A new year has just started off and, like you, I find myself excited about the challenges that lay ahead.
It’s been a while since I stopped listing new year’s resolutions. I failed too many times at pushing through and actually sticking with resolutions, so I stopped setting myself up for failure yet again.
What I do nowadays is decide on the most important thing(s) I wish to achieve and come up with short and long term plans to make it real.
In time, I came up with a few principles that helped me make a piece of cake out of achieving every new year’s aspiration and I hope this will help you too.
1. Dream-line — that’s dreaming with a timeline. Besides putting a time frame around my dreams, I also steer away from the “I wish” or “I’d love to” kind of statements and instead make firm statements. I don’t “wish to spend more time with my family”. Instead, I plan to “spend 3 evenings per week, every week, with my family”.
I dream-line a few days before the start of the new year and I like to dream big. You can read more about dreamlining here >>
Everybody tends to stay “realistic” or advise you to do so. But I really believe that if we dream within the boundaries of our current circumstances and limitations, we will never really achieve as much as we could.
You might, for example, not have the budget to take a one month trip to South America. Well, not YET at least. If you’ve always dreamt to visit Machu Pichu, wander around the Cuban streets or sunbathe on a Brazilian beach and you dream according to current circumstances, that dream might not belong into your next year or the next after this or the next after that one…
So don’t keep it realistic! Dream away and work towards a plan that will get you there. You won’t stay in 5 star hotels or travel first class, but you’ll do the things you’ve yearned for far too long and that’s what really matters!
2. Be specific
Ask and you shall be given, right? Absolutely! But you need to ask smartly. Be as specific as possible! If you say “I want to have more money”, your 2% paycheque raise will bring in more money, but will that contribute anything towards a better lifestyle for you and your family? I bet not.
“I want to loose weight” isn’t much better either. If you instead say “I will loose 1 kg per week, every week, until I reach my perfect 57 kg weight.”, your goal is much more specific, easier to visualise, measure and plan for.
3. Change the story you are telling yourself
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” — Norman Vincent Peale
I’m not good enough, I’ll never earn that much money, I can’t speak in front of people, my bones are too big — I’ll never be slender and fit… Sounds familiar?
We all have a story (or a few) we’ve been telling ourselves for so long and with so much conviction, we don’t consider it a story anymore but rather our reality.
You would’ve heard by now about the power of thought and it is a well known fact that what we think, we indeed become. The story we tell ourselves is shaping our attitude, behaviour, performance and,ultimately, our lives.
So start identifying what disempowering story you might be telling yourself and turn it around. However cliche it might sound, you really are able to accomplish anything and everything you set your mind to. You just need to believe in yourself and re-program your (subconscious) mind so you can really harness the power of your thoughts and achieve whatever riches (material or otherwise) you dream of.
4. Shift what you associate pain and pleasure with
This is closely related to the story you are telling yourself. If you are, for example, wanting to loose weight and live a healthier lifestyle…
Do you think most often about how difficult it is, all the goodies you have to give up or how tiring your gym routine is? If you do, then you are associating a whole lot of pain with your attempt to get fit and healthy. That is a sure path to failure.
Instead, think of all the energy you will have once your healthy eating and working out become habits. Think of how beautiful you’ll feel in your skin, how much more comfortable you will feel come summer and how all your friends and family will admire you once you get there.
That applies to any sort of changes you are trying to implement and make stick in your life. Want to get out of a toxic relationship? Forget about how lonely you will feel of all the other partners your future ex will have. Instead focus on how liberated you will feel, free to be yourself and wait for the person that will treat you as wonderful as you deserve.
Remember something else: pain is only temporary! The pleasure of achieving your goals will be there to stay. Just go through the motions until the change becomes your new habit!
5. Put pen to paper
This is something that I advocate consistently because it has worked wonders for me.
I believe there’s nothing like writing down your goals and aspirations and the plan that will get you one step closer to it all every day.
When you write things down the old-fashioned way (not on your computer notes or as a reminder in your phone), your can visualise your goals much clearer.
A sense of self-accountability is also a default for me. When it’s written down, I am compelled to get on with it until I get it done.
If you haven’t done this already, grab yourself a journal and start dream-lining, you’ll be surprised how much more you will achieve.
6. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
My parents always used to tell me that practice and repetition make perfect.
Your subconscious mind doesn’t know if what you tell it is true or not. The story we keep repeating to ourselves becomes a pattern we mistake for reality, remember?
On that note, once you’ve dream-lined as specific as possible, changed the story you tell yourself to a positive, empowering one and written it all down, make sure to go back to your journal every single day!
Read your goals, aspirations and plan of action every morning and every evening and do it out loud. The power of thought and the law of attraction have their own ways of getting the universe to conspire in helping you live your dreams.
Whatever you want to achieve, have a clear goal defined, make sure you do it for the right reasons, come up with a plan on how you are going to reach your goals and get to work! Remember that nobody can do your pushups for you! Any change is possible when you truly decide to give yourself the kind of lifestyle and opportunities you know you deserve!