It’s now been a few weeks since you set your goals for yourself for the upcoming year. Maybe you wanted to get in shape or eat healthier. Maybe you intended to manage some aspect of your finances better or start the process (resumes, networking, etc.) toward your next career move. If you’ve already found that your motivation to stick to those goals is waning, sure you can wait until late December and try the resolution route again for next year. But seriously, wouldn’t it be better to get focused now and ask yourself what do I really want to accomplish this year?
Now that you know what resolutions you won’t keep, which ones are you now actually ready —no, more importantly committed— to stick to and make happen for you? Make a list of the areas of your life that you feel could use some improvement or where you just don’t feel fully satisfied. When you look at this list, which items are important enough to you to make a no nonsense commitment to change? Focus on only one or two of these things at a time. Trying to change everything all at once will practically guarantee that you’ll change nothing. Perhaps you’ve even experienced this principle already in 2013! Once you’ve identified which part of your life needs some tweaking or major change, set a few specific, reasonable and realistic goals that you are truly determined to reach. This time, think about whether you want to tell anyone else what your resolutions are. If sharing them with others helps you to reach them, tell anyone who will listen. If not, just keep them between you and yourself. In other words, it’s only your success that’s important, so use what works.
When you choose your resolutions, honor your uniqueness and never compare yourself to others. If your coworker or friend is going to the gym five times a week just like he or she set out to do, but you are struggling to make it there even once, it doesn’t matter. Someone else’s goals are not necessarily realistic for you. The only truly valid comparison you can make is the one that compares yourself now, to your potential or what you can realistically become. This principle applies to any part of your life.
Next, visualize your goals. If this area of your life were to be optimal, what specifically would it be? What would be different now, next month, next year, in five years, 10 years, 20 years, or ultimately if you achieve the goal you are now setting?
If you find yourself getting off track, go back to this visualization. If you truly want to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself, this image you have created of your optimal life situation with your goals met will keep you moving forward. And don’t forget – making a life change doesn’t have to happen at the beginning of the year. You can absolutely set and reach goals for yourself to better your life at any time. However, don’t let this reality become a rationale for procrastination. Instead, remember it for the next goal and the one after that until your life is exactly what you want it to be. You have the capability to make any area of your life optimal. If you never forget that, the possibilities are endless!