The end of the year is nearing and that means a few things are inevitable. We will eat way too much, we will have to listen to “all I want for Christmas” on loop and we will probably start to think about our New Year’s Resolutions.
I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions – why do we have to wait to the end of the year?! We set them, we try our best then we get side tracked and before you know it we didn’t reach the goal, and then we feel like failures. We beat ourselves up about not doing it.
In my life I have done a lot of learning around goal setting. I was one of these people that would set A LOT. I wouldn’t be happy with just achieving one or two, NOOO! Why can’t I have the perfect body, travel to the best spots, have the perfect job, the perfect relationship and the tidiest, most stylish house.
Goals would be created endlessly on my quest to be PERFECT. There was one big problem. I didn’t actually have a solid idea of what PERFECT meant. It was a hazy concept and I felt sure that when I got there I would know. But what ended up happening is that I would just be on a never ending cycle of goal setting without actually really enjoying the process of it.
Everything was set up for the momentary glory when I achieved something. But the in-between bits were often stressful & draining my energy.
I also found that I was running in circles not actually moving forward in the direction that I wanted to go. But that was because I hadn’t spent much time thinking about the bigger picture. What was it that I actually wanted to do and accomplish with my life. What did I want my life to mean. I was spending the whole time running after a hazy concept without enjoying the process and without getting anywhere.
And then I would beat myself up with whatever I didn’t achieve. It wasn’t physically possible to fit everything I set for myself in, so inevitably some things would drop off the list. Then I would beat myself up for being a failure.
So I realised. Goal setting in itself is not enough. We need some techniques to help us, so that it is more enjoyable and actually achieves something.
Since I have started to incorporate these tiny little rules into my goal setting, life has got a whole lot more balanced and enjoyable.
1. The why
Have you ever noticed the things that you really, really, really want to achieve, you do them. Think about where you are in your life now, there will be examples of things you have already achieved for yourself up to this point. Now think about WHY you wanted to achieve those goals. I can guarantee that by achieving this goal you validated a belief or value that you have about yourself.
It was something that would have caused you massive amounts of pain if you didn’t go through with it, or massive amounts of pleasure from achieving it.
It’s amazing what we can achieve if our why is rooted in our core values and beliefs.
So if you are setting a new goal have a long think. WHY is it important to YOU.
As an example, in 2016 I want to get out there, reach more people and market my business. Why? Because in doing so I will have greater freedom (my core value) to work on and do the things I love to do.
Every time I market my business I reinforce my WHY. It is the best motivation I can possibly give myself.
2. The how
The how is very, very important and often this gets totally overlooked. The how is the bit that is going to take the longest. The how is the doing part. The most important bit here is to ENJOY YOUR HOW!
There are lots and lots of ways we can attain a goal.
For example, a goal of losing weight. Instead of just defaulting to signing up for that gym membership, which you’ve done every year and then couldn’t drag yourself to go, why not try something else. Maybe the gym environment just isn’t right for you. That doesn’t mean all exercise isn’t right for you!! There are literally hundreds of different ways you could exercises and I can guarantee there is something that you will absolutely LOVE.
Maybe you’re more of a team sports person, or you prefer to hike in nature, or do something in the water, or something with adrenaline like mountain climbing. What about spending the first 2 months just trialling out things you have never done before and see what you enjoy!
You will never have to drag yourself out or motivate yourself to go, you will just want to do it.
3. The long term vision
This is the foundation for everything. Our long term vision will very likely move and adapt and that is fine, but it is good to have a clear understanding of what it is we want to do with our lives. What is it we want our lives to mean. When you are about to leave this earth, and you are looking back, what do you want to leave behind?
We should make sure that every goal that we set is taking us towards this vision. That doesn’t mean we can’t try different things and have variety in our tactics – variety is good! But, I think where we can get caught out is setting our goals based on other people. If we spend our whole time trying to please other people then we are not living for ourselves. And I can guarantee, when you look back on your life, you are going to want to have lived it for YOU.
I would love to know your thoughts about goal setting and New Year’s resolutions. I will be holding a free webinar on New Year’s Resolutions in January to go into some of these points in more detail.
Written by Cheryl Clarke from City Calm