Taking the time to think ahead to the new year is the best way to set yourself up for success with clear and meaningful goals along with a plan for how you’re going to achieve them.
“What, already?” I hear you say.
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re already in the middle of November and we all know that much of December till be reduced to a blur thanks to work parties, last-minute shopping and family festivities. As well intentioned as you may be, you’re unlikely to find a huge amount of time and space in all that hullaballoo to reflect on your most important dreams and aspirations.
And, while there is still a little bit of time for that last-minute spurt to the finish line on this year’s goals (I’m launching my podcast very, very soon!), at this point we’re not going to drastically change the overall theme for this past year.
Before we get into how to plan for the new year, though – and there’ll be news next week about a free webinar that will help you do just that! – it’s important to internalise why this is such an important process.
Why plan at all?
“If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favourable.”
– Seneca the Younger
There is an attitude to life that involves being open to whatever comes along, letting things happen and just going with the flow. However, the risk with that ‘laissez-faire’ approach is that years, decades, will pass and you may well look back with massive regrets about all the things you didn’t do.
The truth is that most of us do know what we want – deep down, if we admit it to ourselves, we have at least an inkling of the things we want to do, be and have in our lives.
And if we don’t admit that to ourselves, if we don’t claim those dreams as our own and put them out there into the world, then it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever get there. We need to have the vision in front of us in order to commit to it, come up with a plan, and put in the work to make it happen.
Setting goals for the new year will give you a sense of purpose; it will help you focus and direct your limited time and energy towards what’s really important; and it will motivate and energise you to achieve something that really is meaningful to you. It’s really about intentionally creating the life you want – one step, one goal, at a time!
The usual approach: New Year’s resolutions
We’ve all played that familiar game of setting New Year’s resolutions at the end of the year. Usually in the midst of all that decadence, we’ll resolve to be healthier in the new year, do all those things that we didn’t get around to this year, and become all-round better people.
The problem? We’re settling for the same old goals that we think we should set ourselves; they’re too vague; and, ultimately, we don’t care enough about the end result to make it happen. The effect, of course, is that we’ll be halfhearted in our attempts and we won’t achieve the goal we’ve set – and, even if we do, it doesn’t make much of a difference in our lives.
These ineffective goals are those that are imposed by others, whether explicitly or implicitly; they aren’t aligned with our foundational values; and they’re things we fundamentally just don’t care about.
Setting the right kind of goals
The ‘right’ kinds of goals are goals that are more than just a whim, conjured up in those last days of the year. They are coming from deep within you, rather than being imposed by someone else. They are reflective of your most important personal values. They are goals that you are willing to work hard for over a significant period of time and that, when you achieve them, will truly have a meaningful impact in your life.
So you can see how this process warrants a bit of quality time!
My approach to planning for the new year involves reflecting on the past year, on what has worked and what hasn’t; making sure you review the different areas of your life so that you don’t limit yourself to just one small part; and coming up with an overall theme that will guide you during the whole year without being overly restrictive.
Next week there’ll be news on a free workshop session to help you create more meaningful goals and set yourself up for success in 2019. In the meantime, if you’re considering coaching in the new year then let’s get you a head start and get on a call to discuss how I can help you. Book a free consultation call with me here >>