By Dave Clark
The start of a new year is usually a time of reflection for many people. Backed with tons of positive energy, they make big plans to improve themselves. These plans are created with optimism and the best of intentions.
But, the reality is most of these plans usually wither away in about two weeks. Some weren’t well thought out, others were born out of reactionary thinking or were responses to guilt from overindulgence just before the new year started.
What if you could systematically reimagine your life and improve it, one piece at a time? You can do this and it all starts with becoming committed to your goals.
We are a month into the new year. Are you on track with your goals? Writing the goals down makes them tangible. If you haven’t already done this, no better time than now.
The simple act of writing things down helps you to plan exactly how to get there. Putting that list of goals in a place where you’ll see it every day increases your chance for success.
Without accountability, there is a greater chance for procrastination. Find someone to hold you accountable. While accountability ultimately starts and ends with the individual, it doesn’t hurt to have someone to encourage us. Schedule regular check-ins with this person to make sure you stay on track.
On January 1st, you may have decided that this was the year you were going to run a marathon, train for an Ironman competition and take up martial arts. And unless you regularly do activities such as these, now is the time to get a little more realistic about your expectations.
Perhaps doing these things may be in your three or five year plan, but make sure your goals are realistic and attainable. If not, make adjustments and focus on one or two important goals that would change your life for the better if they were realized.
You don’t have to be overly ambitious or set unreachable goals, just pick out a few things that you can reasonably achieve this year. One quality life change accomplished this calendar year would be a huge success.
Follow a Timeline
Along with your written goals, create a timeline. When do you want to achieve these goals? What can you do every single day to get closer to your goals? Taking action is the most important thing you can do, and doing a little something each day moves you closer to your goals.
Consider starting a good habit. As we know, habits work both ways. If you get in the habit of doing something towards your goals every day, your chances of achieving your goal increase exponentially. The opposite also rings true. If you don’t do anything toward your goals today, chances are it will be easier to put it off again tomorrow.
Change your Self-Talk
What words do you use regularly in everyday conversation? Do you find yourself saying “I can’t” or “I can” more often? This one single differentiation is key.
If you continuously use negative self-talk, how would you expect to achieve a positive outcome? Before others will believe in you, you have to believe in yourself, and it all starts with positive self-talk. Starting today, change the “I can’t” soundtrack into a “how can I” question.
If you haven’t set goals for yourself for 2018, it’s not too late! But it’s time to stop procrastinating.
Look at all areas of your life. Think about where are you happy. Think about where can you make improvements. Be aware of any areas where you are really unhappy.
If you are unhappy in any specific area, chances are that unhappiness is zapping energy from other areas of your life. It starts with some honest self-evaluation as well as a commitment to really want to change.
Envision Your Perfect World
For those of you who haven’t set your 2018 goals yet, let’s play a fun game. Imagine exactly what you would do if money were absolutely no object.
What would you do all day? Where would you live? What would you drive? Would you have a day job and, if so, what would it be?
Of those things you imagined, which are pipe dreams and which can actually be achieved with a little perseverance and planning? Perhaps you live in the midwest but you’ve always dreamed of oceanfront living. Maybe you drive a Prius but dream of driving a Porsche. Living in the place of your dreams or driving that perfect car is definitely doable with some strategic planning and a few personal sacrifices along the way.
What would you do for work if you weren’t necessarily doing it for the money? Would it be the same job you are doing today? If not, why not? Why continue to do a job that doesn’t satisfy your soul if you can have one that does? You have one life to live, there’s no sense putting in time when you can have the time of your life!
The key is to get you to really reimagine excellence in your life and understand exactly what that means. Excellence comes in different forms and means different things to different people. To some, excellence manifests itself in the form of a certain home or a specific car. To others, excellence is defined by taking a dream vacation. Others yet will define excellence by a certain state of mind.
Creating a plan
Now that you’ve envisioned a lifestyle that would seemingly make you very happy, it’s time to think about how to start your journey. While it’s certainly possible to drive from New York City to San Francisco, you can only see the road in front of you. If you think about the entirety of the drive it can be overwhelming. However, if you think about only the road in front of you, it becomes much more manageable.
That’s exactly the same way life works. Plan one day at a time, and accomplish one specific thing at a time. Life is a journey, after all.
Being able to adapt to speed bumps along the way is also an important trait to have at your disposal. Remember that drive from New York to San Francisco? It just so happens there is a bridge out in Sheboygan. It’s time for a detour. Be flexible, but stay true to your plan.
As you create this plan, it’s a good idea to put your visions somewhere so you will see them daily, if not several times a day. The more you think about these things, the better chance they have of coming to fruition. Many people create a vision board so they can actually see pictures of the things they hope to have. Next time you see that dream car, snap a picture and put in on your board, right next to a picture of that oceanfront dream home you saw in a travel magazine.
To manifest anything, we first need to see that thing in our minds. Once we have a crystal clear vision of what our goals look like, be sure they are realistic. If you deem that they are, write down your goals. Have a timeline for these goals and if you have measurables to ensure you are on track, all the better. Find someone to hold you accountable so you stay on track. Finally, put your goals on a vision board so you can see visual representations of what you hope to achieve. Anything is possible with a little planning and determination. Make this the year that stop talking about what you are going to do and actually go out and do it!
This blog originally appeared on blog.ttisuccessinsights.com.