The start of the year seems to be a time of introspection. I recently watched a video by Brendan Burchard (The Millionaire Messenger) who says life, at the end of it all, boils down to 3 base questions: Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?
It’s this last question that bubbles away inside many of us. How can we make a difference? What can we contribute to the world? What legacy will we leave?
It’s commonly the New Year that brings out the resolve to be the best version of ourselves. What do we need to change? Do? Is it eat less, work out more, get back in touch with those important to us, increase our pay-packet, start a new biz, be a better leader, get back to nature, pray more, laugh more, travel more?
Starting afresh tends to align with the start of the calendar year and by now, you’ve no doubt set yourself some intentions for the year. Maybe you’ve already achieved your aspirations, or guiltily, broken your resolutions. Either way, it’s a great time to reflect. What will we do from this point forward to make a difference this year; so that we do matter?
Goal setting has been done to death – you know what to do to create a smart goal for yourself. It’s the goal GETTING that’s the challenge.
Here’s 5 steps to help you on your way:
- Clear the Clutter. Make space for the new you. Get rid of last year’s baggage. Clear out your fridge, your wardrobe or your desk to make space for the new body, clothes or ideas. If you’re crowded in, you won’t see the escape hatch to the new you. And clear some emotional space too. The dense fog of ambiguity is stifling. Get clear on what you want. Really clear! Create a theme for the next 12 months (eg health, happiness, wealth, travel, career, relationships, consolidation … whatever is driving you right now). For me, this is the year of ‘No excuses’. Then write a compelling mission of what you really want. Make it crystal clear; make it real … see it so vividly that it excites you. And write it down so you’re not kidding yourself (most of us are strongly visual and seeing it written in front of us makes it so much more real than the hazy, fluid image swirling around in our minds. Once written its concrete, confirmed).
- Set up support systems. Create task reminders or calendar appointments into the future to keep your goal visible over several months. The old ‘out of sight’ principle can ambush your goal getting – unless your mind is a steel trap (and mine certainly isn’t these days). It’s too easy to forget to do the things we’ve promised ourselves. I’ve created a folder for my goal for this year and I carry it everywhere so that I can refresh my intention, add strategies, remind myself of activities. Try it!!. And get yourself an accountability buddy to keep you honest. Find a coach, mentor, or a mastermind or challenge group to help you. Weight Watchers and AA are super successful at helping people stay true to their goals. If you’re not sure who’s right for you, contact me for details on my AchieverNet group.
- Take action. The first action is to make a Decision about what you really want. This becomes your pledge, your commitment. It’s NOT an intention, a hope, a wish, a desire. A decision is absolute. There are no excuses. 14 months ago, I made a decision to get fit. 3 times a week, up at 6am for fitness classes. I’m still doing it, no excuses. Decide what you will and won’t accept in your life. Draw up a list of personal rules to remind you of your decisions and put into your goals folder to review daily (anyone getting the point of keeping things visible?). Then DO something every day or every week towards your goal. Keep those appointments with yourself. If you’re busy, get up earlier. Even if it’s a cut down version, it’s better than nothing. And if you slip up, don’t wait til tomorrow to right things. Get back on track immediately (read, chocolate pig-out recovery).
- Believe in yourself. You CAN do what you set out to. There are plenty of people out there who have achieved, are currently achieving or will achieve the very same goal you’ve set for yourself. They’re no better than you. You can do it too. You have what it takes. Create your plan and get on with it. Be bold and audacious, step out of your comfort zone and create your life of choice this year.
- Keep a Journal. I’ve been practicing this habit for a while now and it’s POWERFUL! It helps you see your journey and identify patterns for you to learn from. It helps you identify obstacles that crop up so you can create options to overcome them. Writing things down creates clarity and conveys commitment to your goal. It’s a great place to capture those slippery ideas that come and go. On top of being an Ideas journal, you can journal Gratitude and Achievements.
- Appreciation – Gratitude. What you are thankful for. Things will not always go to plan or go your way, so it’s important to remember what is still in your life worth celebrating (and there’s always plenty). What you focus on perpetuates. So start reminding yourself and focusing on the good stuff.
- Achievements - Celebration. Capture what you DID today. It’s a great record of your progress to look back on when you’re flat (and a fabulous list for your CV too). List 5.
- Awareness – Opportunities. This forces you into the habit of looking for where the opportunities lie. It helps you open your eyes to the people, resources, and occasions that come your way to help you.
- Actions - Plan. This is where you record the 5 things you need to DO tomorrow to progress your goal.
- Acknowledgement - Reboot. This is an optional area that works well if you’re flat-lining. I record my Thoughts (these may be positive or negative but are generally rational e.g. “I had an exhausting day today”.) Then I record my Feelings (this is where the truth comes out, what’s really going on under the surface e.g. “I can’t do this any more, I give up”. Last I write my Reboot where I re-frame my emotional response e.g. “Get a good night’s sleep and get back on the horse tomorrow”, or “How can I make this work?”. The Reboot phase forces you into solution mode.
If you want some additional motivation to create a powerful transition in your life, embrace the ten rules of goal-setting shared in the movie: Goals, The 10 Rules for Achieving Success.
Have a great year ... and go GET those goals!