2022 has been a tumultuous and uncertain year for very many people. We live in a world where collective issues like climate change, food and job security, pandemics and war exacerbate individual feelings of insecurity and anxiety. As individuals it can be easy to feel powerless against these kinds of macro forces. With this as the backdrop of 2022, how do we let go of what no longer serves us and open to the opportunities of 2023?

Psychotherapist and bestselling, award-winning author, Noa Belling shares effective tips to line yourself up for an excellent new year of fulfilment and achievement. Today’s tips invite you to reflect on 2022 and set meaningful goals for 2023 in ways that promote optimal learning and growth:

1. Reflecting constructively on the year that was

This is a writing exercise that can also be talked through with someone supportive. It draws on the research findings that reflecting on what has happened with a focus on how we coped and perhaps emerged stronger from the experience, improves sense of well-being. This is as opposed to simply writing about what happened.

To go about it:

Set aside about 30 minutes.

Reflect on the following questions to guide your thinking and you are welcome to come up with your own questions too.

  • What stands out when you think back on 2022 – including good and bad. List it all.

  • What life lessons did you learn this year?

  • How have you made it through tough times? For example, who and what came to your aid? Perhaps you drew on personal qualities that can continue to serve you well or perhaps there were people who provided welcome support, comfort or soothing when you really needed it? Think back slowly to pick up on these details.

If you wish, include images, drawings and colour to express yourself and depict your thoughts and feelings in this exercise.

2. Setting motivating goals for the year to come

How about trying this approach to your new year’s resolutions for 2023? It involves thinking forwards to a long term future vision of how you would love your life to look a number of years from now. Then work backwards in stages, all the way to the present time so as to align your goals for 2023. According to psychology professor, Timothy Wilson, it is helpful not only to write down your goals and dreams. In order to increase your chances of following through and deriving maximum benefit from an exercise like this, Wilson recommends including details about what you see yourself achieving and how you envision going about realising your goals by the actions that you imagine yourself taking.

To go about it:

  • Imagine your ideal life 10 years from now and fill in as much detail as you can about different aspects of your life professionally and personally. Then work backwards to 5 years and 2 years from now and then all the way back to 2023. In this you can visualise your dreams and goals in a way that aligns with a longer term vision.

  • Monthly, weekly or perhaps daily goals and action plans can flow from there in line with your future vision. This might involve baby-steps or giant leaps, whatever you are ready for and that focuses on realistic and achievable steps in your life now.

To find out more about Noa’s books, visit https://www.noabelling.com/. Also look out for a new book on stress coming in 2023.

To learn more from Noa, visit https://www.noabelling.com/. Options range from personal coaching and psychotherapy to tailored corporate talks and workshops.