At the start of every new year an awful lot of people sit down and write their New Year's Resolutions...actually no, that's not quite true, most people don't even write them down. But it is a 'thing' that a lot of us like to do...dream about a different, more rewarding, more fun, less tiring year where we make more money and have a 'better' life.
We get really creative about what we're going to do to make things different. For many, top of the list after a winter of eating as if we're going into hibernation...is losing weight. For others, it's spending more time with the family; quitting smoking; maybe getting promoted at work...or finding a new job; or perhaps just keeping a diary - I have lost count of the number of diaries I began on Jan 1st, and gave up mid-February.
And all too often that's as far as our New Year's Resolutions get...a month into the year, and only then if we told somebody else about them! We have such great intentions, feel really motivated, and within 6 weeks we're either telling ourselves that we're too tired, too busy, too comfortable, or beating ourselves up for being weak, lazy, and unable to see anything through!
So how can we make this year the year we deliver? How can we ensure that 2013 is the year we do what we say what we're going to do...that we can look back on December 31st with both satisfaction and pride?
Different things work for different people, I know...but last year was one of the best and most productive years of my short life, so I thought I'd share with you what worked for me, in the hope that it could also work for you.
1) Have a burning desire
Only choose choose something that you feel really strongly about, and have a convincing argument as to why you must do this. This argument is not to convince others, but to convince your negative self when the going gets tough, and the whining and bitching starts about there being no point.
2) Set the goal
Decide exactly what you want to achieve. Be precise and don't fudge the issue. Do you want it or not..?! How great is that desire?
3) Set interim targets
A big goal that will take several months, if not a whole year to achieve, needs smaller very achievable targets that can be reached...and celebrated! The celebration bit is hugely important :)
4) Write a plan
Plan out what you are going to do day to day or week to week in order to achieve your goal. Make the plan as detailed as possible...and realistic. Stretch yourself...but don't overcommit as that could lead to failure. Build the milestone targets and celebrations into your plan, and put it somewhere that you will see it every day.
4) Visualise yourself succeeding
This may sound a bit airy fairy to anyone not used to doing it...but if it works for all of the top athletes and performers, it works for me. Picture yourself having achieved your goal...what will you look like...how will you feel...what will others be saying to you? Spend some time on this, because when the going gets tough, this visualisation will pull you through and get you back on track.
5) One small step
As soon as you have written your plan, and made the commitment to yourself that you will complete it...take the first step. Don't delay, don't tell yourself you'll start tomorrow. No matter how small, take that first step immediately. You will be amazed at the psychological impact of simply starting NOW.
6) Enjoy the challenge!
If this is something that you really want to achieve, it should not be a chore to you. You've decided that you're going to do it, you've committed to your plan...you might as well enjoy the challenge you have set yourself. Life's too short to make anyone's life a misery, especially your own! ;)
As with anything in life, in work, or in business...the combination of passion + planning + process, will guarantee your success. And for the days when your 'other self' is getting the upper hand and you need a bit of inspiration...I suggest you treat yourself to the following 2 minutes of inspiration (from Overthinkingit.com)...it always works for me!
Have a year to remember!
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)