How To REALLY Set Sustainable Goals You’ll Stick To In 2023
Nonsensical. Useless. A waste of time. If you were to ask me what I thought about new years resolutions just a few years ago, my answer would be something along those lines. Then I’d scoff at the idea and let my eyes roll all the way to the back of my head to make sure I communicated fully how stupid I thought the idea was.
Over the top? A little dramatic? Yes, I’d admit so myself too even back then, but there was something about the idea a list for a new year could change my life that I just didn’t believe.
In some ways, I was right.
But that’s the great thing about life; sometimes you change your mind or rather your mindset.
For me to understand the value of drafting a list at the start of the year, I had to first ditch the idea that I was in some way about to create a ‘newer’ me. When the clock strikes midnight on the first day, there really is no Disney-like transformation. You don’t really get a clean slate to work with as all your baggage, quirks, flaws, and desires step into the new year with you.
What you do get though, is a brand-new day of opportunity to seize, to make your own, to enjoy and rejoice in. Just like the ones that came before, you get brand new days of chances.
With this in mind, I stopped making resolutions and started setting goals and intentions instead. You may wonder, what’s the difference, really? I understand they do sound similar, but hear me out, although slight, there’s a difference.
Often, resolutions tend to be quite drastic. Behind resolutions is often a do-or-die approach that leaves you laying in the dirt the second you lag behind just a little. Whereas goals are more specific, action-driven, clear, concise and feel much more personal. In some ways, it’s all about wording, but I think words hold the power to make or break.
While I looked back on the lessons that I learnt in 2022, I found setting goals and intentions for the year was a major factor that set me up for success early on. I was able to hold onto them all year round as an anchor reminding me what way I truly wanted to go. To set goals is one thing, but to set sustainable goals is another. This is how you really do it in a few steps:
Visualise THAT Life.
What’s in the big picture? Where would you rather be a year from now? Two?
Obviously, before you can tackle the items on your to-do list, you should be able to bring them to life in your mind at least. Draw it up in your imagination with vivid colours – the hottest red and the brightest blue.
Just like any drawing that leaves a stain on a clean page remember that the art of living is subjective too. Your goals and intentions might not look like that of those around you and some might even criticise the choices you made on the canvas. Remember, however, that if you are happy to find yourself walking along the lines you’ve drawn, you’re off to a great start.
Keep It REAL And Honest.
Don’t say you’ll see the inside of a gym every single day when you haven’t been within its walls in over a year. Five gallons of water a day might be a stretch if, on your average day, you only remember to drink a little sip when your lips are dryer than the Sahara desert. To be honest, the idea of 20 books this year might have been a brilliant idea at conception, but will you really think the same in July when you are midway through your third paperback?
The intentions you are setting should be for you and you only, hence you get to be as honest with yourself as you’ve ever been.
Whilst it’s important to aim for the sky you need to view the goals you set as the staircase to heaven. You don’t just fly all the way to the top, but you walk up each step. One by one. Slowly but steadily. One after the other – until you’re soaring through the cloud.
In order words, make sure you don’t try to skip any steps. Each new year comes with a burst of energy that makes it only more tempting to set unrealistic goals. Ensure you are setting goals that will push you out of your comfort zone or the kind that will cause you to break a sweat every now and then. Be certain to write down goals that will facilitate your success, but don’t make them impractical or far-fetched. They should be tailored to the person you are now to enable you to be able to keep your intentions where they should be. So, even if you tell pretty little lies to everyone else, be honest with yourself.
Don’t Just Make Goals – Make PLANS.
Before every big match, a game plan is established to boost the possibility of a glorious win tactfully. Every great team has one, and they practice accordingly until their routines are so repeated, they can do them in their sleep. Of course, not everything can be anticipated, but where there is space for predictions, preparation is essential.
After you have established your ‘what’ and your ‘why’, the next point to consider would be your ‘how’.
How will I bring to life the ideas in my mind?
Your dream life will not just fall from the sky and onto your lap. Often, you will have to ask yourself how far you are willing to go to have the life you truly want. A goal without a game plan is nothing more than an afterthought – a life dreamed but not lived, things you hunger for, but never taste. Every intention must be clear and concise and must include direct actions to push you a little closer to achieving your goals.
With CHANGES, Make CHANGES.
Here’s one thing that’s certain. Life will always find ways to blindside you. It will put stop signs in places you never imagined, and you will find curved roads in areas you believed would only lead you through a straight line. When you do manage to make a turn in time, another roadblock may be obstructing the way. There will be wildfires raging and storms threatening to drag you away. On the way ahead, there may not be streetlamps to guide you leaving you driving in the dark.
I think it’s important that we acknowledge our goals may not always go as planned. And, no – I’m not stating this as a perfect excuse to enable us to not see things through. Rather, as a reminder to allow for flexibility when we pick up a pen to jot them down in black ink.
As circumstances change, allow yourself permission and space for change too. Not to change your goals necessarily, but the way you intend to get to them. Allow yourself space to slow down or swerve in a different direction. Remember, sometimes, the road less travelled can still take you right where you want to be.
Your restless romantic roamer
Have you set any goals for 2023? What is one thing on your list you really want to achieve this year?