Imagine that it’s December 31, 2018. How do you see yourself in relation to where you’d like to be in all major areas of your life? Do you enjoy your job? How about the person you are with? Are you making steady progress toward achieving your dreams?
What’s the difference between those who stick to their New Year’s resolutions and those who do not? The first step towards becoming who you want to be by the end of 2018 is to imagine your future self in full detail and bask in your vision until it’s strong enough to inspire you during the rough patches. Create a physical reminder of your vision that you will see daily, or that you will pull out when you need reminding.
Now you’re ready to set those New Year’s resolutions.
Setting Personal Goals
Once you have thoroughly imagined your vision, choose specific goals that will lead you there. Some questions to ask yourself are:
1. Are these YOUR goals or someone else’s goals set for you?
Your goals may have originated from someone else’s good intentions for you; but until you take ownership of them, they are doomed to fail. Setting your own intention to achieve your goal is vital.
2. Does the goal feel impossible?
Does it feel like something unsustainable such as a strict diet that you’re likely to rebound on once you’ve touched your goal?
Your goals should be maintained. Ones that are too easy to obtain tend to get boring. I tend to slack off on the easy ones, often leaving them unmet, even though it would have been easy to reach them. The key here is to set a goal that seems like a slight reach and then add a little bit more to it.
3. Is your vision a bit vague?
Thought it is a grand and inspiring vision, the goals you set to reach it need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused and Time-bound. S.M.A.R.T. goals aren’t just for business. They can work wonders in your personal life as well.
4. Have you chosen a new goal? Does it inspire you?
If it’s an unfulfilled past goal, take an honest and detailed look at what held you back in the first place. Knowing this will give you a head start.
Overcoming Obstacles to Your New Year’s Resolutions
As you work toward your 2018 goals, you will encounter obstacles. It’s important to map these road bumps out so they don’t catch you off guard. For example, if your goal is to exercise more, one obstacle might be coming home from work tired and unmotivated.
There are two ways to go about overcoming obstacles so that you stick to your New Year’s resolutions. The first is to side-step the obstacle. For example, you could choose a different exercise time when you’re less likely to be tired. It’s important to note that achieving your 2018 goals is not all about utilizing sheer willpower. It’s also about developing new habits and sticking to them. Even the strongest-willed among us have a finite amount of willpower, and depending on our physical state, our willpower may decrease or decrease.
The second way is to make an if-then statement for each obstacle. For example:
“IF I feel tired when I come home from work, THEN I will put on my running clothes, eat a small snack, and go out for my run.”
Looking Beyond Resolutions
Maybe New Year’s resolutions don’t really work for you, but you still want to evolve into the person you aspire to be. An alternative route to take can be to choose a word of the year. The idea is to use this word as your North Star, to guide your actions and decision-making.
Go back to your vision and imagine one word that encompasses this year’s focus. Make this your Word of the Year. Christine Kane, CEO and founder of Uplevel You, has developed a tool that helps you select your word of the year. It asks questions to help you integrate that word into your life.
In order to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, you should be careful about how you are spending your time and keeping yourself on track. Could NOW be the time to take action beyond the usual hacks and checklists?
I’ve spent the past several years developing a comprehensive online course, Transform Your Procrastination, that helps you take back the control over how you spend your time. It includes the vital components you need to be successful:
1. Tactics and insights into how to increase productivity
2. Introspection into your own brand of procrastination
3. Community support
4. Expert advice to address your unique situation
I invite you to take on the challenge and move boldly toward your dreams in 2018. Make this the year you step up to the plate.