A new year is upon us, which means it's a time for reflection on the past and a time to dream about the potential of the future. It is also a time to set our intentions for the year ahead and resolve to do things a little differently.
I recently polled friends on social media about their resolutions for the year ahead. Overall the theme was consistent: self improvement. Most wanted to have more patience and positivity in the year ahead.
One of the remarks from this survey was from Kat McManus Fayo who said, "Last year I stopped making resolutions and set goals for myself. And I was able to achieve most of them. Some had time frames and others were to work on every day or as needed. For me this worked better than making a resolution, it felt like I was working for/towards it instead of feeling like I had to change instantly. "
This is a great piece of advice as we set our priorities for the coming year. It's best to have achievable goals to work towards rather than rigid expectations that become difficult to maintain. As you set your goals for 2016, here are some things to keep in mind:
Turn Your Dreams into Goals
The easiest way to change an idea from a dream into a goal is to write it down. Once you've committed your objective to paper, it becomes more tangible. It's also important to speak about them out loud. For instance, my personal goal is to be a motivational speaker some day, so I tell everyone I can that it is what I hope for in the future. It reminds me that my dreams can become a reality if I believe them and speak about them as fact, rather than leaving them as wishful thinking. Don't be afraid your dreams are too big to achieve. Famed author, Jack Canfield, recently said "You are not given a dream unless you have the capacity to fufill it."
Ask and Answer To get clear on your goals for the year ahead, take time to answer some questions about your intentions. Write down your answers and be as detailed as possible. The more you can imagine, and get clear in your mind, the more likely you are to succeed at what you set out to do. Here are some great questions to ask yourself:
Who would you like to be in 2016? What do you plan to achieve this year? What would you like to experience in the year ahead? What are you looking to acquire? Be Careful With Who's in Your Inner Circle They say great minds think alike. One of the easiest ways to achieve your goals it to surround yourself with like-minded and motivated individuals. If someone is consistently negative or tends to tell you that what you hope to achieve is impossible, limit your interactions with them. Conversely, seek out those who you feel are succeeding in pursuing their dreams. Ask the people who inspire you what they are doing to reach their goals.
Try to base the conversations you have with friends and family on topics that will help you accomplish what you've set out to do. I often ask myself, during conversations with others, "Is this helping either of us? Is this adding value to our lives?" If the answer is no, then try to steer the discussion towards something that is more motivating. A quote attributed to the late, great, Eleanor Roosevelt states, "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people."
Create a Vision Board Visualizing your dreams is one of the most powerful ways to achieve them. A Vision Board is defined as "a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life."
It doesn't matter how big or small the board is, and you can even make one online. I've set a large one up in my office and I continually edit, as my goals and dreams take shape. I've also set up an online board on Pinterest that I use to add the things that matter to me most.
The most important thing is to visually "dream out loud" and to commit your goals to things that can be envisioned. It enhances their reality and allows you to see what you are trying to achieve.
Trust Your Instincts Once you've gotten things clear in your mind, and surrounded yourself with those who support your vision, it's important to trust your instinct. When you get a voice in your head that says "I should do this," it's important to trust it. Procrastination, and second guessing yourself, are two of the biggest dream-killers. When you feel motivated and inspired, it's important to act on that immediately. You've been given instincts for a reason, and this applies to people, places and things. Trust your inner voice and know that if you've gotten your goals clear in your mind, life will present opportunities for you to fulfill them, if you are paying attention to your intuition.
Be Patient It's easy to get frustrated and give up or give in. Remind yourself often that it's more important to strive for progress than it is to achieve perfection. The best way to do this is to celebrate small wins and any milestones that get you closer to accomplishing your objectives. It's also a good idea to write down any time you've made marked progress. This way, if you do get frustrated, you can look back at the notes you've journaled celebrating success. The bottom line is to never lose faith and to practice patience with yourself.
You are the creator of your destiny and the new year is a time to focus on your potential. I hope that you spend some time focusing on what's possible and planning for the future. As Walt Disney said, "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them"