13 Essential Emotional Goals to Set in 2023

For many of us, the start of a new year presents an opportunity for a new beginning – a chance to set goals and put positive changes into motion.

But you can set goals any time of year, especially if those resolutions you made on January 1 have fallen by the wayside.

Sadly, most people only set goals for their physical well-being, love life, or career. 

But what about our emotional wellness? 

Just as it’s essential to set goals related to our physical health and financial security, it’s also essential to our emotional well-being.

Emotional wellness goals help strengthen your inner world and relationships so your emotions don’t present roadblocks to your growth.

What Is an Emotional Goal?

An emotional goal is a target you set for yourself to improve your emotional well-being within a set period.

The goal could be anything from developing a more positive outlook and learning healthy ways to deal with stress to feeling more confident and self-assured.

Emotional goals are not tangible like other goals (e.g., saving money or going to the gym three times a week).

Instead, they are internal targets that require us to do some introspection, self-reflection, and soul-searching before setting them.

And while they may not be as easy to measure or track as other goals, that doesn’t make them any less critical. 

In fact, emotional goals are often more important than tangible goals because they directly relate to our happiness and overall well-being. When you know what you want your life to feel like, you can work towards making that a reality.

What Are the Benefits of Setting Emotional Health Goals?

When you set goals to improve your emotional health, you put yourself in a position to grow and change in a meaningful way.

These goals allow you to dictate your own path in life rather than letting your circumstances control your thoughts and feelings. 

one woman sitting on the ground emotional goals

Setting emotional health goals can be incredibly empowering, as it opens up the possibility for new experiences, perspectives, and understandings.

Here are other key benefits of setting emotional health goals:

  • Improved self-awareness: When you set goals for your emotional health, you take an important step toward better understanding yourself. It can help you become more aware of your feelings and motivations and the patterns in your life, which can be incredibly helpful in times of stress or crisis.
  • Higher emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware and understand your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. People with high emotional intelligence are typically better able to manage relationships, navigate difficult conversations, and cope with stress and adversity.
  • Greater clarity and purpose: By understanding yourself better, you can start to see more clearly what you want out of life. You may also find that your goals for emotional health give you a stronger sense of purpose and direction.
  • Enhanced relationships: Healthy relationships are essential for a happy and fulfilling life. When you improve your emotional health, your relationships with others also improve, which can lead to even more happiness and satisfaction.
  • Increased resilience: Life is full of challenges and setbacks. However, when you have strong emotional health, you are more resilient and able to cope with these challenges effectively without letting them drag you down.

13 Essential Emotional Goals To Set In 2023 And How to Reach Them 

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of setting emotional health goals let’s look at some specific goals you can set for yourself in 2023 and some tips on achieving them.

1. Develop a More Positive Outlook on Life 

A positive outlook on life can greatly impact your happiness and well-being. When you focus more on the negative things in your life instead of the positive, your life will likely be harder and more stressful than it needs to be.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time or ignore the negative aspects of your life. Instead, you should find ways to focus on the positive and cultivate gratitude for the good things in your life, even when times are tough.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

Below are some helpful tips:

  • Make a list of things you’re grateful for every day, including everything from your health to your job to your family and friends.
  • Find the silver lining in difficult situations. When something bad happens, try to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow instead of a setback.
  • Spend time with positive people by surrounding yourself with those who make you feel good and positively influence your life.
  • Limit your exposure to negativity, whether it’s in the news, on social media, or in your personal life.

2. Build Stronger, More Meaningful Relationships 

Having strong relationships in your life is one of the most important things you can do for your emotional health.

These relationships provide support, love, connection, and a sense of belonging, all of which are essential for a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

There are many different ways to build stronger relationships, but some general tips include:

  • Make an effort to spend quality time with the people you care about. This includes going on dates with your partner, taking your kids to the park, scheduling regular girls’ nights out, visiting your family members, or having weekly Skype calls with your long-distance friends.
  • Be present: When you’re with the people you care about, put away your phone, be fully engaged in the conversation, and listen to what the other person is saying.
  • Make time for yourself: We have all heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Hence, you must first take care of yourself if you want to have strong relationships. Make sure to schedule time for your own mental and emotional needs to be the best version of yourself for the people you care about.

3. Improve Your Communication Skills

Do your communication skills need a little polishing? Do you sometimes find yourself tongue-tied or getting into arguments with the people you care about? If so, you should include this goal on your list.

Building strong relationships and achieving your other goals can be very difficult without good communication skills.

two girls talking positively emotional goals

Fortunately, communication is a skill that you can learn and improve with practice. 

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

All you need to do is: 

  • Listen more than you speak: This will help you to better understand the other person’s point of view and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Use “I” statements when sharing your own thoughts and feelings: For example, “I feel upset when you…,” rather than “You’re always….” The “I” statement will help you better communicate your feelings without putting the other person on the defensive.
  • Avoid making assumptions: Ask them directly if you’re unsure what the other person is thinking or feeling. It will help you avoid miscommunications and assumptions that could lead to conflict.
  • Don’t take things personally: This is easier said than done, but it’s important to remember that not everything is about you. If someone says or does something that hurts your feelings, try understanding their side of the story before getting too upset.

4. Learn How To Set Boundaries

According to experts, people with no emotional boundaries are more likely to be taken advantage of, end up in abusive relationships, or become co-dependent.

Learning how to set boundaries protects your emotional wellness and improves your relationships.

But what does a lack of boundaries look like? You might be a people pleaser, always saying yes to favors even when you really don’t want to do them.

You might have trouble saying no to requests, even when they are unreasonable, or you might allow others to vent their anger or frustrations on you instead of holding them accountable for their own emotions.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to learn how to set boundaries. 

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

Here are a few tips to help you get started in your boundary-setting journey:

  • Be clear about what you will and will not tolerate from others. This includes setting boundaries with family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers.
  • Practice saying no. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier with time.
  • Don’t try to please everyone. It’s impossible, and it’s not your job.
  • Be assertive, not aggressive. You don’t have to be rude or mean to set boundaries. Just be firm and confident in what you’re saying.
  • Know your worth. Remember, you are worthy of respect and deserve to be treated well.
  • Learn to cut people out of your life if they don’t respect your boundaries

5. Let Go of Any Anger or Resentment You’re Holding Onto

Holding on to resentment is like ingesting poison and expecting another person to die. The bitterness and hatred you harbor are cancerous, eating away at you emotionally if you allow it.

Whatever the other person did, it’s not worth destroying your own emotional wellness by holding onto all that negativity.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

While it can be challenging to let go of anger and resentment, it’s essential to do it for your emotional well-being. To do so, try these tips:

  • Identify the source of your anger: Who wronged you, and why do you hate them so much? Answering this question will help you understand why you’re holding onto the anger and resentment in the first place. 
  • Focus on the present: The hurt might have happened in the past, but dwelling on it will only make you feel worse in the present. So it’s time to let go of t and focus on the present. 
  • Choose forgiveness: Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you’re condoning their behavior. It just means you choose to move on and not let their actions define you or affect your emotional health.
  • Talk to a therapist: If you’re having trouble letting go of the anger and resentment on your own, talking to a therapist can help. They can provide guidance and support as you work through these emotions.

6. Learn How To Handle Difficult Emotions

Do you shut down when you feel negative emotions? Or do you lash out and do or say things you regret later? Negative emotions are a normal part of life, and everyone experiences them from time to time.

From sadness and anger to fear and anxiety, difficult emotions are a part of being human. And how you deal with them can either help or hurt your emotional wellness.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know how to handle negative emotions in a healthy way. They turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking, smoking, or overeating.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

If you’re unsure how to deal with your difficult emotions, here are a few healthy tips:

  • Acknowledge your feelings: Denying or trying to suppress them will only worsen them in the long run. Feeling sad, angry, scared, or any other emotions is okay.
  • Identify your triggers: What situations or people tend to make you feel negative emotions? Once you know your triggers, you can either avoid them or be prepared to deal with the emotions they bring up.
  • Talk about your feelings: Talking to someone you trust can help you process and understand your emotions. It can also help relieve some of the emotional stress you’re feeling.
  • Express yourself creatively: Writing, painting, or any other form of creative expression can be therapeutic and help you healthily deal with your emotions.

7. Develop Good Habits

What is that one annoying bad habit you have that you really want to get rid of? Maybe it’s biting your nails, spending too much time on social media, or procrastinating. Whatever it is, bad habits can take a toll on your emotional wellness.

Bad habits are often learned behaviors that we pick up from our parents, friends, and the community around us.

And while they might seem harmless at first, bad habits can quickly turn into destructive patterns that can impact our lives negatively.

That’s why it’s so important to develop good habits. These are positive behaviors we consciously adopt that improve our lives in some way. They make us happier, healthier, and more productive.

A few examples of good habits that you can start developing today include exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and doing things you enjoy.

These all help you reduce stress and improve your overall mood.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

The key to developing any good habit is consistency. You need to be consistent with your behavior for it to become a true habit. If you want to start exercising, you need to do it regularly. The same goes for eating healthy and getting enough sleep.

Another important thing to remember is that forming new habits takes time. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.

So be patient with yourself, and don’t get discouraged if you slip up from time to time. Just get back on track and continue working towards your goal.


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8. Discover Your Purpose in Life

A purposeless life can be pretty depressing. If you don’t have a sense of why you’re doing something, it can be hard to find the motivation to do it. That’s why having a purpose in life is so important.

Your purpose doesn’t have to be some grandiose thing. It can be as simple as wanting to make a difference in the world or being a good role model for your kids.

Your purpose in life is anything that gives your life meaning and makes you want to get up each day and do something.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

If you’re not sure what your purpose is, you can do a few things to find it. These include:

  • Doing the things you’re passionate about: What are the things that make you happy? What makes you feel fulfilled? Once you’ve identified your passions, you can start finding ways to incorporate them into your life. For example, if you’re passionate about helping others, you can volunteer for a local charity or non-profit organization. If you’re passionate about the environment, you can start recycling or composting at home.
  • Doing the things you’re good at: What are the things that come naturally to you? What do people always come to you for help with? Once you’ve identified your strengths, you can start finding ways to use them to make a difference in the world. If you’re good at writing, you can start a blog or write for a local publication. If you’re good at art, you can volunteer to teach art classes at a local community center.

9. Be Mindful of Your Thoughts

Your thoughts play a significant role in your emotional health. Negative, self-defeating thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

On the other hand, positive, healthy thoughts can improve your mood and help you cope with stress in a healthy way.

Your inner thoughts are a prophecy for your outer life. So if you want to improve your emotional health, it’s important to be mindful of your thoughts.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

There are a few things you can do to become more aware of your thoughts. These include:

  • Practicing meditation or mindfulness:  Meditation and mindfulness can help you focus on the present moment and become more aware of your thoughts.
  • Keeping a thought journal: A thought journal is where you can write down your thoughts each day. It can help you become more aware of the patterns in your thinking and identify any negative thoughts you need to work on.
  • Talking to a therapist: If you’re struggling to control your thoughts, talking to a therapist can be a helpful step. A therapist can help you learn how to manage your thoughts in a healthy and constructive way.

10. Laugh and Smile Often

Laughter really is the best medicine. It’s been shown to lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and relieve pain. And it feels good, too!

If you haven’t been laughing much lately, make it a goal to laugh more in the coming year.

man happily working on his laptop emotional goals

Find things that make you chuckle, watch comedies, read jokes online, or spend time with people who make you laugh. It may take a little effort at first, but soon you’ll be laughing your way to better emotional health.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

Achieving this goal can be as easy as putting a SMILE on your face! Remember, smiling has all the benefits of laughing, plus it’s contagious. So put on a smile and see if you can make someone else’s day a little brighter.

11. Learn How to Distance Yourself From “Destructive Dissatisfaction.”

The term “destructive dissatisfaction” refers to a level of discontentment and dissatisfaction that is harmful or destructive to oneself or others. 

It’s an unachievable level of perfection that leads to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and depression. When you’re chasing perfection in your life to feel satisfied, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

An example of destructive dissatisfaction is anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight.

People with this disorder see themselves as overweight, even when they’re dangerously underweight.

They’re never satisfied with their appearance, no matter how much weight they lose. As a result, they often suffer from severe health problems and even death.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

So how can you distance yourself from destructive dissatisfaction? You can do so by taking these steps:

  • Become aware of the problem: If you find yourself chasing perfection in your life, take a step back and ask yourself why. What are you trying to achieve? Is it realistic? Is it worth the cost?
  • Identify your standards: What are your standards for success and happiness? Do you have different standards for different areas of your life? If so, are they realistic or unattainable?
  • Challenge your thinking: Once you’ve identified your standards, take a closer look at them. Are they as important as you think they are? Would you be just as happy with a slightly less perfect outcome?
  • Learn to accept yourself for who you are: Look at yourself in the mirror and accept yourself for who you are, imperfections and all. It is okay to strive for improvement, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach your goal.

12. Get Out in Nature More

Spending time in nature has been shown to have many benefits for our emotional health. These include reducing stress, improving mood, and increasing self-esteem.

So if you’re looking for ways to improve your emotional health in the coming year, make it a goal to spend more time outdoors.

Go for walks in the park, hike in the woods, sit by the lake, or simply spend time in your own backyard. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel when you surround yourself with nature.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

To get started, try these tips:

  • Get up and move: If you can, get out of the house and go for a nature walk. Even if it’s just a 10-minute walk around the block, the fresh air and scenery will do you good.
  • Make time for yourself: If you can’t get out of the house, try to find a quiet spot where you can relax and enjoy nature’s beauty. Spend a few minutes each day focusing on your breath and letting go of your troubles.
  • Take the scenic route on your way to work: If you have to commute, try to take a route that goes through a park or other scenic area. Or listen to calming music and look at pictures of nature on your phone.

13. Get Rid of “Toxic” People in Your Life

Do you have that one friend who gives you back-handed compliments? Or the family member who’s always putting you down because of your career choice?

Toxic people drain your energy, make you feel bad about yourself, and add nothing positive to your life.

In fact, every time you spend time with them, you feel worse about yourself afterward- they’re poisonous to your emotional health and well-being.

So one of your emotional goals for the New Year should be to get rid of these toxic people in your life.

How Can You Accomplish This Goal?

You can do this by:

  • Spending less time with them: If you can, limit your interactions with toxic people in your life. This may mean seeing them less often or not talking to them as much when you see them. You should also ensure that when you spend time with them, it’s on your terms and in a setting where you feel comfortable.
  • Setting Boundaries: Before completely cutting someone off your life, try to improve the relationship by setting boundaries and communicating your needs. For example, if your friend is always putting you down, tell them that you don’t appreciate it and ask them to stop. If they don’t listen or respect your boundaries, you may need to end the relationship.
  • Unfollow or Block: If you can’t have a healthy relationship with someone, it’s best to remove them from your life. This includes unfollowing or blocking them on social media and avoiding them in person. You don’t need toxic people to be happy and emotionally healthy. So make it a goal to let them go this year. You’ll be glad you did.

Final Thoughts

Remember, being patient with yourself as you work on these goals is important. Change doesn’t happen overnight, so be gentle with yourself and take things one day at a time. 

Also, don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you struggle to cope with your emotions. A therapist can help you develop healthy coping strategies and resolve any underlying issues.

Cheers to a happy and emotionally healthy 2023!

The year is coming to an end and its a good time to set your goals for the next year. Here are some emotional goals you can set and how to reach them.

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