top of page

The Lever #009: The ONE Goal to Set in 2023

In this final newsletter of 2022 I'm going to share with you the ONE goal you should set for 2023.

The Meta Goal.


Before we start:

Tracking data is a major theme this week. If one of your goals for 2023 is to build an audience, then check out TweetStreak.

TweetStreak uses gamification to hold you accountable to the Twitter reply habits that will help you grow your audience through Duolingo-style DM notifications and stats tracking. I've been using it all month and it definitely works.

Take a look @tweetstreakhq or go to to sign up for a free trial.


Goal Setting

With a New Year comes new possibilities and potential.

Maybe this is the year that you write that book, change jobs, run a marathon, or take that trip to Machu Pichu you've been putting off.

Maybe this is the year you do ALL of those things, and more.

So you start setting goals. Smart goals. With measures and timeframes and specificity.

Because that’s what people do, right?

The Dark Side of Goals

Only 10% of people actually set goals. And of those people, 70% won’t ever achieve them.

Setting goals is hard. You have so many interests, and so there is so much you want to do. But not enough time to do it all.

Sacrifices must be made. But first you need to truly acknowledge what you are sacrificing, and what you really want from life. You need to lay all your cards on the table.

Start at the End

You spend all of your productive waking time in the Big-5 categories: Personal, Professional, Life, Community, Fitness.

Your planning should then consider each of these individually.

Try this exercise:

1/ Vision

For each category, imagine your life this time next year. What have you achieved? Where would you like to be? Write these down in the present tense.

Not every category needs to have a major goal associated with it. It's totally okay to maintain the status quo if you are happy with where you are.

2/ Set the Goal

With a clear destination in mind, set ONE big goal for each category. Maximum of five, and the fewer the better.

Goals take time. Limiting your focus is an important step towards actually reaching your goals. Don't spread yourself too thin.

** A note on "Specific" goals - You make not know exactly what you want yet, only that you want to improve the situation relative to where you are now. That's totally fine. Set a relative goal that gets you moving in the right direction.

3/ Choose the Tasks

Each goal should have a repeatable action or task that will move you towards it.

Something simple, that answers the question "Did I work on this today?"

• Was I effective at work?

• Did I write today?

• Did I run today?

You can (and should) get more specific in your planning, but the baseline should be a simple Yes/No question to eliminate as much friction as possible.

4/ Create Accountability

There are three ways to create accountability:

4.1/ Write it down

Writing down your goals has proven to be more effective than keeping them in your head. It's harder to trick yourself when its there in black and white.

This also gives you something to refer back to later.

4.2/ Go public

Sharing your goals in public leads to more positive outcomes. By sharing and posting progress your behavioral performance increases.

This is extra-effective when you are sharing with someone you look up to, like a coach, or someone who has accomplished the thing you are trying to do.

4.3/ Tracking

This is where the magic really happens.

For every goal or action ask yourself, "What data can I track?"

Then track it.

This gives you powerful feedback, a system of personal accountability, and one more thing that we'll look at below.

(This is also why the Yes/No criteria works. It makes tracking as painless as possible)

5/ Time Block It

Achieving goals requires Time and Attention. Create space for success by putting them on the calendar.

If you don't set an appointment with yourself, it won't get done.

Rely on your systems, not your motivation.

The ONE Goal

Everything above is important, and has lead you here - to the main point.

ONE goal doesn't mean you must choose only one thing to focus on, only one area of your life to improve. Figuring out your desires, goals, and trackable actions is important.

But now is time to commit to the ONE goal that makes all of that easier, and makes it possible to hold those goals simultaneously without causing information overload.

And the Goal?

100% Tracking Compliance.

This is the Meta-Goal that drives all others forward. Regardless if you did the work that day or not, your only goal all year is to track the results.

If you did it, then mark Yes.

If you did not, then mark No.

Again, this will yield powerful data that you can use to adjust course and make better decisions in the future. But it also does something else.

The very presence of self-observation has been proven to improve results and increase productivity. You can read more about the science HERE but the point is that the old cliché is true.

What gets measured gets managed.

Set all the goals you need (up to five!) that will move you towards the life you desire.

Track your results, and commit wholeheartedly to that tracking.

The data doesn't lie, and in fact will set you free.


• Start with your vision

• Create your goals

• Choose the tasks

• Build in accountability

Then commit to the Meta-Goal of 100% tracking compliance. The results will follow.


Thank you all, truly, for reading and subscribing this year. It has been a pleasure meeting so many new creative and positive people, and I can't wait to see what you all accomplish in 2023.

Yours in productivity,



I'll be sharing my own Personal goal after New Years (walking the talk by goal setting in public!), but as a sneak preview, some of the specific actions include:

• Launching my book, Peaceful Productivity

• Building a self-guided course on the subject

• Designing a desktop planner

• Then moving right into book two!

All of this is to support of a specific goal that is…. Well, after New Year's.

Subscribe to The Lever for updates and members only giveaways.

Follow me on Twitter @SeanPHogue for actionable snips and daily engagement.

And have a safe, happy New Year's!


Your next steps:

1. Subscribe to The Lever (if you haven't already)

This covers a science-based productivity concept each week, in about five minutes. Try a free chapter of my new book when you subscribe. And if you like it...

Peaceful Productivity outlines the time-management system I've created over the years as a ship's Captain and business executive. It will help you plan, prioritize, and get more of the right things done. Also available on Amazon  

This short course will teach you the fundamentals of a powerful timeblocking system to make sure you never miss an obligation and always show up prepared. Give yourself the space you need to create the life you deserve.

Smart systems to make you productive, prolific, and profitable | Find me on Twitter @SeanPHogue | Sign up here for the weekly newsletter, The Lever, and create some leverage in your life.


bottom of page