Have you set your 2017 New Year’s resolutions? Now that January is over, how did you make out in month 1?
If you’re like most people – including me – you probably want to make this your best year ever. There is a renewed energy during this time of year and it motivates us to set goals that will help us improve our health, attain financial independence, and basically live the life of our dreams.
Unfortunately, most people end up giving up on their goals within a few months. And, for many, each New Year brings out the same list of resolutions as every other year: healthy eating, weight loss, go to the gym, quit smoking.
While the New Year is a time of excitement, it brings with it some doubt that we can actually achieve our goals. In the back of our mind is a little voice that – quietly but consistently – tells us that we’ve tried and failed before.
Is there anything that can be done to stop this cycle? Is it really possible to make 2017 the most wonderful year ever?
The Most Wonderful Year Ever: 4 Steps to Take to Achieve Your Goals in 2017
Thankfully, there are some steps we can all take to actually achieve our New Year’s resolutions. At first glance, though, these steps might not seem as exciting as a major, overnight transformation of our entire life. Wouldn’t it be nice if that really happened?
Alas, we’ve tried that route and failed. It’s time to try something different. Instead of setting ourselves up for failure through unrealistic expectations, we’re going to set ourselves up for success! Here are four steps we can take to make this year our most wonderful year ever.
1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
The acronym S.M.A.R.T. will help you get really specific in deciding what you want to achieve in 2017. The letters stand for:
When people set their New Year’s resolutions, they tend to say something like, “I am going to lose some weight, eat better, and exercise.” What does that even mean?
Instead, try something like this:
“I’m going to lose ___ pounds by ____ (date). I’m going to do that by ___ (eating more greens), ____ (cutting out soda and drinking more water), and doing cardio classes ____ times per week and strength training ___ times each week.”
2. Trickle-Down Goal Setting
To set yourself up for success, it’s important to first look at the big picture. What do you want 2017 to look like? What will your business achieve? What kind of clothes will you be wearing once you reach your goal weight?
Once you know what your big goals are it’s time to create an action plan. This is basically a list of mini-goals that will help you achieve your big goals. Think of your big goal as a finished house, while the mini-goals are wood and nails used to build the house.
In accord with the S.M.A.R.T. goal concept, make each mini-goal measurable and time-bound. It also helps to have a reward system. Be careful with this, though. If your goal is to lose weight, rewarding yourself with food can sabotage your efforts.
3. Write Your Goals Down
A couple of years ago, Forbes reported on a study done at Dominican University. Researchers found that people who wrote their goals down accomplished way more than those who chose not to write them down.
4. Constantly Remind Yourself: The Choice Is Yours
Last year, a US News article explored the topic of attaining big goals. Besides reminding people to dream big, writer Anna Medaris Miller reminded her readers of something we often forget: we have a choice.
How do we put that power back in our hands? We do this by shifting our perception and focus. Instead of thinking we have to control everything or trying to control the things we have absolutely no control over (another person, the weather, etc.), we focus on what we can control. In most situations, this means our attitude and reaction toward a person, situation, or resolution.
The Importance of Creative Goals – They Are Not Just For Kids and Artists
I want to take a moment to address creative goals. For the most part, when people think about New Year’s resolutions, they tend to focus on body transformation goals or those that pertain to their secular life.
Those are great goals, but there is a part of us that needs to focus on more creative endeavors. How do you know what your brain considers creative?
Think about what you’re passionate about. Creativity can take on many faces. For one person it is sculpture, for another it’s playing guitar, for yet another it’s problem solving. Some people view complex mathematical equations as their personal art-form.
Whatever works for you is what you should spend some time doing. Why? According to an interview with CNN, author and Harvard Fellow Tony Wagner explains why creativity is so important. His reasons include:
- Stress reduction
- A sense of purpose
- Gaining confidence
- A higher degree of happiness and satisfaction
- It helps a person re-define failure
- And, of course, it’s fun!
You Are More than Your Goals – You Are a Whole Person
While I’ve just outlined five ways to help you make 2017 the most wonderful year ever, I have a disclaimer. You must remember that you are a whole person. You are more than your goals. And, remembering this is vital to achieving those goals.
If your goals are strictly entrepreneurial, don’t forget about the rest of your life. As you work to achieve your mini-goals this year, remember to take time out for self-care, adequate sleep, proper nutrition (like plenty of greens!), and stress-reduction. Doing this will make 2017 your best year ever.
What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2017? I’m excited to see what steps you will take to achieve them, and whether you feel like you need support. Let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page.