2017 Goals: Making Monthly Goals Rather Than Year-Long Resolutions

2017: A Great Year Ahead! Why I’m Making Monthly Goals Rather Than Year-Long Resolutions

This post may seem a little late since it’s already 6 days into 2017, but it’s because I’m not the kind of person who can reflect on the 365 days of 2016 in a single night.  SO so much happened in that time frame that I really just needed time, peace, and quiet to sit down, recover, reflect, dream, and set goals for the New Year.

I’ve concluded that 2016 was INDESCRIBABLE.  The last portion of the year was a freakin’ rollercoaster.  Things — both good and bad, rewarding and stressful — came and went.  But another year older, another year (hopefully) wiser.

The end of 2016 brought on some realizations and a few slaps in the face (metaphorically, of course).  Realizations that don’t cloud the entire year of 2016 as being bad, but things that absolutely make me want to have the best 2017 possible, and the greatest year of my life TO DATE.

While I have always been good at keeping my New Year’s resolutions, I thought I’d switch it up for 2017.  I am in NO way discontent with where I am in life at the moment (I was a few years ago, but that is in the past).

I am able to make secretly healthy desserts whenever my heart desires, and I have this blog to share those delicious creations with you.

I am grateful to be in this wonderful online community and connecting with all of you on social media, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you name it.

I am blessed that hundreds of thousands of people visit this website on a monthly basis.

I am honored that readers reach out to me every single day with recipe reviews, questions, testimonials, and sheer love.

I am thankful that this blog (something I created as a freshman in college to procrastinate studying for finals) has become my motivation, my passion, my love, and my dream come true.

Instead of making a few resolutions set for the entire year, I decided that this year I’ll make monthly goals — goals that I can reach (or surpass) for all 12 months.

Believe in Your Dreams for your New Year Goals - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Believe in your dreams and follow your New Year Goals - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

I felt a little overwhelmed.  There are so many (TOO MANY) things that I want/need to improve on.  Where do I even start??

This is where the New Year goals fit in.  By choosing attainable goals for every month rather than one or two huge, possibly unrealistic resolutions for an entire year, you can set yourself up for success rather than failure.

Every single attempt at self-improvement is a step in the right direction on the path to GREATNESS!

I am not gonna sugarcoat it.  Trying new things is scary as hell, and hey, you might fail and fall flat on your face…  but at least you tried.  At least you know deep down inside that you put in your all.  Trying is a key step in learning, improving, and growing.

Inspirational Quote for New Year Goals - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits


January Goals

  • Make Desserts With Benefits a better place for y’all

I want your experience on my blog to be seamless, easy to navigate, enjoyable, and delicious!  I’m open to any thoughts or tips you may have.  Let me know if there’s something to improve or work on, I’m completely open to suggestions!

  • Health & Fitness Goal #1:  Resume Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 1x per week (I went regularly in October and November but slacked off in December)
  • Attend 2 local entrepreneur group meetups

I have so many business ideas but have zero clue where to start.  I have been considering selling healthy treats on Etsy, from my home to yours, since hundreds of you have asked for already baked, ready to eat treats.  Totally understandable — it’s easy to bookmark and pin recipes online, but not everyone has the time to actually make them.  I also thought about doing the farmer’s market, but the weekly fees are astronomical.  My parents have been pushing me to think about getting a small storefront, and I love the idea, but I think the shop’s rent price tag alone would drive my business straight into the ground.  How awesome would it be to share healthy sweets in my community?  People can come in for snacks, treats, coffee, that sorta stuff.  Do you have any recommendations, thoughts, ideas?  I’d love to hear them!

I’ve never really “put myself out there” in terms of networking and going to meetups, but now is the time (see why in my February goals).

February Goal

  • Spend less

Why?  Because February marks my first month as a true FULL-TIME BLOGGER!!  I have been blogging full-time for about 4 years now but have always needed to work part-time jobs on the side to make ends meet.  I worked at a healthy bakery here in Austin for 1 year and 4 months — lots of ups and downs, but overall, the last 16 months of my life have been a frustrating plateau.  I focused too much on paying bills that I neglected my own goals and aspirations.  I cannot stand to work at a place without constant creativity, innovation for the purpose of improvement, and personal/professional growth, where people press their thumbs down on you.  I will not go with the flow if the flow is aiming for mediocrity.  Quitting this job is a huge risk, but a risk I’m willing to take in order to make progress.  I can’t afford (nor do I want) to be stagnant any longer — I need to learn and grow!  I don’t know how I’ll pay rent after I quit but will have to find a way, even if it means selling off basically everything I own.

March Goals

  • Sleep, reflect, and recover

I can already tell I’m going to be a stress ball for the entire month of February, so I want to use the month of March to get my sleeping schedule on track, relax, and refresh.  Working bakery hours (4am-12pm) with some overnight stints (10pm-6am) has seriously messed up my sleeping patterns!  I want to take some time to reflect on the years I’ve been blogging, how the blog (and maybe myself as well) has changed over time.

  • Start journaling 1x per week

Why?  Because I find that setting time aside to write down thoughts on physical paper is much more effective than deep breathing and meditating.  For me, anyways.  Whenever I try to meditate I just get distracted and start thinking about my to-do lists and what I may be procrastinating on at the moment — I haven’t journaled in about a year but want to get back into it.

April Goals

  • Give and be generous

Why?  Because YOU have been so generous to me!  Whenever I shared my personal struggles here on the blog or on social media, you have always been there to support me and send along encouraging words.  I wouldn’t have (and couldn’t have) done any of this without you guys.  I wouldn’t have continued on blogging if it wasn’t for your love and motivation.  I wouldn’t have written my DIY Protein Bars Cookbook or Naughty or Nice Cookbook without so many of you guys asking for them.  And I surely wouldn’t be on the career path I am now had you guys not been so positive and uplifting and kind.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

April 20th marks my 6th year of blogging (!!!)

May Goal

  • Learn to cook 2 inexpensive, freezer-friendly staple meals (I maybe, just maybe, be a terrible cook!  Terrible as in the only thing I know how to make is scrambled eggs and homemade hummus…)

June Goal

  • Unplug from technology (phone, laptop, the blog, answering emails, all social media platforms, and TV) for one full day

July Goal

  • Health & Fitness Goal #2:  Be able to do 10 pull-ups, unassisted from deadweight (right now, I can do 4)

August Goal

  • Health & Fitness Goal #3:  Try a spinning class.

September Goal

  • Health & Fitness Goal #4:  Try Bikram Yoga

October Goal

November Goal

  • Eat more vegetables — you know, for balance (if you have any favorite veggie recipes, please send ’em my way!)

December Goals

  • Unplug from technology (phone, laptop, the blog, answering emails, all social media platforms, and TV) for one full day
  • Evaluate 2017’s new year goals and make 2018’s new year goals

Did I reach my goal(s) every month?  Did I accomplish what I set out to accomplish?  Is there something I wish I did/didn’t do?  What do I want to get out of the year 2018?  How did I improve myself during 2017, and can I take it even further?


Inspirational Quote for New Year Goals - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

The first few months of 2017 will be a rocky ride, I’ll tell ya that.  But I know the obstacles I’ll face are meant for good.  If we think about the defining moments in our lives, they were probably very difficult times, serious struggles, or even terrible situations, but they are the things that made you who you are today.

Sometimes (okay, MOST OF THE TIME) I overthink things and end up discouraging myself.  It’s something I really need to work on in order to change for the better — not during a single month, but for the entire year of 2017.  My brain is constantly running and preoccupied with to-do lists, what’s to come in the future, and what I’m meant to be doing, that it’s easy to lose sight of the NOW.  When I do manage to take a step back and look around, I realize how damn happy and proud I am to be where I am at in this moment.

I am the type who likes to stay in their little comfort bubble, but this month I’ll be getting out there and attending a couple entrepreneurship meetups (something I definitely wouldn’t do without a push, so THANK YOU ALL for the inspiration and encouragement)!  January will be THE month where I begin to take steps to work towards being the person I truly want to be, and finally start doing what I’ve always wanted to do!

Our goals and dreams don’t have to be grandiose and life-changing, sometimes reaching the smallest of goals can make the biggest of impacts.  Self-improvement is a way of life.  Even if you fail, every try is a step to being your best.

Inspirational Quote for New Year Goals: Positive Vibes Only! -- Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits


With love and good eats,


– Jess


22 comments on “2017: A Great Year Ahead! Why I’m Making Monthly Goals Rather Than Year-Long Resolutions”

  1. Awesome goals and I like how you’ve divided them up by month. That definitely makes it more manageable. Wishing you the BEST this year! If you ever need a work-out buddy when you try the different work-outs or need a taste-tester, I’m here! 🙂

    • Absolutely! Making monthly goals has already been successful for me. For January and February, which are incredibly busy months since I’m quitting and trying to make the blog easier to navigate, I actually divided these monthly goals into weekly goals, with about 4 major goals on how to fix the blog, per week.
      Thank you so much!!! What are your favorite gyms here in Austin? I can’t do cardio or spinning because I suck, so I usually go to Heat Bootcamp, Athletic Outcomes, Onnit Academy, and Black Swan Yoga.
      Maybe during the AFBA happy hour I’ll sneak in some healthy treats 😉

      • Great to hear the goals are going well! Little by little you’ll reach them!

        I like cardio and spin! I’m not great at them but they make me feel very productive. Out of the ones you listed, I’ve tried Black Swan Yoga but open to any of them if they’re on ClassPass! Let me know your schedule! 🙂

      • I’m on ClassPass too! It’s seriously the best 😀
        My schedule is a little crazy right now but let’s talk at the next AFBA meetup!!

  2. I am SO freaking happy for you Jess!!! I’m beaming with joy because I know you’re going to accomplish everything on this list. You’re incredibly talented, driven, and I can’t wait to follow along on the ride 🙂 

  3. This was a really good post, Jess. I have a zillion goals this year too regarding my health, career, personal development, travel etc and dividing them up month by month is such a fantastic idea. I am gonna do it too, it will give me concrete deadlines and every month i can reflect on what i have accomplished. I also love how you are being brave and pursuing your dreams. I am sure you will be a smashing success. I think selling on etsy is a very good idea. It would be even better if you can have a dedicated online storefront of your own where people come and order, and you bake and ship from your house. It is not very difficult to setup an online shopping cart although i have no clue what the rules are regarding payment gateway integratioms in the US. Just think about it and maybe also have a look at ready to use ecommerce sites like shopify, bigcommerce, magento etc. All the best.

    • Thank you so much Pooja! I hope you achieve ALL of your goals this year. I would really recommend making monthly goals and writing them down on a physical piece of paper. When I wrote them down, I realized the kind of timeline that’s realistic, and how I need to prepare to reach those goals. For particularly busy months (like this month and February), I made weekly goals so I don’t get overwhelmed. It’s really helping me prioritize!
      You’re absolutely right. I think a site like Shopify would be a bit more “professional” than an Etsy account. The only problem I’m running into right now is FDA code (in the state of Texas, I can’t ship food outside the state, and it can’t require refrigeration, and a million other strange rules that don’t seem to make any sense at all).
      Thank you so much for your kind words and support Pooja! You’ve been such a great help! Wishing you the best and all the success! <3

      • Thanks so much Jess, here’s to achieving goals this year. And yeah, i will write down my goals on a piece of paper, i found a really cute template for it and downloaded it just now, lol.
        I have no idea about the Fda rules, they do sound a bit insane. But for the refrigeration thing, i was thinking maybe you could start by selling “kits”. You know the gifts in the jar kinda things they make? You put all the dry ingredients in the right quantities for your most popular items in a jar or something and ship. People can take it out, add the wet ingredients and bake or freeze it themselves as the recipe calls. It would make baking much easier, the items would be fresher and it would save on the cost of ingredients because most people would want to buy a bag of almond flour or protien powder for a recipe that calls for one cup of it. And dry ingredients alone wouldnt probably need refrigeration? Just an idea….If you can make it happen, i would so buy them.

      • Genius idea Pooja!! I spent hours researching the Texas cottage food law (INSANELY STRICT) and basically learned that everything I want to do is illegal 🙁
        It is against the law to sell food online, even on Etsy (money can only be exchanged face to face). I love the baking mix idea but those are a no-no (I couldn’t find an explanation on WHY, though). I’d have to rent a commissary kitchen and only sell locally at the farmer’s market. Just another roadblock in my path, but hopefully an idea comes up soon. Thanks so much for your input and support Pooja 🙂

  4. ALL of this is wonderful and inspiring and so kickass! How do you eat an elephant?…One bite at a time. And that is the key to success. Hey, if you need any help with testing some recipes (not desserts – actually cooking) I could help you out. 🙂 I enjoy cooking a lot. We need to get together and catch up now that the holidays are over!

    • Hahaha! I’ve never heard that “eat an elephant” metaphor before, but it’s hilarious and makes total sense! And YES, we need to hang out. Just know that I can’t spend any money because I gotta save haha (had to sell some things already on eBay and haven’t been to the grocery store in 2 weeks)!

  5. Easily one of the best new year goal posts that I’ve ever read. Breaking down a big goal into small steps is the key to achieving what you are aiming for. I like how you have one thing to focus on every month. It’s much easier to manage.

    I admire that you decided to quit your job and focus on improving yourself and growing this already impressive blog. This path is going to be very lonely and challenging. Please be prepared. But at the end of the day, it will be all worth it. I am so proud and happy for you! Let’s make 2017 a remarkable year together!

    By the way, 10 pull-ups are no joke, girl. Please do let me know when you are able to do that. I can only do 5…

    • Awwww thanks Sharon!!! You’ve been such a great help so far, and even though there will be some serious roadblocks, it’s good knowing that there’s someone out there who understands EXACTLY what you’re going through. You’ve been there, done that, so I know I can ask you anything!
      PS: Congrats on being able to do 5 pull-ups!! I’m struggling after 3 but manage 4, ugh. There was a time back in school when I could do 12 but that’s because I had a pull-up bar in my apartment lol

  6. Loved reading your post and I think monthly goals are a fantastic idea! Once my exams are over (this week yay!) I’ll sit down with a paper and think through my year and the areas in which I want to make improvements.

    I’m like you re: the overthinking/comfort bubble description, so you taking the leap is very inspirational, bravo to you!!

    I’ve realized that until now I haven’t taken blogging seriously: I had so many things going on: working as a lawyer, taking post-graduate classes, life with a significant other, elderly sick grandparents, family, etc. that whenever RL got too much and overwhelming I put the blog on backburner. But since RL is usually busy and chaotic it practically didn’t leave that da** backburner! So my biggest resolution/intention for 2017 is to take blogging seriously, and to let go: let go of e-mails I won’t read, of people that are bringing me down and other stuff accumulated in the past years. I need some cleaning done to be able to let in some fresh, invigorating air.

    Good luck for this new year and I would love to read more about the business/entrepreneur side of the blog/your life! Like how did you go around and find Simone? Editing photos is such an integral part of a blogger’s job, so I’m really curious to know how you were able to give this big responsibility to someone else (it is the task that is the most daunting and time-consuming for me too)?

    As for the blog update: in Internet Explorer the font is really small and hard to read (I’m 32, so my eyes are still good, yet I have to really lean in to see the letters).

    • Hi Stella! Thank you SO much for reading my post 🙂
      Good luck with your exams. Your life sounds crazy busy and stressful (lawyer, post grad, exams, etc. eek!), but you CAN and WILL get through this time.
      Your goals for 2017 are perfect. I know what you’re going through with the “letting go of emails” thing. It’s so easy to get bogged down with the amount of emails and the occasional rude blog/social media comments.
      If I’m actually successful in becoming a full-time blogger (FINGERS CROSSED), I’ll be sure to share my tips, experiences, do’s and don’t’s. Every blogger is different, but for me, I truly struggle with photography, and I struggle even harder with photo editing. What takes Simona 30 minutes will take me 90 minutes.
      And THANK YOU so much for telling me about the font size. I’m not exactly sure how to change things like that (along with struggling with photography, I am completely inept when it comes to coding, HTML, and tech stuff). But thanks for letting me know!!!
      Wishing you all the best Stella <3

  7. Your emoji recap of 2016 is so ✨? I think my 2016 would probably include a lot of ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ too! I definitely find translating resolutions into tangible wins difficult — so I’m keen to dive in and map out my monthly goals (first month, settle back into a running routine!). Congratulations on your Feb milestone ? exciting to see all the things you’ve got on the horizon

    • Thanks!  Haha, BOTH of our 2016’s involved tons of coffee 😉
      Wishing you all the best in getting back into your running groove!  I wish I could join you on that one, but I have never been able to get into running.  Definitely write your goals down on a paper and hang it somewhere! 🙂

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