Today I should have been ringing in the New Year in Palma de Mallorca.
Instead, I am in Peterborough.
And not for New Year’s Eve celebrations - no, to visit Her Majesty's Passport Office.
My husband, daughter and I were due to fly to Mallorca yesterday. I have been working very hard for months to get everything done so that we were all ready to leave on 30th December (just after hosting 17 for Christmas lunch).
But when I went to check-in online the day before our flight, I discovered that my daughter’s passport had expired at the end of November…
So instead of cava and jamón in a Palman Plaza tonight, it will be an Indian takeaway at home.
But actually, this experience has been a good lesson in goal-setting: a reminder that no matter however hard you try, sometimes you don’t achieve your goals.
This is very relevant for New Year’s Eve, where many of us will be engaging in an orgy of Resolution-making. And these are often unrealistic, unachievable - and abandoned within a week.
This isn’t usually because we don’t know what to do to achieve our Resolutions.
The “what” is often pretty simple.
It’s the “why”, the motivation, that’s missing.
So this year, try this simple three step process to help you achieve your goals:
1. Be selective
Don’t try to overhaul your whole life overnight - you will just get overwhelmed and give up on them all.
Instead, pick the three goals that are going to make the biggest difference this year, and focus on making them specific and achievable.
Or if you prefer, allocate one goal to each month of the year.
Take a moment to think how much you will have achieved by this time in 2019 if you really follow-through on one goal each month. It would be transformational.
2. Frame it positively
Often we set ourselves a goal using negative language: “I want to be less stressed”; “I want to be less out of shape”; “I want to get out of debt”.
The problem is, this language is not very inspiring or motivating.
And, worse, in some cases (with stress, for example) it only reinforces that thing you are trying to stop: your brain hears the word “stressed”, and that reminds it of being stressed. This is the opposite of what you want.
Instead, make sure you express your goal positively: “I want to feel calm at work”; “I want to be able to run effortlessly”; “I want to feel happy and confident about my financial situation".
This is a much more motivating objective, and will encourage you take the steps necessary to achieve them.
3. Make it real
Human beings are visually motivated: in other words, we are much better at moving towards something we can see. Think of a race: you run faster when you are chasing someone.
So use this to your advantage. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Then think about what you will see, hear and feel when you have achieved each of your goals. How good would that be? In what way, specifically?
Write this down, and remind yourself of it regularly (once a day ideally), to keep that inspiration vividly alive.
These three tips will help you overcome the usual barriers to change we all face: procrastination, inertia and overwhelm.
And instead you will have that amazing feeling of success and achievement after you follow-through, do what you know needs to be done, and achieve the change you want in your life.
So what are my resolutions this year?
The usual: drink more water, meditate every day, take up running again.
But there is also a new one this year: put the expiry dates of all our passports into my Google calendar…
Happy New Year!
If you want any help with goal-setting, particularly around how to transform your career in 2019, do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What goals do you have for 2019?