Your Guide To Goal Setting This Year
2023 has begun and New Year’s resolutions are being tossed around like hangover memes. But how can you convert a throwaway New Year’s resolution into a solid and achievable goal that hasn’t fizzled by 14th January?
Start with broad strokes. What is it you are hoping to achieve (in years to come as well as the next twelve months)? Think studies, think careers, even those juicy abstract nouns like ‘adventure’ or ‘achievement’. Then start to get specific. What are the practical steps that need to be taken in order to achieve these ambitions? This might require some extra research on your part, so be prepared to delve.
Focus on the why
Now, with your notes app out and your New Year’s spirit fresh, is the time for some good self-reflection. Ask yourself why these are the goals you have chosen and whether they are truly yours. Seeking advice from others is not in itself a bad thing, but if your peers or parents are putting pressure on you to pursue a path that simply does not speak to you, these goals have no place on your resolution list. Make sure your why is solid and the rest will fall into place.
As tempting as it can be to jump on the latest lifestyle trend, particularly if you’re short of ideas for resolutions, this path is not the most advisable one to take when it comes to setting goals. Bandwagons come and go, and pursuing a goal you’re not fully committed to will only distract you from what you truly want to achieve. So stand strong and focus on personalising your aims for this year to make fulfilling them all the more gratifying.
If there was no one around to make encouraging noises about your New Year’s resolution, did it even exist? We all know the accountability rule, and yet it’s still all too easy to set private resolutions that fizzle out quietly, leaving the world none the wiser. Tell friends about your goals - even record them on social media if that’s your jam - as a surprisingly effective psychological trick to maximising follow-through.
What are the potential hurdles that stand in the way of achieving the goals you have set, and how can you be proactive in overcoming them? Everyone’s obstacles will look different; you might be particularly susceptible to procrastination, or may find it verging on impossible to resist the siren song of a lie-in until midday every saturday. Whatever your demons look like, it is a good idea to make a list of them so you can start actively thinking of ways to combat them right from day one.
While it is good to be ambitious, setting goals that are unrealistic, or would require an all-out cancellation of your social life in order to be achieved, can end up having a slew of negative psychological effects. This is highly counterproductive in the long run; picking yourself back up for another evening of study is not easy when your self-esteem is in tatters. So make sure you’re adding a sprinkle of sobriety to what might be some pretty lofty targets to ensure they are working with you rather than against you.
Remember to factor in time for non-goal-oriented pursuits. Focus and organisation are required to set yourself on the right path, but don’t forget to have fun along the way - you only have one life; don’t waste it crying over an uncompleted Goodreads TBR list!
New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be a source of dread and guilt. Follow our formula to start setting goals that don’t come crashing down within a few weeks and you’ll find your resolutions beginning to motivate, inspire and revitalise you. So get started now!