New Year… New You!

Time has a way of slipping past when we’ve got dreams that haven’t become goals. What’s the difference between a dream and a goal? A dream is something desired, wished for and hoped for; a goal is a dream with clear steps to move towards its achievement.

Begin by quickly sketching out your ideal life: health, happiness, fulfillment, prosperity, adventure, relationships, learning and fun. Write down what you would need in each of those aspects of your life to bring you closer to your ideal. Go ahead and dream big. This activity will give you the broad strokes of what you’re craving.

If you’re largely satisfied with your life but want to add some adventure and some learning it may be as easy as just finding a way to do some travel to feel more fulfilled. If you find most aspects of your life unsatisfactory, you may need to decide to work on a couple of things at a time rather than everything at once.

Then decide what you’d like to take on. The first step in achieving anything is being clear and concrete about it.

Then, put it to the test: give it a reality-check before going further. Is this something you really, truly want? Is it something you’re willing to make sacrifices to have?

If not, that’s fine; it just means this isn’t the time to pursue this particular dream. Timing is an important part of mastery – so choose to focus on goals to mesh with your current reality – how much energy, time and money you have to put in play. In a few months, you may have more time or energy to work towards other aspects of your ideal life.

Next, do a bit of soul-searching about your personal process. Are you someone who needs to work on one thing at a time? Are you someone who likes to have lots of things going at once? Be honest, though, it’s one thing to want to do 10 things and it’s another to be able to pull that off. If you’ve often been more successful doing one thing at a time, you’ll be more successful honoring what’s worked for you in the past.

At this stage, consider bringing in some outside perspective. Run your ideas by trusted, understanding friends who will give you honest feedback. We all have blind spots that our friends can suss out for us, making it more likely we’ll be successful at reaching our goals. Please remember to be open to what you hear, there is no point in getting good advice and not at least thinking it over. Now, with a broader view of what’s ahead, it’s time to begin planning.

Break your goal into timelines: daily, weekly and monthly. Think of some wonderful, little rewards for accomplishing each stage, this often helps to gather and gain momentum. Getting to your goal should be as fun as having achieved it.

Get out a calendar in a form most conducive for your personal way of working. A visual thinker often needs to see the year laid out on the floor, while methodical thinkers prefer the structure of an online calendar program. Choose whatever best suits you and fill in the timeline to your goal. Now, you’ve got a concrete plan to work towards achieving your dreams set out where you can refer to it.

It’s now time to share your goals and timelines with a few friends or a professional life coach to keep you accountable for your intentions and to keep you on track.

This process may seem too simple to be effective, but it’ll work wonders if you follow (and follow-up) on every step.

Congratulations! You’re now on your way to living the life of your dreams.

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