Goal-Setting Exercises to Kickstart Your 2023

Goal-Setting Exercises to Kickstart Your 2023

How often have you approached a new year with a list of goals you want to achieve, only to reach another December and realize you haven’t managed to tick any off from your list?

It’s a feeling I know all too well, but I also wanted to change it.

You’ll probably read a lot of content about goal setting and achieving your resolutions around this time of year, but I wanted to share with you some great goal-setting exercises that have worked for me in recent years!

Why Goal-Setting Exercises Work

At their heart, our goals are really our aspirations for our life and work. When we think about a goal we want to achieve, we’re thinking about a key set of behaviors that we need to commit to achieve said goal consistently.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, exercise more, write, paint or read more, or set up a new business – there are smaller actions and behaviors that sit into each of these that will help us achieve them.

Change happens when we commit to these behaviors and build them into our daily habits and mindset. Small, consistent changes lead to significant results over time – which is how effective goal-setting exercises work.

Great Goal-Setting Tools That Have Worked For Me

Below, I’ve collated a few useful goal-setting tools that I’ve tried and tested over the years.

These are the ones that work for me and that I turn to time and again when I need a real boost of motivation, commitment, and consistency to keep striving for my goals!

1. Backwards Goal Setting

Backward Goal Setting is a nifty tool to try when you feel a bit stuck. It’s all about switching up your perspective and approach, so if you have a goal you failed to achieve before, this could be a great tool to help you tackle it.

To get started with Backward Goal Setting, think about your ultimate end goal and write it down at the top of a piece of paper.

Now, instead of thinking about the first step to move towards the goal, you start with the last step – the one that ultimately helps you reach the goal – and work backward. Essentially you reverse the process. Thinking about your goal this way can help you create a strong final plan for success.

2. The ‘Average Perfect Day’ Exercise

If you know there are things you want to work towards, but they feel a bit vague, and you’re not sure how to formulate them into tangible goals, this exercise is for you.

Instead of thinking about one set goal, reflect on what your perfect average day might look like. Start from the moment you wake up and your morning routine right through to each of the stand-out moments in the day: meal times, work meetings, family life, evening time, bedtime – the whole process.

Next, compare this day to your actual day – what are the differences? Where are the areas you want to change? Note these down and then prioritize them. Think about the actions you need to focus on to create your perfect day as a reality – these are your goals to work on!

3. The ‘One Year From Now’ Exercise

This one is an excellent exercise for those who have long-term goals they want to action this coming new year. Knowing that they might take some time, this exercise can help you get really clear about what they might look like and how you can get started.

It’s also a great exercise to do with a partner, family, or work colleagues as it helps you all set a clear vision for where you want to be one year from now and helps develop clarity around what everyone’s role is to help achieve that.

Areas to consider include: work life, home life, finances, social relationships, and self-care – but that’s just to get you started. You can focus on any key areas you want to prioritize in the year ahead.

When you know where you want to be in one year, consider the steps needed to achieve those things. Be reasonable and don’t try and commit to achieving everything at once. Write these up somewhere you can refer back to and add them if needed.

Which Will You Try?

Goal setting has many benefits across both our personal and professional lives. Research has repeatedly shown that taking ownership of our goals is incredibly empowering and rewarding.

There are so many great exercises, activities, and methods to help you set goals in every area of life. If you try one that doesn’t quite work for you, make sure you pick another one and keep going until it feels right.

Have you had success in achieving a specific goal? I’d love to hear about it!

Cecilia Racine: Immigration Evaluation Therapist

I’m Cecilia Racine, and I teach therapists how to help immigrants through my online courses. As a bilingual immigrant myself, I know the unique perspective that these clients are experiencing. I’ve conducted over 500 evaluations and work with dozens of lawyers in various states. Immigrants are my passion, I believe they add to the fabric of our country.

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