Have you made a resolution, written a list of things you want to achieve or written an objective for the year in your planner? Are you already struggling to stay on track or have you even forgotten what you wrote? Rather than give up, I invite you to turn it around and set a powerful goal – a well formed outcome – in pursuit of your personal growth and development instead.
Most people have given up on their new year resolutions within a few weeks. By February, 80% of resolutions would have faded into wishful thinking only to be resurrected the next year and the following year. This age old tradition, it seems, is a little flawed for those who are really serious about change.
It may be motivating and fun to start the year off with resolutions or a bucket list, however these are short and momentary experiences and are easy to forget or give up on when life gets busy.
I set these ’20 things to do in 2020′ for fun last year. When I reflected on them this year, I noticed that the ones I achieved were part of the bigger goal I had set for myself using the processes below. The ones I didn’t achieve were either just a nice thing to do that slipped from my mind because I never went back to them, were too big and unrealistic to achieve alongside other projects, couldn’t happen due to an event outside of my control (Coronavirus!) or they relied on someone else’s commitment and motivation too.
There are recognised formats for goals, such as SMART goals, and lists like my 20 for 20 were never going tot succeed when applying those guidelines. It also wasn’t pinned up somewhere visible to remind me everyday, so out of sight, out of mind.
Rather than give up on your dreams this year, if you would like to turn your resolve into reality or your wishes into your own wonderful world, these steps will help you to create a clearly visualised goal and top up your motivation.
- Get clear on precisely what you want. One reason that resolutions often fail is that they are too vague. ‘Find a new job’ or ‘lose weight’ do not give enough clarity and direction to the brain so that it can help you and it doesn’t give enough direction and guidance on what action needs to be taken or what achieving your goal actually looks like. Write it down in detail, write it in positive language and as if it has already happened. And then keep it in your wallet or your planner so that it is there every day to remind you where you are going.
- Know what your barriers may be. There are reasons that you don’t already have what you want so take the time to identify what or who those blockages are and come up with a plan of how you will manage or eliminate them.
- Know what steps you need to take to get where you want to go. The difference between a wish and a goal is your action plan. A great way to do this is to work backwards from your goal so that you can see what needs to happen in what order. Of course, life often gets in the way and external events change circumstances, so be prepared to be flexible. Your goal needs to be for you and achievable by you, so check to see if you have any skills or knowledge gaps, if you need particular resources, including time, money and people and how you can buy or borrow them.
- See your goal clearly achieved. And not just see it, but feel it, hear it, taste it. Be so clear that it’s as if you’ve achieved it already. Be clear on the identity of who you are in that moment. Create that vision really clearly and re-imagine it every morning and evening to focus your mind where you want it to go.Some people find the act of creating a vision board a helpful visual reminder to have near them every day and as the unconscious mind works with pictures and metaphors, the process itself helps to guide your mind in the direction you want it to flow.
- Decide how you will celebrate and review your goal. To keep your dopamine reward chemicals topped up, make time to acknowledge your successes each week and each month towards your goal. Track how far you have come and the progress you have made towards your goal. This process will also allow you to tweak your plan as you learn as you go.
With clarity on your future self, with a clear vision of what you want to achieve and a plan of how you will make your goal happen, you will prioritise and make decisions that support you to achieve your goal.
The only limitations on our quest for personal development are the ones we place on ourselves. The role of a coach is to help you harness the power of your mindset to get what you really want out of life, to get where you’d like to go, to be who you’d like to be.
Your dream isn’t too ambitious and that barrier can be removed.
Join me for an online mini retreat on Saturday 29th January and get the support of a coach and a group of amazing like-minded women for five further months to make your leadership dream happen this year.
If you prefer to work through your goal-setting one-to-one with me, find out more here.
I look forward to hearing from you.