And so it begins … again! Another year rolls around and we start it full of hope, anticipation and a steely desire to ensure that it’s not like the last. “This one’s going to be better. This one’s going to be the best. This is my year!” But how do we make 2019 our best year ever?
For the past five or so years, I’ve been making incremental changes to my life. It all started with a plan. I got clear on what I want and I started moving towards that. It’s been slow. So slow that if I don’t look up and smell the roses, I might not recognise how much it’s improved. But it certainly has improved. As I learn from each year and take deliberate action, each year becomes better than the last.
Self-improvement is not a choice, it’s a necessity.
Failing to take deliberate action and improve upon your life every year is like never doing any maintenance. Whether it’s a garden, a house, a car, or a yacht, if you don’t tend to it, it falls apart, breaks down or even sinks. Self-improvement is not a choice, it’s a necessity in my opinion.
How to Make 2019 Your Best Year EVER
As pointless as it may seem, believing that 2019 can in fact be your best year ever is very important. If you don’t believe that this year can be your best year, it very likely won’t be. You might as well stop reading and you can start for what you know will be the inevitable outcome at the end of the year.
Write down all your limiting beliefs. A limiting belief is any thought you might have that is limiting in nature, such as I’m too old or too busy. Then write down a liberating truth for each and every one of those limiting beliefs. From the example above, you might write, “With the experience and wisdom I’ve attained, now is a great time to start something new”.
If you don’t review your past, particularly your past 12 months, you’re destined to repeat it. If you want a different outcome, you must act differently. This means looking into your routines and habits and making some changes to them.
Write down all of your successes and failures (or less than ideal outcomes) for the year previous. Then consider the KISS principle. Not the one you might be accustomed to, but this:
K - What do you want to keep doing?
I - What do you want to improve?
S - What do you want to stop doing?
S - What do you want to start doing?
Designing your year is all about goal setting. But setting goals just because you want a different outcome is futile. Like anything, you must follow a system. Set just a few goals and ensure their targets are achievable within the next three months. You can set annual goals but break these down into quarterly ones.
Behaviour change research suggests that less than 90 days is the ideal timeframe for setting goals. And remember, goal setting and targets are two different things. Goal setting is all about moving towards being the person you want to be and living the life you want to live. Whether you achieve “the target” really doesn’t matter. It’s about moving in that direction. That’s why it’s good to have three levels of targets.
Most goal setting is done with our heads. Many people forget to connect their heart in the process. However, it’s the heart that drives us forward, especially when we don’t feel like doing what we need to do to move towards our goal.
For each goal, write down at least ten reasons why you want to achieve that goal. And while you’re doing that, really feel the feelings that each motivation evokes. You can write these feelings down too. With these motivations, pick just one that stands out the most. All motivations are important, but this one is the most; it will serve as your key motivator. Find an image that represents these motivations and keep it close by, where you can see it regularly. It may be actual or it may be in your mind. If it’s in your mind, make sure you recall it often so that the image becomes clear, bright and easy to produce.
As the saying goes, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. Just like step one, believing, if you follow through with all these steps but leave out this one, the whole system implodes. You can believe that you can have your best year, you can review your past year, you can set great goals and you can even connect emotionally with your goals, but fail to plan how you will enact your goals and you probably won’t have any better year than the ones previous.
- Put your time on paper
Plan out your year on a macro (annual) level. Then break it down to a meso level (quarterly) and plan it out. Finally, break it down to a micro level (daily and/or weekly). If you plan out how you will spend your time, you’re more likely to spend it wisely. Plus, what doesn’t get scheduled, very often doesn’t get done. So schedule in time for doing what you need to do to achieve your goals and have your best year ever.
To make 2019 your best year ever you’ll need to plan and prepare. You’ll need to be deliberate; it won’t just happen. First off, believe that you can change and that 2019 can actually be your best year ever! Then review your past, particularly your past 12 months, so that you establish the patterns of behaviour that might be limiting you. From there, design your future for what you want it to be, in other words, set your goals, and then connect with these goals emotionally. Finally, most successful people will tell you that they didn’t do it alone. Find someone who has “been there and done that” to act as your coach and help you along the way.
What would need to happen for 2019 to be your best year ever?
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