What a year it’s been!
And I know that I also said this at the end of 2020 AND at the end of 2021!
Many of us have continued to be challenged, stretched, and stressed to (or beyond) our limits. We’ve had to adapt, change course, be more flexible, get creative, slow down, or stop altogether (voluntarily or involuntarily). We have all been impacted in some way shape or form by the global pandemic, social and economic disruption and unrest, war (directly or indirectly), and many other occurrences both at the global or local level.
As 2022 draws to a close, this is a perfect time to pause, reflect on the year that’s been and consider what you want for an inspiring 2023.
Read on to find out why goals are important and to get some tips and suggestions for setting clear, focused and inspiring goals for 2023.
Why Goals are Important
Goals are vital to our health and wellbeing. They can give us focus and direction as well as a sense of achievement and accomplishment (there is a chemical release of dopamine - the happy hormone - when we reach milestones).
Goals help us to bring to life what we most desire in life and what's most important. When our goals and our values (what’s most important) align, this contributes to a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment, and we can feel the sense of direction in our lives.
Having goals can also greatly contribute to our sense of control and comfort, as well as enabling us to live and choose more consciously, especially during times of uncertainty and ambiguity.
If you are persuaded that the above is true, the next step is to get on board and set goals.
When we start out on this process, it’s important that goals are both motivating and inspiring. Why? Knowing our motivation and inspiration will keep us driven towards achieving the goals (even when the going gets tough). It will be the fuel that sparks the fire of action within us, AND it will keep us connected to why we are doing what we are doing and connected to our purpose.
The risk of not setting motivating or inspiring goals is that goals become a bit of a chore or they become relegated to a to-do list or check-list. And we all know that many things can fall off the bottom of to-do lists, or we can find ample excuses (or procrastinate – the subject of another blog in 2023) to not get things done!
This is a good enough reason, if any, to go about setting motivating and inspiring goals.
Where to start with Goal Setting – The Wheel of Life
If you’re not sure where to start OR you are reviewing, renewing, resetting prior goals, the Wheel of Life is a great tool to use.
The wheel of life helps to look at different segments of your life, gauge your level of satisfaction across each of the areas, and from there, set realistic and inspiring goals.
Regardless of your focus area (and it’s not necessary to have goals in each area – this is just a guide), there is an opportunity to look at what steps can be taken, (no matter how big or small) towards the achievement of your realistic and inspiring goals.
As a starting point for goal setting, the below reflective questions, by category, can help you to set or reframe what personal or professional success looks like for you.
In working through the below questions, you may start to get a sense of where your focus and attention is drawn to and where you want to be focusing your energy for 2023.
Are you in a career that you want or even that you like?
If you’re between jobs, what’s most important for you in your next move? (money vs stability vs culture vs autonomy vs leadership)?
Family & Friends
What can you do to maximise “quality” time with friends and family?
If you’re working from home, how are your boundaries between work / family life?
How has 2022 strengthened or strained your relationship(s)?
What changes, if any, need to be considered as you look ahead to 2023?
Fun & Recreation
What are the activities that make you belly laugh and / or bring you joy and meaning?
How can I set aside time for fun and/or recreation?
NOTE: I highly encourage EVERYONE to have a goal around fun for your overall wellbeing. This is often neglected or forgotten. It is not a frivolous goal by any stretch – and it takes a serious commitment to ensure you commit to this goal just like any other
Health & Wellbeing
What do you need to prioritise for your health and wellbeing in 2023? What help do you need to ask for?
When was the last time I took a break? (I know many were unable to take a break during the pandemic!)
Personal Growth & Development
What do I want to focus on or invest in personally / professionally? e.g. a course, skill, accreditation, training, self-awareness, coaching etc.
In what area or where do I want to deepen my knowledge or awareness?
What’s in your control on the financial side? Where do you want to be one year from now
What financial opportunities / decisions that need to be made to support you / and or your family?
Passion & Creativity
What passion and creativity do you wish to start, continue or take to the next level?
What have you been putting off in this area that you’re ready to start now?
How satisfied am I with my physical environment (e.g. country/location, apartment/house, workplace)?
Is there an opportunity or need to change my environment? What is realistic and possible?
Having worked through these questions, you may start to get a clearer picture of where your energy is drawn to and where you want to place your focus for 2023.
If the wheel of life were a bike on a wheel, how bumpy or smooth would your ride be?
Tips to Get Crystal Clear and Focused on Your 2023 Goals
Alongside the above questions and the wheel of life, you may find that you have the beginnings of some very inspiring goals to work towards in 2023.
The below tips can also help you get even more clear and focused for your 2023 goals.
💡 Prioritise: Prioritise your top 3-5 goals and focus on those. Prioritising will tell you what’s MOST important, will help keep you focused and will best set you up for success.
💡 S.M.A.R.T: Goals are more than just a to do list. Make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound). This helps keep goals very focused AND to bring a sense of accomplishment and achievement – activities that you can measure and define as success as well as enjoy.
💡 Energy: Notice the things that give you energy and motivate you (no matter how big or small). Goals need to be pursued with rigour commitment, energy and conviction – especially during uncertain times. If you are not feeling the energy and there is a lack of conviction behind the goal, then the goal becomes just a half-hearted measure – I challenge you to take them off the goals list.
💡 Expectations: There’s no need to limit your goal setting because you’re worried about the future and what may change. But do manage your expectations and understand what’s in your control. Set goals to look forward to, that may even blow your expectations out of the water. Approach goal setting with an open-mind, and be prepared to practice the art of “letting-go”, accepting that the change is the only constant and that there will likely be adjustments along the way.
💡 Anxiety: Consider revising or taking goals off if they are causing you great anxiety. Goals are intended to stretch and motivate us – not stress us out completely. Setting smaller goals that are easily accomplished in a shorter period of time can help you get through those rough patches and stay on track in the long run.
Goal setting is not a perfect exercise. Anyone with experience of goal setting will know that the nature of goals is that they may morph and evolve. Goals help to give us direction and provide a compass or a north star. By using the tips above, you will be well on your way to setting your inspiring goals for 2023.
6 Commitment-Inspiring Questions to Help You Move Successfully Towards Your Goals
Once you have prioritised and short-listed your inspiring goals for 2023, the final step in helping you to bring these to life and to seal your commitment to these inspiring goals is to reflect on the below questions for each goals.
By bringing honesty, open-mindedness, and humility to your goal-setting process, you will also give yourself a much better chance of successfully moving towards your inspiring 2023 goals.
1. What’s your Motivation / What's your why?
Time to get honest with yourself. What’s the driving force behind this goal? Does it fill you with energy even if it’s hard? Why is this important to you?
2. Is this YOUR goal? Or is this someone else’s goal for you?
Fact: it will be much harder for you to achieve someone else’s goal for you. Whilst someone else’s intention for you may be good, the path towards your goal achievement will be much smoother when you are driven by your own goals.
3. What will your life be like once you’ve achieved this goal?
What will it feel like once you've achieved this goal? What will it sound like? What will it look like? Play the tape forward. What will it mean to you? How will you have grown either personally or professionally?
4. What will move you towards this goal / away from this goal?:
Consider the enablers and blockers to this goal
5. What’s your self-belief & mindset?:
How much do you believe you can achieve this goal? What’s your mindset? If deep down the answer is “no I can’t achieve it”, it may be a hard slog. For successful achievement of this goal, it will be important to reframe and find empowering beliefs and mindset to help you move forward. Consider questions 1-4.
6. What support do you need to achieve this goal?
Consider what support looks like for you in terms of your goal achievement. Support may come in different sizes and guises from your employer, your boss, family, friends, a professional service (coaching, mentoring, therapy).
The Big Goal
And for those who are ready, perhaps 2023 is the time to set THE BIG GOAL (TBG)!
The goal that makes you feel a little bit intimidated (maybe even nauseous), the goal that challenges you to think even more creatively and outside the box, the goal that’s going to stretch you more, the goal where you have to become the person you can’t even imagine being to move forward, the goal that’s helping you move towards the life that you want, and the goal that’s going to BLOW YOUR MIND!
Be aware of your expectations and attitudes towards any bigger goals – use this as an opportunity to explore, experiment, and even give yourself permission to fail. This may help you as you encounter setbacks and obstacles along the way.
Accountability & Tracking
These final ideas are going to help set you up for success in the achievement of your goals.
Get yourself an accountability partner– someone to whom you are accountable (weekly or monthly – you choose). Someone who can be honest with you and you honest with them when things are not going to plan. A family member or friend, a colleague or a coach. Verbalising helps with incentives and commitment.
Keep a track of your progress. Make it fun, gamify your progress, use an app, get creative. Take stock monthly or quarterly. If you fall off track, look at what’s derailed you. Was it inside or outside your control? With good motivation, systems, accountability and actionable tasks in place you may quickly get back on track.
Don’t forget to celebrate your successes or at least acknowledge what you HAVE achieved even if it feels like a tiny victory (or victories). Do this weekly – or even daily. And whilst acknowledging set-backs and failures is a very important part of any growth journey, be wary of going down the path of morbid self-reflection! Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan. The only one who suffers is you. Use this as an opportunity to ask the question, “What is this teaching me?”
As the year draws to a close and you reflect on the year that has been, December 2022 will be a great opportunity to invest valuable time in consider your inspiring goals for 2023 and beyond.
You won’t regret spending time focusing on what you want to achieve – thinking through, researching and organising your goals. This is an investment in YOU.
To support you in your 2022 reflection and your 2023 Goal Setting, sign up for the FREE downloadable support guides.
If this blog has helped you or if you have any comments or questions, I'd love to hear from you. Get in touch with me.