With Christmas nearly done and the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how to make this year even better than last year. A week of eating, drinking and lounging around behind us, many of us are feeling a bit bloated and blue. When we should be feeling motivated and ready to ring in the New Year we are feeling a little poorer, fatter and lazier than we were at the beginning of the December.
I always find I need to shift my mood before sitting down to plan the year ahead. If you think you can benefit from shaking things up a bit, I recommend step 1 and 2 before beginning your planning for the New Year. If you are already raring to get started and set your goals, skip ahead to step 3.
Step 1 Watch an Inspirational Movie
There’s nothing like a good movie to stir up some positive emotions. Watching others chase their dreams or find what their purpose is in life can be very inspiring. Here are a few of the movies that have inspired me in some way or other.
The Pursuit of Happyness
Eat Pray Love
The Motorcycle Diaries
The Bucket List
Step 2: Do Some Exercise
Exercise always makes me feel better, no matter how low I’m feeling it always works. It’s funny how we resist what we know is good for us. We give ourselves a hundred and one reasons not to do it. Tiredness, rain, too busy, when all it takes is a half hour of exercise to make us feel invincible. So don’t listen to the dark side, use the positive force and shed all of your negative feelings about the overindulgence of the season with a good walk.
Step 3: Do a Review of 2013
What went well, what didn’t go so well. If you set goals last year, take some time to analyse how you did. Check out my review of 2013 here. Your review will give you a good starting point for setting goals this year.
Step 4: Set Goals for 2014
1. Write them Down
If you are new to goal setting, you may think that writing down goals is an added complication. The experienced goal setters in the room will know from experience that writing down your goals puts you at a greater advantage of achieving them. Research also shows this to be true, not only does the act of writing it down assist in making you commit to your goal but it also alerts your subconscious mind to your goal and makes it work in your favour.
2. Review them Regularly
Put your goals somewhere you can see them regularly. Reviewing your goals weekly or monthly will help to keep you on track. Put them in a notebook that you keep with you or in an electronic note. I put my goals in Evernote so when I do my weekly reviews, I can take a look at them and see where I am. It helps to redirect my focus and help me clarify my priorities each week.
3. Less is More
Don’t try to set too many goals at once. Trying to do too much will more than likely end up with disappointment. The fewer your goals the more likely you are to achieve them. I set approx. 5 goals each year, but I usually have one goal that is most important to me, such as writing my book or sorting out my finances. If you have a single focus, you won’t be disappointed at the end of the year. This is not to say you can’t achieve a lot in one year but if you start out trying too much you may get overwhelmed and give up.
4. Reality Check
Make sure the goals that you set are goals that you really want for yourself and not ones that others think you should have. Are the goals smart? Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and tangible? Take some time to consider each goal and make sure that the goal’s outcome is within your own control. A goal must be attainable and believable for you to achieve it but it must also be exciting and motivational enough for you to pursue it.
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