It is January 2017, most of us if not everyone is feeling energised and excited at the prospects of what a new year holds. It’s about new year resolutions, inspiration, new beginnings, adventure, possibilities and all of the better, bigger, grand ideas we can think of. Sadly, for most of us, this feeling and mindset only lasts up until the end of January. Research from the University of Scranton (USA) suggests that only 8% of people achieve their new year goals.
By February the old ME is back in action doing what it does best…
It can be very disheartening to realise that you have given up on your goals and inspiration halfway into the second month of the year. Giving up on our goals sends a message to ourselves that we are saying NO to PROGRESS and this has been a painful lesson for me, since I pride myself as an individual that values progress.
How do we keep the fire burning in our hearts and minds amidst the storms that each season presents us with? I have some suggestions, based on my personal experience and those that I have journeyed with:
Reflect on the past year
When we look at new-year resolutions, it’s important to also acknowledge moments, lessons and achievements from the previous year with pride as this validates your existence during said year and it ignites a possibility mindset. Review and record all the achievements and gifts of learning that last year presented you with. Also register the successes, like the skills you deployed, the mindset you displayed 80% of the time, etc. This data is useful intelligence in strategising the way forward.
Knowledge is power
Choose a theme word for the new year
Choose a theme word based on your goals or what you want to experience this year. Your theme word could for instance be POSSIBILITIES because you want to pursue and accept every opportunity you are presented with.
In the years that I have adopted this technique, I have gained immense power in sustaining my inner fire because it served to encourage and challenge me when I felt like giving up.
Make your goals come alive
Those 5 kilos are not going drop by itself, your dream job is not going to land on your desk, and those critical relationships are not going to improve by keeping them in your head…
The old SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Results driven and Time bound) goals technique works and it continues to work year in and year out. Write your SMART plan, do the work, find inspiration and courage to believe in your goals.
Take action and pay the price
Create memories for the future
I spent the last two weeks of December pondering on what the new year means for me but I ended up writing about the gifts I received during the year. I realised that as I was writing down my reflections for the year, it was not just ticking the list of achievements that made it a successful year, but I also included the moments, like the growth, expansion, challenges and joy that were created.
Define what you want to experience this year. It could be core desired feelings or simply asking yourself what you want to experience as you work fearlessly on your goals. Look for clues that will give your journey meaning, because when we achieve our goals our bodies register the feelings associated with that moment as well. Feed your mind with images of what you want to create
Get your “YOU” together
Self-awareness is not overrated, and it is indeed an exercise that allows you to be better at being YOU. Bettering yourself is a game where you will always be the ultimate winner. Getting your YOU together means being present by owning your story and opening up to stretching yourself further, which in turn allows mind shifts to occur. Get to know what sets your body and mind on fire so that when you find yourself in the dark, you will be able to pull yourself towards the light.
Know the face of your inspiration
Choose habits and or behaviours that you want to develop
Another thing that makes goals come alive is the behaviours and habits you deploy. Choose behaviors and a mindset that allows your goals to flourish. Considering that we give up so early on some or all of our goals, the inspiration to continue comes from adopting behaviors/ skills that help you to show up like being resilient, courageous, positive, determined, focused, etc. Assess the skills you need to inspire success, deploy them if they already exist or develop them if they are not yet cultivated
Identify your support network
This is your council of Advisors, these are the people you trust, respect and who’s opinions you value. They could take the shape or form of a mentor, colleague, coach, parent, sibling or friend. The inspiration is that they can be your accountability partners as you work on your goals.
Be your own cheerleader
My general knowledge of the role of cheerleaders in sport is to encourage both the players and the spectators. They are spirit raisers, they are the team behind the team, they create a good mood and they motivate the crowd. Be that cheerleader to yourself, build that internal strength and endurance.
Never give up!
One of the reasons for giving up early is the fear of the unknown and the illusion of comfort. The downside of being in a comfort zone is that it pulls you away from growth and or progress. Lean into your discomfort. We can get stuck on creating newness in our lives/selves when at best a new year presents us with an opportunity to be better versions of ourselves through the work we do and who we become with the people we connect with. We just continue to expand ourselves in ways that help us and the world become better.
It is about you striving to be better at being you and that in itself is inspiring! I wish you a year filled with adventure, growth and courage, and that we will continue to expand ourselves in ways that serve both ourselves and our world.
Let 2017 have you and all of YOU!