The beginning of a new year is a special time and often, the most important. For some, it is a time to reflect on the past. For others, it is a time to plan for the future. Most would agree, however, it’s the perfect opportunity to implement positive change in your life.
Despite the enthusiasm and vigor many of us have at the beginning of a new year, we tend to fall back into our old habits a few months later. This often happens because we get busy meeting deadlines and lose track of the goals we set for ourselves in January. For some, the dead of winter causes a lack of motivation, and for others, their goals are too broad and they have no clear plan on how to achieve them.
In order to avoid this, you must have a path to success and recognize that change can be uncomfortable, even when it’s for the best. Don’t make resolutions or set goals without having a clear plan on how you’re going to achieve them. Continue reading for tips on how to achieve your goals and grow into the most positive, healthy, and successful version of yourself!
1. Review Last Year
Take a detailed and honest look at last year and consider all the positive and exciting parts, and also the more frustrating and disappointing parts. It’s important to acknowledge all of your growth, your accomplishments, and your experiences, but it’s also vital to acknowledge all the places in which your best didn’t get reflected. It’s noting these aspects of the year which are going to help you grow personally and professionally because you are now aware of what you have to do to become better.
Some areas of your life you can reflect on include your:
- Personal Growth
- Set Backs
- Things you didn’t accomplish
Remember, both your successes and failures are important learning experiences. No matter what your accomplishments or losses were, these experiences provide insight as you move forward through another chapter of your life.
2. Set Yourself Up For Success
As you review the previous year, consider what you would like to change, stop, start, or continue for the upcoming year. Identify the behaviors and activities that truly made you successful last year, and consider how you might repeat them this year. It’s important to recognize that you can’t change others, you can only change yourself, so focus on the aspects of your life that you do have a say in, and understand that change begins with you. Stop the activities that are not working for you or simply not adding value to your life. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and each day shouldn't be a struggle, but rather an exciting ride. There will be highs and lows, and how you react to them will help set you up for success.
3. Envision the Future
Too many people end a year feeling disappointed with themselves and the way things turned out. Recognize these disappointments, but using your imagination, envision the year ahead and picture if it could be exactly as you wished, what would that look like? What would you be doing? Where would you be, or where would you be going? Who would you be with? And most importantly, how do you feel about all this? Are you happy, excited, and motivated? Or, are you sad, lonely, and tired? Get a clear vision of what you want the upcoming year to be about and create a feasible plan that you are confident you can implement. The minute you start getting what you envision out of your head, the faster it will become a reality.
4. Set Smart Goals
If you read my post How to Revamp Your New Year’s Resolutions, you may be familiar with this tip. Setting grand and lofty goals may seem exciting, but in reality, lofty goals can become overwhelming making it less likely you will follow through with your resolution. To avoid getting overwhelmed, divide the process into smaller increments and organize them into periods of one to three months each. By doing so, you'll be able to stay focused, accomplish more, and increase your chance of success! Some elements of a smart goal include:
- Keep it simple and don’t try to achieve too many things at once
- Your goal should only be something you have control over
- Make it realistic
- Ensure there is a target date so you have something to work towards
I am guilty of doing this myself, but make sure you write your goals down and continuously read them aloud. By using all your senses to process what it is you want to achieve, you will start to engage every aspect of your brain and your mind will move past being a goal maker, but a goal achiever.
5. Start Taking Action
One of the biggest mistakes people make that set them back a step when trying to accomplish their goals is that they keep putting off taking action. You won’t ever achieve your goals if you never take the steps to lead you in that direction. As you plan each day’s activities, set aside a small period of time that will allow you to start achieving those goals. Make sure that you plan out what it is you want to accomplish and these small steps in the direction of your goals will result in huge accomplishments over time.
6. Build New Relationships
We’ve analyzed what it takes to build a smart, realistic, and successful goal, but let us now take a step deeper into what those goals might be. The people you know and work with have assisted in getting you to where you are now and the person you’ve become. That being said, in order to get to the next level in your career and life, you will likely need to start surrounding yourself with some new people. These people will inspire you in new ways and provide insights and opinions you haven’t had before. Make it a priority to cultivate new relationships with positive people both inside and outside of your industry.
Networking and building new relationships is all about adaptability and comprise. Remember to be patient in building new relationships, both professional and personal. It takes time to really get to know someone and build trust. Sowing the seeds of a new relationship, however, is integral to building a full and meaningful life and career.
7. Avoid People Who Don’t Bring Out the Best in You and Support Your Success
Contrary to the last tip, it’s just as important to dissolve relationships as it is to build new ones. Unfortunately, many of us are surrounded by people who are not supporting our goals and supporting us. These people may be trying to hold you back and convince you to stop once you’ve already started. It is important to note, however, that you should be aware of what these people are trying to hold you back from. Are they trying to hold you back from doing better than them, because they simply don’t agree with you, or because they are looking out for your best interest and genuinely don’t think what you’re doing is the right move? It is natural that friends and colleagues won’t always agree on things or go about living their lives in a similar fashion, so you will need to weigh each discrepancy with care to know when a relationship offer something positive in your life.
Although cutting people out of your life abruptly may be the best approach in some circumstances, it is likely to cause resentment. When possible, gradually decrease the amount of time you spend with them, while simultaneously increasing the amount of time you spend with people who support your successes and make you happier.
8. Learn New Skills
New goals require new actions, and new actions typically require new skills. Take a moment to identify some of the skills you would like to acquire this year, and begin looking for the people and resources that can help you acquire those skills. While it’s important to develop new skills that will help you in your industry, also take time to achieve some new skills that may be purely for your own happiness. This may include learning a new language, musical instrument, art form, dance, yoga, etc. Whatever it may be, make sure to set aside at least a half an hour in your schedule every day to practice this new skill so over the course of the year you will improve and it will no longer seem like a goal you are trying to achieve, but a part of your daily life.
9. Incorporate Exercise Into Your Routine
We all know that exercising regularly is a fundamental aspect of our overall health and well-being. That being said, not all of us do it regularly due to our busy schedules or perhaps a lack of motivation. If you’ve read my Health and Fitness Guide For Busy People, then you would already know some simple ways where prioritizing your health doesn’t make you busier than you already are. It’s important to remember, however, exercise isn’t something you necessarily have time for, it’s something you make time for. Going hand in hand with your diet, exercise provides you with the strength, energy, and vitality to be more effective and successful in all other areas of your life. Although it may seem like a burden when you’re waking up a half hour earlier in the mornings to cram in a HIIT workout, exercise is an investment in your health and productivity.
10. Make Balance a Priority
If 2019 is truly going to be your most successful and happy year, then it must be successful in all areas of your life. You don’t want to succeed with your career, only to have a special relationship jeopardized. Or, from a previous tip, find your business thriving at the expense of your health. In order to be successful, happy, and stress-free, you need to create a balanced environment so your career, relationships, health, family, and leisure can all grow and thrive together. Although it may not seem like it, if one aspect of your life suffers, the rest will too. For instance, you may have just earned a big promotion in work, but if you and your partner have been experiencing distance from one another, you’ve been getting too little sleep, or simply not giving yourself enough “me-time”, then this will all impact the quality of your work. Remember, it’s not necessarily how much time you spend in each aspect of your life, but it’s the quality of time you devote to it.
11. Learn to Hold Yourself Accountable
Lastly, if you are going to learn anything this year, whether about the world or yourself, it should be to learn to hold yourself accountable. A lack of accountability is one of the single greatest reasons for failure because if no one is holding us accountable for consistently putting off going to the gym, waking up twenty minutes earlier, or spending less time online, we are more likely to fall back into our old patterns and it will take much longer to accomplish the new habits and goals you set in place.
It helps to have a system for tracking your daily and weekly activities, making sure they are not going against the new standards you’ve set for yourself. There is little that is more satisfying than visibly being able to see your growth in an area of your life. Although it may not be easy and fun in the beginning, undoubtedly you will feel proud that you were able to push yourself to follow through in the times when giving up was the easiest answer. Remember, there is no shortcut to success, you have to take the long road, but once you get there you will be able to see it’s the challenges that make life interesting, and overcoming procrastination and fear is what makes life meaningful.
Comment down below how you plan to make 2019 your best year yet!