The start of a new year usually heralds a review and mental stocktake regarding our life choices. Are you living the life you aspire to? Do you have the career and income you want? Are your relationships in balance? Do you spend time on activities that bring you happiness and connection? Is your future financially secure? Are you making healthy choices?
The answers to some of these questions unavoidably create discomfort
This is because most of us aren’t where we want to be in all areas of our life. We have unrealised goals, compromised commitments to ourselves and it can be easier to drift from week to week not examining our habits too closely. But we want to encourage you to embrace your ambition to create the life you really want.
1. Be honest with yourself
If you are serious about securing any of these things: a new job, a pay rise, improved health, better financial standing, more leisure time or balanced relationships, you need to be honest with yourself firstly about your real, deeply held goals in these areas. Then you need to be honest about your current reality, so you can see the size of the gap between your current reality and your desired reality. Because that’s the gap you’ll need to take action to bridge.
2. Set your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)
If you’ve been playing it safe with your goal setting, minimising what you really want or think you are capable of in order to manage your own or others expectations – stop it. Start believing that ‘anything is possible’ and trust in your capabilities to achieve. It may take time, determination, lots of small steps, perseverance and support, but if you really want something in life, I firmly believe you can have it.
3. Don’t talk yourself out of it, talk yourself into it
Shut down the nagging internal voice of self doubt that is undermining your instinct to shoot for the stars. If this is a problem for you, recognise when you start this pattern of thinking and consciously turn it around, focusing on what you have achieved and your inventory of strengths.
If you do not know your inventory of strengths, you should do this exercise. Write down your 5 top strengths and capabilities, then 10, then 20, and so on until you reach 50. Then revisit that list as needed to help you refocus and train your mental habits towards self belief. If you can’t come up with 50, ask someone you trust and who knows you well to help you complete your list. Self belief and confidence lead to action, achievement, success and opportunity, which leads to increased self belief and confidence. It’s a self reinforcing cycle.
4. Take action
What is the first action you need to take to bridge your current versus desired reality gap? Is it to update your resume? Set a savings goal? Contact that prospective customer? Write the proposal? Block out time in your calendar for health and wellbeing, family time or activities that make your heart sing? Take the first action, and write down the next two, and then keep moving forward like this to bridge your gap.
5. Find your tribe
Your tribe are those who clap the loudest when you succeed and pick you up when you fall. They know you well enough to know when you need tough love and straight talk, or a shoulder to cry on and a confidential listening ear. They are your biggest supporters, raving fans, they keep you accountable to yourself and you’d happily trust them with your life, your fears and hopes. If this does not sound like the behaviour of your current tribe members, review your membership. Everyone needs and deserves support. Spend time with those who lift you up, and be someone who lifts up others.
Take 2018 one action at a time towards your desired reality, and I guarantee you’ll surprise yourself with what you’ve achieved by next year.
Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash