Written by: Bev Mileham, Chief Happiness Officer

It’s that time of the year again where we all think about new changes or ‘New Year’s Resolutions’…..and then we wonder why they are all forgotten about by February! “I’m going to get fit!”…..well that’s my intention……the first week I’m out running every day with amazing intentions. The second week I skip a couple of days, the third week I have a few late nights and I slip back even further and the fourth week I am exceptionally busy and have completely forgotten about my intentions at the beginning of January………sound familiar?

I would like to share a few goal setting and ‘actioning’ tips with you which will, if applied, create successful and sustainable results! It has been proven, that each of the below steps will increase the success of your dreams or intentions.

1. Write them down
Think very carefully about what you want to achieve this year. Is it aligned with your overall purpose and passion? What do you want to achieve over the next 5 years? Will your goals for 2019 help you to achieve your long-term goals? Then write down your goals. I recommend not more than 5 goals for the year, and try to have them in various parts of your life: ie career; health & fitness; personal growth; relationships; financial. Write them down, and keep them in your daily line of sight! A visual display is great.

2. Make them SMART
You’ve probably heard of this acronym before for goal setting:
Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant; Time-bound
Let’s begin with specific, measurable and time-bound. If my intention is to ‘Get fit’ that is not a specific or measurable goal. However, if I make it ‘SMART’ I would say ‘To run 10km in under 60 minutes by 1 September 2019’ for example. Attainable: You want your goal to be a stretch, but not unachievable. It’s your goal and what is a stretch for you may be easy for someone else and visa versa. Next, is it relevant to what you want to achieve overall? Is it aligned with your long-term goals and your purpose; is it important to you? If it isn’t you may lose motivation along the way. You have to have a driving force of passion and determination.

3. Share with a ‘Goal Buddy’
This is a personal thing, but I find that if I share my goals with someone else and speak about them, I become more accountable to make them happen. Even better if you can have a ‘goal buddy’ who will check in with you each week (or bi-weekly) to see how your progress is going. This definitely helps keep you on track and accountable.

4. Action it!
This is the most important step! We have to create daily actions/habits to make our goals become realised in the long term. It’s what we do every day that defines our success. This is the biggest step to ensure results and this is why ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ fail because we don’t make and stick to new daily habits. A lot has in fact been written about this lately and how this is more important than the actual goal setting – focus on your daily intentions, actions and habits to create changes in your life. Atomic Habits by James Clear.
In step one I said to write them down and make them visual. Now break your goals down into monthly mini goals and create actions as to what you have do daily/weekly/monthly in order to achieve them. Each and every day you should be thinking, what do I need to do today? What is my intention and actions for the day? What will take me closer to my goal for the week? What would success look like for today? Create actions and habits into your daily routine – and these will literally change your life over a period of time and will be sustainable. At the end of each day, review and assess how you did. I keep a ‘goal diary’ to monitor my progress each day, it really works!

5. Celebrate each milestone!
Celebrate your mini successes! Pat yourself on your back, at each achievement, and of course share your successes with your ‘goal buddy’. If you’ve created an action plan, with measurable mini goals, you will know whether you’ve succeeded each one or not. If you haven’t succeeded, work out a plan as to what you need to do to get back on track. The mini success ‘celebration’ or simply ‘pat on the back’ will release the happiness chemical dopamine – the reward, achievement chemical. It will spur you on to keep going and to achieve more. This is what athletes do in order to persevere to eventually achieve the big goals. If they only focused on the end result, it would be daunting and easy to give up. But rather focus on your daily routine and celebrate the mini goals along the journey to your success.

Each year I choose a word for my year, perhaps you would like to give this a try. Review your goals for 2019 and think, what is an overriding theme or word or vision for my year. This year I’ve chosen ‘Change’. I’ve had ‘Growth’ before and last year my word was ‘Intention’. Your word will keep you focused and remind you of your vision and purpose. One word can change your life – watch Jon Gordon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CShvhZ7D0fg . You can also choose a word for each day when you review your intention for that day, to help keep you focused and on track throughout your day.

I wish you the very best for 2019. Make the changes in your life become your reality. Wouldn’t it be amazing to look back at the end of 2019 and be able to celebrate your successes? It depends on how much you want it and it all depends on you! Get to work now, and enjoy the journey to success!