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6 Goals for 2023 That Will Help Improve Your Life and Community

By Pam Dewey • 2023 goals, new year goals, goals for 2023, positive goals for 2023, goals that improve your community, goals that improve your life, new years resolution 2023, life goals 2023 • January 12, 2023

A new year is a time for self-reflection. Rather than focusing on your waistline, consider setting goals that will improve your well-being and the lives of those around you.

To ensure your goals are successful, use the S.M.A.R.T system. Forbes states, “The five aspects of S.M.A.R.T. goals are that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.” The S.M.A.R.T system helps you set achievable goals that are easy to track progress on.

Here are 6 goals for 2023 that can help improve your life and community.

Support the environment ­– Save money and resources

You’ve probably heard of Meatless Monday, which means skipping meat on Mondays. It was started in 2003 to support the reduction of meat consumption. The Monday Campaigns states, “Reducing meat consumption is more important than ever in addressing some of the world’s most critical problems: the global burden of chronic preventable diseases, overuse of precious land and water resources and the acceleration of climate change, which threatens our planet’s future.”

You can also save money and resources by:

  • Shopping thrift and consignment stores for clothing, furniture and home décor
  • Joining your neighborhood’s Buy Nothing group or downloading the app. The Buy Nothing Project website states, “Buy Nothing offers people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide gift economy network in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people.”
  • Use reusable grocery bags and reusable Ziploc bags
  • Limiting the number of plastic items you buy

Commit to volunteering

People volunteer to give back to their community, but volunteering can make you feel good too. According to Mayo Clinic, “Volunteering reduces stress and increases positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine.” So when you encounter stressful situations, the good feelings you get from volunteering, like gratitude and a sense of purpose, will help buoy you and make it easier to rebound from stressors.

Fraser offers volunteer opportunities, like being a buddy to an individual in one of our group homes. You and your buddy can play board games, watch movies, bake cookies, make art, eat pizza or enjoy coffee dates. Email to learn more about opportunities.

Increase your network

Another benefit of volunteering is meeting new people. Mayo Clinic also states, “Dedicating time as a volunteer helps expand your social network and practice social skills with others.” Not only does that help you feel less lonely, you’re also exposed to different types of people and viewpoints.

You can also meet new people in your day-to-day life. Entrepreneur states, “A connection can happen in the most unlikely places, including while you're in line for your morning coffee, on an airplane going to your next business meeting, during a break at a seminar or at a happy hour event. As you go about your day, keep your eyes and ears open for conversation starters…It may seem awkward at first, but the more you practice, the more connections you'll make. Networks grow exponentially.”

Build empathy and broaden your perspectives with a book

One way to learn about people with different life experiences than you is reading. You can pick up a nonfiction or fiction book about someone who lives in a foreign country, is a different race or practices a different religion. Reading books helps you understand different points of view and develop empathy. According to Healthline, “Research has shown that people who read literary fiction — stories that explore the inner lives of characters — show a heightened ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others. Researchers call this ability the ‘theory of mind,’ a set of skills essential for building, navigating and maintaining social relationships.”

Invest in your education

Many schools and organizations now offer online classes, so it’s the perfect time to go back to school. Finish your degree or take a class in sculpture or Spanish. You could also explore a new career path. Before you dive into a degree, consider taking a course in the program to see if you’ll enjoy the career path it puts you on.

Teach yourself to accept feedback gracefully

Therapist and New York Times Best Selling author Nedra Glover Tawwab writes, “The way some of us approach communication is similar to the way we approach playing a sport. There’s defense and offense, and we’re trying to figure out what the next play is, but it doesn’t need to be that way. We need to come to the understanding that not everyone who shares feedback with us is trying to harm us. They don’t all have an angle.” If a colleague offers feedback on a project, don’t assume they’re trying to undermine your work. Maybe they’re sharing their knowledge to help you improve the final product. Likewise, if a friend compliments your outfit, allow yourself to say ‘thank you,’ instead of trying to deflect the compliment.

Tawab also writes, “Now, just because the feedback was not delivered with any malice, doesn’t mean we have to agree with it.” Listen respectfully and consider feedback, but you don’t have to use it, if it doesn’t improve the work, situation or project. Thank your friend or colleague for their feedback, and then move forward.

A new year offers an opportunity for self-reflection and a chance to learn, grow and improve the world around you.