks. This dynamic trio transforms a mere wish into a concrete, achievable target.

a lone tree sitting on top of a snow covered hill

Photo by Miikka A. on Unsplash

Photo by Miikka A. on Unsplash

For survivors of sexual abuse, the journey towards healing and empowerment can be particularly challenging and lifelong. Yet, within the realms of Active Goal Setting, a powerful tool exists that can redefine their life's trajectory.

Imagine a survivor's resilience as a seed waiting to break through the soil, seeking the sunlight of hope. Active Goal Setting becomes the nourishment, the sunlight, and the water that propels this seed to grow into a robust and resilient plant. Setting goals allows survivors to reclaim power and agency over their lives, make choices and decisions, and focus not on the past but on the future they aspire to create.

As a survivor, I have witnessed the transformative impact of this simple method. I have seen myself change as I realize I am reclaiming my power and life. As a certified trainer and coach for the Self-Talk Institute, I have seen survivors change their lives through this simple three-step process. 

The importance of this simple process lies not just in setting goals but in the daily ritual of reading and reviewing them. Helmstetter underscores the significance, and it's akin to fueling your car with the motivation needed for the journey ahead. Reading your goals daily is like watering a seed; it ensures growth and keeps your aspirations alive.

Now, let's break down the three simple steps of setting a goal, as prescribed by Helmstetter:

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash

Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash

Write the Goal & Date It

Imagine sculpting your dreams into reality. Start by writing, "MY GOAL IS..." followed by the actual goal beginning with "TO..." This step gives your goal a tangible form. 

Instead of being defined by past traumas, survivors can articulate their aspirations, shaping a vision of the life they want to lead. This goal becomes a testament to their strength and resilience.

six white sticky notes

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


Every adventure has its challenges. After articulating your goal, identify up to three potential OBSTACLES that might block your path. This step is akin to anticipating storms on your voyage.

Acknowledging the obstacles is not dwelling on the pain but a strategic move toward empowerment. It is a recognition of the challenges that may arise and committing to face them head-on. By doing so, survivors can prepare themselves for potential triggers and setbacks, fostering a sense of control.

three pens on white paper

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Write the Action Steps & Date It

Now, for the actionable part. After each obstacle, script the ACTION you'll take to conquer it. Your Action Steps are the strategies, your tools for overcoming adversity. 

The Action Steps become the roadmap for empowerment. Each step declares the survivor's commitment to self-improvement, healing, and growth. Whether it's seeking therapy, engaging in self-care practices, or pursuing education, these steps become the tools to dismantle the chains of the past.

The Active Goal Setting Method isn't just a New Year's resolution—it's a compass for your life's journey. It's the key to turning aspirations into achievements, transforming the vague into the vivid. As Helmstetter aptly says, "A goal set in the right way is like a personal contract with yourself." So, as the New Year embarks, let your goals be the guiding stars illuminating your path to a brighter, more fulfilled future.

Don't hesitate to reach out if you or someone you know is seeking empowerment and transformation. We can rewrite the narrative together, turning the page into a new chapter filled with possibilities and achievements. Everyone deserves the opportunity to sculpt their path toward a future filled with strength, purpose, and joy. 

As a certified trainer and coach, I am honored to offer everyone a FREE Action Goal Setting Session. This session is a safe space to rediscover their power and decision-making, explore goals, address obstacles, and devise a personalized action plan. It's not just about setting goals; it's about reclaiming control, embracing resilience, and paving the way for a brighter future by rediscovering the power within.

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Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

Helmstetter, S. (2023). Having Meaning, Finding Purpose: An Answer to the Loss of Meaning and Value in a Chaotic and Changing World. Park Avenue Press.

Amazon:  Having Meaning, Finding Purpose: An Answer to the Loss of Meaning and Value in a Chaotic and Changing World by Shad Helmstetter.

·         Kindle: Having Meaning, Finding Purpose: An Answer to the Loss of Meaning and Value in a Chaotic and Changing World. - Kindle edition by Helmstetter, Shad. Self-Help Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

·         Paperback: Having Meaning, Finding Purpose: An Answer to the Loss of Meaning and Value in a Chaotic and Changing World.: Helmstetter, Shad: 9781734498271: Amazon.com: Books


About the Author:

John-Michael Lander is a Survivor, Advocate & Public Speaker

He is also the founder of An Athlete's Silence: www.anathletessilence.com

Published by SurvivorSpace, an initiative of Zero Abuse Project