If you are one of the 8% who actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions, great. But for the rest of us, there’s no need to get hang up upon resolutions. However, a new year is always a good time to set an intention to make it the best year ever.
For me, start of the new year is a great opportunity for a clear-out (physically and mentally) and self renewal. I can proudly look at my vision board and think I have taken bold, active steps towards everything I set my mind to a year ago. I haven’t necessarily achieved everything I envisioned. It isn’t about achieving, but about committing to those steps, living intentionally and with integrity every day of the year.
I get asked a lot about tips and tricks to make big dreams happen. There are no tricks. Based on my experience, extensive research and everything I have learned from our most successful members I can give you a few strong recommendations.
But first, I’d like you to think about questions vs. answers. If you follow this blog you know that I believe good questions are more powerful than trying to always find ready made answers. As one DrivenWoman member put it, “I always come here wanting answers but all I get is a bunch of new questions.” And this is it, ladies. If you work towards really powerful questions you will get so much more out of life as you keep finding your own answers and the answers keep changing. You are not hang upon one specific answer someone might have given you that’s not right for you anyway.
I hope you can give space to the following questions, answer them as honestly as you can and be present with your answers.
Am I deeply committed?
If I had to pick only one tip for making your goals and dreams happen this year, it would be commitment. So many people dismiss this and keep seeking for the magic bullet, but there’s nothing that can replace the role of your own personal commitment and showing up to your dreams.
Two years ago fitness was one of the key themes on my vision board featuring images of fit women and yoga. I’m not always so motivated to get up early and do my exercise before the kids wake up, but every time I tried to talk myself out of it I asked myself this question:
“Why did you put those pictures on your vision board if you are not serious about your commitment?”
So, I thought I had two options. Either to rip out fitness pictures from my board or get up and do it. I didn’t want to fool myself, goal is a goal and commitment is a commitment. I now feel healthier and fitter than ever as a result.
One member asked me recently what can she write down as her goal when she doesn’t know what she wants, she haven’t found her purpose yet. It’s easy to stop and think, how can I achieve anything when I don’t know what I want.
The answer is commitment.
Most times people are unwilling to commit because they are unsure if they will be able to complete or achieve a goal. There might be an immediate obstacle that stops you from even starting (lack of time, money, resources, lack of ideas, no purpose). It feels safer to stay still and not commit when you are unlikely to make any progress in the coming months.
But this is a big mistake.
“I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret.” Tony Robbins
Envision the year end now and think “how will I feel if I don’t commit and do nothing?” Little bit of progress is always better than nothing at all. Don’t set yourself impossible goals.
Danielle La Porte has a great list of questions for checking if your goals are worth committing to.
What is my long term vision?
Have you asked yourself what do you really want in life? For you? How do you want to live? How do you want to feel on a daily basis? Even it you don’t know your specific goals it is important to have an idea of what do you want. And then write it down.
Study based on Harvard MBA students. In 1979, interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” and found that:
– 84% had no specific goals at all
– 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
– 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them
In 1989, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class and found out that the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
Writing down your goals, sharing them with friends, and sending your friends regular updates about your progress can boost your chances of succeeding.
Dr. Gail Matthews from Dominican University did a study about goal setting and found three key elements to success —accountability, commitment and writing down one’s goals.
It helps to be specific about how you are going to stick to your journey to a bigger life.
A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% people who planned their intention to exercise by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up following through. Meanwhile, people who read motivational material about exercise, but did not plan when and where they would exercise, showed no increase compared to the control group.
This is why we meet once a month in DrivenWoman Lifeworking groups, write down our goals, update each other on the progress and get specific on how we are going to make life change happen. We are committed to a bigger life!
Is it time to let go?
Letting go is seldom mentioned in any productivity or goal setting articles. Why? I guess it’s more fun to think about all the new exciting things you want to add to your life, than to discuss the areas that need a review. But you simply can’t keep adding new stuff on top and expect to achieve them well.
The more I work on myself the better I get in letting go of things that no longer serve me (or never have). I know that the new year is going to be even ’emptier’ for me, I want to create space (mental and spiritual), and not clutter my energy or work day with anything unnecessary.
A cluttered mind is full of self sabotaging stories and other things that keep you stuck.
The only thing that stops you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself to keep you stuck in the old.
Am I hanging onto old relationships, career or life habits that no longer vitalise me? Why am I afraid of letting go?
Sharon (DrivenWoman member in London) changed her life in one year when she let go of all the things that were not serving her or that were creating negativity in her life. This included her marriage, her job and even her profession. She started saying ‘no’ to a daily struggle and instead chose to trust what felt right for her and what brought her joy. She re-trained as a pastry chef and says she’s never been happier in her life.
“Whilst the concept of monthly Lifeworking sounds simple, I found it life changing. All of my fears and frustrations which had been bottled up had been set free. Through the stories of other members I found the strength to start my journey towards the life I had dreamed off.”
If you are stuck with old habits or have trouble letting go read this article on Zen Habits ‘4 Step Guide To Letting Go Of The Past’ , or Marc And Angel ‘15 Things Stopping You Moving Forward‘. This 7 minute audio with Deepak Chopra will explain How To Let Go and When.
Do I know my priorities?
The reason dreams don’t happen is that it’s difficult to stick to our own plans. You may want to write down that this is the year you will (finally) write that book, start that business or go after that long overdue career change or promotion. When you are reading this you probably feel deeply committed to your goal. This is the year you will make it happen!
But then life happens.
Here’s the deal breaker. You may know what you want but unless you know how to protect yourself from the demands of the outside world, you actually stand very little chance of making your goals happen and another year will pass you by.
If you have recently sent me an email and didn’t get a reply, this is why. I am very clear with my priorities. Namely, I understand and act based on what is important for me, not what seems urgent. Replying to your email may seem urgent, but sorry honey, (and don’t take this personally) it’s unlikely to be as important as writing my book. In order to get what is important done, I block out requests from the outside world and get my stuff done first. This includes walking over my kids legos.
Marie Forleo explains this principle about important vs urgent in this video.
Why am I trying to do this alone?
What I’m most proud of is the way we’ve grown the DrivenWoman community and rather than trying to make my dreams happen alone, I can now rely on hundreds of driven women who are sharing this journey of a #biggerlife with me. Every month I practise vulnerability and truth. I get to reflect on my choices and reveal my imperfections in a safe space without judgement. It’s one thing to be honest to yourself in front of a mirror at home, but facing your reality in front of others makes it real.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never a weakness.” Brene Brown
Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability is one of the most watched TED talks of all time.
“Even if I get it wrong, if the ideas I have don’t work, it’s ok because my DrivenWoman girls got me. They may have an idea how I can move forward. It’s a big safety net. I was so inside of my own head before. I was afraid to share with other people. And then I came to this group of women who were sharing their stories and telling me I can do it. I thought I could figure out this success formula alone. I was so wrong.” Karime (DrivenWoman member in London)
How are you going to show up to your life fully this year? Are you ready to go ‘all in’ committing to your dreams? Which one of the above 5 questions resonate with you the most?
Let’s make this the most kick-ass year together!