As 2017 rolled in, it brought a blank page of opportunity and a chance for us to create a fresh, new chapter in our lives.
Now the New Year is well under way, how are your resolutions going? Are you still buzzing with excitement as you work towards the goals you want to achieve and are you taking the actions required to move you closer towards reaching your goals?
Did you excitedly declare your new year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year? Did you resolve to lose weight, read more, set up a business or find a career that you love? If you did, rest assured, there’ll be many others on the same journey.
Although you may have the best of intentions to follow through, it’s not uncommon for motivation to fade. Every year the media presents us with “Blue Monday” (16th January 2017, in case you’re interested) where apparently the majority of resolutions are broken. Fear not, stay focused and take note of these 5 ways to make sure you turn your resolutions into results!
Make 2017 your year of effective change and stay on top of your goals by:
1) Being specific
A common pitfall that people can make when setting New Year’s resolutions is making them too vague, for example you may say ‘I want to save more money’ or ‘I want to lose weight’ these are great goals to have but how much money would you like to save? Over what period of time? How much weight would you like to lose and by when? Getting crystal clear on what it is that you want to achieve and making it as specific as you can, will help you to maintain momentum and motivate you to follow through.
If you want to make your resolutions stick, write down your specific goal with a date you hope to achieve it by, for example
· Lose a stone in weight by 29th March 2017
· Run a half marathon in August 2017
· Read 3 career related books by May 2017
When you’re specific with what you want to achieve, and when you want to achieve it by, you’re more likely to reach your goals.
2) Breaking it down
When you’ve set your specific goal, remember to break it down into smaller manageable steps, when you do so you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and more likely to achieve them. Creating a step by step plan can help you to maintain laser focus on accomplishing one small action at a time so that you can avoid being side-tracked by frustration or negative thoughts.
· If for example your goal is to lose a stone in weight by March, what changes to your diet and lifestyle would you need to make to achieve that?
· If you want to run a half marathon in August you should start to think of the best ways to train or book the marathon you plan to take part in.
· If you want to read 3 career related books, you’ll have researched which books you want to read and dedicated specific times of the day to reading these.
When we start to break up our goals into really small milestones that we can celebrate, we’re more likely to continue taking the relevant steps towards our chosen endpoint.
3) Powering through doubt
When you set off with your goals clearly in mind it’s not uncommon to experience self-sabotaging chatter that can cause you to doubt yourself. When you set a goal and try something new your subconscious mind can often bring up feelings of fear, doubt or worry. Understanding that these feelings are a normal and an expected part of the process can help you to power through the doubt and move past the negative thoughts which may not be supporting your goals. Write a list of positive affirmations, put some inspirational pictures on the screen saver of your phone or add goal reminders on your desk or home to help you nip any negative triggers in the bud and replace them with a ‘I can do it’ attitude instead.
4) Focusing on your successes – especially the small ones!
When you are making changes to your lifestyle and taking action steps towards achieving your goals, it can be easy to slip up along the way. Maybe you fall off the wagon and take a cheat day from your diet, maybe you forget to read your books on the weekend or you miss a day of marathon training. Instead of beating yourself up when this happens reframe it with ‘I didn’t reach my goal today but I’ll work towards it again tomorrow’. When you choose to give yourself another chance and remind yourself of the positive steps that you have taken, you give yourself a chance to celebrate your progress and focus on your wins rather than getting caught up in a hopeless cycle of putting yourself down or feeling like a lost cause. If you would like to learn some additional tools and techniques that world class athletes, coaches and trainers have used to break through their limitations, you can find out more from my website www.elainepaul.co.uk
5) Buddying up
When you set a goal remaining accountable for your actions can seem easier when others know about your plan. This could be with a life coach, a trusted friend, a fitness instructor or with an accountability buddy. When others know about your action steps you have a higher likelihood of remaining committed and also have someone who can provide you with a different perspective in any moments you may face challenges or experience a dip in your willpower. Maybe you could set a challenge with a group of friends to maintain accountability as a group, have a weekly session with a Life Coach to bust through any resistance or maybe having a fitness trainer will assist you to push past your limits if you feel like giving up. Buddying up is a great way to help us to achieve our goals whilst also feeling supported. It can also provide you with someone to help you celebrate your achievements.
If you want to turn your resolutions into results follow the steps above and you could make 2017 one of your best years yet.
1. Where do you want to be this time next month/6 months/1 year/2 years?
2. What will you have then that you don’t have now?
3. What will be the result of not achieving your goal?
4. Who else will be affected when your goal has been realised?
5. How much of the goal is within your direct control?
6. As a result of answering Q5 does your goal need reframing so it is mostly within your control?
7. If you woke up tomorrow and your goal had ‘magically’ been achieved ‘during the night’ what would be the first thing you would notice which would tell you it had happened?
8. What’s the first step you can take THIS WEEK? When will you take it? How?
9. Outline at least 3 further steps you can take this month which will move you towards this change.