Three simple steps to a Happier new you ...
Do you want to keep those promises you're making to yourself? Then prepare to reflect, select and remove
THE turn of the year presents a deceptive allure: That of the clean slate. A magical time of the year filled with hope and promise. A free licence to make big, bold resolutions as if starting from scratch. Didn't accomplish those 2012 resolutions? No matter, just add them to the 2013 list!
Unfortunately, real life doesn't work like that. Most of us have existing commitments and constraints (jobs, mortgages, children, relationships etc) and a selection of bad habits (a Facebook obsession, a weakness for chocolate biscuits ... ) that don't just go away at the end of the calendar year.
Now, before you think I'm being negative and defeatist, my point is not that we should throw the towel in and do away with New Year's resolutions altogether. Rather, it's that we should simplify our goals -- fully acknowledging our existing commitments, constraints, strengths, and weaknesses -- so that we have some chance of actually achieving them.
More often than not, our New Year's Resolutions don't work out because they are generic and unrealistic.
Think about it, on a whim we just jot down a hundred different things at once with no real timeline or plan on how to achieve them. So, how about a fresh approach?
How about choosing quality over quantity this year. How about doing away with a resolutions list that's a fuzzy mishmash of broad ambitions in favour of a more targeted, more meaningful, more achievable list of goals.
As you consider a simplified approach to setting your resolutions for the New Year, use the three-step guide below to help get you started:
1 REFLECT on what you have accomplished this year. Take even a few minutes out to reflect on how this year has been for you. This can be done simply by asking yourself two basic questions: What went well last year?
What didn't go well last year? It's a very simple but useful exercise that'll help you take stock of where you are now and where you want to be.
1. What worked in my life this past year? What did not work?
2. What brought me happiness/
3. Where was I successful?
4. What were my greatest challenges/lessons?
5. What am I most proud of? What do I most regret?
6. What attitudes and actions will I take with me into the New Year?
7. What limiting beliefs did I shift? What negative emotions did I shift?
8. When did I follow my intuition?
9. How did I grow, improve, and expand myself?
10. How much did I give to others?
2 SELECT one or two meaningful goals that will make the most impact on your life. What matters most to you in the coming year? What are you equipped to achieve? Choose your battles wisely, and commit to them completely.
Research (and personal experience) shows that you're much more likely to be successful if you: a) write down a very small list of very specific goals, b) outline a clear plan of action to achieve them, and c) plan for what will happen in the face of challenges or setbacks.
Selective Goal Setting
1. Focus on priorities. What do I really value? What's most important to me?
2. Based on those priorities, where do I want to be in five years?
3. Based on those priorities, where do I want to be in one year?
4. What goals, if I chose them, would make the largest positive impact in my life?
5. What goals would make something of me to achieve them?
6. What would success look like?
Select one or two goals, no more. And write them down!
3 REMOVE the unnecessary 'stuff' and activities from your life to free up time and energy for the things that actually matter to you. To gain the time needed to enact these new goals, know that you're going to have to give up something.
It may be spending less time watching television or perhaps even spending less time and energy worrying about things you cannot change.
Identify what those elements are, and commit to NOT doing them.