Set Goals, Not Resolutions - how to make 2017 the year you make changes that stick for good!

Set Goals, Not Resolutions - how to make 2017 the year you make changes that stick for good!

Set Goals, Not Resolutions

We all do it – every January, we set resolutions for the coming 12 months. For most people, the good intentions to eat more healthily, reduce stress levels, join a gym (and use it), and drink less start to falter by the third week of January, and by March the resolutions are long forgotten, the old habits all firmly back in situ.

The truth is, it is deceptively difficult to develop or deny ingrained habits ‘cold turkey’. While the effort to set resolutions shows a wonderful sense of positive intent, a better alternative – and one that is more likely to succeed – is to develop new goals for the future.

Here are a few simple steps to help you go about setting goals that are attainable:

1. Clear your head
In order to set achievable goals, you need a clear mind. Reflect on what you accomplished in 2016, give yourself a pat on the back, and move on. Don’t dwell on what you didn’t do. It’s good practice to do a year-end clean-up. Sort out your desk at work, rearrange the office, go through files, de-clutter, de-tox. Eliminating the visual chaos has a profoundly calming effect on the mind, allowing you to focus on the things that are most important to you.

2. Create your vision 
Take a couple of days and set aside 30 minutes each day to reflect. Pick a quiet spot and focus. Envision what 2017 will hold for you. Where will you go? What will you do? Imagine it as if it’s happening. Think about the next year as a whole and picture where you will be one year from now.

3. Write it down
Draft out some of the ideas that came to you during your ‘daydreams’ so that you have a big picture view of the next year. Write down where you will you be on your career path. How will you be financially? Where will you travel? Write what comes into your mind. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

4. Set dates
Start with December 2017. What do you want to have accomplished? Make a list. For each item, develop a plan of action and assign a realistic deadline for each item. Go through each month and ask yourself what you need to do that month to meet your end of year goals. Put your deadlines on a calendar – and make sure you can see them.

5. Plan 
Now that your goals are all beautifully mapped out, think about the steps you need to take to reach your deadline for each goal. On a separate sheet of paper/Word document, develop a plan of action for each item on your list. Let’s say you want to earn a certain amount of money in 2017 – work out how many clients you need to see. How will you get those clients? Or maybe you want to run your first half marathon in May. How many miles do you need to run each week in order to get up to the right distance? How and when will you do that?

Once you have your goals set, keep them in the forefront of your mind. Make them visible – have them as part of your screen saver, or pop them on post-it notes in prominent places. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you accomplish what you set out to do.

Accept that it won’t be plain sailing; you will need to keep tweaking your plans. If you find something that’s too difficult to carry out, drop that plan and pick a different approach that will still lead to the same end result and not lose sight of the goal.

Change doesn’t come overnight, but as you work towards developing what is important to you, the change will come, and – unlike the resolution to give up anything containing sugar – it will stick.

If you haven’t done so already, start setting your goals for 2017!