That time of year when we feel the familiar pressure to set new year resolutions is upon us. It's as if the turning of a new year heralds a symbolic passing ‘go’ and somehow we will steely resolve all of the things that we’ve spent the last 12 months trying to do. Although many educational methods of self-love and self-awareness are available at our fingertips, headlines still shout about setting resolutions and goals that are going to ‘make 2017 your best year yet’.
With the message that setting goals is the way to succeed in life, inevitable pressure follows to aim high and set goals to take us there. How then, do you stick to something and not give up? Resolutions that serve us as individuals in our pursuit to live a fulfilled life, rather than create pressure that breeds disappointment and guilt?
The self-help aisle of any bookshop provides various promises about how to set and achieve goals. Yet year after year it can feel as though we're revisiting old ground. With that in mind, whatever your goals, there are a few simple things to take into consideration that will help you build confidence and improve self-awareness while on the road to achieving them.
How to set goals and achieve them
1. Start right
Most of us love to create lists but sometimes over-planning can have us hiding there. Even if you start imperfectly, just start. Action is a positive move in one direction. And direction can always be modified.
2. Consider your values
Be clear about what your values are. Having goals that are aligned and support these will give you the best chance. You’ll be swimming with the tide, not against it.
3. Check your intentions
Ask yourself why you want to achieve a particular goal. If you want to start exercising three times a week for example, you’re far more likely to achieve this than if it is to lose weight by punishing and restricting yourself.
4. Recognise your obstacles
Every goal requires sacrifice. Being clear about what each goal will entail is key. Try this mantra to help you stick to something and not give up:
1. Decide what you want (not always easy, I know!)
3. Pay the price
Being honest about what can trip you up, whether it be yourself, others, work or family, will help you map out the road ahead.
5. Be realistic
It’s tempting to aim high, but doing so often derails us. Sometimes your goals can be too much of a commitment or it may be out of reach. Set realistic expectations as you can always revise them if you find that you’re hitting your goals sooner than expected.
6. Visualise your goals
Practice visualising yourself doing what is required to meet your goals. The brain can't tell the difference between images that are real and those that are imagined. So fire up neurological pathways that make it believe you can do it!
7. Recognise that sometimes it's going to be hard
If only deciding what you wanted to achieve meant that the path was smooth. The world would be full of world-beaters no doubt! It's in the grit and drudge that real commitment is tested. Recognising that it won’t always feel fresh and exciting is important in not allowing the ‘greyness’ of life to derail you.
8. Work out how you operate
We are all so different in what motivates us. If there was one magic formula we would all have discovered it by now. The book, Better than Before by Gretchen Ruben breaks down how we operate so that we can know ourselves better and set ourselves up for real success.
9. If you get lost, don’t panic
This will happen. Life with all of its ups and downs happens to us all of the time, whether we like it or not. Try not to link your progress towards your goal too closely to your self-esteem, otherwise bumps in the road are more likely to derail you and bring you to a halt.
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