7 Overlooked Principles to Set Smart Goals for 2023

Penny ZenkerAccountability, Productivity

Every few weeks of the New Year, we often start the year with lofty goals that we hope to achieve. New Year’s resolutions seem to be an important theme for everyone. With the new year, you must set smart goals for 2023. Setting your goals is like building a road map that allows us to reflect on the past, decide what we want, and make plans on how to get there. 

But often, even with these lofty goals, the desire to actually accomplish them soon fizzles out. It’s no wonder that over 80% of goal-setters fail to meet those resolutions by February.

That is shocking data, but it is the truth. 

My years of experience as a leadership speaker and expert have made me realize we approach this art of goal setting the wrong way. We often set ourselves up for failure because we did not set the right goals in the first place or made vague commitments, no real connection to our goal and no clear strategy to achieving them. Not all the goals you set will be equal, but setting effective goals begins with what you do and how you go about setting those goals. In this guide, I’ll show you my most effective goal-setting strategy to help you curate the best actionable plan you can put to good use this year, 2023. 

 

Think about your goals in one step at a time

set smart goals for 2023 one day at a timeAll progress can only occur one step after another, even when those steps pass quickly.  If you can’t seem to define your goal into clear and actionable steps, then it wasn’t really a goal in the first place. This is the main sticky point for most people, as we often set unrealistic goals or unspecific goals. 

Often, we have a strong desire for something, but wanting isn’t enough; it’s about taking stock of the present situation, and from there taking the right steps until you have laid the groundwork, towards accomplishing that goal. That’s how you set smart goals for 2023.

One of my most tried and tested methods is to take a hard look at your present situation. What do I want to change? Where am I? What’s the distance or obstacle between where I am and where I want to be? 

Once you are honest with yourself, you can equally answer the question, “What step do I take today and onwards?” And that would lead you to take one step at a time in the right direction. 


Read this: Goal Setting 101 – What Should I Do Today?

Get real and clear about what you truly want 

 

Don’t set goals that tie into every aspect of your life. Smart goals mean you are setting ultra-specific goals tailored to every individual aspect of your life. 

This helps you avoid setting vague goals. The more meaning and action you give to a goal, the higher your chances of committing to it and getting it done. 

For instance, instead of saying I will communicate better this year, be narrow and specific, going as far as I’ll learn to speak a positive word to compliment my team and ask for feedback. For major goals, also make sure to connect the “why” aspect, to keep you on track.

 

Different categories of goal setting for 2023

Considering how specific you have to go with each goal, you will quickly realize that you need different sets of goals for everything. Breaking your goals into categories will equally help you break into the actual time periods and effectively break down into daily, weekly, monthly, and 12-month goal tracking. According to Harvard Business School, if you set multiple ambiguous goals, you may probably focus on one and the rest would fade out of sight. Hence, success begins with how you set smart goals for 2023 by focusing on one goal at a time and in a specific area of your life. Therefore, you may consider categorizing your goals into:

  • Personal goals e.g gardening 3x a week or using only 2 hours of social media every day
  • Financial goals e.g investing X amount of money  
  • Health goals e.g  jogging 4 times a week
  • Relationship goals. e.g date nights every week
  • Career goals e.g practicing complimenting teammates every day

Curate goals based on priorities

There’s always so much we desire to do, become, or harness. But not all of it matters in the long run. You must set real priorities for the year, month, week, and even day. As said by Emi Kirschner, in a podcast on “Big Goals to Small Steps,” your goals must align with the rest of your life. Perhaps, you’ve got a boss, a job, kids, and other obligations. It’s important you pay attention to these obligations while setting those lofty goals to avoid overplanning, which leads to confusion and overwhelm, thereby bringing just too much stress and pressure that shouldn’t be there in the first place. 

Your priorities should shape your goals - that's how you cut through the noise to maintain laser focus Click To Tweet

Seize the advantage of accountability systems 

Have an accountability system or partner to aid your setting goalsAccountability is a core component of how you will set and keep those goals for 2023. There’s no need to rely on intrinsic influences like motivation and willpower alone. Perhaps, you can benefit from getting your friends and family in on the goal or going entirely public with it. Perhaps, you could get someone more experienced to guide and checkmate your improvements. My friend, Mitch Russo, created one heck of a system, although focused on business accountability, where people and businesses can access the type of accountability system they prefer to accomplish their goals.

 

Read this: Delegation and systems: the most effective time management strategy with Yaro Starak

 

Go above the perceived challenges you’ll face

In a past podcast with an organizational psychologist, Dr. Benjamin Hardy, here’s the crux of the entire message: “Everything you do or don’t do about your goals defines your future self and shapes your results and processes.”  In other words, your goals shape your personality. Hence, if you believe that your goals are challenging, then they will be challenging.  That said, we must shape those goals so they are relevant to things that we truly want. We must think about why we want to achieve them and pursue them accordingly. And as by Emi Kirschner once said, “don’t be afraid to dream big and stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.” Even though I said to make realistic goals, I also believe that setting BIG goals, help you think differently and achieve more. Two strategies and BOTH work! You just have to follow through in your execution so which one works best may depend on your personality style.

 

Schedule your goals 

A good plan isn’t complete until it is scheduled. How then would you track, measure, and keep detailed accounts of your progress? How will you ensure you are being consistent if you don’t have a schedule for how to accomplish those goals? A good plan will include a realistic timeline for how long it takes to complete your goals, how many times you will need to do what you need to do, and how they fit into your existing obligations. That schedule will also help you avoid exaggerating setbacks, and you will be able to make adjustments at the right time. 

Plan your goals to the smallest details - leave no stone unturned to prepare for curveballs and stay head every single time. Click To Tweet

Avoid the trap of instant gratification 

I recently heard a joke (no joke) about how all gyms will be mostly full in January due to people trying to lose weight, but by February, the crowds will be gone and regulars will remain. 

This is caused by the trap of instant gratification, which is aided by using an unrealistic timeline for accomplishing your goals. Instant gratification leads to a fixation on superficial things. For instance, if you set goals to lose weight instead of focusing on building a better and stronger health regimen or prioritizing your health, there’s a good chance you won’t see that goal true. This is because we live in a time when we want things instantly. Hence, you may obsess about losing those extra pounds within a few weeks or months. When it seems like you aren’t getting what you want, it’s so easy to drop out.  In contrast, if you focused on building a better core, improving your heart health, or prioritizing workouts for better mental ability, you will focus on making those workouts and healthier diet plans a priority and habit, which leads to accomplishment in the long run. 

 

Accomplishing your goals for 2023

 

The most important aspect of setting goals for 2023, is remaining dedicated to them until you accomplish them. There’s no doubt life can be unpredictable and there will off-course be setbacks and obstacles from time to time. But instead of beating yourself, you can make these meaningful personal and professional 2023 goals become an absolute reality. Remember to be kind to yourself, and hold on to the belief that you are valuable and capable of going above and beyond to succeed. And off-course, you are worth every time you spend setting the right goals for 2023.