How to make 2020 your best year yet?
Here we are again, the end of the year is approaching. It is traditionally the time of weighting and summing up our achievements and making plans for a year to come. How do we feel looking back at the year which is about to finish? Have we achieved our goals? Have our plans and wishes come true? Is it a good moment to set more ambitious goals?
There are so many questions and ideas that we sometimes feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. If you feel this way, this guide is for you. We have done our best to pull together some tips and workable solutions on how to approach your New Year’s resolutions and come up with some ambitious but realistic goals.
A moment is a key. New resolutions or plans are not made spontaneously and in a rush. Allocate a suitable moment for this activity; find a nice and comfortable place. Maybe you would like a cup of tea or a glass of wine? Why not? You have been working hard the entire year towards the fulfilment of your last year’s resolutions. Surely, there are reasons to be happy and satisfied with yourself! At the very least, you’ve made it to the new year!
And now, let’s begin…
Is it a time for change? Are you entirely satisfied with your life or do you want to change something? Be honest with yourself and clear about your main objective: what is it that you want? If you want to change something, you need to prepare yourself for the change both cognitively and emotionally.
Do you have a dream? Start with your dream: what is it that you want to do with your life? Take your time to think about the bigger picture and what does it include.
Time to take a pen and a paper…
List up your priorities. First, you have painted your dream as a big and beautiful picture and now it’s time to look at its components. What does it include? How important is each detail? Write down all important components of your dream-picture (e.g., career, income, family, networks, education, new skills, hobbies, etc.). Arrange them as priorities.
Large-scale/long-term goals. Now try to think about general goals you want to achieve in each of your priority areas. What is the ultimate goal you want to achieve in each area? (e.g., What is a comfortable income for you? What is a level/position you want to reach in your career? Do you want to create a family; to have children? Which skills you would like to develop?).
Peeling off your goals. Your picture, probably, looks as a 100-pieces puzzle set at the moment and exactly as in a puzzle, all pieces are somehow interrelated. Your goal is to discover the key pieces, which hold together the entire picture and which are indispensable whatever area of your life you may think about. Look at each of your goals and try to choose those that best reflect your dream. Continue peeling them off until you have only a few goals left. Those goals are the most significant ones.
Goals’ ownership. Take another look at your remaining goals. Are they truly yours? Often, we try to convince ourselves that the expectations others have for us are also our own expectations. Although it is good to be aware about the expectations your family, friends or colleagues have for you, your dream belongs only to you!
What can stop you? Even if we think that it might be an economic situation, context or people around us, who affect our decision whether to embark on a new career, the only real think that may make us think twice or even, eventually, abandon our resolutions is our own defense mechanisms.
Limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are our ideas about our own strengths and abilities and our impressions about the surrounding world. They are based on our own experience and, as a result, are highly subjective. By maintaining these beliefs, we artificially constrain ourselves when we set up new goals. They need to be found and fixed.
Setting clear goals
From a big dream to a specific goal. First, we need to define a gap between our big dream and reality. Aligning your current goals with your life purpose will ensure that you are on the right path. We list all the steps we need to pass in order to bridge the gap between our dream and the reality of its fulfilment.
Outcome based planning
Let’s keep our goal in mind and behave as if it is already achieved. Simultaneously, we make daily steps towards its achievement. At this stage we cannot yet know the best way to our goal’s realization. Sometimes, the best or the most optimal way to our goal is the one we haven’t even thought about.
We simply make a list of all the steps without judging whether they are doable/achievable or not. This is our long-term or maybe even life-long plan with a number of big goals. As the next step we try to envisage what needs to be done in the next, let’s say 5 years, in order to bring us closer to our life-time goal. Subsequently, we narrow down our plan of actions to a year, half a year and a month. Each time our goals become smaller, more focused and specific. Yet, all our goals continue to be interconnected, interrelated and rooted in our big, life-long dream.
SMART goals. The secret of setting workable short-term goals is to keep them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bounded. If you prefer, you can use a different interpretation of SMART: significant, meaningful, action-oriented, rewarding and trackable. Once we manage to make our goals SMART, we can easily assess them and track our progress in achieving them.
Specific. The best way to make your goal specific is to follow the rule: one goal = one result. The more specific your goal, the more achievable it is.
Measurable. How do we know when our goal is achieved? Only if we have specific indicators and criteria to measure our progress.
Attainable. The goals need to be not only specific and measurable but also realistic: with all due respect to other criteria, if our goal is objectively unachievable, we shouldn’t waste our time and efforts.
Relevant. Even if we conclude that our big (life-long) dream requires a lot of time and investment, each smaller goal we set before ourselves on the way, should be relevant to the entire life project.
Time-bounded. To set and respect the deadlines is an important component of any ambitious career project.
Write your goals down. Find time to set your goals in writing. This makes your goals to feel even more real.
Make your goals positive and visible. It is psychologically advisable to frame the goals in a positive way as this gives a boost to our motivation. Place or post your goals in visible places so that you are constantly reminded about them.
Your mindset. While planning your goal, try to imagine that you have already achieved it: got a promotion, bought a house or launched a successful business project. The sensation you experience will help to create a proper mindset. Just don’t forget to take actions to achieve your goals! Planning – feeling – taking action – achieving.
Rewards. Each time you achieve a certain goal, make sure that you properly enjoy your satisfaction. Reward yourself! Afterwards, assess your general plan and adjust your next goals. Maybe you need to make new goals a bit harder and more challenging?
This looks like a long list, it requires time for assessment and reflection. Are you up to a challenge to set your new resolutions, applying these tips? Have you seen among our advice some new and really valuable tips? Have your previous resolutions failed due to the lack of proper planning and preparation or any other reason? If you have any questions or you need some guiding help, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are happy to help you make your dreams come true.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players…”
(W. Shakespeare, As You Like It)
We believe that each and every one of us is not only a leading actor but first and foremost a writer of our own destiny. Overwhelmed by life events, we may unintentionally forget that we are the sole playwrights of our own lives. We may even unwittingly drop or lose the thread of our unfolding life story. Then, we start questioning ourselves and let others do the writing for us. Doesn’t this happen to all of us occasionally? The best thing we can do is to resume the leadership as soon as we can: only we should write the play of our life!
With the renewed confidence and new skills, we design new perspectives. Coaching and training are the best instruments we use to achieve this goal.