Like most of us I found the start of a new year meant my mind kept turning to the old chestnut of making resolutions, and the subject seemed to be all over social media during the first weeks of January. I’ve found other ways to set goals that work better for me but a lot of people are resolved to change things in a big way when a new year dawns – and they really want to do it too.
There’s already loads of advice out there.
It does seem as if everywhere we look at the start of a new year there are suggestions on how to ‘stick’ to our resolutions, on how new habits can be created and maintained, on how to develop discipline and an iron will (whatever that is!). You can search the internet or pick up a magazine and find pages of really useful stuff that could help keep you motivated. I’m not dismissing them – you may find some tips that work for you (in fact, I contributed to this deluge of advice in a piece I wrote for Henpicked!).
So what exactly is it that I’m suggesting?
Whether it’s about major life changes or minor weight loss to get in to the holiday bikini, I think it’s really important to look at the WHY. Why do we want those things and how do they fit with what’s really important to us?
For me it’s fundamental. You won’t stick to a goal that doesn’t feel right to you and doesn’t fit with everything that’s going on in your life and the things that you value – in coaching terminology we say a goal must be congruent.
If you’re setting your sights on something because you think that’s what you should be doing or because it seems like the next logical step in your life/career, you are going to struggle much more with staying on track. And it’s not because you have no willpower or discipline, it’s because it doesn’t come from your heart.
How do you know what really drives YOU?
Last year I wrote about setting our intentions in a way that would help us stick to them and I still hold to that advice – we definitely need to take positive steps to turn the good intentions into actions.
But what I’ve really learned from working with the lovely women I support is that your intentions have to be right for YOU – that they come from your core values and that you’re really passionate about the outcomes.
So here are my 3 tips on how to find your big WHY:
- Is what you want to change REALLY what needs changing?
If I started working with you as a client one of the first things we’d probably do is look at what’s going on in the different areas of your life and find out how happy you are with each of those areas. It would give us a jumping off point for our work together and something to refer back to as you progress with your goals.
Get yourself a piece of paper and write down headings: career, health, fun/recreation, money, friends/family, romance/significant other, personal growth, physical environment (change or add other things to suit yourself). Now score each area from 1 to 10 (1 being ‘pretty rubbish’ and 10 being ‘couldn’t be better’). Don’t think about it too much – go with your gut feeling.
It can be a real surprise!
Because often the area that needs the work is NOT what you think. You may think that you need a new job when it’s your close relationships that are actually making you dissatisfied.
You need to look at every aspect of your life as honestly as you can and be honest about how fulfilled you are by each of them.
- What’s really important to you about those parts of your life that aren’t making you happy?
Take the 2 or 3 areas that scored lowest for you and let’s look at what those mean to you and what values you attach to each of them.
For instance, if money scored low for you, really dig down in to find out what money represents for you. Is it scoring low because you haven’t got enough of it or because it leaves a bad taste in your mouth even thinking about it? Is it important to you to have just enough to be comfortable or do you need savings in the bank to feel happiest? Do you want to be debt free or is it more important to you to have nice things? Maybe you actually despise your dependence on money and would like to be free of the cash economy!
Start with the areas that score lowest but you can go back and do the same thing for all the headings on your list too.
- Once you’re clear on your purpose you can get going on making real change
What do I mean when I say ‘your purpose’? I mean what’s really important to you and the reasons WHY you do the things you do (or the things you would do if you really understood your purpose!).
With this knowledge you’re going to make decisions and choices that will really support your change and make sticking to your goals so much easier; you’ll be living a more conscious life and that life will be one that you created for yourself.
And building the life you want from a place of knowing your WHY means that your goals, your intentions, your resolutions will grow out of that strong foundation of self-knowledge.
Don’t forget to contact me to see how I can help you get clear and keep you accountable as you make all these amazing changes.
Now, tell me, how’s it going with your goals and intentions – and what keeps you on track? Use the comments below to reply.
Writing this I realised that I really want to write more about the theme in my next blog – finding what you love – because that helps so much when you’re trying to work out what you want to do with the rest of your life!
Since publishing this post I’ve shared an article on my social media streams that’s very relevant so I’m sharing the link here.