Keeping It Systematic in 2023

January 11, 2023

It’s not uncommon to want to ignore “new year, new me” articles about infamous resolutions you often fall short of achieving. Perhaps it’s because your motivation changes throughout the first few weeks of the new year, or perhaps your great confidence in setting the goal initially is short-lived. Whatever the reason, setting new year’s goals is not as common as it once was. However, you can’t help but think about what the new year will bring. Perhaps these thoughts and inspirations can happen in a unique way of thinking, a more systematic way.

James Clear states in his book Atomic Habits, “Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.” Think about this: when you’ve set a goal in the past, what were the systems you set up to ensure success? Another famous saying: “Focusing on the outcome will get you the result but focusing on the process [or system] will allow you to keep it.”  


We have outlined 5 steps below that can help support you while setting up systems that will ensure success in 2023.  


1. Be specific with what you want 

Thinking about doing something and being specific about how you will do it are two different tasks. Can you see the difference between “I’ll exercise more this year” and “I’ll exercise this week on Monday & Thursday morning from 5-6 AM?” When you outline plans that work with your specific schedule, you become more successful at carrying out these tasks. Have you ever heard of the infamous S-M-A-R-T goal? The “S” always stands for “Specific.” Creating specific daily, weekly or monthly goals about the changes you want to see sets up a better system to achieve the change you wish to make.


2. Organize your thoughts & get some accountability

Do you ever put yourself on your calendar? It’s common to be organized when it comes to work schedules, family schedules, social schedules, etc., but disorganized with your personal goals and needs. Try setting up systems that allow you to organize your time throughout the entire day to align with the changes you’re going to make. Then, add a trusted friend or family member to that system. A little bit of accountability can go a long way when organizing and planning time for yourself.


3. Develop a “trigger cue” and change your environment  

Habits and systems usually work best when they are tied to something you’re already familiar with, something that’s already a habit. Think about adding the change(s) you’re going to make to that already-proven routine. Make your environment convincing and simple to allow for the routine to be slightly altered. For instance, you may drive the same way home every day from work. If so, think about stopping at the grocery store you drive by versus going out of your way for your weekly healthy food pickup. Be sure to order your groceries ahead of time and a note to remind you about going.


4. Surround yourself with supportive people who “get it” 

Your social system is important. There are thousands of quotes about surrounding yourself with positive people, but positivity only goes so far when you’re about to make a change or build a habit in the new year. Often, your loved ones are positive people who show sympathy and grace when needed. This subjective care can be detrimental to the changes you’re going to make. Instead, search for people in your social system that understand the importance of these healthy changes. Tell them early what you expect from them and how that will help along your journey. Understanding empathy is a great start.


5. Celebrate small wins to increase your self-efficacy 

When your system succeeds, and you feel progress, celebrate it in a way that continues to support your system to achieve more success. “Self-efficacy reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior and social environment.” So, when you reward yourself for the smallest of wins and have confidence and trust that you can continue with your systems, your motivation and potential to continue to be successful increases.  


Do you have more questions about supporting your or your organization’s total well-being or overall health in 2023? Our Shepherd Insurance Employee Benefits team is here to help! Contact us today for more information.