Intentional Goal Setting

red haired woman sits at desk, writing in planner

There is no escaping it: this is the season where everyone sets goals, makes resolutions, and prepares for the next year.

I’ve seen countless posts about “40 Day Challenges” and “7 habits you have to take in to 2023” and I find myself frowning at my screen.

I don’t know why it bothers me so much this year, but I just want to say back “let people be.” There is so much pressure in the next few weeks to become a better version of yourself. Every year, we are sold self-improvement, but way too often I see it turn into self-hatred: that impossible diet you beat yourself up for ‘cheating’ on, that habit that won’t see day 3 of the new year, this glorified image of yourself stronger, better, happier.

I’ve spent the last two decades of my life trying to make myself “better” in all the wrong ways. I counted every last calorie, set rigorous daily routines, listed out all the ways I was failing, and vowed to “fix” myself. But all I did was run myself into the ground. All I did was exhaust myself.

Because there is no end to this war we have waged on ourselves. There is no such thing as a perfect life, a perfect person. We can’t beat ourselves into idealism.

It’s so easy to look back on everything we didn’t get done this year and become hyper-critical of ourselves. So, what do we do? Make a list of all the ways we should be better and expect to fall in line just because the calendar flips from December 31 to January 1.

Now I’m not saying improvement, goals, and routines are bad, but I think hyper-criticism and hyper-self improvement are. I think where we go wrong is trying to change everything all at once. It usually ends in burnout.

Rather than re-inventing yourself in 2023, ask yourself what area of your life you’d like to make richer, fuller.

Ask yourself “what do I want my life to look like” not “how can I be better?” Working for yourself is very different than working against yourself.

When you set goals and routines, make sure they are attainable and controllable.

For instance, “I want to gain 50 followers in January” isn’t really a goal I can control—I can’t force people to follow me. However, I know writing and posting consistently is important for growth, so instead my goal can be “I want to post high quality content consistently.” It’s an attainable goal that I control.

Take things one step at a time.

You don’t have to revolutionize your routine or change everything all at once. Pick 1-2 habits or goals to incorporate at a time, and go from there. Rather than having a frenzy of 5 goals, you can intentionally focus on a few. Once you get those under control, add another.

Be kind to yourself.

Remember that your goals should be for you, not to punish you. You don’t need to become a “new” version of yourself in 2023. Rather than this being the time of year to change everything you don’t love about yourself, view it as an opportunity to grow and take one step closer to a more enjoyable life.



P.S. Send this to a friend that needs some self-love and encouragement in the new year!

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