So it’s that time of year again; the end of one year, beginning of another, put the past in the past, a time for new beginnings, etc., etc., – what phrase do you use?
But the thing is, it IS a great time to plan – Christmas is about to hit us with all the commercialism and craziness that comes with it. However, it is also a time of love and hope, kindness and selflessness, some wonderful attributes that we all want to feel and that a lot of people actually make the effort to achieve at least at this special time of year.
I understand that there is also the other side to Christmas; loneliness, sadness, arguments, bitterness, the list goes on. But in life, there is always an opposite, people who are suffering and who are at the opposite positions to where we are – good or bad, be that Christmas, politics, life in general. I know that these things happen and I want to acknowledge that the world isn’t all moonbeams and rainbows, but it is not something I will be discussing here – this post is all about looking forward, building hope and following dreams.
So, on that note, as I said, Christmas is a great time for reflection and therefore a great time to plan where you have gone wrong and how you want to put things right.
Think about it. Christmas comes, we rush around, and then… what? Boxing Day in our home is all about sitting around watching TV, films that we’ve seen before, eating more turkey with mash potatoes and pickles, stuffing our faces and feeling fat and bloated.
Then we have a few more days off until the new year and in that time we do pretty much nothing. It’s a time for rest and catching up with friends and family, but it’s not about doing things – how about you? Do you do similar or do you work? Maybe you use the time wisely to catch up on things you’ve been meaning to do?
I’m aiming to change that this year (as I do every year I hasten to add!). I want to write down everything I want to achieve over the next 12 months and then come up with a plan of how to achieve them.
So, why do I think that this year will be any different?
Well, one reason is that I have made a conscious decision to make changes in my life. I have made these decisions before, but I have never acted on them. In the past I don’t think I ever really believed that I could achieve anything – I always wanted to, but I’d never done it before, why would now be different?
But this year I HAVE acted on my goals – I left my job, I started getting out of debt, I have started this blog (and this time not given up on it!) and I am working on our home – all things I have been wanting to do for ages. The thing is, it’s easy – you just have to want the goal more than you want the status quo – as I said, easy right? No of course it’s not, but we can do it, I’ve proven that by taking that first, scary, massive step, but the next one is much easier to take and then it just becomes easier and easier until it becomes a habit and part of your everyday life.
So how did I do this? Well, I signed up to a course by the wonderful Mel Robbins – hang on, don’t lose me here, I’m not trying to get you to do the same, for one thing, she is no longer doing the course, so come on back…
I followed her plan, not wholly and I slipped and slid all over the place, but each time I took a step, I was that much closer. I just did her 5 second rule and 5-4-3-2-1… off I went, putting things in place before I even had time to argue with myself. Small steps that meant all of a sudden I was handing in my notice at work… Wow, where did that come from? Then, with my new found confidence (and without even noticing I was doing it), I began to look up ways to get out of debt, the ball was now rolling, it wasn’t all downhill, but the momentum was taking me (slowly) over the bumps and lumps that I was putting in my own way.
The 5-second rule was life changing for me, just getting up at my first alarm call was amazing and the feeling of euphoria that I got from actually doing it fuelled my day. I honestly cannot recommend her enough if you have a goal or dream that you want to take action on, go ahead – just 5-4-3-2-1 and GO!
So, getting back to Christmas and Planning and stuff (I did warn you I tend to waffle, lol). Once Christmas is over, the turkey has been eaten and most of the relatives have gone, I tend to have a lot of time. I must admit to enjoying this time, I relax a lot, some may say too much, but hey, I work hard.
But when everyone else is out or sleeping or watching TV, I slip away and just start writing. I write down all the things I want, things in my life that are important to me, things I’ve been contemplating on, struggles that I have and want to conquer. These are about all sorts of things, my family, travel, health, money, spirituality, fun, whatever comes to mind
Then I look to pick out 3 special ones to concentrate on, things I couldn’t do without or that are really important to me and try to go with one that is easy and quick to accomplish (within a month), one that will take more work (6-12 months) and one that is a long term goal (up to 5 years).
I then narrow them down even more and turn them into SMART goals. I make them:
- Specific (I nail them down so I know exactly what I want, the most important part);
- Measureable (what are there targets I want to achieve, weight, amounts, quantities, whatever it is, I note it down);
- Actionable (what actions do I need to take? how will I achieve the goal? What do I need to achieve it? );
- Relevant (what is the relevance of this goal to me? do I actually want it? can I achieve it? do I believe I can achieve it? The big question to ask here is Why do I want to reach this goal?)
- Timely (I set a timescale of when I want to achieve the goal by, which should be realistic enough to achieve and flexible enough that it doesn’t make it a race against time).
Then I backward plan for each of them… What I hear you say?
Basically – have your goal in front of you, think about what the last step would be to accomplish your goal and write it down – for instance, do you want to climb mount everest? Then your last step will literally be that, you step out to the top of the mountain, planning backwards, you will need to have a team behind you, your tools and equipment, a plan of how you will achieve it, conditioning, travel, etc., etc., until you finally get to the very first step you need to take.
And there you have it, you now have a complete plan of what you want to achieve and small, easy to manage steps to achieve it. Some of these steps may change as you go along (you plan to travel from a-b, but that isn’t possible, so you have to factor in going from a-c then onto b, but you still have the main plan in place), but knowing these small steps makes what was a large, scarey goal into a smaller, much easier to manage one.
So I hope that helps you plan your goals and dreams. Just take the time to write them down over the festive period, take some time for you and here’s hoping 2019 will be as amazing as you hope it will be,
See you soon,