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A fresh new year to dream, visualise and plan. But how do you get started? Journalling is a great tool to develop our insight, connect with our inner voice and start to develop clarity about the life you want to lead.

We tend to under-estimate what can be achieved in a year but we have to take the time to contemplate what we will actually want to achieve and break it down into your first bite sized piece of this.

So what do you want to be different in a year’s time?

In December I posted 10 Questions to Fuel Your Reflection in 2022, because we have to look back first!
It’s a great practice to….

  • reflect back over the whole year (it gives you a sense of what can be achieved in a year),
  • visualise what you did with your time (consider the projects you worked on and how you spent your time), and
  • really consider on the key learnings you have taken from the year – seriously, what did you learn?

Most often, we sleep walk through life without taking the time to reflect, grow and stretch into the future. Just as useful as it is to look back, now it’s time to look forward.

10 Questions to help your planning in 2023

Take these 10 journaling questions to help you for 2023. They are simple questions but they will take some time to consider.

1. How will you step into the highest version of yourself this year?

If you practiced all the habits you wanted, lived your strengths and were totally aligned with values – this would be your highest version of you.

Visualise who and what this person would look like, what choices they would make, how they would talk and interact with others and what they would focus on in life. The game is – how do you edge closer and closer to this person every moment. Think small steps.

Your highest version of you can be your greatest mentor, guide and inspiration – ask her for advice as life’s challenges arise. Tap into the inner wisdom you possess. The clearer your highest version is to you, the better she can guide you through life’s ups and downs.

2. Describe your ideal day, week and year?

How you live your days is how you live your life!

It’s a big statement but it’s true. Our daily habits form the foundations for how you live your life. What is one habit you want to focus on this year and one habit you want to let go of?

Take some time to craft your ideal day, week and year. What does an ideal 24 hours look like to you? Take into consideration all the realities of life and craft what it could look like.

What about a week? What do the ultimate 7 days look like? Break the rules, and see what you come up with. What energises you? Who do you want to spend time with? What goals do you want to dedicate your life to?

3. How will you use your strengths?

Want to enjoy life to the fullest? Put your strengths to work!

Professor Martin Seligman, Director of the University of Penn Positive Psychology Centre found that a key part of flourishing in life and work is using your strengths.  So first you have to know them – do you know them? Inside out and back to front? How much of your day do you get to use your strengths currently?

How can you increase the dial on this and use them more and more in your life? Again, you can be creative with this, perhaps you haven’t come across ways that you could be using them more and more in your life.

4. How will you take care of yourself? What’s your health and wellbeing plan?

Without your health it’s very hard to achieve anything of significance over the long term. Think physical, mental and spiritual. This means you have to actively plan for sleep, rest, nutrition, movement, mental clarity and fun! How could you step up your health? How can you make it fun?

Self care is not a day in the day spa but the everyday looking after yourself – cooking healthy meals, moving your body and doing something that enriches your spirit – this is real self care.

Don’t wait until your health is threatened to make health a priority. Do it now.

5. What is holding you back? 

Otto Scharmer, author of the books Theory U* and Leading from the Emerging Future* talks about the three voices that hold you back…

  • the voice of judgement (shutting down your open mind instead of being inquiring and curious),
  • the voice of cynicism (shutting down your open heart instead of connecting and relating) and
  • the voice of fear (shutting down your open will instead of letting go).

How powerful!

Do you ever listen to the stories you tell yourself or others about what’s happening in your life? I often try to listen in to what I say automatically to friends and colleagues about what’s happening in my life.

Journalling is another great opportunity to tap into your stories.

These stories are your beliefs – but you know what, you don’t have to believe them? What? Yes, your beliefs can hold you back and sometimes you need to actively change them.

What beliefs do you need to say goodbye to and what beliefs will you try out in 2023?

6. How will you give back to the community? And how can you be of service to others? 

Giving is life!

It’s good for us, and our communities. Giving makes us feel good, connected and purposeful.

How can you focus on giving to others this year? Often this can provide great energy in our lives if it’s meaningful. If you were to focus on one area to give back in, what’s it going to be this year?

Giving can be so many things, here’s some ideas, you can give…

  • Your time – volunteer, mentor, acts of kindness, support a friend
  • Your skills – you could join a Not-For-Profit board, organise for your company to give back
  • Your voice – advocate for issues, make someone laugh, tell your story

Don’t get caught in the busy trap – dedicate time and effort to your giving this year.

7. What do you want to learn?

The most extraordinary leaders I know are people who never stop learning. They are humble and understand the world is changing at an extraordinary pace.

First define the what. Where do you want to grow, stretch and learn this year? If you could develop your own learning curriculum this year, what would it be?

Then think about the how. How will you learn what you want to learn? What books can you read? Are there any courses you can take? What conferences can you learn from? Which key skills do you want to learn and foster this year?

Get excited about what you can learn and how you can grow as a person and leader.

8. What relationships do you want to foster?

Relationships feed you – they can lift you up, inspire you, challenge you and support you. Yet, we are increasingly living in a lonely world. In today’s world, we’ve forgotten how to foster friendships with others.

Be intentional about the relationships you want to foster. Which ones energise you? Provide great insights? Challenge you? Nurture you?

Think about who makes up your community? Family, friends, networks, work colleagues and neighbours.

Be focused on the key relationships you would like to develop this year. Who can help you be the person you want to be? Will you reach out to a new mentor, create a mastermind group, attend a new conference to expand your networks. Foster your friendships?

This will take time. Devote time, energy, ideas and resources to develop these friendships. Make them fun. Make them meaningful. And they will create a life worth living.

9. How will you be inspired?

Inspire – the original latin definition means to breathe into. How do you breathe life into your existence?

What are the inspiration sources that help you stay energised and refreshed for the ups and downs for the year. How can you operationalise your inspiration sources so you can perform at an optimal level?

Inspiration is required on a consistent basis so think about the sources that energise you in life. What gives you energy and what drains your energy?

10. What amazing life adventures do you want to do this year?

Ok – now it’s time for a bit of fun.

Think about what is going to bring you joy and fun into your life. What life adventures could you have this year?

Think about what you’ve never done before! What’s something you could do for the very first time? It could be a new place to visit, a new hobby, a new friendship to cultivate?

Think about your fears – what are you avoiding? What gets the heart rate going? Life adventures can be a mental challenge as well as a physical one. What is one fear to conquer this year? What training and preparation could you do? Who could you enlist to help you? Give yourself a challenge.

Think about what brings you joy!

*Disclosure: We love to promote great resources to support your personal leadership development. This post contains affiliate links which means if you decide to use the links and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Let’s continue the conversation here. I’d love to know what 2023 will bring you!

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