Sometimes, we put so much pressure on ourselves to start the New Year with great intentions and big goals. But if we’re not careful your New Year’s resolution could end up in the trash and forgotten before the end of January.
Reflection on the year gone by
The end of 2019 and in the beginning of 2020 can be really meaningful to look back on the last year and appreciate both the good times and the challenges.
You might like to reflect on your favourite activities or events that were meaningful to you his past year. Think about books you read this past year that you found helpful. What was it about that book or author that made your pause and think? Did you listen to any podcasts which helped inspire you and helped influenced you? I have a few which I really enjoy and i can notice a difference in my moods and intentions when I listen to them on a regular basis. Did you attend events or family gatherings that where meaningful and important to you? You could identify the good things that happened to you like adventures and moments that made you laugh and create positive memories with your friends and family. Which ones are important to you? And what do you want to do more of going forward?
You can also reflect on the challenges and the lessons you learned. Sometimes, the things we learn during the difficult times are really important and worth remembering! We learn from our mistakes or from things that didn’t just work out the way you were hoping to and that’s OK.
If you’re not meeting your 2019 goals, now is the time to reflect and track how you are where spending your time. This is a great way to discover what is getting in your way. I know too much internet stops me from getting up to work out!
For example I want to get to a 6:30 AM spin class. There is no way I will be up and ready to go if I stay up till 11 o’clock at night. It’s just not possible. I know if I want to make that spin class on a regular basis I have to be getting to bed with lights out by 10 PM.
Or if you’re finding yourself short of cash at the end of the week or the month, look back at your spending and saving habits. This is not about depriving yourself but choosing to put yourself and your goals first. It’s all about making conscious choices about what your goals are and what is important to you
And in order to make conscious choices you need to know what the pitfalls are and what you need to change.
Setting Realistic Goals
A great way to set awesome goals for yourself is to create small and realistic goals in a variety of different life areas. Distinguish between achievement goals such as buying a new house versus habit goals wanting to get to workout for 30 minutes a day. Habit goals are the more powerful goals to set as they will take you closer to your achievements goals.
For example, you could set one small goal for each of the following areas: relationships, career, self-care, physical health, personal growth, hobbies, mental health, finances, and home.
You also need to have very clear goals. So a common goal many people have is “I want to be healthy this year”. What does that really mean for you? For someone it might mean drinking less alcohol. For somebody else, being healthy mean mean I need to reduce how much I smoke and my end goal is to not smoke at all. It’s important to go from being very general to being specific so you can take specific actions and steps on your the goals that are meaningful to you.
Some people find it more helpful to set monthly or quarterly goals. Some examples are to eat vegetarian for 1 month. This way you are check up and examine what steps you are taking towards meeting your goals. Unless you are reflecting on goals in a timely fashion you may find they have slipped away on you.
Choose Personal Goals that are meaningful to YOU
Don’t just be a person who checks off boxes. Set goals for yourself that are based on the person you wants to be and works solidly to hit them. This can be tricky as sometimes we have pressure from family, work or society in general to be a certain way. Instead focus on what is important to you. what are your values? This is your life. Don’t spend this year living your life for someone else’s dreams or opinions of how you should be. This takes reflection on your part to examine your life and your values.
If you want to improve yourself, you need to first accept yourself as you are. For me creating resolutions isn’t about me saying I am flawed but there are areas where I want to improve. Your goals should come from a place of acceptance and building yourself into the best version of you, not from trying to change yourself to meet someone else’s version of you.
As you set up goals in different life areas, you may discover that you need some support, guidance, or advice to accomplish changes you want to incorporate into your life. There are many ways to get support. You could get a gym trainer, find a mentor, listen to podcasts, read inspiring books, or find someone who is trained to support you in the area that you need help.￼ Reaching out for support is one of the best ways to get guidance and potentially hold you accountable to reaching your goals. For example if you want to change your spending and saving dynamics this year maybe you need help from a money coach or a financial planner to get you on track to save or how where’s the best to put those dollars to earn interest. No one is an expert in every field or area in life so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Are your everyday activities helping you to accomplish your short-term goals? This is where a coach or a mentor or someone who specializes in that area can be super helpful to you. It is important to ensure that daily activities help you to accomplish short-term goals, and that short-term goals lead to accomplishment of broader, larger goals and objectives.
Write down and Track your goals
Make sure you see you place your written goals somewhere where you can see them daily. Some people create a vision board. You are Identifying your vision and give it clarity using images or words. Creating a vision board if your aspirations and goals gives you good visual reinforcement and reminder of where you want to go. So even if you don’t achieve your goal every day, your vision board keeps your mind focused on your goal, your attention on your intentions, and your life headed in the direction you choose.
There are so many ways to track your success. There are many free apps you can use for tracking your progress. Or you can go low tech and check off your goals on the list. If you’re looking at tracking your exercise on paper there are many pages you can download off the Internet where you colour each day as you move towards your goals.
Reflect on your goals Frequently
Find time every week to look back and see how you are moving towards your goals. Don’t wait till December 2020 to realize you haven’t realized a huge portion of your dreams. Make sure to analyze your progress weekly or monthly. Reviewing your goals and progress allows you the opportunity to see how far you’ve come or even to find out what is getting in your way. This allows you the opportunity to modify your goals, remove obstacles, and celebrate your steps towards your goals. Don’t be afraid to change or modify your goals. Sometimes your objectives change that is certainly OK. For example one of my goals from a few years ago was to go up in a hot air balloon. Not so important to me now, but now as I write it this still sounds like fun.
Celebrate you Success
It’s important to think about all of your small wins. Again don’t wait till December 2020 to realize how successful you have been. The single most important factor in making progress towards meaningful goals is the frequency you experience towards your sense of progress. The more often you feel successful, the more likely you are to stick to chasing your goals and dreams in the long run. Remember every single small step you make towards your goals is leading you to accomplishing it. Every step in the right direction is just that movement towards what you want to achieve.