Set Yourself Up To Achieve Your Goals In 2023

Leading executive coach, Carol Stewart, shares tips on how you can make reaching your goals a reality in 2023

Every year, at the beginning of January, millions of people make New Year resolutions, only to abandon them within weeks. A study from Scranton University found that only 19 per cent of people keep their resolutions. 

Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, set goals instead. Setting goals gives you a plan and tangible action steps to move you forward. As humans, we are goal-oriented, always striving to achieve something. Goals are essential to giving our lives meaning and purpose. Without them, we would wander through life aimlessly.

But why do some of us achieve our goals, whereas some of us don’t? Here are five reasons, together with suggestions of what you can do about it. 

A lack of purpose
People often align their goals to external motivators, but intrinsically motivating goals that stem from your core values are naturally enjoyable, engaging, authentic and rewarding.

People who strive to achieve intrinsically motivating goals tend to work harder at pursuing them, increasing their chances of success.  

Too vague
Merely stating that your goal is to grow your business, to get rich, or to lose weight is not very specific. What does this mean in reality? Is it to grow your business by one new client, by 20 new clients, or expand into new markets?  

Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed). This way you will know exactlywhat you want to achieve, that it is within your capability, and when you expect to achieve it. 

Set goals for what you want to achieve. It is easier to visualise what you want, as opposed to what you don’t want, and it is also more empowering.

If your goal is too big, it can feel scary. Also, the more you have riding on the outcome, the more fear you feel. This happens because our brains trigger the fight-or-flight response. This was fine back in the day, when fight or flight was necessary for our survival, but it doesn’t really help us now!

If you get overwhelmed at the thought of pursuing big goals, rather than trying to take enormous steps, break down what needs to be done into smaller steps. This will be less stressful and make it easier for you to achieve your goal.

Shiny object syndrome
Are you easily distracted by ‘shiny objects’ — things that tempt you away from the task in hand? Temptation is said to be the mother of procrastination, and with so many distractions around you, it is easy to be drawn in and give in to it. 

Social media, checking emails, following link after link on the Internet, all these temptations lure you in and, before you know it, the damage is done. And you’ve wasted a whole day without achieving anything significant. 

Procrastinators are said to be less healthy, less wealthy, less happy and perform worse than non-procrastinators. If you don’t want to be ruled by distractions, then eliminate or reduce them.  Switch off social media notifications when you’re focused on working towards your goal. Turn off email notifications and only check them at certain times of the day.  

Losing motivation
Not seeing results quickly enough, prolonged periods of boredom, having to do things they don’t enjoy doing (as well as the reasons mentioned above) are some of the reasons why people lose motivation.

If you find you are losing motivation, here are a few things that may help:

  • Pray about it
  • Give yourself small rewards when you have achieved particular milestones
  • Make working towards your goal fun and enjoyable
  • Plan for motivational slumps by identifying your triggers and putting processes in place to accommodate these
  • Get appropriate help. Do you need a coach to challenge your thinking, help you overcome self-limiting beliefs and obstacles, as well as providing accountability? Do you need to outsource or delegate the tasks you are not good at? Identify who can support you and enlist their help
  • Stop beating yourself up. There will be days when you go off track because sometimes life gets in the way. Just pick yourself back up and continue

If you find yourself heading for one of these five reasons, apply these tips and remind yourself of your big Why (the reason you want to achieve this goal and what it will bring you). And remember, you may make your plans, but Goddirects your steps.

Carol Stewart is an executive, career, leadership coach, speaker and trainer specialising in introverted women. She coaches women to lead with confidence, influence and impact. Her book, Quietly Visible: Leading with Influence and Impact as an Introverted Woman, is available at  

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