Your step by step guide to setting meaningful New Year's Resolutions that stick
It’s that magical time of year again when you start inventing a new you and fresh starts are free for the taking. Many of you will be setting yourselves a few New Year’s Resolutions and I love a good bit of goal setting.
It’s such an optimistic activity. To take out time to determine what awesome things you will do with the year ahead and think about what needs refreshing in your life, is so good for you.
From my obsession with setting New Year’s Resolutions (and their inevitable mid-Jan failure), I have learnt a thing or two about setting goals that are:
a. realistic, achievable and enjoyable, and
b. that are relevant and meaningful to your life right now.
So grab a pen and paper and let’s dive into my 6 step plan!
Step 1: Reflect on 2017
All too often people will dive into what they want to achieve in the following year and only see what's missing. Take the time to look back on the previous year. This is a great way to start because it shows what you can achieve and what you are capable of. It will give you a confidence boost and may result in you setting bigger goals if you feel the impact of last year's achievements.
What did you do this year that made you proud? What did you stop doing that needed to be eliminated? What did you achieve - list a few wins. What did you enjoy - this can be as simple as cooking new recipes or having adventures with friends. Create a well-rounded view of 2017 and be bloody proud of it!
Step 2: Guide your goals with your feelings
Forget what goals you have in your mind at the moment, wipe the slate clean and start with this question: How do you want to feel this year?
Do you want to feel confident? Do you crave freedom? Do you want to be kinder? Do you lack a sense of adventure? Maybe your list looks something like this: relaxed, secure, at ease, light. Or it could be: adventurous, fulfilled, happy, confident.
They will ideally be a mix of feelings you already have often, some you want to feel more of, and some you never feel and crave. Take your time over this and write down at least 10 of these.
Step 3: Bold and bigger picture is the name of the game
Having written down how you want to feel, now its time to start goal setting. Here I encourage you to be bold and broad with your goals. I recommend having three overarching goals that are focused on the bigger picture. These could look like:
‘Achieve more confidence at work’
‘Write a book’
‘Live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle’
It’s far better to have three well planned and thoroughly thought out goals than 10 unstructured ones.
If you had security as one of your core desired feelings, maybe ‘Create a side hustle’ should be on your list. If you had adventurous then a goal could be ‘Go on regular local adventures while I save for a bigger one’. If stress-free was on your list, perhaps ‘Create a stress management plan’ is your main goal.
It’s interesting to see if your goals change now that you have your core desired feelings mapped out. Initially, I had ‘Start daily writing’ on my list. But as energised was on my feelings list and writing often drains me, I decided to swap it for ‘Keep an ideas diary with me at all times’. This way I can write as and when the energy strikes me.
Step 4: Break them down into small, enjoyable chunks
Now that you have your overarching goals, the next step is to flesh these out. If you were to achieve these goals over the course of a year, how would they break down into what you’d have to do every month, week, and day?
What day-to-day things will help you achieve that goal that you’ll actually enjoy doing? If ‘Achieve new levels of fitness’ is on your list, what level, activity or race will mark your success? How will you start training for this? Will you get a training partner? What cookbook will you buy yourself? What types of exercise do you enjoy doing most? Will you have to sign up to a new training group? Will a coach help you achieve your goals?
Get clear on the specific actions that it breaks down into and make sure you’ll enjoy as many of these as possible. After all, it's about the journey, not the destination right!?
Step 5: Set monthly check-ins with your goals
By reading this blog you are taking your New Year’s Resolutions seriously this year - and that’s awesome! Let's make them count by regularly checking in with your progress. Put a monthly reminder in your diary to sit down and review your goals. Maybe one needs updating, another needs eliminating, or you add one.
Intentionally reviewing your progress will hugely improve your success and no doubt will refresh your enthusiasm for each goal.
Step 6: Remember how brilliant you already are
Easier said than done, but it's so important to remember. Working on yourself, your confidence and your self-esteem is great, but you are already a hard working, compassionate, kind, healthy, beautiful, successful, goddess-like human as you are. Don’t let all this goal setting make you forget it.
It may sound a bit woo-woo but my gentle suggestion for one of your New Year’s Resolutions this year is to tell yourself every day I am enough. Write I am enough on your mirror and set an alarm on your phone as a daily reminder to think/say/sing it. There is a lot of awesome evidence to show how big of a difference this simple phrase makes to all areas of your life. Check out this amazing video explaining why this affirmation is so powerful.
Let me know what goals you set for yourself in the comments below and check back in to let me know how they go in a month's time. And if you need any ideas for goals you’ll really enjoy then take a look at how Yoga With Adrienne got my forgetting the goal and enjoying the process.