I think people who set goals for themselves are fools. The clever people know this. This is because it is very hard, perhaps even impossible, to achieve a goal that you truly don't desire. The goals you set need to be important to you. You need to be super enthusiastic about it to achieve a goal, like a toddler begging his parents to buy him an ice candy. The problem though is that if you're so enthusiastic about something, you would probably already have achieved it. You wouldn't need a goal. This is the fundamental paradox of goal setting.
I guess that makes me a fool too. I set goals all the time. The thing though is that I don't wait for any special milestone like my birthday or new year's to set a goal. I just make them when I feel like it. And I start working toward them from that moment onward. I only really set 1-2 goals every 2-3 months. Most of these are personal. Some of them professional. But because I set goals the second I'm inspired by how cool it would be if I achieved them, I safely bypass the fundamental paradox.
Goals need to be quantitative. Mostly because progress towards a goal needs to be analyzable, graphable, and reportable. All my non-quantitative (i.e. qualitative) goals have failed miserably. I think seeing progress provides the extra boost needed to complete the goal.
People always confuse goals with vision and ambition. You might only have one vision, a couple ambitions, but a handful of goals which have been set with your vision clear in your mind. A goal needs to be concrete, like "I'm going to wake up at 7 o'clock each morning", not "I'm going to try and wake up earlier if I can everyday."