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Reflect on 2023 to Set Your New Year's Goals

Posted by R.F. (Ben) Stewart III, JD, LLM | Dec 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

Folks can get so excited about setting goals and resolutions for the New Year that they sometimes skip over an essential first step: reflecting on the year that's ending.

Before you turn the page on 2023, devote one last blank page in your calendar or journal to answer some questions that might help you achieve more and experience more Return on Life in 2024.

 1. What goals did I set this time last year? Did I achieve them?

 Even if you didn't write down annual goals in your calendar or at the top of a to-do list, you probably remember what you were hoping to accomplish in 2023.

So, how did you do?

We tend to grade ourselves on a pass/fail system when assessing our progress on goals. But this year, be a little easier on yourself. Give yourself an A, B, or C for each of your 2023 goals. For the As, what's the next step? Can you improve a savings goal by 5-10%? If you worked through that beginner Spanish course, are you ready for intermediate?

As for the Bs or Cs, why aren't they As? Was there a problem with how you set, measured, and managed your goals? Could breaking down a big goal into smaller SMART Goals -- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound -- help you maintain consistent progress? Or did you let a social media trend or prodding from a family member push you towards a goal that didn't matter enough to you? Use these reflections to help you set better, SMARTer, and more inspiring goals for the year ahead.

 2. What did I dislike doing last year?

According to several recent studies, worker satisfaction is at a three-year low -- even lower than during the pandemic. The good news is it's also never been easier to change employers -- or even careers -- thanks to a competitive jobs market and more companies embracing remote work. If getting more ROL from work is on your 2024 to-do list, you might set short-term goals like brushing up your resume, scheduling some lunches with folks in your professional network, or enrolling in a class that will help you pivot to a more rewarding job.

While heading home -- or logging off -- with a smile on your face could improve other aspects of your life, think about things you'd like to stop doing outside of work as well. If cramped quarters caused too much family tension last year, maybe it's time to think about moving or renovating. If the holidays were an unpleasant reminder of how much you and some of your relatives argue, think about ways to improve those relationships. If you dread receiving your credit card bill at the end of the month, look for ways to economize, like cancelling excess subscriptions or cooking more meals at home.

 3. What did I love doing last year?

Was your family's annual summer vacation a highlight? Then why wait an entire year before making more magical memories?

Did you love the yoga class you took on a whim? Maybe your exercise routine needs a revamp.

Was leading a major work project over the finish line a professional highlight? Perhaps 2024 should be the year that you fast track your entrepreneurial ambitions and make a plan to start your own company.

We often don't appreciate how much control we really have over how we live and work. It's easy to slip into comfortable routines and stick with them, even if they aren't fulfilling. Or we worry so much about money that we don't use it to make changes that will help us enjoy life more.

Our Life-Centered Planning Process can give you the financial confidence to spend more time doing the things you love next year. Let's meet to discuss the goals you're setting for 2024 and a plan that will help you achieve them.

About the Author

R.F. (Ben) Stewart III, JD, LLM

Ben began practicing law in 1985 after receiving a Masters of Law in Taxation from the University of Florida Levin College of Law....


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