Goal Setting Tips for New Year Resolutions
By Wendy Betterini
If you've ever had a yearly performance review for your job, you know it can be a tense experience that determines whether you receive a pay raise or not. Your boss will likely have a detailed checklist of your progress and success, as well as notations on areas that could use some improvement.
While these reviews can be stressful, they are also helpful because they offer a bigger perspective than you would ordinarily see in your day to day job functions. You might become aware of activities that are unproductive, limiting, or even detrimental to your professional advancement.
You can also benefit from this same process by creating an annual New Year review for your life. It can help you assess progress in all areas of your life, address challenges and obstacles, and come up with some exciting goals and plans for the New Year.
The best time to do a review is during the last few weeks of the year, but it can be done any time you want a fresh start. You can choose to do just one session or several, whatever works best for you.
Set the Mood - When you are ready to begin, first create a calm, quiet atmosphere. Put on comfortable clothing and choose a private area where you won't be disturbed for 30-60 minutes. You can also light some scented candles and incense, and play some soft music if you like. Grab a pen and notebook or journal. Then take a few minutes to sit quietly and take some slow, deep breaths. This will help you release stress and focus your thoughts.
Review - Now you are ready to begin reviewing your life over the past year. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to? Were there areas that could have used some improvement? Give some thought to these six categories:
1) Physical health and fitness (diet, exercise)
2) Financial wellness (earnings, savings, investments)
3) Spiritual growth (inner peace, meditation, prayer)
4) Mental health (positive thoughts, attitude)
5) Career (job, business)
6) Relationships (with significant others, children, friends, family)
Ask yourself three questions about each of these areas, and write your answers in the journal.
1) Which of my positive actions contributed to growth and progress?
2) Which of my negative actions caused stagnation and lack of progress?
3) What could I do better to improve my progress in the coming year?
It is very important not to judge yourself harshly during this process! An annual review is not about beating yourself up or concluding that you're a terrible person. This should be an unemotional, objective view of your life goals and progress. By becoming aware of areas where you can take more control over your life, you can create more success and abundance.
Plan - Now that you have a clear view of the past year and ideas about what you could do differently, you can make plans and set goals for the coming year. Again, look at the six main areas of your life: Physical health, Financial wellness, Spiritual growth, Mental health, Career, and Relationships. What would you like to create for yourself in the coming year? Write some specific goals for each category. Your goals should be realistic, yet somewhat challenging. You want to dream big, but not overwhelm yourself either. It can also be helpful to break your bigger goals down into smaller increments. You can set 3 month goals, 6 month goals, 9 month goals, and 12 month goals.
Action Steps - This is a crucial step in the process. Once you have your goals set for each category, think about the action steps that will move you toward your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight and get into better shape, daily exercise would be an action step. That is something you need to do every day (or nearly every day) in order to accomplish your goal. Be specific with the action goals. Don't just write, "eat healthy." Write down exactly which foods you want to include, and which you want to avoid. Write down the exact types of exercise you want to include, which days of the week you want to do them, and for how many minutes each day.
Enjoy the Journey - Once you begin putting your action steps into motion, it's important to understand that self-improvement is a process. You won't change everything overnight. By expecting too much, too soon, you could sabotage yourself. Instead, keep focusing on the action steps every day. Congratulate and praise yourself for keeping with it. If you begin to slack off, be firm with yourself about getting back on track, but again, don't beat yourself up. Simply refocus on your goals and begin again. All positive actions will create positive results, and as long as you keep trying, you cannot fail.
Guage Your Progress - It can be helpful to keep performing daily or weekly checks to be sure you are moving in the right direction. Simply review the goals and action steps you have set for yourself, and assess whether you are on track or not. Again, keep this process unemotional and objective. If you see areas that could use improvement, you already know the steps to take to turn them around again.
Activities like this review process can be such a powerful tool in our own development. No matter what we've achieved or haven't achieved in the past, it's never too late to start over. Each new day is a chance to invite more love, abundance, joy, peace, and success into our lives. Simply by focusing our thoughts and taking action toward our goals, we can create virtually anything we desire.
About The Author
Wendy Betterini is a freelance writer who strives to motivate, uplift, and inspire you to make your dreams a reality. Visit her website, http://www.WingsForTheHeart.com for more positive thoughts to help you on your journey.