In Matthew Kelly's book The Rhythm of Life, he says...
"Everything is a Choice. This is life's greatest truth and its hardest lesson. It is a great truth because it reminds us of our power. Not power over others, but the often untapped power to be ourselves and to live the life we have imagined."
Kelly goes on to say that it's a hard lesson because it causes us to realize that we have chosen the life we are living right now.
That may be frightening to some of us as we might not like some of the things we see when we look into the mirror of our lives. For others, however, it is empowering. It is empowering because you know that you are only a choice away from changing your path and moving in an entirely new direction.
What will your life look like 6 months from now? 1 year from now? 10 years from now? What choices will you make? What will you eat? Who will you spend time with?
It's a great time to reflect on your choices. I choose to create my life, and 2013 will be my best year ever. Here are a few steps from our Ultimate Goal Setting Guide to help you create your best year ever too!
Step 1: A Bold and Audacious Attitude
Henry Ford said it best: "Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right!"
What you decide to focus on has a huge impact on the goals that you set for yourself and your ability to achieve those goals. To truly create and align goals with your wildest dreams and aspirations, you have to embrace a bold and audacious attitude. This attitude is one that squashes that little voice inside your head that says things like, “I could do this but…” or “That always happens to me….” These conversations that continually track inside your head build up in your psyche as baggage, are self-defeating, and have a negative impact on your ability to achieve your goals. Transforming to a bold and audacious attitude is all about understanding how you limit yourself, recognizing those limitations, and making a commitment to squashing that negative inner voice every time you hear it.
Step 2: Create Your Goals
We all have dreams and aspirations and many of us even have a vision for who we want to be. However, most people fall short when asked if they have a plan on how to get there. Investing the time to formally establish goals and create an action plan to achieve those goals provides us with a roadmap to make our dreams and aspirations a reality. George Doran (1981) developed a simple format to guide people in developing their goal statements. His method is commonly known as SMART.
- Specific: Each goal should be written in a positive tone and should be as specific as possible.
- Measurable: Each goal should be precise, using dates, times, amounts, etc., so that you can measure your results and know exactly what you have achieved.
- Actionable: Goals should be written in the form of an action statement.
- Realistic: They should be achievable, but they should still stretch and challenge you. Take note of the obstacles, but do not limit yourself. Your goals should push you slightly out of your comfort zone. Do not let the fear of failure take over, and remember to embrace a bold and audacious attitude.
- Time-oriented: Every goal should have a target date assigned to it.
Step 3: Your Personal Action Plan
The next step in our journey is to create the Personal Action Plan. Creating a Personal Action Plan for each goal is just as important as establishing the goal itself. While the goal provides us with the destination, the Personal Action Plan provides us with the road map to get there. More specifically, our goals identified what we wanted to achieve and the passionate reasons for achieving them. The Personal Action Plan defines the steps we will take to make our goals a reality. Here is a fast and simple 3-step process to create a personal action plan for each of your goals.
1. Brainstorm about all of the action items that you need to complete to accomplish your goals.
2. Group similar action items to keep your plan as simple as possible.
3. Sequence your action items and assign a target completion date.
Step 4: Build Support and Accountability
Let’s face it; we all need help along the way.
As part of your plan to achieving your goals, it is critical to build a support structure that will help keep you accountable and on track throughout the year. Your support structure may consist of actions you take as an individual, daily rituals or assistance from other people such as friends, coaches, therapists, doctors, financial planners, nutritionists, therapists, etc. Utilizing all of the resources that are available to you will produce the most effective support structure and one that keeps you accountable and on track over time.
An ancient Egyptian Proverb says, "A journey of a thousand miles always begins with one step."
I say you'll be more likely to take steps two through one thousand if you take the time to put a support structure in place. Here's to your success in 2013.
If you are interested in a more guided approach to establishing your best year yet, checkout The Ultimate Goal Setting Guide.