How To Set Realistic Goals For 2023

Livia Boerger
7 min readJan 24, 2023

It seems like the “That Girl” trend has taken New Year’s Resolutions to the next level and I don’t know about you… but it’s exhausting. My mission this year is to become your ‘anti-That-Girl’ BFF so we’re starting early and we’re starting with overblown or overwhelming New Year’s Resolutions.

Whether you’ve fallen off track from your goals or the new year has started and you’re not ready to set them, this article is going to help you give up on your 2023 goals — and do this instead.

This year we’re giving up on traditional New Year’s Resolutions and shaking it up to build new routines and lasting habits that will make January 2024 come around with you thinking, “Do I even have any resolutions to set this year?

What to do Instead of Setting New Year’s Resolutions

Grab a journal because we’re about to do a lot of inner work.

Reflection

Start by reflecting on past goals and resolutions that you’ve set. Maybe write down a whole list of things you told yourself you were going to start in the last year — but didn’t end up accomplishing. Now reflect on why that is. Are they unrealistic goals? Are they unrelated to how you truly want to live your life? Did something unexpected come up?

This can often be the simple mistake of setting goals for things you don’t actually want to do. Or maybe setting goals for things that don’t actually fit into your life.

For example, maybe you’ve set a goal that you want to go to the gym every morning. But in reality, the mornings are the one time you get to spend with your partner, or walk your dog, or quietly enjoy a coffee before the chaos of your day starts. So there are a number of things holding you back from going to the gym every morning — and that’s OK!

Understanding why you weren’t able to accomplish your goals is one way that you can create a lifestyle and routine that you love — that you feel excited to wake up and do every morning.

By understanding why you weren’t able to force yourself to the gym every morning, you’ll be able to find another time or way to workout that fits well into your schedule without the important parts of your routine being interrupted. Soon enough, this new workout routine will become a part of the day that you look forward to, without sacrificing something else you love to make it happen.

Reevaluation

Once you’ve reflected on your goals you’re able to reevaluate them, as we did in that example above. But more than just finding a different time to incorporate a goal, you need to make sure that your goals are still relevant and realistic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set unrealistic goals that just made me miserable until I gave them up — and then made me feel guilty for giving them up!

So, next to each of the goals that you’ve written down, mark whether or not they’re still something that you truly want to achieve. It’s so important that you’re honest with yourself here. Trust me, no one else is going to read this, and you’ll be thanking yourself for your honesty when you’ve turned these goals around into realistic habits and routines that you LOVE.

If the goals you set for yourself in the past weren’t working — it’s time to adjust them.

Once you’ve determined what goals are still relevant and that you might want to achieve in your life, let’s make a realistic plan to help you get there with habits, instead of goals.

Step one is always breaking your goals down into smaller, more manageable steps. Large goals often feel overwhelming and are typically harder to achieve. By breaking your goals down into smaller, more manageable habits, you can focus on one small thing at a time. This will make it easier to stay on track and will help you see progress along the way!

If you’re like me and you need a tracker to help you stay on track with your new habits — I’ve got just what you’re looking for! A Google-Sheet style, fully customizable and beautifully designed tracker that’s going to help change the way you approach your habits this year.

Step two is to create a plan. Once you have re-evaluated your goals and broken them down into smaller habits, you can create a plan of action. Your plan should include specific tasks, a schedule to help you stay on track and a tracker to help you stay motivated.

The most important part of making your plan is keeping it realistic.

Practice self care that is unrelated to your ‘goals’

Taking care of yourself is crucial for staying motivated and focused in your daily life. Whether at home, at work or in your relationships. But more often than not we fall into the trap of setting goals that essentially revolve around self care. While this can be a good way to incorporate most self care into your life — it can also make self care feel like a chore.

It makes self care feel like something that has to be ticked off a list, instead of something that you do to relax and step away from your goals. So, instead of setting goals around self care, work on finding meaningful ways to relax from your goals that fill you with a job and a renewed sense of motivation for your everyday life.

For example, working out is a form of self care. It is a huge way to take care of yourself — but when you’ve set yourself a workout goal, it doesn’t always feel like self care. More often it feels like hard work, something that has to be done instead of something that gets to be done.

If you’ve set yourself a workout goal, or a fitness goal in general, try simply incorporating more walks into your self care routine. This is a huge way to help you reach your goals, but instead of feeling like you need to change clothes or go to the gym, you can take a leisurely walk listening to an audiobook, podcast or talking with a friend.

I’ve got an entire guide to help you make more time for self care in your daily routine. You can find that here. That guide will help you return to your goals feeling refreshed and motivated, plus I share 15 fun ways to easily practice self care in your daily routine.

Reward yourself along the way

Here’s a fun way to reward yourself for goals you’ve achieved during the year: You take a box and buy a handful of things you like (a candle, small champagne bottles, etc.). On each item you write a goal, and each time you accomplish that goal — you open the corresponding gift for that goal — and celebrate!

Setting up a reward system for yourself can be a great way to stay motivated and have fun with your goals. It’s important to remember that life’s meant to be FUN. So if you’re setting goals that make you miserable, you won’t have much fun rewarding yourself for accomplishing them either.

Choose goals that are rewarding for your life — and choose rewards for achieving those goals that are meaningful to you and help you stay focused on achieving your goals.

Find a friend

Make it a goal this year to find a friend on the same journey as you. Whether that’s being more sober curious, starting your own business or simply enjoying more hobbies in life. Finding someone who shares these goals with you is a great way to stay on track.

Over the years I’ve found that if you’re looking for an accountability partner, it’s so important to find someone who’s on the same journey as you. This way instead of someone reminding you to stay on track or do certain things, you’re able to help each other. A more symbiotic relationship will last longer and be much stronger in the long run! You’ll go looking for an accountability partner and you’ll find a friend for life.

No matter where you’re at with setting your new year’s resolutions, it’s important to stay positive and simply keep moving forward, one day at a time. If that’s easier when you don’t have huge new year’s resolutions looking over your shoulder, then don’t set any! It’s that simple. You don’t have to be “That Girl” to succeed, live a happy life or get everything you want out of this year.

Like I said before, life is meant to be fun. It’s meant to be lived with joy and the best gift you can give to yourself is just to be present. And yes, being present means the kitchen might not always be clean or you might not always capture the moment perfectly.

So if you’re ready to give up your New Year’s Resolutions for 2023, good! Give them up and do the things in this guide instead. Focus on creating habits in your routine — instead of setting goals. Small habits will make all the difference.

Don’t forget if you need a little help along the way, I’ve created a beautiful and fully customizable habit tracker that you can use to create a routine you’re excited to wake up to each morning.

Grab my Customisable Habit Tracker here.

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Livia Boerger

Livia is a Mental Wellbeing Coach and helps womxn live with intention & prioritize their wellbeing. Grab your free self-care planner: https://shorturl.at/ABTU3