Well done! We made it to 2020.
The beginning of the year is a natural time to set goals, but it doesn’t appear likely that a new year will miraculously bring a new you. Be aware: New Year “Resolutions” can apparently do more harm than good (Amy Cuddy, 2017).
So how about first, a recap of the last 12 months? Celebrate what you achieved in 2019, what you learned, what you wouldn’t do again. What did you do well?
Slow down, recollect, then turn to what you want next.
Be honest. You don’t have to tell anyone your goals. They can range from light-hearted to critical, and be as long or short term as you need.
The key is to make the decision about what you do and don’t want.
Six quick goal setting tips:
- Be realistic
- It is better to make small, achievable changes than pledge to act like a whole different person because it’s January. Try not to let your goals start with “I will never…” or “always”. Cuddy suggests “self-nudging” – setting incremental goals that will bring you closer to large milestones. Consistency is key.
2. Get physical
- Write out your intentions, get a wall planner or make a vision board – whatever suits. In the digital age, words on paper provide more connection and intimacy with your goals. A word document is just too easy to lose.
3. Give it your best
- Do you feel a little fear? Good. Entering the flow state is only possible when the challenge engages your skill. Without proper challenge, you’re just relaxing. Sometimes the fear of trying is all that stands in the way. Imagine the worst case scenario. You fail? You try again. No one is judging you as much as you think.
4. Everything has a price
- Every experience, behaviour, interaction, relationship… can cost. You may or may not be on a financial budget, but no one has limitless time and energy. Five minutes of a destructive behaviour can be energetically expensive. Carefully consider what you can afford to spend time and emotional energy on.
5. Get over last decade
- A study found participants who wrote down their regrettable decisions and sealed them in an envelope reported “feeling significantly better about their past decisions”. Physically symbolic closure can lead to real emotional closure. Learn from your mistakes, then leave them in 2019. Look forward.
6. Keep it simple.
- Simply saying no to destructive behaviours and yes to constructive action is often all that is needed to reach your goals. Deep down, you know what is good for you and what isn’t. Strive for delayed gratification. Actioning that is a matter of impulse control: