Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Planning and Having Your Best Year Ever in 2009

Image thanks to peregrineblue

Life is, essentially, just one decision made after another. We tumble along haphazardly amidst a series of choices each leading us on to the next path, that path leading to the next destination. One major decision can then, in effect, lead us on the way to a whole new life, and often does. Yet mostly, these decisions are already half made before we even reach the point of having to make them because of the set ideas we have about ourselves and the way life works. Often, our lives are mapped out for us from day one, because we will always limit ourselves in these decisions; we will make assumptions as to the ‘right’ way to go about things, usually as a result of our upbringing.

Year after year our lives can become very, dare I say it, ‘samey’ which is never anybody’s fault but our own. We love ‘samey’ it’s comfortable, it’s reassuring, it’s routine. But if we want to start living our dream lives and achieving all that we can imagine, then we need to kick this cycle in the butt. Let’s plan and have our best year ever in 2009.

Reflection

Reflection is important because if you don’t pause to track your progress it’s difficult to make the necessary adaptations to move forward productively. If you want this year to be different, to be better, then you need to be completely clear what was great and what lacked in 2008.

What about the past year was a success – why was it successful? Can you continue this success into 2009? What mistakes did you make? What precious lessons did you learn from these mistakes? What made you happy this year? How have your goals changed over the past 12 months, if at all?

Grab a notepad and jot down a few words about 2008. Often, our thoughts become clearest when we start to write them down, and elements may emerge on the page that you hadn’t even considered before. This scribbling will be useful in forming your goals for the coming year which we will talk about a bit later.

Patterns: The Breaking and The Making

Image thanks to erin mc hammer

In your reflection patterns may arise. What are your patterns? You might be forgetful, always late, struggling with your weight, a smoker, always looking for love, or all of the above!

Well, you might be surprised to hear that all these things are, actually, totally in your hands. Sure they are, you’re thinking, as if it’s that easy. I say: there are two of you; conscious you and subconscious you. Conscious you is saying you can’t change these patterns, because subconscious you is so accustomed to playing these same sequences over and over again. Honestly, if you’ve been telling yourself for years that you’re always late, that that’s just the type of person you are, then you’ve karate chopped down any chance of changing this pattern and allowed your subconscious to continually live up to this fault. Do you see what I mean?

Conscious you needs to wake up to subconscious you. Who’s really telling you you can’t alter these things?

We’re not doing all our hanging out on Negativity Street however; we all have positive patterns too. What do you consistently do well? Are you great at organising meals for yourself? Able to quickly make new friends? Able to motivate yourself to get work done? Focus on these positive patterns, build on them. Tell yourself why you do these things well, do you enjoy them? Are they ‘easy’? Use this information to help you target your bad habits and learn how to alter them. Let’s look at it like this:

You want to be better at sewing but, perhaps subconsciously, you tell yourself you can’t, you tell yourself it’s hard, that its an unattainable aspiration; a waste of time.
Whenever you take up a needle and thread you fumble about for a minute or two, make a mess, and give up. This is your pattern.

Well, pardon my French, but what a heap of crap. Let’s change this pattern.

How about you tell yourself absolutely and positively that you are a worthy and talented human being, with the capacity to undertake any task you bloody well fancy. (You won’t necessarily believe it at first, but you’ll keep affirming it every single day.) You start to talk about your desire to learn to sew with others, you pick up a few books on it, you picture yourself fashioning delectable delicates in a mere matter of months. You enjoy the hobby, you relish in its prospects. You pick up a needle and thread, you mess up, but decide to have another go, you mess up again, but it’s still fun, you have another go. Improving your sewing becomes a pattern.

Now that we know about patterns, that they are our subconscious at work and that we are in total control of them; can’t we just make up our own ones? Can’t we completely turn our lives around by forging positive, fresh patterns? Whoa now, that’s cool.

So, what will your new patterns be this year? Will you become an early riser? Will you start intense morning beauty routines? Become a gym bunny? Bump up your grades? The person you want to be is there for the taking, you simply need to adopt the habits and patterns that will make you that person, and break the ones that are holding you back.

Go-getter Goals


If you’ve reflected on your goals from last year you’ll probably find that some you achieved and some you didn’t, some are still the same and some have changed. You need to review your goals and change them if you’re serious about achieving them in 2009.

Why didn’t you achieve certain goals in 2008? Perhaps you didn’t track them effectively; perhaps you didn’t set the appropriate deadlines to allow yourself the boost toward getting them done. Goals need to be precise and measurable or time and again you simply will not achieve them. How about this year you set SMART Goals, the acronym varies but I like:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Timed

So, for example, ‘I want to be a better person’ won’t do. You need to ascertain what specifically will make you a better person, something realistic and achievable, like helping others. Then be sure that you can measure and set a time frame for your progress, like noting your commitment to a volunteer programme in a weekly diary.

Image thanks to flikr

A diary is useful to track goals, marking steps toward achieving them and noting down dates by which they will be completed. If you simply aren’t the day to day ‘to-do list’ type of person, just buy a gorgeous journal; scribble down your aspirations and make notes on how you’re working toward achieving them regularly.

Focus

Focus is key to the achievement of goals. You could happily write a list of a thousand goals you want to achieve this year, lock them away in a drawer and not look at them the whole year. Maybe you’ll find you achieve one or two, but with focus, I believe nearly any realistic goal is achievable within a set time period.

Fashionable Ways to Focus:

If you dream of travel this year, purchase a poster of your aspired destination and blue tack it to the ceiling above your bed, making every morning a reminder of where you really want to be.

If you’re sick of singledom and long for a new partner then write the qualities you want and deserve in your next beau and set them as your desktop screen saver; a sure-fire way to know you’ll never waste time with another loser!

If you want to lose weight most of all, then utilise your fridge door. Grab a healthy eating plan along with a list of positive words you associate with a happy, healthier lifestyle, e.g. vitality, strength or confidence.


2009 Action Plan:

Reflect on 2008
Recognise your patterns, break them, build on them, and create positive new ones
Set SMART goals Focus fashionably



3 comments:

Sarah Von said...

Fantastic, fantastic post lady. This one will definitely be bookmarked for future reference!

Vixel said...

Aye, as Sarah says, brilliant post! I'm bookmarking it too!

Coley said...

Great post! I'm planning on making 2009 my best year ever! :)
Hope you have a lovely New Year!

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