Top 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your First Month in 2023

Many adults start the new year by making resolutions to eat better, exercise more, or advance in their careers. However, despite these good intentions, USA Today reports that by as early as Jan. 17, most resolution-makers begin to lose momentum and fall back into their old habits.

A group of people holding up sparklers that number “2023.”

Whether you want to run your first marathon or change professions, below are a few tips to get on the right track for 2023.

1. Perform a Self-Review

January is a great time to reflect on where you were, professionally and personally, at the beginning and end of last year. This could involve making a list of the progress you made, the goals you achieved, and the benchmarks you still strive to attain.

  • Evaluate areas of your life that could be improved. There is always room for improvement. Whatever progress you made in 2022, striving for continual improvement can not only help you be more efficient and productive, it may also help you become more goal-oriented.
  • Identify why you didn’t meet certain goals. If you failed to reach goals or benchmarks that you set in 2022, take a moment to ask why. Did you take on too many projects or goals at the same time? Or did you set goals that weren’t well-defined and measurable? For example, deciding that you’d like to become the CEO of a healthcare organization is one thing, but mapping out a specific plan that can help you advance to managerial roles and reach the C-suite by the time you’re 45 has a better chance of succeeding.
  • Write a list of what you’d like to prioritize in 2023. For the upcoming year, decide what’s important to you. Do you want to expand your cooking repertoire, learn a foreign language, or take steps to gain more professional skills and experience? Determining your priorities can help you map out an appropriate course of action.

2. Establish Your Goals for the Year

Corporate trainers often note that goals should be SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Keeping this in mind can help you establish tangible and attainable objectives for the upcoming year.

  • Develop a roadmap. To understand where you’re going, you must first understand where you are. Whether you want to travel to a foreign country or pursue managerial roles within your organization, lay out the steps you’ll need to take to get from point A to point B.
  • Develop a plan of attack. If you want to eat healthier, incorporating meal prep into your routine can be a great way to work toward achieving that goal. If you need to update your existing skills, completing a graduate certificate program or earning an advanced degree might be the best course of action.
  • Set deadlines. If you decide to take online classes or register for a graduate certificate program, map out an enrollment timeline. If you want to exercise more, map out a path to gradually increase your activities. Doing so can help you hold yourself accountable.

3. Stay Motivated and Keep Your Momentum

Many people suffer from an occasional lack of motivation, but maintaining momentum is crucial when working toward a goal. Tips to keep yourself on track include the following:

  • Tangible tactics. One of the best ways to forward your goals is to surround yourself with positive and motivating people that can help keep you accountable. If you find that you struggle with procrastination, tips to overcome it include breaking projects and tasks into smaller steps, eliminating distractions (e.g., turning off the television and handheld electronic devices), and setting specific deadlines.
  • Mental tactics. If you feel that you’re losing momentum, several mental tactics can help you reenergize. Some examples include using positive affirmations, positive self-talk, and visualizing reaching your goals.

4. Commit to Making Time for Yourself

It’s not unusual for adults to wear several hats at the same time — employee, student, partner, parent. Setting time aside to work toward your goals can help prevent you from getting sidetracked. Remembering to set aside time for self-care is equally important.

  • Schedule time to work toward your ambitions. If you don’t book time to work on your goals, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Be sure to set aside time for goals and tasks in your calendar. Prioritize this equally with your other commitments.
  • Schedule time to unwind. Taking time for yourself can help ward off burnout. This could mean getting a massage, going for a run or a walk in the park, or treating yourself to a meal at your favorite restaurant.

5. Make Work-Life Balance a Priority

Many individuals struggle with work-life balance. Remember that maintaining healthy relationships with your friends, family, and yourself is just as important as meeting work responsibilities and other demands, such as schoolwork. Prioritizing work-life balance is associated with a variety of benefits:

  • Improved mental and physical health. Mental Health America reports that feeling stressed for extended periods of time weakens the immune system. Long-term stress can lead to irritability and depression, and harm personal and professional relationships. Prioritizing work-life balance can help your body and mind stay healthy.
  • Constant feelings of stress and anxiety can hinder motivation. Individuals who maintain a healthy work-life balance are more likely to stay engaged and take on additional tasks.
  • People who feel burnt out and overwhelmed tend to underperform. Workers who feel they have a good work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t, according to Inc.

Make 2023 Your Best Year Yet

Taking a step back and evaluating where you stand and what progress you need to make to achieve your goals can help lead to a successful year. This January, make sure that you stay focused and motivated to fulfill your ambitions, whether it’s improving your health and well-being, connecting with loved ones, or progressing toward personal achievements.

If you’re interested in changing careers, advancing in your current field, or embracing your love of learning, an online degree can help. Are you ready to take the first brave step toward reaching your 2023 goals? Discover how Maryville University’s online degree and certificate programs can lead to positive change.

Recommended Reading

The Importance of the 5 Senses in Learning and Studying

Self-Improvement Month: How College Can Help with Personal Growth

Simple Recipe and Meal-Prep Ideas for College Students


Bustle, “11 Ways To Stay Motivated & Focused to Achieve Your Goals”

Careerstone Group, Resolutions that Work: Eleven Tips for  Fresh Start in the New Year

Forbes,  “10 Tips to Start the New Year Off Right”

Corporate Finance Institute, What are SMART Goals?

Forbes, “How to Get Motivated and Achieve Your Goals”

Inc. “How Work-Life Balance Can Keep Your Employees Happy and Your Business Healthy”

Inc., “19 Highly Effective Ways to Stay Motivated”

News12, “6 Tips to Start Your New Year the Right Way”

Psychology Today, “Ten Tips for the New Year”

Ramsey Solutions, “6 Tips to Start the New Year Right”

Mental Health America, Work Life Balance

Thrive, “5 Ways  Healthy Work-Life Balance Improves Your Productivity”

USA Today, “A Lot of New Year’s Resolutions Will Likely Collapse Thursday. Here’s How You Can Avoid It.”

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