Questions to ask yourself to set goals and plan for a great 2023

It’s 2023, friend! Have you set goals yet?

At the beginning of every year (because yes, the second week of January is still very much the beginning of the year), I like to write a post about planning for the year ahead and creating goals. You’ll see some of that in this post, but we’re also doing things a little differently this time. Because I know sometimes creating big goals can be overwhelming. Or you’re in a place in your life with a lot of transition or indecision and you’re not sure what type of goals make sense (I’m there with you). But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for or talk about your ideas for your year ahead. You sure can!

If you’re into planning, if you’re into dreaming, or if you’re into visualizing, then this will be for you. And I would highly encourage you to get a nice new notebook and write down the answers to these questions. You could even try asking these questions to your significant other, roommate or family member to share your answers together (Dave and I asked each other the following questions this weekend, and it was nice to learn each other’s answers). Also, talking about your plans and goals is a very helpful way to get someone in your corner to keep you honest and on track, so I always suggest sharing with someone.

Ready? Let’s get to it …

Questions to ask yourself to set goals and plan for a great 2023 

Questions to ask yourself to set goals and plan for a great 2023 on A Lady Goes West

How to create your phrase or mantra of the year to use in 2023

First, I think it’s a good idea to start with a theme/mantra or direction for the year, and everything else will fall under it. Some people like to have a “word of the year,” and I think that’s great, but you can also have a “phrase of the year,” if you want to make things more specific.

To find that phrase or word, you need to describe to yourself or someone else in writing or verbally how you want to feel, what type of vibe you want to put out and how you want to live in 2023. Then, take those few words and make them into a phrase to become your “mantra” for the year. 

So what’s your mantra? To always be kind. To find more whitespace. To be more engaged and present. To clear the clutter. To love and be loved. Whatever it is, identify it. Write it down. Share it with others in your life. And try to remember to think about that theme as you make choices in your daily life.

She remembered quote by A Lady Goes West

Questions to ask yourself about real-life things you want to do in 2023

Moving on, I think it’s fun to think about things you want to do in the next year — above and beyond goals — but real-life stuff — like the trips you take and the content you consume. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Where do I want to travel to in 2023? Why and when?
  • Who do I want to spend more time with in 2023? How am I going to make that happen?
  • What books do I want to read in 2023?
  • What podcasts do I want to listen to in 2023?
  • What TV series or movies do I want to watch in 2023?
  • What’s something new I want to try in 2023? How am I going to get started?
  • How do I want my surroundings/environment/home to feel in 2023? How do I get there? What’s one upgrade I want to make to my space in 2023?
  • What’s one material thing I want to buy for myself this year? What is it and why do I want it?
  • What’s one material thing I want to get rid of this year? What is it and why do I want to get rid of it?
  • What’s one fun thing I hope to do more of in 2023?

Are these life-changing questions? No, but they are not only conversation starters you can have with someone else, but they are also great prompts to get you thinking and inspired for the year ahead.

It’s a really cool feeling to already know what you want to do, what you want to read, where you want to go, and even what changes you may want to make to your space in the coming year. You can refer back to this list any time you need direction or motivation. Of course, this isn’t a “to-do list” for your year, it’s just a way to get thinking about what you want to consume and what you want to do — whether you’ll be making traditional goals or not.

Make today amazing planner and how to set goals by A Lady Goes West

(Here’s my planner.)

Questions to ask yourself about 2022 to help you use what you learned in 2023

Next up, if you’re in the mood for making real goals for the year, then this next part is for you …

I highly recommend that you take a moment (maybe 10 to 20 minutes actually) to grab a notebook and answer the following questions in writing. And if you haven’t already, I’d get yourself a nice new notebook that you like the look of — so you’re even more likely to use it and refer back to it throughout the year. 

Even though it may seem easier to do this exercise in your head or just type out your answers on your computer or phone, there’s something permanent and meaningful about writing things down on actual paper in a real notebook. Also, research shows that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them, so you may as well give it a try. 

Here are the questions to ask yourself and then respond to in writing:

  • What did I learn from my 2022 goals? And how can I apply that to my 2023 goals?
  • When do I feel my absolute best? What am I doing and who am I with when I feel that way? How can I do more of that?
  • When do I feel at my absolute worst? What am I doing and who am I with? How can I do less of that?
  • What is one thing that I’ve always wanted to do? How can I start that this year?
  • What do I want to accomplish in 2023?
  • What’s one daily habit I can begin now to get me closer to where I want to be?
  • What’s one daily habit that I want to stop doing in 2023?
  • Where do I see myself at the end of 2023?
  • How do I want to feel at the end of 2023?

Once you answer these questions in writing, you can go back and read your answers and pull out any overarching themes or ideas to use in the next step.

Goal setting for 2023 by A Lady Goes West

How to turn your answers into goals or intentions

If you want to take things even further, the answers to the questions above could give you the perfect information to turn into goals for 2023.

If you do choose to set goals, just choose a few, maybe three or four. Then, be as descriptive as you can with them. Your goals or intentions should include what you want to do, when you want to do them by and why you want to do them. Also, the end date doesn’t have to be the end of December 2023, it can always be sooner than that. Last year in 2022, I made a couple of goals with a summer deadline, and it felt great to get them checked off in the middle of the year. 

By the way, the goals you make can be small. I think that we often feel like we need to make big sweeping changes with our lives, but sometimes the changes we need to make are small, yet they lead us in the right direction. Basically, you don’t have to shoot for the stars. In fact, sometimes smaller goals are more effective and achievable, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

A few things to keep in mind when/after writing down your goals …

  • Try to make your goals measurable, if possible. By giving a metric that you want to improve, you’ll be more able to track against the goal throughout the year. For instance, three times a week, once a month, by 10 percent, etc.
  • Stick to two or four goals so you aren’t overwhelmed. And try to word them so they fall under your theme/phrase of the year from above.
  • Considering making behavior-based goals instead of outcome goals. That would mean planning to lift weights progressively three times a week, instead of “getting stronger.”
  • Keep your goals/inspiration notebook near your work station or kitchen or mirror and go back to it when you need to. You can add inspiration, modify your goals if you need to and consistently check in on them.
  • Want to surround yourself even more with inspiration after you set goals? Try writing down your intentions/goals on sticky notes or notecards and putting them in additional places in your house, purse, car or gym bag, so you can refer back and visualize where you want to be multiple times a day.

That concludes my tips and questions for you on setting goals and planning for a great 2023. I hope you enjoyed. And I encourage you to ask yourself these questions and spend time chatting them through with someone else in your life too. Now, let’s move on to me …

Goal setting 2023 by A Lady Goes West

Where I’m at with developing my goals for 2023

This is the first year where I haven’t been sure what my goals should be and so I don’t have any official set goals. As I shared in my professional year-in-review for 2022, I feel a shift coming and need to make some decisions for my focus on 2023 — those decisions have not been made yet, and I hope to have them in place when Brady starts kindergarten in the fall, and I have a lot more working time available.

And not really knowing my goals is strange for me. I almost always know what I want to do and what I want to achieve each year and can clearly lay it out. But not this year. Rather than make things up, I’m settling with making some real-life plans (from the questions at the beginning of this post) and also writing out a few behavior-based goals to guide my year. These behavior-based goals are more like daily or weekly habits/practices and are certainly not as descriptive as my usual goals are. And I will continue to develop this list in the month of January.

  • In order to take care of my body:
    • I plan to do one solo progressive strength training workout per week outside of the classes I teach.
    • I plan to eat at least 100 grams of protein per day.
    • I plan to drink at least 120 ounces of water per day.
    • I plan to take one rest day off each week.
  • In order to take care of my mind:
    • I plan to meditate once per day.
    • I plan to read for pleasure most nights of the week before going to sleep.
    • I plan to take at least two nights off from work each week, after Brady goes to bed.
  • In order to take care of my spirit:
    • I plan to spend more uninterrupted technology-free time with my family and keep investing in my close relationships.

And that’s as far as I’ve gotten for 2023. I’ll keep you posted as I dig deeper and have more plans and set goals. Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today. I hope your 2023 turns out to be totally amazing, friend. 🙂 

Other posts you may like 

Questions of the day for YOU

What’s one goal you have for 2023?

What’s one thing you learned in 2022?

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  1. I haven’t made specific goals as there are so many things that are still up in the air, but I read a quote the other day that said “you don’t need to know your destination, just your direction”. I am reminding myself of that daily as I am typically someone who likes to have a plan and know what is happening. So even though I am not sure of my destination yet, I am making moves in the direction I want to be going in, and that feels good! Have a great week Ashley!

    1. I’m so with you on this, Shelby! I think in the past, I’ve placed a lot of importance on the exact destination or goal, and I’ve also learned that we don’t need that. Every day, try to live the life you want to live, and the rest will fall into place. Sending you wishes for a great 2023, friend! 🙂 xoxo

  2. This was a good read and made me think about last year and what I would like to change in 2023..
    I have a 20 month old and last year was all about getting back to work (part-time) and getting my daughter settled in nursery. I didn’t look after myself last year and I feel so run down at the moment. I did exercise regularly which makes me happy but my diet was not great and I didn’t get much rest. I am hoping to change that. In December I started to meditate and hope to make it a habit this year. I did remember reading about your experience and searched for your post for tips 🙂 Just wanted to say thank you as re-reading your blog did motivate me to get started.
    I hope you have a good 2023!

    1. Hi Andrea! Thank you for reading, friend. It sounds like you took on a lot last year with returning to work with a little one under two. I think there are times in our life where we have to let our own needs slide a bit, and that’s definitely during the first year of life with a new baby. Also, so very cool you’re meditating now. It took me a long time to really feel anything from it, but I’m still doing it! I’m wishing you an amazing 2023! 🙂 xoxo

  3. I love the structure and thats a cute planner too! I’m planning a lot of travel for 2023 and have been slowly preparing for all of those upcoming adventures. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

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