Good morning to you and good morning to 2023! As you begin to think about the new year and what you’d like to accomplish, allow me to suggest a template to organize your thoughts, goals, activity and skills you’d like to develop or achieve. My suggestions are threefold.

First, think about viewing then developing your goals (which are a reflection of your values, needs, behaviors and priorities) through the lens of the 7 Core Areas template (Click for definitions and comments about each Core Area: (1) Spiritual; (2) Cognitive; (3) Emotional; (4) Physical/Biological; (5) Sexual; (6) Social/Relational; (7) Environmental). Working on your goals in your 7 Core Areas means you’re working in the “totality” of your being, and also includes room for you to think about your relationships as well. Conceptualizing yourself, your relationships and your activity from this vantage point creates a well-rounded focus toward your outcomes in 2023.

Second, the study of agriculture reminds us most climates in countries throughout the world could produce three, if not four crops (from planting to harvest) each year. This important parallel leads me to suggest that you focus on developing and accomplishing your goals over a 120 day or 4 month “micro season” period of time. So think about planting, developing, harvesting and bring edified by the “fruit of your labor” in these blocks of time. This gives you an ample amount of time to dig into, develop, practice and benefit from the consistent work you’ll do in the garden of your life.

Finally, I encourage you to think about and record your 7 goals and the activity you’ll engage in from a positive perspective as you use your mind and energy to focus on growing positive outcomes for yourself. Approaching your activity from a positive perspective means your investment(s) and outcomes are inspiring, affirming and rewarding at any given time.

So 7 goals in each of your 7 Core Areas over 3 microseasons of the year equals a total of 21 positive outcomes you’ve created for yourself (7 x 3 = 21). If you subscribe to the “addition by subtraction” school then I’d encourage you to focus on eliminating two related and non-productive behaviors or processes in any of your Core Areas, which brings your focused activity in 2023 to your identified 23 goals for 2023 (7 x 3 = 21; plus 2 = 23 for 2023).

I’ve included 7 goals for my first microseason below (some will be engaged in over multiple microseasons of the year), and here’s a few pointers about “gardening with intentionality” as you work to achieve growth in the garden of your life.

Ken’s 7 Core Area Goals for the first microseason (120 days) in 2023:

  1. Spiritual: Work to maintain my conscious contact with God through the practice of my spiritual disciplines (study, prayer, worship, serving).
  2. Cognitive: Complete my book “Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life” by working on it one hour per day.
  3. Emotional: Work to remain emotionally regulated by weekly viewing and practicing “green zone” behaviors in my 68° – 72° Degree Target Chart.
  4. Physical/Biological: Maintain physical fitness by working out 3 times per week.
  5. Sexual: Engage in conscious work to apply goal-oriented behavior to be sexually safe (with self and others) in all my affairs, by using recovery (Part 1 and Part 2), theological and psychological resources and tools.
  6. Social/Relational: Develop relationship-enhancing behaviors (regarding building “secure attachments” and good interpersonal neurobiology) by attending, practicing and integrating into my psychotherapy practice the insights gained from attending Dr. Dan Siegel’s on-demand Mindsight Institute course.
  7. Environmental: Work to “love my neighbor as myself” by practicing positive behaviors connected to my values (awareness, empathy, honor, gentleness and self-control) in my speech and treatment with others.

Good luck to you and may you be fruitful in all of your efforts in 2023!

Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3–2–5–4–24″ for additional information that could be helpful.

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About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.

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Daily Bread for Addressing Compulsion