‘There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind…” -C.S Lewis
I can’t believe how fast the year has gone, it has flown by and now the time has come to reflect on all that 2018 has brought, and everything that is yet to come for 2019.
A great way to get the new year off to a fantastic start is to clarify your goals and intentions. ‘New Year Resolutions’ are a pretty common way of creating change, but they can be hard to commit to. Whether it’s a lifestyle, career, or personal transformation in your life there is never a better time to start than the new year! But without achievable, measurable goals new year’s resolutions are often just wishful thinking. Below I break down why goals are important, and how to transform your hopes and dreams into reality this year!
Why Goals are Important
I’m a busy person with a busy mind. I have a variety of creative projects I am juggling at any one time, as well as commitments in my career and personal life. I often have fleeting ideas or moments of inspiration, whether it’s on how to solve a current problem I am having, or a way to get something new started, or how to improve a current situation. Unless I can connect those decisions to larger picture, and a long term destination my path will be aimless. Life happens. Problems happen. Breakdowns happen, both professionally and personally. Without a set of SMART goals both literally and figuratively, I would be distracted and aimless, and unable to reap the success of my hard work. Declaring and committing to a set of goals in order to life create change is the common sense approach to why New Year’s resolutions can be so inspirational. The problem is how to implement them successfully.
The Problem with New Year Resolutions
New Years resolutions are a great opportunity to reassess yourself and your life goals, and to commit to change for the foreseeable future. The problem with setting them is creating a space in your life in which to keep to them and not jump off the bandwagon days, weeks, or months after making them. What seems like a good idea at the time, may feel differently later on. This is partially because as humans we have a tendency to undermine the potential future impact of our decisions, and this can lead to overcomitting, over promising, or setting our expectations too high that our goals are unrealistic and our new year’s resolutions difficult to keep. To avoid this, try approaching new year’s resolutions with a business mindset, and approach each goal from a wider perspective. Consider the context of your life, your environment, strengths, weaknesses, and your current skills that are relevant to that goal, and this will help you to better keep your resolutions. For example, if I wanted to commit to the gym in a new routine this year - I might consider my environment [How far the gym is from my home, how long it takes to get there, what resources they have, and what resources I need such as comfortable and practical gym clothing], as well as my strengths [I am determined and secretly super competitive], my weaknesses [I am terrible at time management, and get bored easily], and combine that with my relevant skills [I am very pedantic and enjoy focusing on details, I am good at following a plan and exceeding it] These factors all give me a blueprint of how best to approach my goal, the context of how I should create my plan, and my long term approach to enable me to succeed in spite of, and because of myself and my current situation. Take the time to reflect, be mindful and realistic about your life and your intentions. Then get planning the details!
How to Action New Year Resolutions
Every year, I tell myself that this is the year I finally “Get my life together” and I know I am not alone. No matter how others perceive our success, it’s pretty common to feel like we need to have everything sorted for wherever we are in life. This way of thinking is not only unrealistic it’s also unhelpful. So many of my relations and opportunities have come to me through mistakes I have made, or by wandering off the path I planned and taking a detour in life. This is why I believe that your goals need to be flexible, as well as a few other things. The acronym ‘SMART’ is a common and very useful way to approach goal setting.
Here’s the breakdown of SMART goals:
S - Specific,
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Realistic
T - Time Based
If you apply this term to any of your goals for your 2019 New Year resolutions, it will help you to ensure that you start them and stick to them to completion! Other tips to get your new year goal setting off to a flying start, is to build your goals from a foundation of other achievements, Keep them simple, and integrate them.
First Things First
This tip comes from a fantastic and well known book called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ and it discusses the importance of putting first things first. I apply this in a related way to my goal setting. For example, I focus on creating goals that reflect what is “next” in my career. The momentum I find in my work helps to propel me into more complex projects, so I approach my goal setting like a ladder rather than isolated goals. This way, its harder to be disappointed with your progress when you take it in steps, and you’re less likely to give up on your goals!
Keep it Simple
Ironically, this sounds simpler than it is in reality. I know from personal experience as someone who is always taking on too much that it is hard to keep things simple especially when it comes to goals built from your hopes and dreams. The solution to keeping it simple is in focusing my energy and prioritising the important. New Year resolutions should include these aspects, and be simple to achieve and keep.
Integrate your Goals
When goals are integrated together, and connected by either routine or proximity they become more attainable. An example of this is integrating your gym time immediately before or after a routine coffee date with a friend, somewhere near by the gym. That way it’s less likely that you won’t go as you’re completing more than one task.
Photographer. Creator. Dreamer ♥