Happy New Year!
This post explores my key tips (with actions) for setting goals so that you can fully embrace your dreams while honouring who you are. A new approach of setting goals with a new more aligned you setting them!
Happy New Year
I have spent many hours with my overthinking mind on this post. It’s January therefore as a coach it is my responsibility to address new years resolutions and goal setting yet I just couldn’t find the right words.
The truth is I secretly love and hate January at the same time. I adore the feeling of a ‘fresh start’, the possibilities ahead and the sudden motivation. Yet hate the overwhelming pressure and critical desire to focus on what needs to be fixed in the upcoming 12 months.
Who actually knows how their year is going to play out?
When have you known what you wanted, with certainty, 12 months out and still wanted it when December rolled around?
I know I haven’t and yet we are bombarded on social media with success stories almost daily both personally, professionally and even with businesses hitting their goals.
Did they really start all of this in January as they so often boast?
Even more so now, after the past few years, I think we can all be pretty certain that we can never truly know how the year will pan out.
So where does that leave our fresh start motivation and all our dreams for the future?
Well with much thought, I want to suggest some tips to help calm your overthinking mind at this time of year and still allow you to take steps forward towards your dreams.
Because after all being curious, wanting to better yourself and finding a path to greater happiness is absolutely an incredible aim for the next 12 months.
So when you sit down to decide your new years resolutions or indeed goals at any time of the year I want you to remember the following:
Dream Big, Set Small
Understand Your Why & Your Values
Honour Your Whole Self
Review, Tweak & Praise
Let's dig in!
Dream Big, Set Small
If you haven’t already captured all your possible dreams for the year ahead, do so now! (Check out this post to help). You want to allow every whisper of an idea to find space on the paper. Let every dream have a moment so that you don’t have any ifs buts or maybes left. Allow your mind to go on a journey and envision the most amazing future for yourself.
Then when you feel ready pull out the smallest and sweetest actionable steps as your goals. In this process connect with the most important dreams on that piece of paper, dig deep into your why (we will come to this in a moment), align with your values and don’t let that overachiever in you go mad. Remember the fewer goals the better as there are always more to come – life is not a race, you have time to build that future your mind shared with you.
Dream Big, Set Small - Actions:
Write down all your ideas, dreams, intentions onto paper
Pull out a few (no more than 3) tangible goals
Understand Your Why & Your Values
Why has to be one of the most powerful words in the dictionary and rightly so. To understand why you want something, can’t just be done intellectually, you must connect to your feelings. Why helps us to bring those feelings to the surface.
So once again look at the goals you pulled out and this time ask yourself; why do I want to achieve this? It will come in the form of either wanting less of an emotion (fear, sadness, hate) or the desire for more (happiness, curiosity, joy). For example, losing weight can be framed as either wanting less shame or wanting more confidence. I’m sure you can see which is more motivating, so make sure all your whys focus on getting more of what you want.
Alongside your why you also need to know your values as they are closely linked. Values are the things we fundamentally need in life, and when we don’t live in alignment with them we feel frustrated. The best bit is that although they can sometimes conflict with our goals they can also help us achieve our goals with more ease.
Let’s continue with the example of losing weight, and add in the value of family.
Firstly, dinner time may create an area of conflict. Sitting down to eat is also a chance to connect and catch up on the day and if you’re stuck eating salad while your partner and kids munch on lasagne you are going to feel resentment and require a lot of willpower to achieve your goal.
In contrast, you can use your value of family to keep you motivated while losing weight. Instead of working out solo, plan weekend activities with the kids that require you to move, go to the gym with your partner and utilise your connection to family to push you towards success.
Understand Your Why & Your Values - Actions
Articulate for each goal why it is important to you, ensuring it focuses on what you want more of.
Write out your top values and look at your goals.
Is there any conflict? If so change or just completely remove those goals.
Where can you use your values to support your goals?
I hope at this point you are feeling excited about how your values can support you in achieving your goals, however, you may also be feeling a little constrained. This is why I want to introduce or remind you of the mindset of experimentation.
Life is not pass or fail like we are taught in school. There is no value in getting everything right the first time around or collecting even more A’s at the expense of our enjoyment.
Look at your goals, get curious, google a lot and find a new and different way to implement them, knowing that there is no correct way. Each experiment gives you more answers and moves you forward to success.
Experiment – Actions:
Get online and find 2 new methods for goal setting.
Brainstorm all the different ways you could achieve your goals.
Pick techniques for your goals that make you feel the most alive and excited.
I’ve used the word success a lot already in this post, after all, that is what we are looking for, the outcome of our goals. It would be great if we could skip ahead and just experience the result, and although it’s not possible in reality we can experience success through our emotions.
Therefore I want you to do both.
Firstly, how will you know when you have achieved your goal? What tangible measure do you have? Maybe it’s a higher salary, a number on the scale or the distance you can run?
Then how will you feel when you have achieved your goal? What are the key emotions you are searching for (think back to your why) happiness, joy, contentment, confidence, empowered etc?
Now create that feeling within your body, a short mediation or visualisation can support this process. Allow yourself to embody that emotion, discover how it feels, where in your body it lives and experience the feeling of success right now (drop me an email if you want me to send you a free guided meditation to help you with this step).
I would also recommend embodying success on the days where the goal feels out of reach, to remind you it’s all possible.
Embody Success – Actions
Write down how you will tangibly know that you have achieved each of your goals.
Identify how you will feel when you have completed your goal, sit with it for a moment and allow your body to experience that feeling right now.
Honour Your Whole Self
This is the hardest lesson I have ever had to learn when it comes to my goals.
We live in a world that says “go go go, do do do, achieve achieve achieve” when in reality we have good days and hard days. Weeks filled with motivation followed by others where all we want to do is stay tucked in bed. Seasons of slog and months of excitement.
We need to honour it all.
We need to honour it all without judgment.
I told you it was difficult.
For the purpose of goals, start by reflecting on the year that just passed and identify when you had the most energy. Does the heat of summer or the cool autumn energise you most? For the ladies, consider your energy over a month, mine certainly flags during my period, is this true for you? Then think about an ordinary week and day, when are you most productive naturally? Take all this new knowledge and awareness and apply it to your dreams.
Now to help with the judgement, I want you to take your goals and write out what success on a bad day would look and feel like. Perhaps it’s only eating 2 cookies rather than the whole packet. Maybe it’s one glass of wine with a friend while catching up, not the whole bottle. Perhaps it’s eating the cookies and drinking the wine and not allowing your inner critic to berate you, giving you the energy to start again the next day.
You know yourself better than anyone so allow yourself the freedom to have bad days and still move forward with your goals.
Honour Your Whole Self - Actions
Identify when you have the most energy throughout each year, month, week and day. Use this awareness to choose the right goals for you right now.
Write out what success for your goals looks like on a bad day.
Review, Tweak & Praise
When working with me, my clients get 2, at most 3, weeks to implement their action steps before we meet again. I feel this is so important as it allows us to review what worked, or not and to experiment. In fact, we go through most of, if not all of these tips each time we meet so that their progress is escalated.
You must give yourself the same momentum and grace when it comes to your goals.
To do this implement the actions below by dedicating time to your goals, tweaking them as you need and praising yourself for all the wins you have had!
Review, Tweak & Praise - Actions
Set a time to review your goals.
Adapt your goals or switch up the experiment to honour where you are at now.
Write down a minimum of three wins since your last review.
Only The Beginning
So here we are at the end of my tips, thank you so much for joining me on this exploration of ourselves and our goals.
My dream is that it has piqued your curiosity into a new way of being a new you, one of deep connection and alignment with the wonderful person you already are.
Have an amazing 2022, go out and achieve your goals while exploring and honouring who you are throughout the seasons of the year.
And of course, if you are still unsure where to start or the process feels overwhelming, do drop me a message and book in for a coaching session, your first with me is always free.
It would be a joy to help you achieve your dreams this year.