I am not a fan of New Year's resolutions. The thought of losing weight or exercising regularly are just too daunting and rarely last past the first week. “Stop pressuring me!” I say to the morning show anchors and anyone else who asks. So, how can you set the course for a successful year and not have an angst hangover from the holidays? Find the method for setting goals that works for you. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Set aside some time for yourself and have a pen and paper handy. It’s also good to have a soothing beverage such as tea or hot cocoa, which helps calm the brain for a few minutes. Think for a moment about how the past year has gone—the good stuff and the stuff that could be improved. Don’t dwell on this too much, because it cannot be undone and you must keep moving forward.
Then, spend some time visualizing the year ahead. What plans do you already have in place? What are some you’d like to have? Jot these down and note any ideas about them. For example, say this is a milestone year for your birthday or anniversary. How do you want to celebrate it and what would make it a special experience/memory?
Now, focus on your career and repeat this reflection process. If there is an outcome you’d like to see happen, start with that outcome and make your way back to today. What needs to happen—and when—for this to be a successful endeavor? Do you have everything you need to make it happen? If not, who can help you get what you need?
You may be surprised to find that your goals change somewhat, but they are likely more realistic and achievable. Google “SMART goals” for more information on what makes a good goal.
A friend of mine uses vision boards for her goals. This is a physical activity of pasting photos or images cut from magazines onto a poster board. The images are things you want to accomplish/see/do in the time frame you set. This is great for people who tend to be more visually oriented. You can place the vision board somewhere you’ll see it every day, keeping your goals on the front burner of your mind. If you are more tech-savvy, you can create your vision on your computer, again having it display every time you log on.
I’m no scientist, but I do know from experience that visualizing a goal, whether it’s traveling to your 10th foreign country or making it up that hill in your neighborhood without gasping for air, can make a difference. Once your mind can “see” that it’s possible, it’s more likely to happen.
A good friend wants what’s best for you, so enlist his or her help. You may have heard of Master Mind groups, which are comprised of people who have like-minded goals or are in a similar industry. Each member announces what they want to achieve and the group helps them determine how and when they can make it happen. The group also keeps the person accountable, expecting updates at each meeting of what the goal-setter has done, any changes that may be needed, and setting the groundwork to be done by the next meeting. Some groups meet monthly, while others meet quarterly or at other set times.
If you don’t have access to a Master Mind group, ask a close friend to do the same thing and help you stay accountable. You do, however, have to give your friend permission to chastise you if you’ve procrastinated or blown off your work!
The Power of the Universe
There is a power behind putting your goals out there to the Universe. Maybe it’s some mystic hooey, or maybe your conscious self decides that your plan might really work. Either way, this time next year is looking pretty good!