Did you make a new year’s resolution?

Are you sticking to it, starting to waver, or have you given up already?

There’s a reason so many resolutions don’t become reality and it’s not simply a lack of willpower.

The problem is, many of us state our big picture dreams as our resolutions and then beat ourselves up when we don’t achieve them. We mistake our dreams for goals and in the process set ourselves up for failure.

We say things like: I want to lose weight; get fit; write a book; quit smoking; be less stressed; earn more money; go on an overseas holiday – and they’re all great, but they’re big picture, generic, overwhelming, and without direction.

That’s why we give up. Because after making such a big resolution, we don’t put the steps in place to achieve success.

Here are 10 steps to change that by helping you shift your dream to a goal, then a plan, and then reality this year:

1. Identify your dream (this should be no trouble as it’s most likely your current resolution).

2. Ask yourself, why is this dream important to me? Knowing the ‘why’ provides your motivation and will help you pinpoint the ‘what’ and ‘how’.

For example; If your dream is ‘I want to lose weight’ – that isn’t very exciting. In fact, it can feel like a chore or punishment.

But if you ask yourself why losing weight is important to you, you may come up with something like: ‘I want to be able to buy clothes off the rack in any store, lower my chances of getting type 2 diabetes, and have the energy to run around with my kids’. THAT is something you can get motivated about.

3. Get clear on what success looks like for you. Is it finishing the project, being able to run a certain distance, going on that holiday, or writing the first draft? You need to be able to define it to achieve it.

4. Set a goal (or multiple goals) that will help you achieve your dream, plus your why and your definition of success. Make that goal SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

For example: By the end of 2019 I will have written the first draft of a full-length novel (approx. 80,000 words).

5. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it. It might be on your fridge, an office wall, the inside of your wardrobe – anywhere you will see it frequently. You may want to create a mood/inspiration board to further motivate you.

6. Plan: This step is vital. How are you going to get there? Break your goal down into small and specific actions. What do you need to do to make it happen? Just like your goal, make your plan SMART.

For example: I will write 300 words per day first thing in the morning; walk for 30 minutes four times a week; save all my $5 notes in a special travel fund jar.

7. Identify potential roadblocks and how you can remove them. Work these steps into your plan.

For example: I know perfectionism is a problem for me when I write as I tend to go back over my work obsessively and not move on. To remove this roadblock, I add this provision into my writing plans: I will write 300 words per day first thing in the morning and am not allowed to read back over them until the entire first draft is finished because momentum is key.

8. Tell someone: Make yourself accountable in order to make your goal ‘real’. Choose someone who will be your champion; someone who will encourage you and celebrate your success, but not let you off the hook too easily if (and when) you want to give up.

9. Do it! Start. Motivation follows action, not the other way around. Don’t wait for a perfect time to start because that time will never come. Take personal responsibility for your life. Do the work (even when you don’t want to), make your actions habit, and be honest about excuses. That said, recognise that life may get in the way sometimes and if it does, reset or adjust your goal rather than take an all-or-nothing approach. A goal delayed is better than a goal dumped.

10. Celebrate. Recognise your achievements at mini-milestones and celebrate your success, both on the journey, and at the end. Congratulate yourself on doing what the majority of people won’t – setting a resolution and seeing it through.

Leah Mether helps people get out of their own way and step up for success with the development of ‘soft skills’ (which are actually really hard).

She is a trainer, speaker, author, mentor, coach and consultant.

To find out more about Leah’s work and her upcoming seminars, visit www.leahmether.com.au.