Now January is a distant memory, I have had some time to reflect and think it’s worth sharing with you all. I have been thinking about new years resolutions and why we make them (even though, I don’t make any!). This is something I have been testing out for the past couple of years. It has taken years and years of me failing at keeping them, to realise where I was going wrong! The trouble with my resolutions/goals was; they were unrealistic, and I wasn’t really doing them for me…
We often think new year new us - however, we just bring last year’s problems in with us! They don’t magically disappear because the clock struck twelve! Why do we put the pressure on ourselves to start a new year fresh?!
I’m sure for a lot of people the new year brings a fresh perspective on things, a way to wipe the slate clean and start something new. Now, I’m not saying this way doesn’t work, it just doesn’t always work for me. But there is something to be said for pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone sometimes. Setting resolutions, goals/targets (whichever you prefer), when we least feel like it, also has its benefits. It forces us to look at our reality and leap into taking action, when ordinarily we might not. My belief however, is when you are ready to start something, you will.
Every single day we wake up, it’s a new day, a chance to start over and do better than yesterday. I successfully quit smoking five years ago and I say it with such pride now as it’s an achievement I never thought I could accomplish. More importantly, at the time I quit, I didn’t actually want to quit!! Contradicting, I know!!! I quit because I knew I had to. I had to do it for my health and because I didn’t want to endure the suffering I had witnessed my aunt go through because of smoking.
I probably chose the worst time to quit, 17th March 2013 (for those that don’t know, it’s St Patrick’s day). Historically, a day, where people go out and get pissed, smoke, party and wake up the next day with Guinness beer hats and whopping hangovers! It was the middle of March and it was a Friday! In addition to that, I was going through an intense personal development course which was making me question everything about my life and relationships and could have quite easily smoked twenty fags!
How did I do it you ask? Well, determination and willpower first and foremost! And with help of Champix, an aid prescribed by the doctors (boy did I have some funky dreams with this baby!). I also attribute my success in kicking the awful habit to changing the mind-set I had at the time. I chose to quit smoking when it felt right for me. I didn’t plan it for a Monday 1st of whatever month. I did it when I was ready. What I also had to remember is that I had a choice, there was no one forcing me to quit. I was doing it for myself. In this particular instance I chose to keep it to myself. I didn’t share my intention to quit with anyone. I didn’t want the extra pressure of people keeping tabs on how well I was doing (or not doing). I revealed it to friends and family in time, once I was sure I was past the point of no return. All these elements made for my success in quitting.
The one promise I have made to myself is to never live with regrets. That may seem unrealistic to many of you. However, for me, it simply means being more mindful of the choices I’m making in life and ensuring the ones I do make will enable me to look back and smile. Sure there are choices I’ve made that I wish I had chosen differently, but I no longer see them as regrets because those are the ones I learnt from most. They influence the choices I make now and those in the future.
When setting a goal/goals it is important to have a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve. If you are not clear on what you want, then it’s going to be difficult to get there. Some of us are more visual than others– so take the time, find a quiet spot and it will eventually become clear.
Here are some practical tips to help:
What you might like to consider is spending some time brainstorming all your ideas and goals. Then use a mind map for each topic and see where it leads. Personally, it really helps to write all my thoughts down and after, seeing the maze of words and ideas. Choosing which one to move forward with is the tough bit 😊
Have a diary
I don’t know about you, but my memory is somewhat hazy lately! I think this happens with age :). I would be lost without my diary, without a doubt! Whatever form you choose to use, paper form or electronic, it’s a good way to manage daily targets/tasks which may fit into your bigger goals later on…
One thing that has really helped me so far this year is a planner. I purchased a lovely ‘Leaders in Heels Planner’ – a bit on the pricey end of the planner scale but it’s a fool proof way of getting your targets down on paper and practical way to measure your progress. This particular planner is a self-coaching tool and quite thorough. It includes a to do list, weekly, monthly, quarterly planners, blank pages for mind mapping, motivational quotes, spaces to write about upcoming projects and meetings plus much more. It’s a great way for me to regularly review the progress I’m making and amend accordingly. There are a lot of planners on the market these days and I highly recommend using one if you find it hard to stay on track and regularly review progress.
I have a bunch of wonderful individuals who I check in with on a regular basis for help and advice. We meet quarterly to go over what we have achieved and it’s a nice way to socialise with likeminded individuals. I also have groups on Facebook which I can interact with. It really helps to be around people that are doing similar things which is motivational and positive. If you don’t have a group that find check in with some friends every so often.
Get a coach!
This is another way to keep yourself accountable. I have found great value in coaching and what it has helped me achieve in the past few years. So much so that I am pursuing a coaching career myself. It has helped me to build confidence, be more productive and positive and do the things I want to do in my life. It has been a great investment in my development and my future, a whole new world. opened up for me.
Often people turn to coaches when they feel stuck and unsure of how to move themselves forward. A good coach will help you gain clarity and a better perspective on things. They also help increase your level self-awareness. It not for the faint hearted, you have to be committed and want to achieve results.
Ultimately, you are responsible for what you do, a coach just facilitates the process. People often think of coaching as advice giving, but its far from it. Coaching works on the principal that the client holds the answers. Its important to know the coach won’t give you all the answers!
What I think is important to remember when setting any resolution, goal or target is the reason why you are doing it. You must have the right mind-set to succeed at anything and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent work and lots of perseverance. If you choose to change something, do it for you not because someone else wants you to or because you feel like you have to because everyone else is on the bandwagon. Even as adults we still experience pressure amongst our peers.
I'm a feeling-based person and I often go with my gut feeling, which some may call, intuition. I know not all of us are wired this way and so you might have to plan or organise, diarise things or need encouragement. There’s no right or wrong. Do what feels right for you…and only you.
Remember: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make sure you give yourself achievable targets
Be the leader of your own life and I guarantee that you will start to see the changes you want.
I would love to know your views on this and how you achieve the goals you set yourself please leave me a comment or get in touch via email.