If you’re happy with how everything is tracking in your life, then there’s of course no need to do anything differently to what you’re already doing. After all if you want to keep getting the same outcomes or results you generally speaking just need to keep doing what you’re doing – it’s obviously working.
BUT if things are not entirely what you want, then the only way to change that is to do something different. Waiting for the ducks to be in a row or for the stars to align – it’s never going to happen, so you’re going to have to Just Do It yourself.
Many people try to create change by making new year’s resolutions. I used to be one of them. However, I gave up doing them awhile back. Why? Because all they ever did was make me feel either obligated to stick to them or guilty if I didn’t! I don’t like living my life feeling like I’m obligated to do something. …and guilt is an exhausting and highly ineffective motivator over the long term.
New year’s resolutions are usually vague and don’t have any specific actions or measurables attached to them so in this way they’re a bit like a “nice to have” without a plan for achieving it. That’s another reason they don’t last for long.
So, how can you make change without relying on resolutions and a sense of obligation?
Set intentions and focuses
Consider for a moment two key points: Firstly, where do you want to head this year? What do you want the year to yield for you? What do you want to look back on as having done or achieved this year? And secondly, why do you want to go there, why is it important for you to do or achieve this? To turn up your motivation for this journey and maybe even a commitment to completion if it’s something you’re going to need to “dig deep” for, the reasons “why” may actually be the most important part of this.
If you’re going to do something, it makes sense to understand, connect with and own the reasons why you want to do it. So often people say they want to do or have something without clearly understanding the reasons behind their desire. …and if you’re not sure entirely why you really want something, maybe there isn’t a strong enough pull towards it – you’re better off picking something else to focus on which does fire you up.
Something else that can mess with our motivation is when our reasons for wanting something are perhaps more about what we think others want for us or what we think we should be doing to please or satisfy them instead of focusing more on why WE ourselves want to attain it. Get really clear about this and own your reasons for doing what you do. Who knows – what you thought you wanted may turn out not to be relevant or important to you.
Big picture aims/goals
I used to set lots of micro-goals, have long lists and many tasks. No wonder I felt overwhelmed! I’d also often underestimate how much effort and time it would require to get it all done and then feel disappointed and frustrated when after a set period of time (back then I’d set 3 monthly goals) my to-do list remained longer than my “done” list. It didn’t seem to matter how hard I worked or how much I achieved, it never felt like I’d done enough. Not a very satisfying or energising way to live.
Now I only think of a few big-picture goal categories a year and allow myself plenty of flexibility around how I might go about achieving these. Flexibility is key for me to remain motivated and connected to the goal, to allow for the inevitable glitches and unforeseen events that pop up and threaten to derail progress and also to keep me interested. I get bored easily and work best when I can change tack when I think it’s the best thing to do.
We’re asking questions of ourselves, of other people and in various areas of our lives constantly and usually without paying too much attention. They may even be unconscious. Why not bring this to your conscious awareness and ask some empowering and action-enhancing quality questions that could take you closer to where you want to be?
Some powerful questions you could choose to ask of 2018 could be:
- What am I going to do more of?
- What am I going to do less of?
- What kind of person do I want to be this year?
- What kind of improvements do I want to make – in my attitude, my relationships, my career, my knowledge, my health?
- In which areas of my life do I want to grow?
- In what ways do I want 2018 to be different from 2017? What can I do about this, myself?
- What are my key areas of focus going to be this year?
- Who do I want to see more of this year?
- Who do I want to see less of this year?
- What personal development focuses will I have this year?
- What professional development focuses will I have this year?
- What things do I want to try this year that I have always wanted to and haven’t yet got around to?
- What do I want to learn this year?
- What do I want to accomplish this year?
- What books do I want to read?
Think of some questions you’d like to ask of your year, make some plans, block space in your diary and go for it to make 2018 a year to remember for all the right reasons.