GETTING AHEAD OF THE GAME
I’ll be honest, I don’t tend to set New Years’ resolutions these days. It’s not that I don’t think they’re important, on the contrary. However, according to Forbes, 80% of people confess to not sticking to them beyond February every year because they set an intention but don’t actually plan how they intend to execute on their goals. I was almost certainly one of those people in the past. Which is why I like to get ahead of the game now instead.
As 2022 is drawing to close, I’m taking time to reflect on how my year has been and what changes I’m implementing to make 2023 my best year yet.
If you’re reading this, chances are you are also focussed on how to crush your goals in 2023. So below are 7 steps I’ll be taking to ensure I have the greatest chance of success before the New Year is even upon us!
1. DO A LIFE MOT
One of the most important things I’m doing and like to do every year, is what I call a ‘life MOT’. By this I mean, I do a review of my life as it stands and take stock of where I am, from my finances to my health, relationships and personal development. I write down what my achievements have been and what have been my learnings from the year to date and consider what’s not working for me and what I need to change to live my best life.
Metaphorically speaking, I pause from driving, and take some time to step back and check how things are looking. Whilst working ‘in’ our lives is mandatory, taking time to work ‘on’ our lives gives us an opportunity to create great transformation.
I have realised that in my life, my focus has very much been around work, but what I’ve been lacking is the right level of structure in some of my daily tasks to make sure my home life runs smoothly. So I’ve started now. I am not waiting for two months to execute on practicing my new disciplines. Instead, I’ve recognised what changes I need to make and am making them now with full intention. By doing so, I am laying the foundation for a great start to 2023.
By actioning your goals sooner, you can enter the New Year positively with greater clarity on what you want to achieve because you’ve given yourself a head start. For me, knowing I’m winning the game before I’ve even started, is motivation enough!
2. CHECK YOUR MINDSET
Mindset is everything when it comes to accomplishing my goals. Which is why I like to check in with myself to make sure that my thoughts are truly aligned with what I want to achieve. As I mentioned in my previous post, the relationship we have with ourselves is paramount for future proofing our success.
How we think, what we say to ourselves and our levels of self belief are all strongly linked to how likely we are to attract what we desire into our lives. When we approach things with a fixed mindset with statements such as ‘I can’t’, ‘it won’t work’, ‘I’m not good enough’ ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘I’ll start tomorrow’, we severely limit our opportunity for growth. We may still make some progress but our lack of self belief and our feeling of being ‘stuck’ will hold us back from really getting us to where we want to be.
The best thing I’ve done in my life this year, is first to acknowledge the areas of my life I needed to change and then to take decisive action to make those changes. I shifted my mindset from one of feeling overwhelmed to one of ‘I can do this’ and ‘going back is no longer a choice’. I’m calling it my ‘life transformation’.
By taking a holistic approach to my life rather than focussing on just one area, I’ve experienced a real shift in my mindset. I have always been driven with a sense of purpose but I have developed the realisation that everything starts and ends with me. If I am feeling like I’m in control of more than one area of my life, by default I am also feeling more empowered. When we feel empowered, our confidence grows, our energy vibrates at a higher level and we attract more opportunities into our life.
To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, I’m taking small steps towards creating more structure and organisation in my life, but a giant leap in terms of increasing my overall happiness!
3. HAVE A PLAN
Having goals is great but having a plan and process for executing them is essential. The first thing we can do is create SMART goals. Smart being an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Specific. Write down and be as clear as you can when it comes to your goals. What are you trying to achieve and what are the steps you will take to successfully implement it?
Measurable. How will you measure your progress? For example, if wanted to increase the revenue in your business, how many new clients would you need to bring on?
Achievable. Can you achieve the goals by yourself or do you need outside help or support? If you don’t currently have the skills, how can you acquire them? Are your goals realistic?
Relevant. Do your goals align with your values and how will achieving them help you and contribute to your long-term ambitions? Map out how by achieving them, they will help you long term.
Time-bound. Set yourself a deadline by when you will achieve your goal in order to stay focussed and create daily action to stay on track.
When you have mapped out your smart goals, it’s important to review your plan regularly to make sure you’re staying on track. By creating a framework as shown above, and following it with intentional action, you are more likely to succeed in having clarity on and attaining your goals.
4. TAKE CONSISTENT ACTION
Many of us start out with good intention when setting and following our goals, but as has been proven above, we often fail to see them through. Think of a goal you’ve set previously that you didn’t achieve and ask yourself with complete honesty why you didn’t achieve it? Did you lose motivation and return to old habits, did life get in the way or did you simply not plan out how you were going to achieve the goal and therefore lose your way?
Perhaps you did achieve your goal, but once you did so, you relaxed because you didn’t have a plan beyond the goal and therefore ended up back where you started. By assessing the reasons why things didn’t work last time, we can learn and correct our behaviours this time round.
The key to a successful outcome is not only to have the right mindset and a good plan, but to also take consistent action. It is not enough to wait until we feel motivated, as motivation is temporary. We must instead make our daily tasks enduring habits that we do without question. It takes on average 66 days to develop a new habit but through consistency and repetition we will get ever closer to achieving our goals.
Quote from The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino:
“I will persist until I succeed. Success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner. I will consider each day’s efforts as but one blow of my blade against a mighty oak. The first blow may cause not a tremor in the wood, nor the second nor the third. Each blow of itself maybe trifling and seem of no consequence. Yet from childish swipes, the oak will eventually tumble. So it will be with my efforts of today.”
5. BE DISCIPLINED AROUND STRUCTURE
One of the biggest and what might seem incredibly obvious Eureka moments for me was the importance of not to just create structure in my life but to then be disciplined within that structure. We can all build a framework for success in our lives, but how we operate within that framework and how we execute discipline is the key to making it happen. Think of it as the cherry to your Bakewell tart. Without the cherry on top it simply doesn’t work!
So how do we create discipline, if by nature, it’s not something we consider to be a strength? We can begin by being mindful and doing a SWOT analysis around who we are. SWOT meaning, what are our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
When I carried this out for myself I was able to identify that home organisation was one of my weaknesses. My strength was having the self awareness to recognise it and be willing to change. The opportunity was to create a more structured environment for myself and my children to thrive in and the threat was by not doing I would continue to feel overwhelmed and disorganised.
Being disciplined means taking conscious action and setting yourself time blocks around what you do each day to make things run smoothly.
6. FIND A COACH OR MENTOR
I cannot stress enough the importance of finding the right coach or mentor to help you get to where you need to be. I have worked with a number of coaches and mentors over the last few years and it has been of huge benefit to me, in terms of helping me with my business.
The majority of successful people at some point in their lives, have invested or continue to invest, in this area. Whether that be a life coach, fitness coach, business coach, the main advantage to having one, is that they are able to help you get focussed, hold you accountable and help you see things from a different perspective based on their expert knowledge.
I have worked as a personal brand strategist with many clients now who have either been starting out with their personal brand, or who were taking their business in a fresh direction. As a result they needed help defining what their messaging should be and how they could stand out and elevate themselves online.
By working together we were able to establish real clarity in who they were as a personal brand, what direction they were heading in and how they could craft a powerful brand story that they could tell both through their messaging and their visual branding. Whilst they could have chosen to go it alone, by working with a professional that had the expertise they needed, they were able to get to where they needed to be with more certainty and vision.
If you aren’t in a position where you can afford to financially invest in a coach or mentor on a one-to-one basis, you can alway try group coaching, or perhaps you have a good friend or family member who is experienced in what goal you’re looking to achieve. Audio books are also a great way of getting guidance that can help point you in the right direction.
However, make sure you choose whoever you work with wisely and by asking questions about how they can help. Only work with people who you feel aligned with and who understand what you’re trying to achieve. Working with the wrong people will otherwise set you back rather than help you with your plan.
7. REMEMBER YOUR WHY
When we set ourselves goals, they should be achievable but are not always easy. As a result, at some point you may find yourself feeling disillusioned, losing motivation, or wanting to quit. When this happens and things get hard, remind yourself of your why. Why did you choose to go on this journey and what compelled you to set your goals?
Most of us set goals from a place of optimism, but when life gets in the way and we get off track, the most important thing we can do is dig deep and find our inner resilience to push through.
Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” In other words, those who tend to achieve their goals, do so because they have the necessary self belief to achieve them, despite any setbacks or failures. They also have a strong emotional connection to their why and use it to drive themselves forward no matter what life throws at them.
So remember to write your why down and keep it somewhere visible so you can refer back to it when needed. This will help you focus on your objectives and along with the other steps above, will help you crush your goals in 2023 and beyond!