Eeeeek! Another year almost gone! Fair to say that I lost 2017 sometime around the middle of the year and never caught up! So as the start of 2018 looms on the horizon I'm turning my mind to how I can keep myself better on track in the New Year, while still retaining a sense of freedom and flexibility.
Whether or not you're a serious New Year's resolution setter, this time of year tends to be one of reflection and contemplation. When we can find a moment in amongst all the busy-ness of the holiday season of course!
As you look back on the year that was and forward to the year that will be, what stands out most for you? Did you have goals for 2017, and if so, did you achieve them?
I'm sure that whether or not you are setting formal goals for 2018, there will be things that you want for and from the year. As you set your goals or quietly contemplate your hopes and dreams for 2018, here are few tips to help you manifest your desires in the year ahead.
Start with thinking about how you want to feel
Of course through the course of the year you'll experience a range of feelings. Life will bring moments of exquisite pleasure and moments of excruciating pain. But what are the underlying feelings that you most want to cultivate? The handful of feelings that truly make your soul sing when you experience them. Maybe accomplished, maybe in awe. Maybe free-spirited, maybe grounded. Maybe giving, maybe forgiving. Start with getting clear on how you want to feel and then set goals and intentions that are aligned with those feelings.
Make sure the motivation for your goals is internal and soul-based
As you think about your goals ask yourself questions like 'why is this important to me?', 'why do I want this?'.
If you ever have answers like 'I will like myself more' or 'I will feel better about myself' then STOP. You have a new goal that you need to achieve before you even think about any others. "Learn to love, respect and accept myself just as I am". Seriously. You WILL NOT feel better about or like yourself more by getting a better job, better house, losing weight, running a marathon. Or at least, if you do, briefly, it won't last.
If you have answers that are to do with other people's opinions or perspectives then STOP. Your goals need to be things that matter to YOU, that are important to YOU.
Break it down
Keep your goals achievable. That's not to say don't have ambitious and audacious goals! Just structure them in a way that's realistic.
Break big goals down into smaller measurable components so you can make sure you're on track along the way. Plan by quarter (or in a similar vein, by season). By all means have a high-level plan for the year, but build in regular pauses for reflection and contemplation and do the detailed planning in 60 or 90 day chunks. Never be afraid to change your goals as you go.
Focus on what you want, not want you don't want
Where your goals are about changing behaviours, express them in terms of the new desired behaviour, rather than in terms of the current behaviour. For example "I will eat more fresh, whole foods" is much more powerful than "I will eat less junk food", and "I will get to bed by 10pm each night" is much more powerful than "I will stop staying up too late".
Do you have any other tips or techniques you use to help you set meaningful goals and successfully achieve them? If you do, please share them in the comments - you never know who you might help!
Happy New Year! I hope that 2018 is a successful and joyous one for all of us!
PS If your New Year's resolutions include anything to do with Health and Wellness you might be interested in our programme 'Remembering Wellness', and the good news for you is that you can sample it completely FREE. Download the introduction and first 3 days of the programme HERE.
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