Goal Setting for 2023

by Jessica Padilla Bowen

“When you imagine your best possible self, suggests the research, you feel more optimistic and positive about life, which motivates you to apply yourself toward fulfilling goals.”
Jill Suttie, Psychologist and editor/writer

Are you the type of person who makes New Year’s resolutions? Or do you prefer to set a single intention for the year? Or perhaps none of the above? As a communication professional and certified coach, I recently had many conversations with clients and colleagues around the topic of goal-setting and was inspired to hear how different people approach a new year and new goals. I’ve learned that it’s a very individual process though we all approach the new year with the same desire: to accomplish our goals, especially those that have been on our lists for years.

I had the pleasure of leading an end-of-the-year webinar on goal setting for CAPIO. We started the webinar by reflecting on 2022 and which activities brought us the deepest sense of fulfillment. By taking that time to reflect, we reinforced what we’d most like to carry forward into 2023.

As an example, I realized one of my most rewarding activities was serving as an art parent volunteer in my daughter’s 2nd grade classroom. I’ve always loved children but hadn’t anticipated how much joy I would feel watching the students’ faces light up when I walked into the room to read them a story and lead a complementary art lesson. This realization helped me prioritize volunteering for 2023.

The second step in our webinar was flashing forwarded to December 31, 2023, and imagining ourselves reflecting on 2023 and answering the question: What would have happened to make the year especially rewarding, fun, healthy and/or joyful? By starting with the end in mind, we also increase our chances of success and paint a more tangible picture for ourselves of where we’d like to go.

A key to accomplishing our goals or intentions is tying them to our values. We spent time reflecting on our personal and professional values and then listed goals in the form of what we want to be, do and have in 2023. This relates back to the idea of imaging our best possible self. We then rated our excitement about the goals on our list. As one participant shared about a health-related goal that wasn’t rating very highly on her list, “Maybe this isn’t as important a goal as I originally thought.” This awareness allows us to focus on the most significant and potentially rewarding goals, which also leads to greater success. As busy communication professionals, our spare time and emotional and mental capacity is limited.

While many people know about S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) goals, we discussed another goal-setting method: Aim Smart and its three key questions:

  • What’s the minimum that it would take to accomplish this goal?
  • What’s the maximum?
  • What’s an achievable middle ground between those two?

I use this method with a lot of coaching clients, specifically those who want to start an exercise program or another new habit, such as beginning a regular meditation or journaling practice. For many of us who are high achievers (which is I think is all of us in the communication profession!), we want to aim for the maximum. I prefer to encourage consistency in habits first, even if you do the minimum or middle ground, and then I partner with clients to build on the habit.

For example, if someone wants to begin meditating regularly, I encourage them to begin with a daily (or five times a week, to give ourselves grace) meditation of 1-2 minutes, something that’s easier to accomplish, to build the consistency and experience the benefits. From there, we slowly increase the amount of time so that the habit starts to feel like a luxury and welcome break from the demands of our professional and personal lives.

If you couldn’t attend the goal-setting webinar, here are a few resources for reflection and inspiration:

  • The values exercise is available here.
  • An inspiring Ted Talk on “Knowing Your Inner Saboteurs” is available here.
  • A resource for science-based well-being articles and videos can be found here.
  • And previous CAPIO webinars, including access to Goal Setting for 2023: Strategies that Work, can be accessed through the CAPIO website.

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and fulfilling 2023.

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