Goals this New Year
It just feels good to start afresh. Open a new chapter, try again, put the past behind us. Whether you had a great 2019 or are hoping that 2020 is better, it’s a natural time of the life cycle to take stock and reset. Pause and reflect before diving headfirst into the new year. By doing this, you take the best of the year before and resolve all the bits that weren’t quite 100%. Your goals this new year become more feasible and attainable.
Many of my clients are in need of resetting some aspect of their life. Or they are wishing to achieve things at a pace a bit faster than they are used to. I help them by looking at ways they can commit to change and develop the discipline to do so. This is often what many people are missing when they set a New Year’s Resolution. The desire is there but the follow-through is lacking. It’s no wonder that research shows that less than 10 per cent of people will keep their New Year’s Resolution.
Which brings me to my first point – do not wait for New Year’s Day 2021! Make a start now.
So let’s explore resolutions more and get some things in place. Let’s build a foundation to achieve your goals. If resolutions aren’t your thing, skip down to the bottom to see some alternatives that may suit you.
1. Share your goals
Doing something alone may work for some. I knew a person who applied for a job in the Police Force and kept the whole thing quiet for 2 years until he was accepted! But for a great many of us, we need some level of involvement from others. This can range from having a gym buddy, hiring a coach or simply sharing your goals with family and friends. By making someone else in the know, it helped to keep us accountable and maintain motivation.
2. Ensure your goals are realistic
If too many goals have been set or a goal is too big, it’ll just appear overwhelming. You’ll be setting yourself up for failure before having even begun.
Make a goal too small and you’ll cheat yourself out of that great feeling of accomplishment.
So there’s a balance to strike. The goal you’ve set should be achievable in the time frame you’re aiming for, but still gets you closer towards the future you want.
A great tool to further help with setting a realistic goal is to apply the SMART method.
Let’s say you have a debt of $6,000. You’d like to pay this off but doing it all in 12 months would mean not really living at all. So you cut that in half and aim to pay off $3,000. This is how it would look as a SMART goal:
Specific: I will pay off $3,000 of my $6,000 debt.
Measurable: I will put $250 towards paying off that debt each month.
Achievable: I can achieve this if I cut back on Uber Eats, shop around for a cheaper mobile phone plan, and minimise unnecessary spending.
Relevant/Realistic: I need to reduce my debt so I can start saving for an overseas trip.
Timely: I will pay off this portion in 12 months and the whole of it in 24 months.
3. Break a goal into milestones
Enthusiasm at the start of the year is often when it’s at its highest. To keep that going throughout the year, and as you get closer and closer to your goal, it’s important to have planned out how you are going to get to it.
A great way to do this is to keep yourself on track by celebrating reaching milestones. Each milestone gain means that you are closer to achieving the whole of the goal. Use that power to keep your momentum going. These milestones come from having a strategy or system in place to make sure you get the work done.
4. Schedule it in!
If something’s not scheduled, it’s unlikely to happen.
Willpower will only take you so far. I generally say that willpower is what creates the goal in the first place but after that, it’s hard to find. So you’ve broken the goals into milestones. The next step is to break those milestones down into smaller, weekly goals. This ensures that you’re working towards something immediate. It’s the daily system and routine that make your larger goals achievable. By making something automatic and a part of your day, you’ll do it because it’s what you do. There’s no feeling of it being a chore.
5. Keep going and be kind
I read once in regards to meditation, that not practising is practising.
You may feel you’ve failed by having missed a day, a session, a payment, but having missed that reminds you of its value. You realise how much better you felt when you did it so you pick up where you left off. This can be applied to any goal. Starting is better than having done nothing at all. And maybe by the end, your achievement looks different to what you imagined but you kept at it! Well done you!
I’ve often found that sometimes it was the act of moving towards achieving a goal that led to other developments and opportunities. Things that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. So although the main goal may not have been achieved, other achievements throughout the year overtook its place. This sets up momentum for the following year. All in all, there’s no real failure if you look at it in this light.
If marking the start of the new year is something you’d like to do in some way but you don’t have resolutions in mind, a few alternatives that I’ve personally experimented with, and have quite liked have been:
Look Back at the Year that Was
List all that you’ve achieved in the last year. I do this by going through my Google calendar and making note of the things I did, saw, and experienced. For a business owner, it’s important to look at the people you worked with and projects accomplished. Doing this brings back other memories; it’s a walk down memory lane that makes you realise just how much you’ve lived in a year. Looking at your list of achievements helps you to think about what you’d like to increase or maintain for the year ahead.
Choose a Word for the Year
Instead of resolving to work on a specific aspect of yourself or your life, you might want to choose one word. This one word sums up how you want to feel or be in 2020. Perhaps there’s a single term that sums up everything you want to work on, like “clarity”, “mindful”, or “productive”. It may be how you want to be as a person, like “brave”, “flexible”, or “kind”. Rather than a resolution, you would carry this word with you throughout the year and apply it to all aspects of your life.
Write a Letter to your Future Self
Write a letter to yourself and date it January 1, 2020. Tell yourself all you hope to accomplish, experience and have this year. Then, set a reminder to open it on January 1, 2021. Often you’ll be amazed at just how far you’ve really come.
Whatever method you choose, congratulate yourself for all your progress so far. The kindness you show yourself will give you more energy and stamina to keep going; embracing new and exciting possibilities as they arise. If you have a goal in mind and feel that you could benefit from an accountability partner – text me, email me, get in touch.I’d be honoured to be a part of your 2020 journey towards your best life.