Christmas is a week away and most of us are busy with last minute shopping and all sorts of preparations. It’s also a time of reflection and celebration. Celebrate the year that is coming to a close and what you have accomplished. Rejoice in the people that surround you and that fill your life with beauty.In just a few weeks the New Year will be upon us. And the time to plan is NOW! Not at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. As you look back on the things that have marked this year in a special way, look ahead to this time next year, and some of the things you’d like to be celebrating then.New year is a special time in so many ways. It’s a clean slate, a chance to start over and take that leap of faith that you’ve been wanting to take for much too long. There’s a special energy in the air and you know that this is the year! This New Year is going to be the one where you actually follow through with your New Year’s Resolution. This is the year you’re going to get healthy, or start your own business… You’re going to lose weight and start exercising more… or you’re going to take that exotic vacation you’ve longed for and planned for for much too long.But if you’re like most of my clients, as the excitement of the New Year fades away and your head clears from all the champagne, you face the reality that this is just another day. Then mid January comes along and you’re still looking at your list saying “I’ll start tomorrow”. Another week goes by, then another and you just fall right back into the routine you’ve had for years and no real change takes place. And as you put your list away, and give it just another side way glance, you realize that the things that are on that list are mostly the same ones you that were on it last year, and the year before that.. But why is that?Many of us crave change and a more meaningful life but somehow let things get in the way. There’s always tomorrow and we’re just too busy to tackle something new. Yet deep down it’s what we want more than anything, and we know we deserve it. So what is stopping us?Year after year, the same things make it to the “Top Ten” on our New Year’s Resolution list. Do any of these look familiar to you?
Make more money
Get out of Debt
Spend more time with my Family
Get a new Job
All of these are facets of the same thing: we want to feel great and live live life more fully! We seek financial freedom and time to share deep and memorable experiences with the people we love.So why not? Why not make this year the one where everything changes and you finally take action.If you’re ready to make those dreams come true, here are seven simple steps that I use myself, and share with my clients, to help you start the New Year on the right foot, ready to leap and dance and take control of your life!Step 1 – Be specificIf you look at the list above you’ll notice that it is very broad and unspecific. How can you achieve such a broad goal?The first step to success is to define as specifically as possible what you are going to achieve. So if “lose weight” is one of your goals, then how much weight? In how many months? If you want to “Get Healthy” what does that mean for you? Will you make specific changes to your diet? Add a certain amount of exercise to your weekly schedule? What type of exercise?The more specific your goals are the more likely you will be to achieve them. Be as specific as you can and be realistic! Don’t try to lose 100 pounds in 3 months. That is not healthy and you will not succeed. Instead start with a smaller goal – aim for 20 pounds in 4 months. That’s 5 pounds a month and a lot more attainable.Step 2 – Know your WHY!Having a clear and meaningful WHY is key to your success! All of us long for something more, whether it is more time with our families, more energy to do the things we want to do, or complete freedom to live on our terms. Those are the things that truly motivate us to set goals and achieve them.If you want to start a new job, then what is your dream job and why is that the right job for you? What are the benefits that you hope to gain from this new job? Is it to have a job you truly relish and look forward to? Is is to earn a better salary? If so, then what will that increase in salary bring you? More freedom with your time and more time with your family? The ability to buy a new home or take a year off and travel the world? Peace of mind for your retirement?Do you want to lose weight to avoid being sick? To have more energy and play vigorously with your kids?The more meaningful that WHY is, the more you will be able to define your goal with absolute clarify and stay on course.Step 3 – Define your Action StepsOnce you’ve defined your goal as specifically as possible and know why it is imperative that you follow through, you’ll need to write down the steps you need to get there. A goal is just a goal, an idea or dream of something more or less tangible. You have a vision of what your new life will be once you get there but HOW will you get there? Without the roadmap, no matter how specific and determined you are, it’s going to be hard to get there.So take some time to write down your roadmap, list the steps you are going to need to take to reach your goal and give each step a time frame or target date.Are you going to get healthier by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet? Which foods you will need to avoid? Will exercise be part of your plan? How much and when? What type?Step 4 – Schedule itOK, now you have absolute clarity, and a step-by-step action guide… It’s time to pull out your calendar and schedule it! Start by writing down everything that currently fills your day.Chances are you’ll find it’s already pretty full and it’s going to be hard to fit your new activity. You’ll probably need to take some things off of your schedule to add the new ones.So take some time to assess the things that are essential and the ones that take your time but don’t enrich you in any way and prioritize. Remember you have a bigger goal in mind, your WHY! Get rid of the things that distract you and replace them with the items on your roadmap.Writing it down will reinforce your commitment and give you a clear picture of what your days will be like so you can start visualizing, which is a huge part of your success.Step 5 – Post it!Now that you have your schedule post it! Place it on your fridge or your bathroom mirror or both! By making it public you’re reinforcing your commitment and letting your loved ones know you intentions. You are much more likely to follow through if you share your dreams and the steps you’re going to take to get there.You may also start a special Facebook Page or blog dedicated to your New Year’s resolution. There you’ll share your successes and your struggles and invite your loved ones to celebrate with you and keep pushing you!Step 6 – Enlist Your Support Team (Grab a Friend)Despite the best of intentions, it’s never easy to go it alone. Asking a friend to join you and hold you accountable is the best way to stay the course.A few years ago I decided to run my first half marathon. I asked a friend if she would enter the race with me. She said yes! It was such an amazing experience. We met three times a week to run. Both of us have crazy busy schedules but we stayed committed to every one of our training runs. We live about an hour apart from one another so we picked a place in between to meet twice a week. On weekends we’d run at the beach which was wonderful! Not only did my partner keep me from skipping a practise but she kept me motivated as we ran. I’d usually start out strong, and as I would begin to tire, she’d pick up the pace and become the leader. We found ourselves surprised at how easy it was to add the miles. It was also a beautiul time of sharing… ! We talked about so much as we ran it was truly beautiful. I never would have reached my goal without her!Whether it’s your husband, a friend or your children, choose someone to share the journey with. It makes the celebration that much more meaningful when you reach your goal!Step 7 – Assess and RedefineAlright so you’ve put everything in place and you’re off to a good start, now what?About mid-January is when people start to loose steam and start to veer off course. This is the time to take a look at the progress you’ve made so far and re-assess. Are the goals you’ve set and all the pieces you’ve put in place the right ones?If not, then make some adjustments. If you decided to add an hour a day of exercise but find you’re coming up with excuses twice a week, then either switch to 3 times a week or a half hour 5 times a week. Until this become part of your routine, you may need to pull back a little. Or perhaps you were not bold enough with the goal you set and realize you can actually accomplish more.Make sure to celebrate whatever you have already accomplished. Then take an honest look at what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordigly.Life is precious and we never know what tomorrow will bring so make today the day that counts. There is no reason whatsoever to delay. Take whatever steps you need to to live the life you truly want, a life filled with beauty and love. A life that is vibrant and passionate. I have complete faith in you. And I am always there if you need me!Have a splendid and awe inspiring New Year!