It’s that time of year, when the next 12 months stretches out in front of us with promise and potential.
January feels like a clean slate, and in many ways, that energy is real. We’ve all got 12 brand new, empty months coming up. It’s up to us how we will fill them, and where we will find ourselves at year’s end.
Please don’t waste that ripeness (or your time) on joining the New Year’s resolutions bandwagon. Stop setting goals that are nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to “fix” you or your perceived flaws. Skip making promises to yourself that you probably won’t keep and beating yourself up when you drop them.
There is a better way. A much more fun and effective way to create what you want this year. And it’s not complicated.
Decide what you really want. Decide you will commit to that. Decide to act.
There are no magic formulas and there are no secrets to living your best life or making this year count at work. There isn’t a morning routine that is going to transform your life. And no matter how books or articles you read, you will learn the most by asking yourself this, instead: How will I create what I really, really want?
You will start strong. You will start now as you mean to go on. And you will keep showing up. Because that is the real (not-so-sexy) key to success.
Here’s how to ensure that you accomplish something meaningful this year– whether you’re looking to shift into new habits or make a big change.
There are many reasons why we make resolutions we don’t keep, but chief among them is not setting our goals on a firm foundation. Any goal or plan that isn’t fully grounded in who you are and what truly matters to you is a goal or plan that is not worth your time or energy. It’s also going to require a lot more motivation and willpower to keep that goal in your sights. (This is why so many people stop hitting the gym by March.)
There are plenty of things that you could focus on this year. Choose wisely.
Starting strong means getting real with yourself about what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. It means truth-testing any goal you set against your core values, your top priorities and your vision for your life and your work. It means knowing and honoring yourself. (I also encourage letting go of super-detailed outcomes and focusing instead on the larger intention.)
Set out to only make changes that matter to you and serve a larger purpose, and you’re setting yourself up for a much more exciting year.
Start as you mean to go on.
Once you’ve identified the goals or changes that truly matter to you and that you want to focus on this year, it’s time to make a sustainable plan to achieve them. Sustainable being the operative word here.
A sustainable plan is one that doesn’t complicate things or rely on what worked for someone else, but instead leverages your best resources to create your natural momentum.
Focus is your friend. You don’t need to do everything. You need to do what you have decided is important, on a schedule that works for you. Often, the biggest changes come from making consistent, small efforts.
For each of your important goals, identify the actions that you’ll need to take to achieve them. When I work with clients on goal setting, we focus on actions that call on their natural strengths and schedules that fit into their existing routines. We also look at natural motivators and mindsets and environments that help them win. We look at what actions feel loving, inspired and full of life.
Make it easy to do what you want to do. Have a plan and have support. That’s how momentum is created.
Keep showing up.
This is the clincher. The best, most ingenious, bulletproof plan will fail without consistent action. That sounds simple, but we all know that it takes work and courage to keep showing up every day. It takes planning and commitment. It takes faith, love and a willingness to suspend self-judgment.
This is where it all comes together, or falls apart.
Mark your calendar with what you’ve said you’ll do and when. Commit publicly to what you’ve decided is important. Create a vision board or a support structure. You know what works for you. Be creative in using that knowledge to propel your plan forward.
Still, there will be days where you do not want to show up. Show up anyway. Do what you can. Renegotiate in ways that respect your original intentions.
If you’ve done the upfront work to set your goals in a strong, grounded and loving way, you can use this work as leverage to keep yourself moving forward. Remember, you’re doing all this for one reason– because it matters to you. Deeply.
You can transform any area of your life, your lifestyle, or your work over the next 12 months, if that’s what you choose to do. You can do it without punishing resolutions or frustrating fits and starts.
Just start strong, as you mean to go on, and keep on showing up.
Photo: FutUndBeidl via photopin