What are the next steps your spirit is calling you to take this year?
Maybe you are looking to get healthy, whatever that definition is for you. Perhaps you are trying to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. Maybe you intend to try out a new fitness regime. Or maybe you want to get a promotion at work or enhance your social life.
Whatever it is, you may be the type of person who likes to make new year's resolutions or set a few goals, hoping and believing something new is possible.
Or you might be the type of person that believes there is nothing special or magical about the new year. That it's just another year and everything will remain the same.
Both can be true to some degree.
What is true is that you can set a resolution or a new goal any day throughout the year. Change is inevitable whether we want it or not. Either we take intentional action toward the change or it can be brought onto us. Which can be painful and challenging. It can also push us out of our comfort zone to take a tiny step forward or we stay stuck and stagnant. This is a personal decision and individual choice which has nothing to do with the start of a new year. Instinctively, we all desire change on some level. And, yes, change can be scary. But it can also be liberating!
What Does a New Year Represent?
The new year represents a fresh start, a clean slate to start again, reigniting a sense of renewed hope and rebirth through a shift in perspective and desire for change. These may be unmet dreams unfulfilled from the past year that your heart is calling you to step into now. It may be the goals you have set that got pushed back because you were not ready yet. Whatever the reasons are, entering a new year is a great place to commit or recommit to our heartfelt dreams and goals. Think of it like writing a new chapter of your life story:
What do you want this chapter of your life to look like?
What do you want to do, be, create and/or experience in Chapter 2023 of ME?
What areas in your life need more time and attention?
The Benefits of Setting Goals
First, we should talk about the connection between goals and visions.
Goals are a derivative of your vision. That vision represents a forecast of what life-enhancing activities you want to be actively engaged in consistently. These activities are what bring you more joy, peace, and contentment. Why? Because you are truly doing what matters to you the most.
A vision is an outcome goal of where you would like to be at the end of the year. This vision sets the intention and purpose that gives depth and meaning to our lives. The vision begins when we break it down into smaller, doable, and realistic steps in the form of goals. A goal creates direction and focus. It increases motivation, confidence, and energy. Achieving said goals, enables us to live our best life and be fully present for ourselves.
Here are a few practical tips to help you get started on creating your vision, setting goals, and maintaining momentum:
First, begin with writing out your vision in your journal or a designated notebook. Write your vision as a proclamation of the intention for where you want to be in six months to a year from now.
Before you begin writing, take a few minutes to ground and center yourself. I’ve included some guiding questions to help you through this process. Feel free to use them or come up with your own.
Or, perhaps you would prefer to make a vision board? Grab a large piece of poster board, some magazines, glue, and markers.
However you choose to manifest your visions, you should engage in a quick meditation before you begin to answer these questions. Close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath in from your diaphragm and exhale with ease and peace. Repeat 2x’s or as many as you need.
Now, imagine yourself (6 months, 9 months, or 1 year) from now.
What does your health, fitness, or wellness look like?
What would you like to be doing more of in your life (personal and professional growth, health and recreation, spiritually, community, family, relationships, finances, mental and emotional well-being, physical fitness)? What do you want to do less of?
What makes you feel fully alive when you are doing it? What have you done that gives you the feeling of being right in the sweet spot of life?
What accomplishment or legacy would have ultimate significance for you?
If you had a year to live, what would be most important to you to do and be in that time frame?
What experiences do you want to have in your life this year?
What do you want to learn? What skills do you want to master?
Where would you like to travel to? Who do you want to travel with?
What are 3-5 things you’d like to do this year purely for the fun of it?
What habits are hindering your growth that you need to reduce, eliminate, or stop?
Now that you’ve created your vision, break down that vision into smaller action steps/goals in increments of time (I recommend three months). Use the S.M.A.R.T formula below to guide you in developing your goals.
Setting Goals Using the S.M.A.R.T Formula
The S.M.A.R.T acronym was developed by George T. Doran as a method for corporate officers, managers, and supervisors to write effective goals and objectives. Moreover, to organize efforts and improve performance outcomes. Using the S.M.A.R.T method helps with focus and attention in these five areas which increase greater chances of success. Likewise, S.M.A.R.T goals provide a simple framework to set clearly defined goals. Thereby, decreasing the risk of creating vague goals that may not be achieved. There is one caveat to using the S.M.A.R.T formula: not all goals written need to incorporate all five elements. For example, some goals may not need to be measurable in order to achieve them.
Specific: What do I want to accomplish?
Measurable: How will I know when it is accomplished? Tracking/logging tools, units of measurement in time, amount, and frequency….
Achievable: How can I accomplish this goal? What actions will I need to take to make this happen? What habits will I need to adapt or change to support this goal? Is this realistic and doable? Who can I connect with to help me accomplish this goal?
Relevant: Does this seem worthwhile? Describe your “WHY?” How will your life satisfaction, health/well-being, relationships, home, personal and professional development, and/or finances change as a result of achieving this goal? In other words, WHY does it matter?
Time: When can I accomplish this goal?
Final Words and Suggestions to Keep You Moving
As I mentioned earlier, change is inevitable. It is hard and scary as we move through it. Change offers promise and freedom if we choose to be open, willing, and honest with ourselves. When we bring our vision to light and take small actions toward our goals then we begin to shine! Be daring and courageous!
Remember to keep it simple, doable and realistic. Focus on small increments of time and actions, be patient with yourself by staying in the day, and practice self-compassion with grace and kindness.
Modify your goals as needed and celebrate your successes no matter how small they are. You are doing the work so it is important to acknowledge what your hard work produces. Always focus on progress over perfection!
Want more? Be sure to schedule a free 30-minute clarity call with me at https://calendly.com/claritycoachingcall/30min
P.S. Be on the lookout for my next blog on building and sustaining habits.
In good health and wellness one day at a time!