As we welcome in the New Year, many of us will excitedly embark on our journey of change. We’ll set goals, talk about the changes we’re going to make and perhaps organize our time so we can follow through this time and reach those goals. There’s just something about a new year that brings about hope and optimism. It’s a chance at a clean slate. The New Year brings with it a new energy. Why not lose weight this year? Can I change life-time habits that have kept me down? Anything is possible after all, right?
In reality, yes, most things are possible—with a little determination, hard work and support. And yes the New Year often is a great time to start fresh. I even believe that a total overhaul of someone’s life, behaviors and habits is possible and within each person’s reach. The trick is to be certain of the changes you want and then to set yourself up for success.
Below are several tips for making your goals a reality rather than just a dream:
1. Clarity: Write down as clearly and specifically as possible what your goal is. For example, if it’s weight loss, write down your target weight and target date of reaching it.
2. Purpose: Write down why this goal is important to you and what, you envision, will change as a result of reaching this goal. It’s a good idea to journal on this, so you can get a true sense of the intrinsic value (e.g. I will feel more confident overall and more comfortable in my body), not just the extrinsic value (e.g. I will look better).
3. Plan: You don’t reach goals simply by naming them. Map out a plan of action and all the baby steps involved in reaching the ultimate goal. Include what you’re going to do differently, how often and what resources you will use.
4. Support: Speaking of resources, very few people succeed in life without help from others. Find the right help you need—and get it. Perhaps you will benefit from an accountability partner, a coach or even a therapist. Perhaps joining a support group or hiring a trainer will help. Who your support is doesn’t matter as much as whether or not they actually help you. All change can be difficult, however it’s much easier with the right support. Get it!
5. Mindset: This is the magic pill to change—on any and all levels. Watch your mindset. Cultivate a positive, can do mindset that is encouraging, not defeatist or complaining. Tell yourself you can—every day. Change is a choice. Your mindset is also a choice. Choose the mindset that will help you succeed, not hold you back. Journal, meditate, incorporate positive self-talk, or come up with your own solution . . . but don’t ignore the power of your mindset when it comes to achieving your goals.
The New Year is a great time for new beginnings. If you have changes you want to make, take the time to set yourself up for success. Choose changes you want to make rather than changes you believe you should make. We seldom feel motivated about the shoulds, yet we will often push ourselves beyond our comfort zones for those goals we truly want.
Challenge: Let go of the shoulds and go zealously after those goals you truly want to achieve.
Best of luck for an amazing New Year! And remember, “What the mind believes, the body achieves”—so watch your mind set.