Written by Julie Paiva, CHHC
We all start the year with ambitious goals. However, how many of us throw in the towel after only a couple of weeks? If you’re looking to make a lasting change this year, you will need more than just a wish and a new gym membership. A well thought out plan of action where you clarify what you want, why you want it, and how you are going to get it will empower you to actually fulfill the aspirations you have set out for yourself. Here are some steps to follow to make sure that you succeed at whatever feeds your soul and piques your interest in 2018!
Determine What You Want
Think about what it is that you truly desire. Maybe you think that you want a new job. You’re not sure what a new job looks like, but you know you’re not happy and you’re ready for a change. Now what? Get clear on what you do want. It can take some digging, talking to people you trust, and refocusing on YOU as your #1 priority. Make a list of all the characteristics that your dream job would have.
Answer Why You Want This
Connecting with your “why” is so important to keep you going toward your goal when times get tough. Go as deep as you can. If the goal is centered around something that is truly one of your personal values, then it will be easier to achieve.
For better clarity, ask yourself the following questions:
- How long have you wanted this change?
- Why is this change meaningful?
- What vision do you have for your life once you’ve made this transition?
- How does this change align with your personal core values and strengths?
Make a Plan
That next step — plan! You know what you’re looking for, now you need a plan to get there. Dedicate chunks of time to brainstorm how you can execute the change. Large goals can be intimidating. Breaking it down into smaller goals will make success more attainable. Start with the first part of your goal and write down the steps for each task. Then focus on one task at a time.
Answer the following questions as you make your plan:
- Who do you need help from?
- What current commitments can you delegate or let go of?
- What’s your timeline?
- Is it realistic?
Get to Work
Similar to making the plan, a daily/weekly/monthly commitment is necessary to executing this plan. Consistency and determination are vital to reaching any goal. Ask yourself what obstacles and fears may get in your way. Make a promise that fear will not stop you from moving forward. Reach out to a family member or friend to hold you accountable if needed.
Keep Your Focus
Remember that this is your growth journey, no one else’s, so while you can look to others for inspiration, you are not allowed to compare yourself to them. Instead of focusing on the immense challenge still ahead of you, reflect on and celebrate the progress you are making, no matter how small it may seem. And don’t let defeatist thoughts get in your way. Reconnect with your “why” when these tough times happen and know that the best things come from challenges.
A few tricks to stay dedicated and reach clarity? “Dedicating time to self-care, journaling, stepping outside your comfort zone in some way, or doing things that sound fun and meaningful all can be ways to start figuring out what you love doing and how you can get more of it,” she says. Once you’ve figured out your why, think about the how and create action steps for turning those dreams and thoughts into a bright reality. Give yourself enough time to really come up with a solid direction, so it’ll limit mishaps and expedite the path to success. Feel empowered! When something is truly connected to your personal values, it is easier to refocus when off track and stay motivated. Make 2018 a year where you make changes for you!