Happy New Year everyone! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season and are as excited as I am about 2018! There’s nothing like the feeling of a clean slate or fresh start. Now is the bet day to set aside a little time to reflect and set your intentions and goals for the new year. I don’t like to call them resolutions, but more like habits, behaviors, or milestones that I’d like to create in my life. Let it be about adding more happiness into your life and chasing your dreams!
To really achieve your dreams, you have to do a bit more than just write your list. You’ll want to break these down into monthly, weekly and maybe even daily tasks so that you build habits and routines that help you consistently work toward your goals. I posted something similar further back on my blog a few years ago, but I wanted to share where I am in my journey now. So here’s my step-by-step process for creating your best year yet!
Step 1 – Reflect on 2017
The first thing I recommend doing is taking the time to close out 2017, and look back at your year. Whether it was good or bad it’s good, it’s good to think about your highs and lows and feel gratitude for all it gave you — the good times, and also the lessons from the hard times, all these things have shaped your year and who you have become. Give thanks for all the blessings 2017 brought you, and release any struggles or low points and set them free. Be proud of everything you accomplished, including the everyday wins!
Step 2 – Visualize Your Ideal 2018! Write It Out
Close your eyes and try to imagine where you want to be next December. Are you living in the same home? Or town? Are you still working in the same job? Or project? How is your health? Family life? Finances? Take a few minutes to imagine your life a year from now and see what comes to mind first.
Start writing or typing a list of things that you imagined. These might be big milestones you want to achieve, like running a 10k race, or finishing your education, or getting a promotion in your job. Just write it all out, and pretty soon you might see a pattern emerge. See if there’s an underlying theme to all of the things you’re hoping to achieve. It might be centered around having more confidence, setting boundaries, or taking more changes.
Step 3 – Set an Overall Intention, Theme, or Word for the Year
If you can see a theme among your goals, I find it really helpful to set an overall intention, or select a word for the new year. This can work like compass for you throughout the year, bringing you back to your central aim. Last year my theme was, “live for me”, and it meant I wanted to make choices from a place of wanting to do what really makes me happy, and not wanting to please others. You can also set a single word for the year too, such as gratitude if you want to become more mindful, rejuvenate if you want 2018 to be able healing, or thrive if you want to be bolder in the new year!
Step 4 – Define SMART Goals
Now that you have your list of dreams, and then the overall theme too, you can start setting some specific goals to go for in 2018. Personally, I think it’s really helpful to set goals just for the quarter. This way you are breaking up the year into 3-month phases, or seasons. I think that just like plants and animals, we all experience changes through the various seasons, so why not try to live in harmony with nature’s cycles. This also makes it less overwhelming, by focusing on a shorter time frame you aren’t having to make a perfect plan for the entire year!
You have probably heard of the acronym SMART when it comes to setting goals. But essentially this means that you want to make your goals specific, measurable, approachable and realistic for you, and time bound with a deadline. So you want to make sure you can clearly answer whether you achieved it or not, give it a realistic timeline, and also go for something that is approachable for your real life circumstances. I think it’s better to set simpler, immediate-term goals so that you can build up some momentum and confidence!
Here is an example of a SMART goal:
“I will lose 15 pounds by April 1st, by tracking my meals and eating clean, and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 times per week.”
Step 5 – Build Your Plan
Now that you have set some SMART goals, it’s all about breaking it down into smaller steps and routines that you can fit into your average month, week and day. So with the above example you can schedule out your workouts and pick the days that work best for you. Maybe you can pre-plan your meals for the week so you are eating clean and fresh foods most of the time.
If you can find a way to schedule in your tasks into your every day or weekly routine, then you are always taking small steps in the direction of your goals. This is really how huge dreams are realized, it’s simply one day at a time, and one step at a time. We are very much the sum of what we do repeatedly, that’s why taking your goals and folding them into your routine is so important.
I hope you found this helpful! This is exactly the approach I’m taking this year, and steps 4 and 5 are what I’m doing differently in 2018! If you’d like some more resources, here are some awesome videos I’ve watched recently that helped me cement how I want to take on 2018! Enjoy!