New years, for me, is an annual reminder to WAKE UP and take responsibility for my life. Am I going to sleepwalk around in someone else’s dream– Or am I going to re-write the script and make my visions a reality? Even if I don’t realize ALL my goals each New Years, it is a wonderful time to celebrate my accomplishments, review my intentions and update my action plans! Here are the top 10 things I do to create successful New Years Resolutions. Please use this Template and join me for a successful New year!
1. Reflect on the past year.
Ask yourself what you did well, and what you would like to improve this year? I take a little time each year and write a year in review. Take note of how you did with last year’s goals. Celebrate your wins. It’s important to be flexible and forgiving. And to release irrelevant and/or incomplete goals. You may want to make a list of all the lessons that you learned so that you don’t have to go on repeating the same mistakes ;)
2. Do a life wheel to evaluate specific areas of your life.
You are welcome to substitute these areas of life for areas that are more aligned with your values. For example, I tend to inquire about my Spirituality instead of personal growth, and Creativity in the place of fun and recreation. But the process is still the same: Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10. How happy are you in each of the following 8 areas of your life?
- Personal Growth/Spirituality
After giving yourself a grade and like a pie chart, graphing it on the Life wheel, you can clearly see which areas are your strengths and which are your weaknesses? Then you can ask yourself, what it would take to be at a 10 in each area?
What would you like to master this year? What am I committed to healing/shifting/achieving in the New Year?
3. Clarify your deeper values.
Think of this step as identifying the reason for setting the goal. If your objective is born of jealousy, envy, revenge, competition or greed, you will not get the progress of goals born from true values. One of the biggest reasons people fail to achieve their goals is because they set goals that are not in agreement with their core values.
So ask yourself: What do you stand for? What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money? What would you die for? And be sure to prioritize the most important things in life. When there is a conflict between your goals and what you value, it becomes difficult to make life decisions, and you may end up sabotaging your goals. However, when goals and values are in agreement, it feels as if the whole universe is conspiring to help you realize your dreams!
Everyone’s values are different. They are deep drivers of human behavior. And it’s important not to judge yourself or compare with others. Having said that, my top 5 core values have been crystalized into this order: Truth, Love, Freedom, Service & Creativity.
4. Next, Look at the BIG picture.
This is your life, What do you want out of it?
If you are unclear, take the rocking chair test…Imagine yourself at the end of your life, looking back and what will you leave behind?
Ask yourself where you want to be at New years?
And what do you hope to attain 10, 15, or 20 years from now.
Be honest. It’s your life. It’s not about what society wants for you. It’s your life, it’s not up to your mother/father/church and state to decide.
5. Use the SMART method to create actionable goals.
SMART is a mnemonic system used by life coaches, motivators, and personal growth junkies like me. Each letter in the word represents:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bound, deadlines.
So instead of “I’m going to lose weight this year,” a SMART goal sounds like, “I am going to be at least 10 pounds lighter after running 3 times a week by the beginning of March. ”
“Focus – If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
Although I like to write goals in all 8 areas of my life, it’s best to commit to three or four resolutions, until they are complete. Limit yourself to only as many goals as you can handle. Decide which goals are more important, and/or time-sensitive and if you could only accomplish one or two goals this year, which would they be? Consider items 1 and 2. Of the two, which would you rather have/achieve? Do this process quickly, from the heart, not from the mind. And then compare the winner to each of the other goals until you have fully prioritized your list.
7. Write your goals down
Written goals are known to be significantly more effective than spoken or visioned goals. And Yes, it matters how and where you write them. Motivational masters teach us to set goals like affirmations; positive, present, and precise.
It doesn’t matter whether you handwrite them in your journal or type them on your laptop. Just make sure they’re written and in a place where you can see it and refer to them often. Some suggest you write your goals on Post-It notes and place them on your fridge or bathroom mirror, or in your date book, or on your calendar. Just don’t let them to fall off your to-do list!
8. Visualize your goals.
“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”–Napoleon Hill
Many people recommend making vision boards with inspiring quotes, motivating pictures, or anything that reminds you of your goal. A vision board is essentially a collage with symbolic representations of your goals kept in a place it where you can see it!
9. Make an action plan.
Break big projects down into smaller chunks.
For example, if you’re writing a novel, you first want to identify how many pages you want your book to be, how many you can write per day, and estimate how long it will take you to complete the rough draft. You also want to account for how long you want to spend researching, editing and proof reading as separate but necessary tasks. Further, there may be other obstacles and limitations that you will want to identify and factor in, and finally it’s important to celebrate all the steps along the way!
So with any goal I go through the following process to create a project plan:
(1) Define the objectives of the project with Deadline.
(2) Identify the benefits (personal, material, spiritual) of reaching this goal, this confirms the goal is worthy of pursuing and to maintain motivation over time.
(3) Identify potential obstacles and limitations. By getting to know your roadblocks, you can evaluate whether or not you believe your goal is achievable, identify additional information or skills you may need to learn and ultimately prepare ways to overcome blocks. Common examples of obstacles and limitations include:
- Not enough time/money
- Over committed
- Fear of success/ of failure
- Lack of a clear picture
- Low self image/confidence
- Giving in to distractions
- Unrealistic expectations
- Fear of rejection
- Not enough information/education.
(4) List people, groups, individuals or resources to help you to reach your goal.
(5) Identify as many steps as possible to accomplish your goal and set milestone deadlines. This is your Plan of Action. Keep track of your progress. Journaling is an excellent way to keep track of progress. Checking in and acknowledging the progress made towards a certain goal is essential to staying motivated.
10. Share your goals
When I decided to write, Don’t Drink the Punch: And Adventure in Tantra, I announced it online and began to pre-sell the novel, before it was even written! This was a bold way to hold myself accountable, and it gave me the courage to write my first book.
If we know our friends and family are counting on us to accomplish what we say we’re going to do, we are far more motivated than if we have just written a plan and keep it in our desk drawer. When held accountable to a coach or a good friend, we are likely to stick to our plan, because we don’t want to let them down. It’s like being part of a team and will increases your determination. A coach is ideal because they will keep checking in on your progress and pick you up when you get down. If you decide to ask a friend, be sure to ask them what their goals are and plan several check ins to keep working towards target dates. Caution: Be selective about who you share your goals with. No wet blankets. Stay away from people who doubt or discourage you!
I would love to hear what your goals are in order to hold you accountable, or at least let me know what value you got out of this article. Please comment below.
If you are an artist, healer and/or visionary interested in writing, public speaking and/or group facilitation, consider my private skype coaching to help you with your personal goals this year, Check it out!