So the horror and difficulty of 2016 are finally behind us, and it’s time to turn to the page and start over. So how do you get ready for a new start in 2017?
You’ve made resolutions before, listed your goals, promised to quit smoking, drink less and go on diet… and somewhere just after midnight on the first, it all started slipping away.
What do you need to consider to make resolutions that stick, and return results, in 2017?
Commit yourself mentally
For many people, the idea that you are completely in control of your mind is actually pretty foreign.
Truth is, you can make up your mind resolutely, and simply by sticking to your guns the whole year, you will see results. It takes some serious discipline in the year before you see results though!
This is where most of us fall over… a year goes by quickly, but sticking to something for a year without payoff can feel like an eternity.
One simple solution is to use touchstones to keep you going, whether these are pictures you have near, post-it notes to reinforce affirmations and goal statements or even reminders on your phone.
The thing about any change is that it requires repeated application. You crave smoking less after three weeks BECAUSE you’ve spent three weeks actively saying no to every craving for a cigarette.
If you really want to achieve your goals quickly, you need to be thinking about them every single hour – and that takes practice to do at first.
Make up your mind
So how do you make up your mind first?
Engage as many of your five senses as possible and create a small mental process that you repeat every time you see a touchstone reminder. Here’s how it works.
If you wanted to lose weight, for example, you could look at a picture of yourself when you were younger or a picture of the type of body you want, and take a second to draw your body in tight, clench your buttocks, pull in your tummy, feel your arms and legs becoming thinner. You could also visualize yourself thinner.
If you were manifesting money, you could see yourself on vacation, holding a bulging wallet while you look at your cash withdrawal slip and see the balance amount. Feel the sun on your body, taste the salt on your lips.
The more complete you make the experience, the more you attract it towards you. The more you repeat it, the faster it realizes.
Banish All Doubt! Doubt is B.A.D.
Importantly, banish all thoughts of doubt, and in the beginning replace them with your mental process.
You may also want to consider only discussing the goal or resolution with those that you absolutely know support you 150%.
On the flipside, speaking to those who challenge you is a great way to uncover your weaknesses and challenges you may face. Criticism often contains a grain of truth.
When do I NOT want this?
Often, our goals fall over because of elements of fear and resistance, so a hidden fear leads to an internal resistance that causes us to sabotage ourselves.
So your goal may be to lose weight, but you fear unnecessary sexual attention. Or you may want a financial windfall, but not if it means somebody has to pass so that you receive an inheritance.
For each goal or resolution then, ask yourself the following questions to determine your fears and resistance:
- When do I not want this?
- With whom do I not want this?
- What am I not prepared to give up or lose?
- What results do I not want?
Learn from your mistakes
If you look back at your life over the past few years, you’ll notice certain patterns that keep repeating themselves, for example you usually have two major unexpected expenses a year, or all of your relationships end after three months.
While often not directly linked to the goal or resolution itself, these are the elements that often derail you and knock you off course, so put plans in place to mitigate these challenges.
If unexpected expenses are an issue for you, you could create a new minimum in your bank account and commit to not drop below that emergency level. If you go through relationship quickly, you could create a timeline for dates.
Don’t make the solution unrealistic, or you won’t carry it out, and importantly, commit yourself to sticking to your plan. Even the best plan in the world requires commitment and action before it has any true value.
How much money will it take?
Author Tim Ferris created a fabulous tool for his book, The Four Hour Work Week. The tool enables you to calculate how much it will cost for you to live the life of your dreams.
Surprisingly, it’s a lot less than you think.
Visit the tool at http://fourhourworkweek.com/lifestyle-costing/
Simplify your life
When you use Tim Ferris’ tool, you will also calculate your monthly costs… and this is probably a good time to revisit those.
The truth is that we can often do without quite a few unnecessary items, and simplifying your budget and expenses will free up time and money to do the things you really want to do.
Define success without money
Another very powerful money exercise to do is to define your success without using money or material attachment.
We’ve gotten so used to aligning success with wealth and profitability that we’ve forgotten about the other sides of it.
Defining your success without money will give you cause to celebrate and keep going along the way, even when you aren’t achieving financial results. In addition, delving into the understanding of what success really means for you can unpack powerful information like your vision, purpose, mission and values.
This is one of those coaching questions that you can expect to chew on for the rest of your life. You’ll glean valuable insights every time you answer this question.
The Importance of Planning
Why do you need to plan, to name your goal or resolution, as well define what success and failure look like?
The most important reason is because you know how far you’ve gone and how far you still need to go when you’ve clearly defined a goal and milestones. Likewise, defining your failure means you know when to release the issue, or to give up.
Another important benefit of adding a timeline to your strategy is that you know how long you need to stick it out before you should be seeing results.
In order to really work for you, goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and within a timeframe.