How To Get Clarity On The Year Ahead – 4 Simple Questions To Ask Yourself To Turbo-Charge Your 2023

2023 written on a road on a day during a sunset

With 2023 already underway, many of us will reflect on different areas of our lives and what the upcoming year may or may not bring.

 

Having had to come back to our usual schedules after the Xmas break, naturally our mind shifts focus on what lies ahead.

Many people ask me how I approach a new year with the right mindset and goal setting. Having been a serial goal setter for all my adult life, I have consistently improved and honed my strategies, in order to steer myself on the right road to success and fulfillment. What I have also learned about this approach is that it is worth the time invested, as the benefits, when done effectively, give you massive value in the key areas of your life.

The first golden rule is to take your time. There is no rush. I would even suggest taking the whole of January to fully engage with what’s important to you for the year ahead. For things to change, you need to change, for things to improve, you need to improve. Sometimes this is gradual and that’s fine – you can’t always flick a switch. That’s why it needs some deep thought, where you can create the space to get yourself truly aligned and allow your creativity to flourish.

 

The biggest challenge I believe most of us face when setting goals is getting mental clarity to help establish our key wants, needs, and desires. What we should remind ourselves is that life changes and therefore some of our priorities will naturally shift, so we do need to get a sense check on our life’s direction of travel.

The start of a new year is a perfect time to allow us to reset the dial and get perspective on what we truly want for our future.

As individuals, we can surf the internet for a plethora of goal-setting methods to focus on each area of our life, be it spiritual, financial, personal growth or career, etc. This is what I call the mechanics of goal achieving.

But before we get deep into ‘the weeds’ of our goals, how do we make sure that our foundation we want to build on is solid, aligned, and balanced? And how do we steer our ship to sail towards what we know we truly want?

 

My belief is that we need some ‘back to basics thinking’.

I find that asking ourselves the following four questions and jotting down the answers is a key starting point to warm up the mind, which will help us shape the right year ahead.

Think of it as a mental version of going to the gym for a workout. Generally, you should start with a physical warm-up exercise before you get into the specifics of what part of your body you are going to attack – whether that’s legs, arms, flexibility, cardio, etc. Perhaps you stretch, run or go on a bike for 10 minutes. Warming up will set our whole body up for what physically lies ahead.

The exercise below is the mental equivalent of the warm-up example, and for me, an essential stepping-stone to set out the big picture for 2023. It starts with taking a mental inventory of the past year and peeling back all the layers; what worked and didn’t work, areas you want to move towards, and areas you want to avoid.

 

Take out a notebook and jot down quick-fire answers to these questions. And do not hold back and overthink it. Allow your mental creativity to flow:

 

  1. What am I going to do more of?

Think back to what you felt worked in 2022 and gave you value. Perhaps it was spending more time in a particular area of your life, developing a new skill, or forming a habit you have at work that gave you great results. Whatever it may be, how will you optimize those results further in 2023?

 

  1. What am I going to do less of this year?

Which aspects have not delivered to you, either emotionally, spiritually, or financially? Maybe you realized that a hobby or commitment is taking a lot more time than expected, not resulting in what you wanted – perhaps it needs to be re-jigged. It may be a relationship issue, either personal or business, which drains your energy and needs to be dialed down in your priority list? A common one today for many of us is the issue of too much social media bombardment that serves little to no purpose – so consider including less of that in your upcoming year.

 

  1. What am I going to start doing?

Is there something that you can identify that will benefit you? Could it be a health goal or perhaps a new method for managing your time daily by identifying which part of the day you are in your most creative zone? Make it a priority in your life to get the best results possible.

 

  1. What am I going to stop doing?

An important question, as it generally tells you what things you have learned that don’t necessarily serve you well, and instead have a negative impact in an area of your life. Which bad habits have you allowed yourself to develop? Be honest with yourself – the simple act of writing down these answers will help you illuminate your way forward.

Remember that we are all human, and nobody is 100% efficient and effective – if we were, life would be boring. But if you could move the dial from 60% to that 70%, that’s a 10% increase in focus and efficiency. So, throughout 2023, that shift will have a seriously positive impact on your overall results.

The above four questions, if answered by you openly and with honesty – will ensure a right trajectory for 2023.

 

Now, make this year your best year yet. I wish you all the success you deserve.

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