Achieve your New Year’s resolutions by answering this one question

When it comes to creating change most of us are pretty good at the first process – envisioning what we want. I want to be better at my job, make more money, be healthier, fitter, and/or learn to play an instrument.

No matter what the goal, is it’s usually after the point of envisioning your new self that we get stuck.

We know this is 99% likely to happen after you set 2015 resolutions, but there is one question you can ask yourself to ensure next year isn’t a repeat of all the years before it…

What is it that’s holding me back?

Instead of spending 2015 dreaming of all you’d like to do in life – have a good think about HOW you can make those dreams a reality, and if there is anything that you are doing (or not doing!) that is stopping these dreams from being realised.

Get out a pen and paper and follow this four step process (created by author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside The New Science Of Motivation), to set achievable resolutions for the new year.

Wish: You need to think of something that you really, really want. Something that is important to you. The wish could be specific (stop eating processed foods or exercise each day) or vague (finding more purpose in your life). The only important thing here is that the wish is something you really want. My wish at the start of 2014 was to start running and exercise every day.

Outcome: Define what the best outcome of your wish looks like in your life. What makes the wish so attractive to you? Now it’s time to visualise how achieving your wish makes you feel, and how it will change your life. When I set my exercise goal I wanted to have more energy, be fit, healthy and feel tip top.

Obstacle: Now it’s time to get real. Ask yourself: What’s holding me back? Identify and mentally experience the obstacle, imaging it as clearly as you imagine the wish. It could be that every time you go to exercise you tell yourself you are too lazy, so your goal to exercise everyday ends up with you on the couch rather than outside walking. So your obstacle is your own negative thought patterns towards yourself, blocking your efforts to achieve your wish. I used my scoliosis as an excuse to why I couldn’t run or do any high impact exercise, and of course, I used the old excuse, “I don’t have enough time to exercise every day.”

Plan: The only way to get past these obstacles is to create a plan for dealing with the obstacles when they arise. I planned to commit to only 10 minutes of exercise each day. I also Googled how to start running, and began building up the impact in increments. Walk for 1 minute, jog for 30 secs. Walk for 1 minute, jog for 1 minute. This then increased to jogging for 3 minutes, 5 minutes and built from there. I also started to do Body Attack classes (aerobics) and am proud to say I completed my first 5 km fun run and also ran 6kms at Christmas time. I have more energy and zest for life that I’ve ever had, and my back is pain free.

The point is, whatever your goal, you need a concrete step by step plan if you are going to get anywhere.

Once you have all four steps in place, you’ll be ready to tackle your goals – no matter what life throws in your way.

Are you ready to get started on your goals?

This activity can be applied to any type of resolution you have – whether it’s getting in shape, making a career change, improving your relationships, or getting eight hours of sleep per night – as a way to help you both identify your dreams and go through with the hard work required to meet those goals.

Be prepared – making any change doesn’t happen overnight. The one thing I have lived by this year when I started get loose track of my goals was the saying “what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you”. 

If you bite off a small chunk each day of 2015, by the end of the year you’ll have make some pretty kick arse positive changes.

For more goal setting inspiration check out my other posts:

Read more on this four step process in the Huffington Post.

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