While the new year is a great time psychologically to set new goals, we often go about it the wrong way.
We lose our excitement and motivation once the old obstacles, stresses, and time constraints re-appear. So here’s a better start that will help you stay motivated and succeed with ANY goals you may have.
First, focus on why you want to do what you want to do. That’s another way of saying, check in with your vision. So if you want to go to the gym more often, think first about why. If it’s to get fit, ask yourself why again. Why do you want to be fit?
In other words, what will be better for you, what will you feel like and be able to do better because of going to the gym. Visualize it. Name it. Put up pictures relating to it. That’s your driving force. If you lose track of this, all you’ll see is the tough workout ahead at the gym.
If it’s redoing your resume, that’s going to be a killer unless you again think what will be better for you if you do it. What’s the bigger purpose–to move ahead in your job search process. But that’s not exciting either. Why are you moving ahead in your job search? To find a job. OK, but what will that do for you? What will be better for you? What will you feel like and be able to do better because you have found the job you are seeking.
Use the same approach with any goal.
After you have your future vision clear to help you in the present, your next step is to go to your past for help. Ask yourself (or have someone else ask you) what times you’ve succeeded in your life around similar issues. Don’t reject any answers because they are not an exact match. They don’t have to be. You’re looking instead to connect to that energy, motivation and happiness that you had around achieving generally similar goals.
When I coach people, they talk differently and become more excited once they’ve made this connection with who they are when they are at their best. But it’s not just the emotional and spiritual connection. Once you’ve felt this memory of happiness and achievement, use your analytical powers to take a look at how you succeeded.
- What skills did you use?
- Which of your qualities or traits helped you?
Maybe you were just bullheaded and persistent. Maybe you drew upon your friends and weren’t afraid to ask for the help you really wanted. Or maybe you took a risk and let yourself feel a little more fear than you usually feel comfortable with. These are all skills you can consciously recall and draw on now to succeed.
Finally, there may be a pattern to your successes that you can follow again. For instance, one client told me she would get excited about a new project but wonder if she could do it.
Her next step was to talk with people about it, ending with one person who she knew would always tell her to go ahead and try. Though she knew that person would say that, just hearing it out loud gave her the final OK she needed to devote time to the project. Then she’d do thorough research, make a plan and tell herself at the tough times that at the very least she’d be learning something new. That worked for her. Each person’s model is different. Find yours and see how to best apply it to this year’s goals.
To sum up. Here are the ideas in order:
- Remember the purpose of your resolutions–the bigger vision and purpose to doing what you want to do.
- Mentally look for past successes in similar areas
- Visualize and remember these successes so you connect to how you felt about your actions and your success
- Ask yourself what skills you used, what traits you drew on
- Study the patterns in all of the related successes you visualized
- See if there is anything from those patterns that can be applied to your current vision and goals
- Get started!