Hello 2016: New year goals

Hello 2016: New year goals

start afresh

Happy new year! Can you still say that when you’re almost at the end of January? I don’t care, I’m doing it anyway.

It is, however, never too late to set intentions for the year ahead as far as I’m concerned. Or you know the month… or the week.

You see, I love new years because I love fresh starts and the opportunity to invite change into your life. But I think we often fall down because we put so much emphasis on this one point in the year. Sometimes even on just the first day. And if we mess it up then BAM! Failure. Give up. Wait until next year.

I like to think that this is just one chance to start afresh. The next one could be tomorrow. Or even right now.

I usually use the end of the year to take a look back at what I did in the last year, and what I didn’t do. That sounds negative but it isn’t meant to be, just that sometimes what I wanted 12 months ago isn’t actually relevant to me now, or I tried something and I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. And that’s ok, things move on and change. You live and learn.

I also like to think about what I’m going to do in the year ahead, and I’m writing about it now because really it’s taken me most of the month to decide. I’m cool with that. January is a hard month; it’s cold, no one has any money, and summer seems so far away. Why would I want to throw guilt into the mix for not having my year (or heck my life!) figured out by January 1st?

This is what I came up with…

Goals for 2016

  • Create more space – this means a few things; finding somewhere to live more permanently, but also finding physical space and space in my life for creativity and doing what I love.
  • Downsize and declutter – this kind of goes hand in hand with the above. I ended last year by chucking out and selling loads of things I’d been hanging onto for years. I am a hoarder by nature but it felt AMAZING. I’m not quite at the Marie Kondo stage yet but I’m not far off. Decluttering is addictive.
  • Learn more – I love to learn (yeah I’m a nerd!) I feel like I go through life collecting knowledge and new skills and sometimes I don’t do anything with them, though they’re always useful to have, but really it is the act of learning that I like best. I’m exploring a few training opportunities that are so radically different to what I’ve done before (more focus on the physical than the usual book-learning) which I’m sligthly terrified but also very excited about.
  • Stay active – I’ve realised a shift the last couple of years away from the usual ‘get fit’ or ‘get more active’ kind of goals I used to have because I actually AM active! It’s still strange to me that I’m not starting the new year from a standing start. It’s taken a while but I have regular running and yoga practice all year round, and that feels pretty great. This year I want to develop that and also widen it a bit to try new activities, as well as making sure I’m not neglecting my mind over my body.
  • Take on a fitness challenge – after the half marathon last year I’m still trying to decide where to go next. After saying I wasn’t going to do another half and I was going to focus on getting into trail running… I’m now looking at a trail half. Doh!
  • Travel more and travel by myself – There are so many places I want to see, and though I like to travel with company I’ve found it totally liberating to go places by myself. I’m not quite going for a Cheryl Strayed Wild experience but I definitely want to do some more solo exploring.

Tips for making and sticking to your goals

Here are some tried and tested techniques I use to make stuff happen (there here as much as a reminder to myself as anything).

  • Give yourself permission to dream – Sometimes we censor ourselves even at the goal setting stage “that’s unrealistic”, “this won’t work”. I like to dream big before thinking about what is actually achievable in a year. It’s all a journey, baby, so look at the road ahead and where you might want to be in a year’s time.
  • Imagine how you want to FEEL – I’ve nicked this one from like every self help/career/business book I’ve ever read, but it’s a good one. Sometimes we just want something for the sake of it or cause we expect it to make us feel happier. But spending some time on what it is going to actually mean to you on a deeper level makes it more meaningful and more likely that we’ll stick to it. It’s also a good way of working out if actually it’s not really that meaningful or going to solve the root cause of any dissatisfaction you’re trying to overcome, in which case, isn’t it better to find it out now?
  • Get practical – Now is the time to start making dreams into actual plans. How can you break your big dream down into specific, achievable things. Is it realistic? Something that pushes you outside your comfort zone is great, but don’t take on something bigger than you know you can handle. If you think you can only handle half of it well that’s fine, this time next year you’ll only have half of it left rather than the whole thing. Make it something you can break down into smaller steps and add times and deadlines to, then get about making them happen.
  • Just start! – Do one thing NOW that will get one of your goals rolling. For me it was joining a gym (cliche, I know, but it is actually a requirement of the training I’m looking at, plus it helps fulfil the stay active/try new things goal and is great preparation for whatever challenge I take on). Sign up for that class you’ve been meaning to take, send that email enquiring for more information, or make that call you’ve been putting off. There is nothing like action to inspire more action.
  • Review and reflect – Once you’ve broken your goals down into easier steps you should assess on a regular basis where you’re up to. Schedule a check in at the start of each month to review. If you’ve achieved what you set out to it’s a great motivator… and if you haven’t it’s a chance to look at what’s holding you up. Is it something you can overcome, or do you need to change your plans to accomodate it? Note: There is NOTHING wrong with changing your plans.
  • Invite company – I’ll admit that, as an introvert, I mostly enjoy being by myself, especially when I’m exercising. That is prime me time. And when I’m working on a project I’m head-down, blinkers on until I’m at a point where I want to share. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised over the years how teaming up with a friend or joining a group has not only given me a sense of accountability, but new ideas and encouragement.

Good luck and have fun making your plans for 2016 happen. I’d love to hear about them in the comments below, or if you have any tips for staying on track.