Well Christmas and New Year’s has come and gone, and I’m happy to say that I’ve also just finished celebrating my 30th birthday. With all of this going on I’ve taken a longer than usual break from regular life, and will be back in full swing next week. But before I get too caught up with the hustle and bustle of going back to work, and all the things we do in our busy lives, I’m taking the time to sit and reflect on what I want to accomplish this year.
Many a time has New Year’s come around and I scoffed at the thought of making New Year’s resolutions. Outwardly I used to think it was a bid of a fad, something that people did when caught up in the freshness of starting a clean slate, but ultimately something that people forgot about and usually failed. Inwardly I realised that I didn’t want to create these resolutions because I didn’t want to deal with the disappointment in myself for never even seriously giving my goals a red hot go. This is the plight of a serial procrastinator.
Over time I started to realise the value of making resolutions (or goals), no matter what time of year it was. I didn’t want to float aimlessly though life, waiting for life to happen to me. I wanted to reach for what I wanted, and I wanted to be proud of myself for overcoming the fears that were stopping me from going there.
Despite the somewhat cliché of making New Year’s resolutions, it is actually a fantastic time to set some new goals for yourself. For most people, you’ve had time to relax, time to spend with friends and family, and time to do some of the things you love to do just for yourself. Your spirit is somewhat at peace, and ready to face the new challenges that the year ahead will bring. But if you’re anything like I was you might not see the value, or might be too afraid to set some goals for yourself. But I can tell you right now, if you follow these 5 tips that I’ve learnt over the years, you’ll be proud of yourself that you did.
1. Write your goals down
This might seem highly obvious, but you would be surprised at the amount of people that don’t. Writing things down stops these thoughts floating in and out of the ether that is your mind, and makes them external, concrete and real. It also makes you think about your goals more solidly because you have to form the words to put to paper. It ceases just being a vague idea.
Once your goals are written down, place them where you’ll see them every day, so that you are reminded of what you’re striving for.
2. Break your goals down
Quite often my clients are overwhelmed by the seemingly lofty nature of their goals, and so try to back away from them with excuses of why they “can’t”. I can tell you that you’ll never climb a mountain if you can see the whole mountain in your vision. You will be standing so far back from it that you’ll never get there.
Break your “mountain” down into smaller goals that seem more achievable. Smaller steps keep that feeling of overwhelm at bay, and can keep the inspiration alive when you complete the smaller goals one at a time.
For example if your goal is to “lose weight “, where do you start? Break down this goal by creating smaller ones that you think you’ll be able to achieve. Start with how much weight, and break it down from there at a pace you can handle. E.g. 5 kilos by the end of February. Another 5 kilos by the end of March. 3 kilos by the end of April etc.
Give your goals the depth they deserve.
3. Create an action plan
Ok so now you have a goal, and it seems achievable because you’ve broken it down. But how are you going to do it? Write down all of the steps you can take to help you achieve your goals. Along with these action steps create a time frame, and create space in your calendar.
In the weight loss example, the first step you might take is to go to the doctor and have a check-up. Talk to the doctor about what your limitations might be, and get some helpful advice. Next you may want to research into getting a personal trainer to help guide you with exercise, and so on. Put these appointments into your diary and make sure you give yourself enough time to complete these steps.
If you’re not one for making a timetable and sticking to it, you may find that you’re a daily list person instead. Find the method that works for you.
4. Tell people your goals and ask for help
I cannot begin to express how important this step is. Many people get discouraged and uninspired because they are going it alone. Humans are naturally social, and we often reach our best when we have the support of those around us.
Talk to your friends and family, and ask for their assistance. This help may be in the simplest form by getting them to drive you to an appointment, or more complex as your family changes the way they eat to support you. Who knows, your goals may even inspire someone else to do it with you.
Your success dramatically increases with the support of those around you.
5. If you falter take a moment and get back up
I’ve known a lot of people (including myself) that tend to give up when they make a mistake, or fall off the bandwagon so to speak. You can get so discouraged and disappointed in yourself that you think it’s just not worth the pain carrying on.
It’s at these exact times that you need to go back to the reason why you made this goal in the first place. The reason why we do things is what’s important here. Did you make this goal so that you can have the energy to play with your children? Did you make this goal so that you can create a secure future for yourself and your family? Why did you make this goal, and is it still important? If it is then breathe, realise you’re only human and that we all make mistakes, and get back up again. If necessary modify your goals or the action plan to make it easier for you, but don’t give up.
You are worth every second of effort you put into yourself.
I hope these tips help you stay on track for the New Year. Happy 2015 and I wish you all the success you deserve in accomplishing your dreams.
Love and light