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  • Writer's pictureHarshal

Personal Goal Setting For 2024: Not Will Power, Only Habits

Updated: Jan 18

Examples Of Planning Goals Using Habits, Apps, And Metrics.

Whether you're planning for the year of 2024 or just the next month, this post will provide you helpful anecdotes and examples.

If you are planning for 2024 or just the next month, you will find the anecdotes and examples helpful from this post. Whether it's strengthening family bonds, enhancing fitness routines, or achieving financial stability, you will find tips from planning to pursuing your dreams.

American writer, Napoleon Hill, said,

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

In this post, I share my goal-setting framework for New Year’s resolutions. I use my personal goals for 2024 as examples because they make the framework more real and understandable, even if it makes me uncomfortable. A Lorem Ipsum example doesn’t help in the same way.

You’ll see I’ve tried to make goals measurable. I’ve also aimed for goals to become habits so that I do not need to rely on willpower or motivation to succeed.

I spent 2 hours and 45 minutes writing my goals and 59 minutes writing this post.

Man visualizing his moonshot dreams with a meticulous paper trail.
Man visualizing his moonshot dreams with a meticulous paper trail.

Here are some related posts:

6 Focus Areas For Yearly Goals

6 areas, following same framework as last year.

  1. Family

  2. Fitness

  3. Finance

  4. Mind

  5. Adventure

  6. Other/Miscellaneous

I created an ordered list to remind me of their relative priority. Family first. Miscellaneous goals last.

6 parts of annual plan - with family on top. Kept Other as the least important part.
6 parts of annual plan - with family on top. Kept Other as the least important part.

1 - Family

Some tips

  • What are your intentions for your marital relationship? What would improve it from a 5/10 to a 10/10 or a 15/10? Same question for your connection with your parents or children.

  • Convert your goals to habits. Habits could be regular (daily, weekly) or trigger-based (after bath).

  • Daily appreciation, gratitude journal, daily journal, meditation, or capturing your 5-second moment are all ways to slow down the passage of time to feel more happiness and alive from the same set of experiences.

My goals

  • Stay emotionally connected with my spouse: (Redacted or summarized goal) Implement daily connection routines inspired by Gottman's Rituals of Connection. Track these using HabitNow app:

    • Parting: Have a brief chat each morning when parting for work.

    • Reunion: Discuss the day's events during lunch or dinner

    • Appreciation: Identify and express daily appreciation for my spouse's actions.

    • Affection: End each day with a wind-down chat.

    • Sensate Focus

    • Mealtimes: Share lunch and walks on work-from-home days with spouse. Join spouse for coffee.

    • Weekly Check-In

    • Monthly Dates

    • Date-Days: 4 special days out in the year, one every 3 months. These dates are like all-day dates, rather than a dinner outing.

    • Express happiness

  • Fair Play in Running the Household: Work towards a fair distribution of household tasks, following advice from Fair Play, Emily Oster's Family Firm, and Gottman.

  • Family Growth (Redacted or summarized goal) 

I met many of my family goals in 2023 and created habits around them so they did not require willpower, but became part of my routine. Here are some repeat goals I want to stay consistent about:

  • Weekend Time with Son: Carve out times on weekends with son outside of meals, with defined start and end.

  • Time with my son is quality time: When I’m with my son, it is quality and focused time with him. I am not distracted by digital devices, household tasks, or work.

  • Family Plans on Weekends: Organize or participate in at least one family activity every weekend. I also consider plans to meet or host friends or birthday parties as ‘family plans’.

2 - Fitness

Some tips:

  • Within fitness, research suggests this priority order: 1- Good sleep, 2- Good food, 3 - Good exercise. Although they are intertwined, I've rearranged my goals to reflect this.

  • How do you feel in your body? How do you feel about your food? Is there something you want to change?

  • Think of your “why” to keep you motivated.

  • Commit with a friend or train in a group. Daniel Lieberman’s Exercised suggests physical activity is best done in a group.

  • Go to sleep at the same time on a weekday or weekend.

  • Track your progress.

  • Be wary of optimizing to a metric, not your goal. Set up quality metrics or counter metrics.

I’ve reused visuals from the review of my 2023 goals because I have similar goals here.

My goals:

  • Good Sleep: Minimize night wakings and be consistent about the time I sleep and wake up. Consider visiting a sleep clinic. Use sleep score, sleep duration, and sleep consistency metrics from Withings Sleep Analyzer and Samsung Galaxy Watch to track sleep. Samsung data gives me my 2023 average statistics:

    • Went to bed at 10:07 pm.

    • Slept for 6 hours 44 minutes.

    • Woke up at 5:04 am.

    • Sleep score of 73.

    • I got Withings in Jan 2024. It gives me a score of 80 with 7 hours and 9 minutes of sleep.

Sleep tracking to check sleep time (quantity) and score (quality).
Sleep tracking to check sleep time (quantity) and score (quality).
  • Disciplined Dining: I’ve split this habit into weekdays and weekends; I’m tracking this habit using HabitNow. On weekdays, eat measured food unless there is a social get-together. I’m at a score of 97 for this habit and a score of 50 for my weekend food discipline. See Fitness Fanatic vs Feasting Foodie. On weekends, apply these 5 criteria to food to help my fitness goals, reduce dirty eating, and be portion-conscious:

    • Eat slowly.

    • Avoid extra servings due to social pressure.

    • Order one large dish per adult, or less.

    • Pre-plan restaurants or occasions.

    • Taste desserts, don't feast.

Successful weekday habit streak. New checklist to help tame the weekend feasting foodie.
Successful weekday habit streak. New checklist to help tame the weekend feasting foodie.
  • Build Muscle: Increase strength, measured by workout volume per muscle. I’ve been working out for a long time but my muscle gains have been slow over the last 14 years.  Focus on intentional muscle gain. Maintain counter metrics of BMI, waist, and stomach line. Continue workouts in the home gym with dumbbells. Track these in Google Sheets and FitNotes.

    • Metrics: Increase the workout volume per muscle. No numeric target of how much.

    • If I can increase weights and reduce reps at or below 6, then track 1RM.

    • Counter metrics: Retain BMI < 24. Current 23.7.

    • Retain waist < 73cm. Current 72.5cm.

    • Retain stomach line < 79cm. Current 77.5cm.

    • Quality metrics or constrains: Complete warm up, workout, and cool down within 60 minutes.

    • Prioritize compound exercises and large muscles.

    • A rep without proper form does not count.

    • Do 3 or 2 sets per exercise, following Jeff Nippard’s tips, unless you find research that suggests 3 or 4 sets.

    • Prioritize exercises with more accurate movement or measurement. For example, prioritize bench pec fly over cable fly. Pull-ups over cable lat-pull-down.

    • Stick to my dumbbell-based home gym to eliminate commute time, time of the day restrictions, and weather excuses.

    • For most exercises, keep sets within 12 reps.

    • Walk, jog, or run at least once a week.

Body fitness metrics by tracking 1RM, Volume, reps, and sets.
Body fitness metrics by tracking 1RM, Volume, reps, and sets.

Repeat goals from 2023:

  • Maximize Injury-Free Workout Days: Achieve this through regular warm-ups and cool-downs. Incorporate neck exercises and use a massager when needed. Pause workouts immediately upon injury. Track workout regularity using HabitNow app, including:

    • Daily workout or walk.

    • Daily neck and stretching exercises.

3 - Finance

Some tips:

  • What work can you do even in your sleep? What work do you shy away from, but the work keeps coming back? Which task can your spouse do on your behalf? These might be examples of tasks that your spouse and you can together delegate to virtual assistants, software, or house help.

  • Pre-mortem your goals to help you succeed. I wrote about a pre-mortem example here of my career goals.

My goals:

  • Chats to “Follow the Money”: Reach ARR of EUR 100,000 in 2024 through business or job. Engage with 100 companies for full-time or consulting roles. Engagement includes applying for jobs, informational chats, consulting opportunities, and interviews.

  • Market and Monetize Resume Parser Product: I launched a resume parser product last year which made some money over the year, but I didn’t spend time executing my marketing plan via content creation. Execute the marketing plan, focusing on content creation to attract paying users. Be open to pivoting the product direction.

  • Stable Income for Family: (Redacted or summarized goal) When required, change career focus to finding a full-time job, unless I’ve reached the ARR goal through consulting, coaching, or product.

Repeat goal from 2023:

  • Use Money to Buy Time: Continue to use money to save time. Hire freelancers and house helpers. Invest in software for efficiency. Optimize meal prep time. Blog coming up on meal prep optimizations and solo-entrepreneurship software.

4 - Mind

Some tips:

  • Which part of your day feels the most frazzled to you? What routine could be added before or after it to help you be mindful and calm?

  • Do you find yourself short of time for your family or fitness while you go after your finance goals?

  • Do you want to get more done or do fewer things?

My goals:

  • Get Over Sales Inertia: Contact 50 people about my consulting services before 1 May 2024. I consider calling, messaging, or meeting someone as ‘contacting’. This feels like a daunting goal, and I need to break this down into smaller steps:

    • Define the ideal customer profile.

    • Make a list of people in my network who fit this.

    • Get feedback on outreach messages from consulting communities.

    • Once the list has 5 or more people, start reaching out.

  • Prioritize Effectiveness Over Efficiency: Spend time only on the most important things.

  • High Productivity: I don’t know how to define productivity, but I can measure this using metrics. Aim for a high score in my HabitNow habit tracker for my productivity habits. I’ve set these habits based on learnings from Indistractible, Deep Work, and other books. 

    • Pomodoro timer sessions: Do 12 or more focused work sessions each week; each focus session is 25 minutes. I’m at a score of 78 now.

    • Regular writing sessions: One writing or editing sprint per workday.

    • Productivity pulse: Productivity pulse is the percentage of productive time divided by total digital time. I’m at 67 now, aim to keep it same. Use RescueTime to track and improve this compound metric. The higher this score, the more productive my digital time.

Recurring reminders for writing, reviewing priorities, family dinner, lunch and walk, dance, and ‘the one thing’. Blocks for family outings.
Recurring reminders for writing, reviewing priorities, family dinner, lunch and walk, dance, and ‘the one thing’. Blocks for family outings.

Repeat goal from 2023:

5 - Adventure

Some tips:

  • Even if your ‘adventure’ goals are stretch goals, what does success mean for you in them? Think of “why”.

  • Do you want to learn a new hobby, demonstrate a skill, or take a course?

  • What does social circle, friendship, or community mean to you? What would an ideal adult friendship look like for you?

My goals:

  • Share Thoughts: Write 52 blogs, similar to 2023. Reduce time spent in writing, as measured by time spent on google docs and sheets using RescueTime. Start with evaluating the time spent on content creation in 2023.

  • Reader-focused writing: Write posts for my reader, not myself. Start with engaging with at least 10 substack readers and 10 LinkedIn readers for feedback. Use tips from Deploy Empathy.

    • Anti-goals: I considered but discarded this goal. “Grow my audience by 10%” by improving distribution. I discarded this goal because my goal is to be “known well, not well-known”. I write it here to remind me to not chase this goal.

  • Prioritized Friendships: My spouse and I hosted 100s of friends at our home over the last two years. Now, be more mindful of whom to spend time with. For example, follow the ‘My Social Universe” exercise from The Good Life to categorize my friendships on an 'energize - deplete' axis to better manage social interactions.

Sample exercise visualization as a bubble chart with the number of relationships at each point.
Sample exercise visualization as a bubble chart with the number of relationships at each point.
  • Uplevel in Marathi language: Uplevel my Marathi speaking and reading. For example, I currently read one page of a Marathi book before sleep every night to improve my reading.

Repeat goal from 2023:

  • Improve Dance Moves: Take 20hrs+ of additional lessons on Steezy and track weekly progress using HabitNow. Do two 30-minute lessons every week. Alternatively, take 1-hour classes from

6 - Other

  • Save on Heating Using Smart Home: Utilize smart home to manage heating efficiently, particularly for hot water, to reduce costs. I use Home Assistant and Tado, among other tools.

Done. Now, let’s go and achieve things.



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