Have you been thinking about what you want to change, start or end this January? New Year resolutions are popular, but like diets they don't work. January is a great time for fresh starts, but that is very different than a resolution. Resolution means to resolve to do something "once and for all." What did you resolve to do last year? Is it on your list again? I want to share something different for you this year. Something that is just as fresh, but way more fun!
I really look forward to this yearly ritual. Use the steps below to kick start your dreams and goals and then next year and every year moving forward, it will be a tool to keep momentum going, not to resolve, but to reflect, assess, test, reassess and grow!
Here I am hunkering down with favorite pen in hand, great music playing, homemade NOG, (do you like my Ball canning jar wine glass?) all of last year's notes and calendars along with new ones, and of course the boys right beside me. Join me!
7 STEPS TO SUCCESS!
1. Get Ready. Create your own comfy space that's inspiring and comfortable for you. Give yourself at least a couple hours of uninterrupted time. Shut off the phone and remove all distractions. This is your time, you deserve it!
2. Identify Your "Whats" Identify an area(s) of your life that you would like to see change and/or grow for the coming year. Do you want to get serious about your health this year? Do you want to buckle down financially? Maybe you want to focus on a personal development goal. Write down the area of life you chose and then rate yourself on a 0-10 scale where you are now. For example, 0 is not met at all, and 10 is exactly where you want to be.
3. Describe Your 10: You can make it a list or a descriptive paragraph. Be specific and ask yourself: "How will I know I reached my 10?
Health 0-10 Current score 5
What's my 10? I will know that I reached my 10 when... I feel more consistent energy throughout the day, experience restful sleep, have lost 10 lbs. Make your goals reasonable and attainable. You don't want to set yourself up for the impossible and hurt yourself trying to get there. On the other hand, don't limit yourself. Too often people way underestimate what is possible for them. Is that you? Ask yourself: "Do I know of anyone that has started where I am and has accomplished similar results?" If they can do it, so can you!
4. Identify Your Reasons. Once you have narrowed down a list of things you want to accomplish in the year ahead, WHY do you want that? Motivation works, but it's temporary. That is exactly why resolutions don't work. This is an important step you cannot leave out so read this carefully...
Having great reasons will continuously pull you forward. Without them you will eventually and slowly walk back to where you started again.
Ask yourself: What will your life look like when you reach your goal? How will it affect you? How will it benefit you? What will it mean to others in your life? What will it mean for your life? Not just this year, but forever!
Tweet! "For lasting change, know your reasons to get you through the seasons." @PegHaust
5. Calendar Time! Get out the calendars. I still like good ol' pen and paper. I like the planners that show the whole month with the days of the month having large squares for lots of writing space. Set a date and affirm your intention:
By February 15, I will have released five pounds. By May, I will be at my ideal weight of... AFFIRM: "I easily maintain a healthy lifestyle that supports me and my family."
6. Commit AND Take Action. What do you need to do? Whose support do you need? Make a list of SIMPLE and SPECIFIC action steps to reach your goal.
My Personal Example:
- 20 to 45 minutes of exercise: Sun, Mon, Fri, Sat mornings.
- Take a few 1 minute meditation breaks at my desk during work.
- Hold a 30 second to 2 minute plank (yoga pose) during commercial breaks and periodically at my desk during work.
- Do a whole food cleanse to learn how to eat healthy and jump start my goal.
- Drink 1 homemade green smoothie every week day.
- Dance breaks! Great bursts of fitness while cooking and writing blogs :)
- Drink water! Drink full glass of water before a.m. coffee and have a water bottle (with lemons) on my desk throughout the day.
7. BE FLEXIBLE! You know what they say about the best laid plans... If things go off course, that is okay! This example showed how to get started, but when you do this every year it is also time for reflection. It a time to celebrate every success large and small, and a time to assess and reassess. Look at what worked and look at what didn't. There is no failure, only feedback. Learn from what happened, test and measure and continue on.
Try these 7 steps for any and all areas of your life: Health, fitness, finances, personal development, relationships, retirement planning, new life transitions, anywhere you want to grow. And make sure you focus on simple, doable and FUN or else you won't do it and you know it!
Extra tip: Be aware of your stinkin thinkin; self defeating thoughts that make you want to give up (and they will show up!) "Oh, this won't work, I've tried this before, this is too hard!" You create your experience and emotional state with your thoughts. Like a basketball, catch those thoughts and shoot them; don't hold the ball!
Lastly, I'll say it again, remember the why behind your wants and then you will see them come into fruition. It's not about the end result, it's about continued growth. By designing your best life, you are not only enhancing your life, you are positively affecting your loved ones and everyone around you. You are creating progress that is not only good for you, but also inevitably good for all.
It doesn't get better than that.
Have a wonderful time and please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear about your dreams and goals!
Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R
Therapist, Coach, Author
Get a free excerpt from my book: Anxiety Breakthrough at my website! PegHaust.com