How Was Your Year?

9 December, 2012

The year end is a period of reflection. So, how was your year, and what is next year going to be about? Set realistic, achieveable goals, please!

I am always curious speaking to people around this time of year. I've notived a bit of a pattern with people that there is an intention that next year is going to be different than this year. You are going to spend your time doing more of what makes you happy and healthy, and less of what makes you stressed. This leads to a number of New Year's Resolutions that normally fall flat by January 15th, when you then feel guilty that you've failed to achieve your good intentions for the year. Not the best start to a promising year, is it?

Sorry, am I sounding cynical? I don't meant to, actually, bceause I believe that with the right well-directed intentions and planned actions to achieve goals you can do and be anything you want to. The problem is that usually New Year's Resolutions are everything but well-directed and planned, and more our brain's cunning way of making us feel momentarily better about the things in our life we aren't 100% happy about.

The solution - set goals that are realistic and achieveble. In other words, set yourself up for success! I offer three steps in doing this:

  1. Watch this Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh - How to Make Work-Life Balance Work. This is a big, thorny issue for most people. His four observations will help you decide what kind of lifestyle you really do want to have.
  2. Set no more than 3 intentions for the year ahead. Write them down in positive language and in the present tense - i.e. instead of "I don't want to struggle with money" put "I am financially stable with $10,000 in my personal savings account". Make sure they are realistic within the time-frame you set.
  3. Carefully think through the obstacles to achieving your goal and what you will do to get around these. Research tells us that people who are unrealistic about overcoming obstacles fail to achieve what they set out to achieve. For example, someone with a weight loss goal who is asked "so, what would you do if you went to a party and someone put a plate of food in front of you that you wouldn't want to eat?" and repliies "oh, that'd be fine, I'd just say no..." is likely not achieve their weight loss goal. Where as someone else asked the same question who replies "Yes, that would be hard. I'd better think about how I'd handle that" is much more likely to succeed. Once you know what you want, do a brainstorm of anything that could get in the way, and think how you would overcome these obstacles if they were to happen.
  4. Remember you can always, always, start again. If you lose your way, beating yourself is not correlated with succssful goal achievement. What you need to do is notice what's going on, take a step back, refresh, and decide to start again.

As always, share your wisdom and experiences with me, I love to hear from you. With love, Charlotte.

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