January 15, 2019

Write a New Chapter This Year!

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.
We can help write that story by setting goals.”

– Melody Beattie

At the onset of a new year, we are all given a chance to reflect on the year previous and look forward towards the year ahead. We set new goals, write them down in our journals, post them on social media, or maybe tape them up on the fridge. But for many of us, year over year, we find ourselves in the same place; a sense of dissatisfaction from not achieving the goals we had planned for the year.

The science is clear; those who set goals are far and above more successful. So if we know goal setting is critical to our success, then why do we struggle to achieve them?  There are many reasons, but here the most common reasons many fail to achieve our goals:

  • Fear of failure
  • Failing to plan
  • Analysis paralysis
  • Loss of focus
  • Busyness
  • Lack of accountability

The good news is this doesn’t have to be your story this year! As you move into this new year, think about these 5 points that will help you be more effective in achieving your goals:

  1. Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Proceed Positively
  4. Persevere
  5. Make a Promise

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry famously said, A goal without a plan is just a wish.”; and he couldn’t have been more right. Formulating a solid plan for achieving your goals is the most important step. When you form your goals, create a desired outcome for each one. A desired outcome is a brief description of exactly what you want to achieve when your goal is finished. This is the most critical step because it directs the action steps you need to take to complete your goals. An action step is a concrete action that can be taken right away to begin working towards achieving that goal. Once the action steps are created for each goal, ensure they are scheduled in your calendar.

Next, prepare. Liken this second step to packing your gym bag for a workout. You don’t just arrive at the gym unprepared, wishing you had the right clothes on. You prepare ahead of time. Put in place, today, the people and provisions you need to keep your goal moving to the finish line.

The third step is to proceed positively.  As you begin to move towards your goals, do so with a positive outlook. Positivity will keep your actions moving toward completion. Without a positive outlook, we lose hope and lack that extra effort needed to realize our goals.

The next action is to persevere. Perseverance is the less glamorous secret of every elite athlete or master of a craft. Angela Duckworth in her book Grit states, “One form of perseverance is the daily discipline of trying to do things better than we did yesterday.” It’s the day in, day out, slogging through our plan with consistent discipline that few people recognize. Perseverance will cost you more comfort, recognition, and time than you may want to give. But the reward of perseverance is achievement in its fullest measure.

The last and most important point is to make a promise. Make a promise to yourself, but more importantly, make a promise to a friend, mentor, trusted advisor or colleague. Share your goals and action steps with them and commit to sharing your progress along the way. Invite them to hold you accountable to your promise.

This year, you’ve got a clean slate, and a new chapter to write. Make this the year where you achieve all you’ve set out to do and more!