Spring Time Goal Setting: Getting the Most out of your New Year’s Resolutions

Article by Daniel Browne 06.04.15

How are your New Year’s resolutions going? You know, the goals you set yourself at the beginning of the year and told yourself you WILL achieve. By the time spring arrives it’s common for resolutions to have been long forgotten about. Many people will have started with good intentions, but with statistics showing that 88% of people give up on their resolutions you can at least take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone if your resolutions have fizzled out.

However, just because your resolutions haven’t worked out during the first three months of 2015, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be achieved during the remaining nine months of the year.

You may recall one of my previous articles in which I detailed my top tips for achieving in 2015. One of the tips I gave was to keep in mind that every day can be a starting point. There are 365 days in a year, so if you haven’t made a start on your resolutions yet or you have just about given up, do remember that you still have time to kick-start your promise to achieve those goals.

Setting goals enables us to start the journey to achieving something that will make a real and positive difference to our lives, and I believe that it is worth the effort. With this in mind, I thought I’d share some more of my knowledge on the subject of goal setting and give you a few extra tips to help you achieve this year.

The first thing to do when thinking about what your goals could be, is to create a space in which you can dream. To achieve this you could go for a walk in a nature setting (forest, walking on some hills or in the countryside), go for coffee in a nice cafe, or sit back in a comfy chair to relax and listen to some music. Personally I find the latter suggestion the most thought provoking for me, but everybody is different so do what suits you best. Once relaxed you can get going. Ask yourself questions, such as:

1. If I knew I was going to be successful, what would I be doing with my life?
2. If I had unlimited money and time, how would my life change and what would I do with that spare time and money?
3. What did I love doing as a child and how can I replicate similar activities now?
4. When nobody is placing demands on me, what do I love to do and why?

Once you have answered those questions, either in your head or by writing down the answers, you are ready to list your goals. When writing your list of goals, start with the ones that you already know you want to achieve. Next, sit back and ask yourself what else you want to achieve. Start by writing down everything that comes into your mind and use positive phrases such as ‘I want to move house’ rather than negative ones like ‘I don’t want to stay in this house’.

Once your list is written, leave it for 24 hours and then come back to it. You can add to it at that point if you wish to do so, or you can take stuff off the list, but go through the list and put a tick next to the goals that resonate with you. It is important that you don’t self-censor during this process. Be completely open and honest with yourself about what it is you want to achieve.

When you have done this, go through the list and tick again. Keep repeating until you have, at most, five goals on your list.

These are your goals for the year ahead, and this is now your foundation that you have laid. Take a look at your list and then cast your mind forward in time. Imagine that you are at the end of the year, looking back and reflecting over the past 12 months. What are you looking back on? Have things changed? Or is it the same as every other year? Will the previous 12 months have been intervening and enabled you to get that new qualification, or lose that excess weight, or overcome your particular issue. If you can imagine yourself one year from now, it will become easier to identify the goals that are most important to you. From there you can begin to plan what you need to do next in order to achieve your goal.

Once you have your goals written down, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Why is it important that I achieve that goal?
2. What will I get if I achieve it?
3. What will it cost me if I don’t?

It’s good to weigh up the consequences of achieving and not achieving your goas. The positives should far outweigh the negatives and spur you on to achieve your goals.

So, to summarise, here are my top tips to help you achieve this coming year:

• Remember that the more powerful and compelling you can make your goals, the greater your chance of sticking with them throughout the year.
• When considering your goals, it’s good to strike a balance between long term goals and those which can be achieved quickly.
• Include some goals in your top five that will bring quick results. This will help to build your confidence in achieving the longer term goals.
• Be completely honest with yourself.

Finally, and most importantly, whatever your goals for the year are, it’s important that you make them SMART. I use this process with my clients and also with myself. Each of your goals should be:

SPECIFIC: What exactly do you want to achieve?

MEASURABLE: How will you know when you have achieved it?

ACHIEVABLE: How can your goal be attained? What skills or support do you need?

RELEVANT: Is this goal worthwhile to you?

TIMED: When do you plan to start and finish the goal?

That’s all on goal setting for now. As always, I hope that you can take something from it to apply to your own life. Here’s to 2015 being a year of achievement.