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As we embark on a New Year, many of us are focusing on what we want to achieve in the next 12 months and what we want to change in our lives or do differently. This is often referred to as making ‘New Year’s resolutions’
What New Year’s resolutions did you make this year? Like many people, you probably started off the year hopeful and determined to make changes that you desire – and you should be commended for that. However, studies have shown that as many as 91 percent of people give up on their resolutions in less than three weeks! We’re now just a few days into the new year, how are you doing so far?
Are you on your way to becoming part of that 91 percent, or are you determined to be part of the 9% that keep going past the end of January?
Most people promise this and declare that, but what is it that determines whether they get what they want? How can you make sure you stay on track? Is there any help out there? It can be hard to stay committed to even the greatest goals you set for yourself.
Follow these 5 steps and you’ll stand a much greater chance of getting the results you want this year. Read through each and then take some time to work through each step.
Stop and pay attention to what has worked for you over the course of last year, no really stop and pay attention, and then write it down! However you feel last year went for you, take some time and take stock of all of the things that went well. List your victories and successes, no matter how big or small. They are all important!
Why? I here you ask. Because our past success are the fuel and motivation for our future ones. The challenge here is that most of us have a tendency to pay more attention to what hasn’t worked out, and this takes us away from all the delicious things that have.
In life we tend to get more of what we focus on, so make sure you start the year as you mean to go on! This year will be a brilliant year the more you focus on what works and then put that into action.
A great next step to moving beyond just thinking and hoping for all you’ve dreamed of is to gain a deeper level of clarity on what it is you truly want out of your life this year. This short exercise can help you do just that:
Once you have developed a deeper level of clarity on where you want to go and what you want to achieve, you now have a really clear target that is written down and tangible. The next step is to begin to create a plan of action.
As you start to develop your plan of action, it is crucial to get the timing right. In my opinion, one of the main reasons many people fail in sticking to their New Year’s resolutions is because they do it at the wrong time of year – mid-winter. It’s very hard to stay motivated when it’s grey and cold outside, the days are short, and … Naturally at this time of year our bodies (and minds) are in slow-down mode, almost a bit like a semi-hibernation. In the natural cycle of the year it is a time of rest, recovery and renewal. So it’s hardly a surprise that so many of us fail when we try to charge off and make major changes. I recommend splitting your plan for the year into 4 phases:
Phase 1: January to March – Planning and preparation. Use this time to really plan and prepare for the changes you want to make over the next 12 months. By all means start the ball rolling, but take it one step at a time and don’t try and achieve too much. If you fall off the horse, don’t give yourself too much of a hard time. Just pick yourself up, recover, and then get back on.
Phase 2: April to June – Get into action. Now that the clocks have changed, the days are longer and brighter, and it’s getting warmer outside, it’s time to really swing into action. Spring is the best time to really kick off the changes you’ve planned for the year. Draw on the energy of the season, and really put some drive and effort behind your goals and objectives for the year and get some real momentum going.
Phase 3: July to September – Stoke the fire. As we come into full summer, it’s important to really stay on track and maintain the momentum you created during the spring. Keep your energy and commitment levels high and keep building on each achievement as a stepping stone to the next.
Phase 4: October to December – Harvest and reap the rewards. Now is the time to really begin to enjoy the rewards of your labour. If you’ve successfully implemented your plan to date you should already be able to look back and see some great progress. Enjoy it, celebrate, give thanks, and begin to wind down for the winter and plan to use that time to rest and recover, ready to repeat the cycle next year. I highly recommend adding the American ‘Thanksgiving’ holiday into your calendar!
Break your plan down into these four phases and have specific tasks, actions and accountability for each.
OK, here comes the toughest part for most of us – sticking at it! It’s time to really commit to making it happen – and you’ll need to re-commit over and over again throughout the year. It’s not just a one off process. We’re all human and we all waver. It’s not about implementing the plan flawlessly, in my opinion that is an unrealistic expectation. What’s important is to keep going. Don’t berate yourself for your failures and slip ups along the way, instead focus on recovery. Pick yourself up and carry on. Get straight back in the saddle so to speak.
My other key bit of advice here is to get help. Buddy up, get an accountability partner, hire a Move Beyond coach (shameless plug I know). Take a look back at my previous post ‘Flying Solo’. Going it alone is rarely the best approach to getting the results you want.
As with Step 1 – keep focused on your victories and successes, not matter how big or small. Set yourself a reward structure for achieving milestones along the way – don’t hold them back until you’ve reached the finish line. You’ll need fuel along the way, so the breadcrumbs approach is best, little and often.
On that note, I want you to really think about what constitutes success, and what constitutes failure. I was chatting to some friends about this the other day and one of them confessed that last year she made a resolution to take vitamins every day, and sadly admitted that she was not successful. I asked her if she took more vitamins than the year before, and watched her eyes brighten as she enthusiastically said “yes” she did. Then it clicked in my mind. I was reminded that success is really all about our perspective. Are we failures if we do not reach our goals 100%, or are we successes because we did better than the year before? The decision is ultimately up to you, but in my experience few people achieve great things by focusing on where they’ve failed.
What’s important is not necessarily achieving every goal you set out to, but knowing that you will make some progress in all of them. And some progress is better than no progress, right? If we set goals and do better than the year before, then we have been successful. If we drink less, smoke less, eat less, spend less, save more, earn more, exercise more, and eat healthier, then we have made positive change. And isn’t that really what it’s all about?
If you are certain you won’t achieve a goal because you have tried and tried again, and maybe you have even given up hope, don’t! Instead try setting a tangible, achievable goal to “do better” than the year before, and see how that goes. It just might turn out pretty good.
Ever thought of getting away from it all to clear your head and get some perspective? Then check out this article in ShortList Magazine this week where I’m featured as one of their experts. Just click the image below to read the article:
The ability to tap into the most powerful, creative and resourceful aspects of who you are is an essential skill if you wish to really live life to the full and achieve all that your heart desires…
… read this article I wrote for the March edition of Lightworker Magazine to find out more. Click the image below to read it:
Today is the last day of January, the 31st, and I wanted to check in and see how you’re year is going so far… a ton of people have already lapsed on their New Years’ goals. How are you doing?
Are you still storming ahead on course for world domination, or has your energy and motivation slipped and things are barely moving or heading back to square one?
If it’s closer to the former then congratulations – keep it up, and if it’s closer to the latter then don’t lose heart. January is a tough month. It’s cold, dark, the days are short, we’ve had little sun – hardly the most inspiring time of the year right? Remember, it’s not about what you do in January, it’s about what you do over the course of the whole year that counts.
Those of you who read the article I wrote a few weeks ago on 5 Essential Steps to a Successful New Year will remember that one of the keys to success is timing and that April-June is the best time to really get into action and create momentum, so use the next 2 months through February and March to really do some solid planning and preparation ready for then. This first part of the year should be about gently getting the wheels turning and the route planned out ready to put your foot on the gas in the Spring!
If you are struggling to get on track this year, then keep an eye out for the articles and video coming your way later this week to help you:
So for now, however you’re doing, take some time today to check-in, re-focus and get ready to get stuck into February and keep the wheels turning. You can do it!
Click the play button below to listen to Move Beyond’s Founder and CEO, Kyle Newman, being interviewed live on Bath FM Radio about life coaching and how it can help people achieve their goals and dreams.
Looking at ‘smart’ in a whole different way…
Ever wondered how smart you are? Traditionally intelligence has been understood as a single measure of ability that is largely set in stone from birth. In this conventional view, smart people have greater abilities and resources they can apply to any situation. The smarter you are, as often measured on an IQ test, the better you can handle anything in your path. Much research has supported this showing that people with high IQ’s did better in school, regardless of the subject, and over time this view has taken hold and shaped both our popular understanding of intelligence and our education system.
However, given that most traditional education draws on the same narrow range of performance that IQ tests measure, that correlation means little in understanding ‘smart’ in everyday life and work. Advances in neuropsychology, evolutionary biology, and child development show us that the ‘one-horse’ view that tends to dominate how we view intelligence is tragically flawed. Flawed, because it can’t account for performance outside of school, across the full range of human activity – intelligence as a chef, as an author, as an athlete, as a mother. The traditional view of intelligence is ill-fated, because we dampen human potential as long as we believe there is one linear scale of intelligence.
To find a better way to express human potential, Harvard education professor Howard Gardner spent years studying intelligence across disciplines and across cultures. He synthesized what he learned in his model of Multiple Intelligences (MI), and identified eight distinct intelligences:
(Source: Howard Gardner, descriptions by Dario Nardi and Pam Fox Rolin)
This work changes how we can think about intelligence, from “how smart you are” to “how you are smart?” In this view, ‘smart’ means using the best of yourself to succeed in your environment.
The way you succeed is likely to be very different to the way someone else succeeds at the same task. Intelligences are typically used in combination, with distinctive combinations enabling different people to achieve similar results. For example, a top athlete will need highly developed Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence; beyond this, some athletes may be powered by the inner drive of Intrapersonal Intelligence, others by the pacing of Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence (even in non-musical sports), and others by their application of Logical Mathematical Intelligence.
Take a few minutes to read through the different intelligences listed and identify how you are smart. Then begin to look at those around you with new eyes and try to identify how they are smart. Keep a note of your ‘strengths’, where you are smart, and begin to draw on these as you work toward a more successful and fulfilling personal and professional life.
Advanced tip: To take this new awareness to the next level, as you begin to look at both yourself and others with new eyes, try not to compare or measure yourself against them. I know it’s not easy as the old paradigm of ‘how intelligent are you’ has trained us all to compare ourselves in this way. However, the reality is much different. We have all developed our own range of different skills, strengths and abilities, and whilst ‘Person A’ might be better at maths, or science, or music than you, I’ll also bet that there are a bunch of things that you’re better than them at – so the comparing thing is really quite redundant at the end of the day. Even though it is a hard habit to break. Try and focus instead on how much you’ve developed the skills, strengths and abilities that your really want and need – and where you want to develop further next. Don’t worry so much about other people and how you compare, just focus instead on continuing to raise your own game so you are playing to the best of your ability - in whatever arena of life or business that may be…
“We dampen human potential as long as we believe there is one linear scale of intelligence…”
No Excuses – Just Do It!
Great Nike Commercial. I had to post this video as it cuts straight to the chase. No excuses! Isn’t it just so much easier to find an excuse not to do something, not to push that bit further/harder, than it is to dig deep and push through that boundary – whether it’s be a physical, psychological or emotional one. I’m training for a half marathon at the moment, which is a much longer distance than I generally like to run, so it’s a challenge I’m very familiar with at the moment.
One of the key differentiators between those that achieve their goals and dreams, and those that don’t, is finding a compelling reason WHY – that they can connect to and keep hold of when the going gets tough and the temptation is to give up, pull back or put it off until another day. What’s your reason to push through, to do it now, today, as opposed to tomorrow or next week – if at all…
Take a some time to review your vision, goals and dreams for your life and work and then give some further thought to your WHY. What is important about them? Why is it important for your to achieve them? For the sake of what? What is going to have you stay in the game and keep pushing through when the going gets tough? Once you define your WHY clearly and keep connected to it, you’ll find a renewed sense of energy and drive, and your forward progress will both accelerate and be more consistent. Just do it!
I was coaching one of my clients recently and what we uncovered during the conversation was the impact that his close family are having on his life and his efforts to change it. And how, whilst having the best of intentions, they were part of what was holding him back. Now this is very common, and also a somewhat complex topic, which I’m not going to dive into right now. However one thing in particular that he said stood out to me. He revealed that his wife was of the opinion that he shouldn’t need to hire a coach to help him create a more successful life, he should be able to do it “on his own”.
Has anyone ever said something similar to you? Or perhaps you have said it to yourself – you know, during one of those conversations with yourself in your own head? When I talk to people about making changes in their life it is something they often say to me – it usually goes something like “but shouldn’t I be able to do this on my own?” Hell, it’s something I even used to say to myself!
I’ve learned, however, that it is the opposite that is true. The most successful people get as much help as they need to accomplish their goal. How many athletes do you know that have reached the top of their game without the help of a coach. How many top business people have gotten there without learning from others along the way? Take someone like Ellen MacArthur for example, the fastest female and youngest sailor to race around the world solo, non-stop. Whilst she sailed around the world on her own, do you think she did it without any help? Of course not, she would have had advisors, trainers, sponsors, a support team, to name but a few. In fact if you look at her website: www.ellenmacarthur.com you’ll find the following quote:
“It’s always been about a team. Thanks for our partners, friends and supporters. Without them we would be nowhere.” Ellen MacArthur
Many people believe something along the lines that “if you have help to achieve something then it diminshes that achievement in some way, or means that they are weak or ‘less than’ as a person”. Not true! It is a common misconception however, and one that I would advise you to eliminate from your life. So next time you hear a phrase like “you should be able to do it on your own”, either from someone else, or from one of the little voices in your own head, remind yourself immediately that it is not true and focus on seeking the help you need to get to where you want to go.
Happy New Year All! Watch this short video for a bit of New Year inspiration: