2023 Goals – How to Create & Implement

It is time to set 2023 goals! Setting goals is one of the best things you can do to improve your life. Every year I sit down to reflect on the previous year and look to the new year ahead. But, once you set your 2023 goals does not mean that the work is done. So, today we are going to go through the goal setting process together.

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This is the first year since 2014 that I will not be using the PowerSheets Goal Planner. Instead, I decided to use a notebook to set my 2023 goals. You can see my full review and walkthrough of the 2023 PowerSheets below.

2023 Goals – Where do you start?

When do you start to think about goals for a new year? For me, I tend to start thinking about goals in the last quarter of the year. I realize that I may have some tasks and projects that I want to work on, but moving into the busy holiday season does not allow too much time for that. Or, perhaps, you see that some of your systems are not working and you need to make improvements. Maybe even that you don’t have a system for a particular focus area, and you realize that it feels like you are drowing.

So what is the first step? To brain dump. Just make a list. Grab a notebook and start writing down all the things.

Oftentimes, as homeschool moms, we have too many plates in the air. We are constantly thinking about all the things, and that can weigh on us. So, the first step in setting your 2023 goals is to brain dump. This does not mean that you have to do every single thing on your list, but it gets it out of your head.

Organize Your Lists

Once you finish your brain dump, you will start to organize your lists. I have several focus areas that I compartmentalize my life into. Things like personal – which includes home management and financial planning as well as my personal routines and hobbies. I also have homeschooling as a focus area, my family, my faith etc. You do not need to copy my focus areas, but you are more than welcome to use them.

As you go back through your list, you should naturally see where those tasks, projects, and need for systems would go in different focus areas. For instance, if I want to focus on a specific homeschool rhythm, that would go in my homeschool focus area.

Taking the time to organize your thoughts will go a long way in preparing to set your 2023 goals.

2023 Goals – Reflection

After you have started to write down some ideas, and gotten some of that floating information out of your head, it is time to do some reflection. This is a time when I will sit down and write about all the things that have been weighing on my mind throughout the year.

Anything at all that pops out to you can go here. We hold onto a lot throughout the year, both good and bad. It can be challenging to move on without getting all of that stuff out of our heads and down on paper.

A funny thing happens when you write things down – it gives your brain permission to let go of thinking about it constantly. It obviously isn’t 100% foolproof, but I believe that the physical act of writing things down allows our brains to say “we are done with that.”

Highs & Lows of the Year

After you have that overall reflection on your year, it is time to zoom in a bit more and concentrate on the highs and lows of your year. Were there things that happened that really stuck out to you as positive or negative? Write those things down, concentrate on the feelings associated with those events. Are they things that you want to change, were they completely out of your control? Did you fall into something amazing that you weren’t expecting?

When you zoom in on your highs and lows of the year, you will start to see themes. These themes will help you with setting your 2023 goals because you will know systems that work – and things you want to improve on. But, you will also see the struggle areas, and will be able to start to see why you are struggling in those areas.

Grab your FREE Reflection Questions below!

2022 Goals Reflection

At this point, you will know what went well, and where the challenges were in your year, but it is time to look more specifically at your goals for the previous year. If you did not set goals in 2022, that is totally OK! But, if you did, now is the time to see where you made progress and where you didn’t.

Why did you make progress on specific goals, and struggle in other areas? Were some of your previous year’s goals too big? Did you not break them down enough? Did you not have enough resources (time and/or money) to work on those goals?

I have heard people recommend not reflecting on your previous year’s goals because you are a different person now than at the beginning of the year. Yes, that is accurate. However, because I am mainly looking for improvement in my focus areas, that is why I think it is important to reflect on the previous year’s goals. Plus, it gives you a broader understanding of your successes.

Word of the Year

Typically in the fall I will start to think about a word to guide the next year. This doesn’t always happen, but oftentimes it does. There is some sort of theme, or broad change, I want to see in my new year. This ends up being my word of the year.

I started setting a word of the year back in 2013. Before that, I had never heard of a word of the year. But, I almost always choose my word before I set my goals. Then when you start to set your goals, you look at them through the lens of your word.

This year is the first year that I am going to be re-using a word of the year. My word this year is SLOW. This is the same word that I chose when setting goals in December 2019. Now, we all know that 2020 went sideways for everyone. It was not the year I envisioned, and most of my goals and intentions went out the window. So, I was OK with reusing the word for this year.

Most goal setting systems I have seen will have you choose a word after you set your goals, but I believe that it is better to choose your word first, and use that as a guide to your goals.

Yes & No List

After you have chosen your word of the year, it is time to sit down and write a yes and no list. This list will allow you to easily make decisions as you go throughout the year. It will also be instrumental in setting your 2023 goals. You know what you want to definitely say yes to and what you need to say no to.

When you create a yes & no list, it allows you to remove some of the decision fatigue from your life. It also gives you permission to say yes or no in the moment without having to consider it for too long. Often, when we are put on the spot, it is hard to say yes or no. But, when you plan ahead of time, and stick to that list, you will easily be able to say yes or no.

2023 Goals

At this point, you are finally ready to start writing down your 2023 goals. It is good to start with a rough draft. If you like to color code your focus areas like I do, this is a good time to pull out those colors and start getting some ideas on paper. Where are the goals that connect in your focus areas? What do you think is most important to work on? Where do you want to be at the end of the year?

Once you have a good understanding of what your end of year vision is, you can start to write out your 2023 goals.

I do not necessarily write SMART goals – you’ve heard the acronym before specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound. Instead, it is more like intentions, and how I want my year to go in my specific focus areas. I use broader terms, because my purpose in writing goals is to make improvements in the different areas of my life.

Quarterly Action Plans

After you write out your 2023 goals, it is time to figure out what your action plans are for the first quarter. I love quarterly goal setting. It gives you just enough time to work on some larger projects, but not so far out in the future that you can’t plan for it. I started focusing more on quarterly goals when I read the book The 12 Week Year back in 2018. I definitely recommend this book if you haven’t read it. It is super helpful on drilling down on your focus.

When you write out quarterly action plans, they are much more specific and measurable. These are specific tasks and projects, as well as habits, that you want to work on to improve your focus areas and overall 2023 goals for the year.

Monthly Action Plans

Your final step in goal planning is to drill down even further to what you can accomplish in the month ahead. Each month I have a monthly reset where I will update all of my calendars, prepare my homeschool materials, and focus on my goals in the month ahead. What are the things that I want to work on? Do I have the resources to work on those things? What will the next 4-5 weeks be like, and how do I want to improve?

This is when you take your quarterly action plans and figure out the monthly, weekly, and daily tasks that will move you in the right direction to make progress.

How does setting 2023 goals Cultivate Simplicty?

Setting goals allows you to focus on specific areas of your life where you want to see improvement. It gives your brain permission to stop ruminating about all the things constantly. Instead, you are thinking about specific actions that you need to take in order to improve your life. You are no longer floating around from one thing to the next, you have more direction to work towards your big life focus of living a life you love.

The Bottom Line

It is possible to make progress on living a life you love this year! But, it does take some planning, and a little bit of reflection, in order to know where you want to go in the year ahead. I encourage you to sit down and work through some of the questions that I talk about in the videos above as well as think about a vision for the year ahead.

What is your plan for the year ahead? What areas do you want to focus on as we move into a new year?

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