New year, new beginnings.
It can be exciting, scary and a stack of emotions in between. Deep inside we know that here lies the opportunity of change we’ve been secretly waiting for — to eat healthier, to save money, to bring to life that passion project.
Now, let’s be real. We also know that fewer than 10 percent of us manage to stick to New Year’s resolutions for more than a few months.
I too once struggled with turning dreams into reality. It felt like running on a treadmill — you keep sweating and yet you ain’t going nowhere, baby.
By studying some of the world’s top performers (and by being my own little guinea pig), I’ve realized that there are specific daily habits, practices, and mindsets that encourage you to consciously create the life that makes sense to you.
This system that I am about to share with you works. But I am warning you — ideas don’t work unless you do the work. Practice and consistency are fundamental to its success.
Let’s do this! Here are five simple, yet powerful, steps for you design a life you love in 2019.
1. Start where you are
The journey of planning 2019 begins with an honest assessment of where you are now.
A great self-assessment exercise is the “Circle of Life”, which you can find in the My Life Journal.
You can recreate this exercise in your own journal. All you need to do is to draw a wheel-shaped graph divided into ten sections, one for each major area of your life. Each section has a progress bar to fill in from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) based on how satisfied you are in that area of life.
The point here is to do a quick assessment. Go with your gut feeling!
Next, choose the three main areas you want to focus over the year. Note that those three areas do not necessarily need to be the ones you feel the lowest at the moment. It’s all about knowing what your priorities are.
2. Define clear goals
Then for each one of those three areas, write down one major S.M.A.R.T. goal to be accomplished.
For example, if one of the areas of life you want to focus on is health, a S.M.A.R.T goal could be “Increase muscle mass by 5% by December 31st, 2019.”
When you are goal setting, remember to aim for something you really want to do, not something you think you should do.
This is key and it’s the reason why 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail — because they’re setting goals that require an enormous amount of willpower and thus the process tends to be unenjoyable.
Knowing the Why behind your goal and rewarding yourself along the way are two great strategies to make sure you stick with your goals.
Without focus, deadlines, and clearly defined goals, it’s easy to sideline your goals and make procrastination your excuse to not achieve what you set out to do.
3. Create new, empowering habits
Read your new goals out loud and let it soak in. Take a deep breath. Are you ready?
It’s time to lay down a plan that will move you closer to your life vision. Now ask yourself, “What can I do today and every day to move towards my goals?”
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The answers lie in your daily habits. They shape your life, so we better choose them wisely. These are also the behaviors that will help you accomplish your goals and allow you to step into your highest self. Your potential genius is about the rituals, habits, and routines you set for yourself.
For each goal, create a specific habit to make it a reality. Write them down in your habit tracker and start tracking them daily.
4. Be happy and live with intention
With your S.M.A.R.T. goals defined and your habits tracker laid out, it’s time to take action and get the needle moving.
It’s great to visualize your future and create a plan for it. It’s exciting, isn’t it? Seeing the possibilities lying ahead…
However, your vision of the future and your happiness in the now should, ideally, be in balance. Too much of one or the other will most likely create imbalance and limitation.
Truth is that being happy in the now is key not only for your own well-being but also to attract more goodness in life. In fact, research has shown that happiness can improve your performance at your job and help you learn faster. Fascinating!
Perhaps the one single exercise that leads to a happiness boost is the practice of gratitude. Write down every morning in your gratitude journal 3 things you are thankful for in life and watch the magic unfold all around you!
5. Reflect and learn
There’s something special about reflecting on what we’ve done in the past and
analyzing our progression.
First, you gain a deeper understanding of what you’ve done and what you’ve learned. Second, it develops your self-efficacy — that is, the belief in your own abilities. The more you believe you have the ability to perform well, the more you do perform well.
Reflecting also allows you to take your weekly or daily goals and make sure you are doing the right things to achieve them. It is the time to slow down and acknowledge how far you’ve come.
Look back at your “Circle of Life” and celebrate your little wins and your progress. You are doing great!
May 2019 be THE year. Make it a good one.