You may have tried to change your life before without much success.
However, with an effective process, it’s possible to achieve more in a single year than most manage to achieve in a lifetime.
Most New Year’s resolutions are little more than wish-lists with no chance of success.
In fact, the average person forgets all about their resolution within a few weeks.
Setting goals is a powerful process, but only if done correctly.
There’s much more to be done than making a list of desires and then waiting passively for them to be delivered.
Your current life situation is a combination of several factors. Your beliefs, past, habits, expectations, and resources are all factors.
A spectacular life requires balance. Wealth isn’t a substitute for poor health. A great relationship isn’t a substitute for having insufﬁcient ﬁnancial resources.
Making the next year the best year of your life is within your control.
To put it another way:
You can achieve more in a single year than most achieve in a lifetime!
But there are several requirements.
You have to know what you want, develop habits that support your goals, drop the habits that don’t support your goals, deal with obstacles, and stay the course.
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” — Vince Lombardi
Review Your Past
Common wisdom suggests that you should keep looking forward and leave the past in your rear-view mirror, but this can be a mistake.
The past has much to reveal. At the very least, you can learn where you’ve made mistakes. This is important, because you’ve been making the same mistakes over your lifetime.
- The reason your last relationship ended is likely to be the same reason your next relationship will end.
- Financial challenges repeat themselves.
- Your past challenges with work will be your future challenges at work.
- Your diet and exercise plans will fail for the same reasons they’ve failed in the past.
Failing to examine and address the challenges of the past is choosing to repeat your challenges and failures throughout the rest of your life.
The past also includes some pretty great things. Failing to identify these things is an obstacle to enjoying similar success in the future.
While answering the following questions, consider all areas of your life:
- Spiritual/religious activities
Reviewing the past is a critical component of creating the future:
(1) What were the highlights from last year? Create a list of say 5 positive experiences from the last year. Go with your gut. Anything that ﬁlls you with positive emotions can be a highlight.
Avoid relying on society’s values when deﬁning your own success.
It’s a success if it feels like a success.
That may or may not align with conventional measures of success.
Decide for yourself.
(2) What were the low points and how could they have been avoided? It wasn’t all good. There had to be a few days or experiences you don’t want to repeat. Make a list of them and consider how these experiences could have been avoided. Minimizing the low-points in life is as crucial to your happiness as adding high points.
(3) What were the best decisions you made over the last year? You undoubtedly made some shrewd decisions last year.
What were they?
How can you apply this information in the future?
(4) What were the worst decisions from the last year? Everyone makes mistakes.
What were yours?
When you look even further into the past, have you made similar bad decisions?
(5) What are ﬁve positive habits you’d like to add this year? Consider the long-reaching characteristics of habits.
What are a few habits you can add that will make a big difference over the long haul?
(6) What are ﬁve habits you’d like to eliminate this year? Bad habits can ruin your life.
Which of your negative habits would enhance your life the most if you were able to eliminate them?
(7) What are the most important relationships in your life and why? We’re all limited by our personal resources. Good relationships require time and mental effort. It only makes sense to spend those resources on the most important relationships. Think also about past relationships you’d like to renew.
It’s also useful to determine why those relationships are important.
What do you receive from these relationships that makes them important?
(8) Which relationships should you consider ending or minimizing? Just as you’ve accumulated possessions that now clutter your life,
you have relationships that need decluttering too!
Consider all of your relationships, personal and professional. Which of these no longer serve you?
Relationships are never static. It’s common for a relationship to change signiﬁcantly over time.
Are you aware of your past? Take advantage of your past experiences. Examine your past and apply that information to the future. You’ll ﬁnd that it’s common to make the same mistakes over and over. End the cycle by thoroughly reviewing your past.
“Learn from the past, look to the future, but live in the present.” — Petra Nemcova
Strive for Balance
Unless you’ve intentionally put your life in balance, it’s most likely unbalanced.
Having balance among the various parts of your life is necessary for happiness and well-rounded success.
Focus on the areas of your life that you would consider low-rated.
If your life is out of balance, you could:
- Be ﬁnancially successful at the expense of your social life.
- Be successful at your career at the expense of your relationships.
- Be successful at your spiritual interests at the expense of your career.
Without balance, you’ll be suffering in at least one aspect of your life.
This can be tricky. We live in a society that worships those that have accomplished amazing things, often at great expense. While it’s easy to admire these people, many of them are very unhappy. By giving too much attention to any single area of your life, other parts of your life will suffer.
“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar
Design Your Life Before Setting Goals
Determine the type of lifestyle you’d like to live.
Your goals should support the life you’d like to live.
Think about a perfect workday, weekend, and holiday.
Ideally, your goals will help to make those a reality.
Determine the lifestyle you’d like to live:
(1) How do you want to make money? With few exceptions, every adult needs to earn money to survive. The ways of earning money are only limited by your imagination.
- Do you want to make money by being altruistic?
- Do you want a corporate career?
- Do you want to be creative?
(2) What working conditions do you prefer? Some people like to work in an ofﬁce setting. Others like to work at home.
- With others or alone?
(3) How are your ﬁnances? You don’t need a 6-ﬁgure salary to be happy, but it’s also not easy to be happy with a 4-ﬁgure salary. Are you able to maintain your budget? Do you even have a budget? How much debt do you have? Is your income acceptable? Is your money invested wisely for your situation? Will you be able to retire at a reasonable age?
(4) Intimate relationships are important. Do you want to be married or single? Play the ﬁeld or keep things monogamous? What do you need from a romantic partner? Consider the following characteristics a potential romantic partner might have:
- Sense of humor
If you currently have a relationship, what is missing?
What could be better?
Are you satisﬁed with the relationship as it is?
(5) Your free time affects your happiness and satisfaction. How much free time do you have each week? How much of it do you spend with your family? How much time do you spend on hobbies or with friends? How much time do you dedicate to spiritual activities and development?
(6) Avoid underestimating the value of good health. Is your diet acceptable? Are you getting enough sleep? Enough exercise? Do you visit your doctor regularly? How is your current health? What do you want to change?
(7) Spirituality. Do you meditate or pray regularly? Are you living life according to your beliefs? Are you aware of your beliefs? Do you regularly study spiritual material?
(8) How is your social life? Do you get out of the house as much as you’d like and spend time with people outside of your immediate family? How many friends do you have? How many would you like to have?
If you’re aware of your desired lifestyle, choosing goals becomes easy.
Give this careful consideration!
Start with the end in mind and go from there.
“Balance is good, because one extreme or the other leads to misery, and I’ve spent a lot of my life at one of those extremes.” — Trent Reznor
Set Goals That Increase the Level of Balance in Your Life
After assessing your life, you should have a good idea of where your weaknesses lie.
Time is a limited resource, so ensure that you’re spending it on the areas of your life that will provide the greatest returns.
Seek balance, and contentment will follow.
You can have multiple goals covering several areas of your life, but divvy up your time intelligently.
Find balance by choosing your goals intelligently:
(1) Create one goal for each area of your life. You can create your own categories, but limit the number to say 6–8. Set bigger goals in the areas of your life that are lagging or are the most disagreeable to you.
It’s not a bad idea to rate each part of your life on a 1–10 scale. Set smaller goals in the higher-rated areas and more signiﬁcant goals in the lower-rated areas.
Choose goals that can be achieved within 12 months and are measurable.
Be bold — you can accomplish much more in a year than you currently believe.
(2) Determine habits that will support each goal. While we enjoy the stories of those that are successful, the truth is that path to success is quite boring. Losing 50 pounds is exciting, but 365 days of eating well, exercising, and avoiding snacks,isn’t that thrilling.
But that’s exactly what success is:
performing effective habits over an extended period of time.
Make a list of at least 10 habits that will ensure your success.
Now choose the 3 habits that will make the biggest difference. Forget about the rest.
(3) Determine the old habits you need to drop. Habits can make your goals easier or more challenging to achieve. Identify your current habits that are obstacles to your success.
Those habits might be direct obstacles, such as wasting money . Others can be subtler, such as procrastinating.
Excess and happiness aren’t well correlated.
A balanced life is enjoyable and minimizes the low spots.
Having enough money, love, friends, and health is preferable to having an excess in three of them and a lack in the other.
Create a solid foundation before attempting to achieve something outrageous.
“One of the greatest resources people cannot mobilize themselves is that they try to accomplish great things. Most worthwhile achievements are the result of many little things done in a single direction.” — Nido Qubein
Gather Your Resources
For most goals, you’re going to need more than just yourself with your current level of knowledge and expertise.
You’ll often require other people, advice, education, and new skills.
The internet makes it much easier to ﬁnd the people and other resources you require.
Get the help you need:
(1) Determine what you need to learn. Do you already know everything you need to know in order to be successful? Most importantly, do you know enough to get started?
What do you need to learn to take the ﬁrst step?
Remember all the potential resources available to you.
- Online courses
- Audio programs/podcasts
(2) A mentor can be the most valuable resource. Imagine having access to someone that’s accomplished what you’re trying to accomplish? Unless your goal is highly unusual, someone else has already done it. Seek out these people and ask for assistance.
(3) Time. Do you have the necessary time available? Some goals don’t require any more time than you’re already spending. Sticking to a budget might actually save time since you won’t be out spending as much money.
Most goals require time. Unless you currently have free time to spare, you’ll have to steal time from other activities. Surﬁng the Internet, scrolling through your phone, and watching TV are the most common time-wasters. You may have to drop some more meaningful activities too.
If you can’t make the time for your goals, you might need more inspiring goals.
(4) Other resources. Do you have everything you need? Computer? 3-piece suit? Ofﬁce space? Reliable transportation? Business cards? Ensure you have everything you require.
You may need ﬁnancial resources to meet many of your goals. If that’s true, one of your goals might need to be ﬁnancial in nature.
There are few things you can do completely on your own.
You’re likely to need new information, skills, advice, or money to achieve your goals.
Identify the key resources you’ll need and acquire them.
Avoid underestimating the value of a great mentor.
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” — Michael Jordan
Identify Potential Obstacles
Without any obstacles, achieving your goals and living the best year of your life would be easy.
All you’d have to do is make a few decisions.
But it’s not that easy.
Life is full of obstacles that will derail your efforts if you’re not prepared.
Unsuccessful people are easily dissuaded by obstacles.
Identify the obstacles that can stand in your way:
(1) People. Interestingly, the people in your life can be the biggest obstacles you’ll face. There are very few people in your life that will be 100% supportive of your efforts. The remainder can directly or indirectly sabotage your efforts.
Some people will try to help, but do the opposite. Some of the people in your life will have the best of intentions, but hinder your efforts. They may caution you to be realistic or remind you of past failures.
(2) You. We all sabotage ourselves on a regular basis. We do so with our thoughts, habits, beliefs, and fears.
It’s easy to determine if you’re getting in your own way.
When you think about your goal, do you feel anything other than excited and enthusiastic? If so, you’re in danger of being your own worst enemy.
Monitor yourself daily by reviewing your goals and noticing your emotional response.
Any negative feelings about achieving your goal must be managed if you want to be successful.
Your beliefs about yourself can be highly limiting.
(3) Momentum. It’s tough to get started. It’s even a law of physics. It takes more energy to get something moving than it takes to keep it moving.
Expect resistance early in the process of making changes to your life.
(4) Randomness. Life itself presents obstacles. You can argue whether the universe is challenging you or if it’s simply bad luck.
However, there’s no disputing that random things will get in the way during your pursuit of your best year ever!
Anticipate the things that can go wrong.
Be prepared for the most likely obstacles.
Expect resistance while you’re changing your life.
Things won’t go smoothly 100% of the time.
Get started and strive for consistent progress.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” — Calvin Coolidge
Do You Have What it Takes?
Attaining your goals isn’t just about having goals and doing the right things.
That will work in the short-term, but you won’t have lasting success.
It’s necessary to become successful in the areas addressed by your goals.
You can’t just change your behavior and expect long-lasting results.
If your goal is to become a millionaire, you must become a person that has the characteristics of a millionaire. It’s necessary to have the belief system of a millionaire and the thought process of a millionaire. You have to be the type of person that takes intelligent risks and manages money well.
Cultivate the attributes that guarantee you’ll achieve your goals:
(1) Make a list of attributes that support the achievement of your goals. Take each goal individually and consider the type of person that would achieve that goal. What do you need to become?
- More cautious or less?
- More self-esteem?
- A different attitude?
- A new set of beliefs?
- More proactive?
(2) Create a plan for developing these characteristics. Find the resources you need to become a new version of yourself. Then apply those resources each day to make the necessary changes.
When you change yourself, everything in your life will change too.
Be brave enough to discover what you’re capable of.
(3) Visualize the person you want to become. Once you can believe it, everything else will fall into place.
Start convincing yourself that you have the new mindset and attributes by visualizing yourself with them.
Become the person you need to be.
It’s important to be open to the idea of changing yourself and not just your behavior.
When you change yourself, everything around you changes too.
“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.” — Barbara de Angelis
There’s a lot to do to create the best year of your life,
to achieve more in a single year than most achieve in a lifetime.
But none of it is particularly challenging.
Determine the lifestyle that would appeal to you most.
This is the starting point.
Then look to your past for clues about yourself and your mistakes.
What do you do well?
Where do you have challenges?
What are the changes you need to make?
Gather the necessary resources and make small changes to your habits.
Evaluate your progress and go from there.
Remain aware that you’ll need to make some personal changes.
Your current collection of attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge have led to your current situation.
You must change yourself to seek lasting change in your life.
Live your best year ever,
Achieve more in a single year than most achieve in a lifetime!
Get started today…