In February I saw a stream of clients who were down hearted because they had failed to keep their New Year’s resolutions. Unable to reach their goal, they had come for support to stop smoking, loose weight, focus more and get fit – all the usual things that we promise to do and then don’t. Not one of them had prepared or put anything in place to help them along the way, its like cooking. If we want a good meal we have to shop, prepare, cook and dish the food up.
Imagine this, you have an idea to cook something that you really fancy. You phone a few friends and go into detail about what you are going to cook, even invite them around on the allotted date. You get excited about the fun you are going to have and how much you are going to enjoy the results of your efforts.
On said date you go into the kitchen to create this wonderful meal but only then you realize that you do know how to make the dish, have no recipe, few of the ingredients, and no bowls in which to put the food in the oven. And what’s more you don’t understand why you can’t have that lovely meal without ingredients, recipe, utensils and knowledge !
Yes that’s the scenario for most people who set themselves goals and don’t think them through and put in time for the physical preparation.
So how can you best make sure that your New Years resolutions will stand the best chance of succeeding? Well you can start with asking yourself a few questions:-
Is what you want to achieve SMART?
Is your goal Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and do you need to put some timings on what you have to do in order to achieve it?
Setting a goal of loosing 10kg in two months, or going to the gym three nights may not be possible in reality. Likewise you might feel that something is really what you want but if you had it would it really make you happy or bring feelings of accomplishment?
Set time aside before Christmas
- What is your driving force behind you wanting your goal? Are you doing it for yourself or someone else? You stand a better chance of achieving your goal if it is something that evokes meaning and positive emotion in you.
- How will your life look when you achieve your goal? Take a moment to relax and imagine what life would be like when you have got what you think you want. Imagine getting up in the morning and go through a whole day – how are you feeling? Notice the changes in you and what a day in life of that future you might look like.
- Research how you can best achieve your goal. There are many ways to loose weight and get fit. You may think that you know how to but if you have tried your method before and struggled – there is a strong possibility that method will not be successful a second time.
Now ask yourself and make notes on
- Is it what you really want? You would be surprised at the amount of clients I see who think they really want something. When they really look at what that future would be like minute to minute that desire can change.
- How are these changes going to affect others around you? Do I need to get them involved too? It might be a goal that your whole family or a friend can join in too. If not-
- Do you need any help in achieving your goal? Additional skills, knowledge or support if put in place now makes all the difference. So would the process be easier if you had a buddy coach or mentor to check in with on a regular basis? Some goals can be so easily achieved with some help. I think of the people I see who want to stop getting depressed, angry or want to get rid of phobia’s. If they get the right professional help those problems that may have bugged them for years can be gone in a session.
- And are there any gaps in your knowledge that might let you down? If you wanted to get promotion at work there might be something you can do to help that. So rather than sit back while others get the promotion, get active and sign up for that language or accounting course.
- What else may stand in your way of getting what you want? How can you minimize the impact or remove these potential barriers?
- How will you measure success? In the case of loosing weight if you concentrate on just the pounds on the pounds you loose it may be a roller coaster of emotion. It may suit you more to look at the shape you are or what you can get into.
- Are the results going to be worth the effort?
Now you can start planning
Once you have the answers to the above you can start planning the action steps that lead to your goal. You need to write down the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. From making a phone call to research write down each step you need to take and when you can action it. Remember to keep it realistic.
Rehearse your future
Studies show that if you visualize achieving your goals, the steps along the way and how life will be in the future. You are more likely to achieve those goals. Here are two ways to rehearse the future.
Make a dream board: OK so that may sound a little weird but I can’t think of another name for it. Get a large piece of card and some glue. Over the coming weeks when you see a picture that makes you feel how you want to feel in the future when you have achieved your goal, cut it out and stick it on your board. Spend a couple of minutes every day to look at those pictures and enjoy the feelings.
Practice imagining the skills you need to accomplish your goals. If you imagine or expect to fail – you might well prove yourself right so make sure that imaginary journey is a positive one!
Enjoy the journey!
When you place all of your attention on the end result of a goal, life can pass us you by without enjoying the day. So prepare for the journey towards your new year resolutions, as it will increase your confidence and likelihood of getting to your goal. You will be able to relax and enjoy the journey knowing everything you need is in place to ensure you get to your destination.