13 Emotional Goals to Set and Focus On in 2023


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As the year draws to a close, with Christmas and the holidays being a few months away, it is normal to start wondering about just how successful your year has been. Have you accomplished all your goals?

Financial—perhaps you saved? Spiritual—maybe you are attending church and working on your path to enlightenment? But what about your emotional goals? 

Have you set emotional goals, and if you have, have you been tracking them? This is not so easy to answer, and it can be a real challenge to set yourself developmental challenges that are specifically aimed at your emotional well-being

Yet, emotions are perhaps the most important aspects of yourself you need to set goals for and keep challenging yourself to achieve success each day.

Your emotional goals are there to help you develop emotional agility, stability, and growth, so you can become more of who you have it in you to be. 

It’s time to set some emotional goals this year, so you can enter the new year at the helm of your emotional ship, ready to weather any storm.  

What Are Emotional Goals? 

Emotional goals are aspects about your emotional health you identify to work on improving. It could be anything from not getting angry so often to feeling more confident in new situations.

The emotional goals you set are specific, and you need to find a way to measure the success you achieve with each. 

Of course, measuring success for something that’s immeasurable is rather challenging. After all, how do you tell whether you are stronger in your self-control efforts or that you have developed more stress resolution abilities by not letting yourself get anxious? 

You will need some introspection to help you identify emotional goals appropriate to your development and to decide how you will determine the success of each goal.

Keeping a journal is a great way to do just that, as you can write about your emotions, identify areas for improvement, and track how you fair in addressing each emotional goal

Why Emotional Goals Are So Important

The why of emotional goals and the reasons you need to focus on these are important. Emotional goals help you develop in ways that can only be discovered once you have made the emotional journey and succeeded. 

My friend, Sam, had a real challenge in dealing with his anger issues. He decided that anger was his emotional goal, and he wanted to learn how to control that anger.

Sam did real work on his goal, attending anger management classes, journaling, and taking up meditation

Ultimately, Sam realized his problem with anger wasn’t that he was actually angry. Instead, he had been failing at identifying his frustrations and lacked feeling in control.

His anger reaction was a result of feeling vulnerable and not knowing what to do about these feelings. 

For Sam, satisfying his emotional goal of controlling his anger ended up being about developing greater self-awareness and emotional maturity, so he could act and not react in life. 

What emotional goals do you have?  

How to Identify and Set Emotional Goals

Knowing what your emotional goals are or should be can be really complicated. It’s not a fixed process, and nobody can tell you just what is “wrong” with you. Instead, it’s an inward process, and it’s a cyclical one.

Like most emotional awareness work, you will cycle through similar issues time and again, uncovering a deeper layer each time you do. 

Luckily, you will acquire some skills along the way to help you better manage, own, and authenticate your emotional health

Here’s how to identify some emotional goals to start with: 

What Do You Have Too Much of in Your Life?

Ask yourself what you have excess of in your emotional life. Do you get angry quickly, feel frustrated frequently, or chase feeling excited all the time? What you have too much of will end up being destructive to your emotional well-being

Even being too happy all the time comes at a cost. Excessive happiness could mean you have limited empathy or lack a well-rounded emotional profile. Toxic happiness can lead to being severely single-minded in your emotional existence. 

Too much happiness can mean you don’t handle sorrow well, while being angry all the time means you could fail to see blessings when they happen.

Identify what emotions you have in excess, then identify the opposite of these emotions, setting your goal to achieve more of the opposite emotions to balance the excess feelings. 

Look for Signs and Symptoms of Poor Emotional Health

When your body is ill, you have signs that something is wrong. Perhaps you cough or you struggle with pain.

These signs tell you what’s lacking or what’s damaged. What emotional signs of ill health have you been ignoring? 

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Embrace gratitude, let it open the door to let negativity out, and welcome emotional freedom.

Do you feel negative energy, struggle with low confidence, or battle worry? What are these signs telling you, and how can you improve the underlying causes of these signs?

Consider setting confidence, happiness, gratitude, or self-discovery as your emotional goals. 

Keep a Daily Journal

Perhaps you have feelings you can’t fully understand, in which case, you should engage in self-discovery and set emotional awareness as a goal to help you identify other emotional goals.

It’s about being honest with yourself and finding what you need more support with each day. There are many great journaling prompts to follow that can help you identify and own your emotions better. 

If you’re still not sure where to start with emotional goal setting for the new year, you can use a few generic goals and see how you stack up to these.

Perhaps you will find the related goals that can help you improve your emotional well-being as you reach emotional success

13 Emotional Goals to Set and Focus on in 2023

While not all these emotional goals may directly apply to your unique emotional journey, you can certainly benefit by doing the work and achieving these goals as you develop a greater emotional self-awareness and emotional intelligence. 

1. Self-Awareness as a Start

To know what emotional goals you really need to work on, you need to get to know yourself better. Find out what beats in your heart, what emotions you don’t always understand, and what triggers you. 

Emotions don’t speak a language that anyone else can hear. Instead, they whisper in your mind. And if you’ve been emotionally shut down, you have plugged your mental ears to the point of no longer being able to hear the words of your feelings. 

Begin to Listen to Yourself Again: 

Start becoming aware of your thoughts. These are the narrative of your feelings, and you need to acknowledge them as you hear and experience them.

Keeping a shorthand journal of your daily inner monologue can help you become more aware of what you are feeling and why you are feeling something. 

The process of writing down what you feel is about forcing yourself to stop, think, feel, and own what’s happening to you each moment of the day.

Eventually, it won’t be necessary to write down your thoughts as you will begin to value each thought and emotion as they happen. 

Not only do you need to listen to yourself, but you need to hear what you are feeling too. To see if you are successful at this goal, you can do quick check-ins to see if you know what your emotional state is at any particular time of the day or night.

Success is when you know what you feel and why. 

2. Balance Negative Emotions With Gratitude

Feeling negative isn’t a bad thing. Feeling guilty for feeling bad is not how you become more positive.

Instead, you can own your feelings by acknowledging when you feel negative and then practice finding one positive to focus on, so you rewire your feelings (without any self-flagellation). 

Find Gratitude When You’re Down:

If you are feeling negative, you can stop, own that you feel bad, then find something to be grateful for.

It’s hard to be grateful when you are negative, but it’s also almost impossible to be completely negative when you’ve found something positive to be grateful for. 

Start small. Right now, at this moment, what do you have that you can express gratitude for in your life? If you are really down in the dumps, you may respond that you have nothing. But you really do have things to be grateful for right now.

You have air, you can open your eyes, you feel the sun’s warmth on your skin, you had a meal, you can walk or move, or you still have people who care about you. 

Embrace that gratitude, let it open the door to let negativity out, and welcome emotional freedom.

3. Release Your Stress Feelings

In our busy lives, we experience a load of stress each day. Stress is a killer. If it doesn’t get you through physical ill-health, it will eventually ruin your emotional well-being.

Set it as your goal to make peace with stress and release that caged beast, so it won’t harm you again. 

Hiding stress or trying to lock up those feelings of worry and negativity won’t do you well at all. Instead, you have to practice the steps to letting go of the poison that stressed emotions bring. 

Breathe to Release: 

Breathing and meditation are excellent methods to help you release stress and embrace emotional freedom.

Take up meditation, practice your breathing, squeeze stress balls, and use visualization to consciously thank stress for making you aware of something and then bid it farewell.  

4. Develop Self-Worth in Relationships

One of the best emotional goals is to have self-worth, especially in relationships with others. When you feel worthy, you will value others, and you will be more respectful to yourself.

Building self-worth in relationships is about better relationships with others and with who you are. 

Honor Your Worth:

When you identify your worth, you know you have value. List all the things about you that are great. Don’t worry about what others think or have said to you.

Instead, list each thing you are good at, no matter how small. Each morning, remind yourself of the things you are good at doing or being.  

5. Face Fear

Fear is an emotion that can completely incapacitate you if you let it overwhelm you. But feeling fear is normal.

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Time yourself, and find ways to get more sleep each night.  

It can even be healthy if that fear warns you of something and then keeps you safe (like a lion in the long grass that you were about to walk through, and your fear warns you off). 

But when you can’t get past that fear, it holds you back (often for no reason). Learning to let go of fear is important for your emotional development. 

Face Fear With Logic: 

Get into the habit of embracing logic. You feel afraid—is there a valid reason? Yes? Then do what is needed to no longer be threatened. If there’s no valid reason, tell yourself that this is an unreasonable fear, and let it go. 

6. Make Peace With Failure

Adding to the fear goal above, dealing with your fear of failure is a vital emotional goal. What do you fear failing at the most? How is that fear helping you not fail? Do you see failure as a negative thing? 

Thomas Edison made 9,999 (failed) lights before he successfully made the first incandescent light bulb.

You can choose to see the 9,999 attempts as failures or as a learning process to guide him toward success. 

Reframe Your Failure Associations:

For each “failure” ask yourself what you learned from it. What are your 9,999 light bulbs? Embrace their value as a learning process

7. Fatigue Isn’t Feeling

Many of our negative and overwhelmed feelings stem from fatigue. Make it your emotional goal to get enough rest, so your emotions can be clear and not polluted by exhaustion. 

Set a Sleep Quota: 

Stop. Get off from the hamster wheel, and engage in healthy behavior that helps you rest. Walk in nature, breathe fresh air, set aside technology, and make time to rest. Time yourself, and find ways to get more sleep each night.  

8. Become Found With a Purpose

Many people feel lost. They don’t know what they are supposed to do, which means they feel insecure and adrift. Confusion and feeling lost can make you feel unwell. 

Set Your Compass Daily:

Start each day with one thing you want to do today. Track whether you do that thing. It doesn’t have to be a “holy cow” kind of thing. Instead, keep it simple, do it well, and feel like you had a purpose today. Build on this each day. 

9. Find Perspective Above

Our feelings are often out of perspective. You feel like the world is ending, but tomorrow, you realize it was such a small matter that upset you so much. Standing up high can help you find perspective on your emotions and thoughts. 

That elevation is often found through a belief in a higher power. 

Do You Believe? 

Set aside time to question what you believe, decide what you focus on, where you set your faith. It need not be a church or a divine entity that is remote and aloof.

Instead, find what your personal truth is… what you can hold onto in a storm. Know that you are not alone.

10. Act, Don’t React

Reactions often lead to regret. Acting is a conscious decision that we have much more control over. Being able to act and not react in a situation is a valuable emotional skill. It means not getting hot-headed or rushing. Make acting and not reacting an emotional goal today. 

Breathe, Then Act: 

The old adage of “count to ten before doing something” is actually pretty good. Count, breathe, then decide what to do. Make it a habit, and you will stop reacting and start acting.  

11. Speak Your Feelings

People rarely admit to how they feel. Speaking about your feelings without blaming others is how you share honestly with others and develop better ownership of how you feel

Feel in a Sentence: 

When you feel something, stop (like count to number 10), and speak a sentence about what you feel. Let yourself admit in a sentence how you feel. Use feeling words that identify your emotions. 

12. Some Emotions Aren’t for Sharing

Creating emotional boundaries are important to ensure your feelings are respected and valued by yourself and others.

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Count, breathe, then decide what to do. Make it a habit, and you will stop reacting and start acting.  

Make emotional boundaries for your goals going forward this year. 

Map Your Boundaries: 

When you map your emotional boundaries, you value your feelings, own what you experience, and realize that others don’t have the right to invalidate your feelings or abuse what you experience. 

Identify people who breach your boundaries, and begin to push harmful people out of your life because you can protect your boundaries. 

13. Learn From Guilt

We all carry guilt over things we did wrong. We are human and fallible. But making it your goal to learn from your guilt can help your emotional development. Letting go of guilt is difficult, and it’s not productive to “throw out” guilty feelings. 

Make It Tangible: 

When your guilt is focused on a tangible item, you can decide how much of your life will be invested in that guilt.

Make a doll or bead string to bind your guilt into. When you see that item, you can let the guilt have a moment to remind you what happened.

But then you put the guilt and the item away so you can move ahead without that burden.

Final Thoughts on Emotional Goals

Each person’s emotional goals will be different, with some similarities such as knowing yourself and releasing stress that overlap.

But how you set your emotional goals and what steps you take to meet those goals are up to your unique experiences and your relationship with your feelings. 

You can’t let feelings go, ignore them, or avoid them. That’s like trying to run away from your shadow. Set goals, make friends with your feelings, and enter the new year with greater clarity and emotional self-awareness than before. 

For more on meeting gratitude goals and creating a personal motto based on songs about gratitude, check out our 31 best gratitude songs guide.

And if you want more articles about emotions, be sure to check out these blog posts:

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