How to have a New Year with lasting benefits
Here are five key ideas to help you have a New Year that really makes a difference, as opposed to one that temporarily feels good. This article builds on and re-enforces the messages in a blog I wrote a few years ago around New Year: https://www.thelazarus.com/people-have-probably-already-broken-their-new-years-resolutions/
1 Avoid making New Year’s resolutions!
As the article above says, research has shown that they don’t last, and besides, if you want to make changes, why wait till the New Year? Just do it!
2 Have total clarity about what ‘success’ means to you
Knowing yourself as you do, reflect on what would be a successful year, and, if you really want to be fulfilled, what would be a successful life. Looking back on the year (and looking back on your life when you’re 80 / 90 / 100/ 110), how would you know you’d had a successful year and life (remember, your definition of success, not anyone else’s)?
These may not be easy questions to answer, but they are so worth doing. Most people set goals by looking from now into the future; wise people imagine being in the future, successful, happy and fulfilled, and then ask themselves, ‘how did I get here?’ and then come back to the present and take action accordingly.
If you fully did this exercise, you could stop reading this now and just put the ideas into action. However, here are some more tips to help you along the way!
3 Review your Values, and set goals for the year
Divide your life into the key segments such as; work / business / job / career; health & fitness; personal relationship; money; family / friends; hobbies; personal development; spiritual development, plus one or two more that may be relevant to you (these areas are known as ‘The Wheel of Life’).
For each area, write down a list of Values, i.e. what’s important to you, or what you want / seek, in each area. Make sure you are clear about the main, essential Values for each area. For more information about how to do this exercise, visit https://www.thelazarus.com/free-resources/ and download either chapter 13 or 14 of the two NLP books referred to.
For each area, write between one and three goals for the year. Make sure the goals are at least SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Right for you and Timed). If you would like some tips on how to make these goals even SMARTER, contact us. NB. Goals are not fantasies; by all means make them stretching, but they have to be grounded in reality, and ideally there would be some evidence that you are en route to achieve them (running a marathon next month in three hours if you’ve never owned a pair of running shoes is probably a fantasy!).
Take a look at the goals when you have written them all. Are they all compatible with each other? Are they truly right for you?
Imagine it’s 31st December in the current year and you have achieved all your goals. How does this feel? (if you’re not smiling and feeling great at the thought of it, please adjust your goals).
4 Pay particular attention to certain areas.
Based on my 25 years’ experience, there are certain of these areas which are particularly important for people to be fulfilled in their life:
- Health & fitness
- Work / career / job / business / vocation
- Personal / partner relationship
For these areas (and any others referred to in point 3 above that are essential to you), note your current level of satisfaction (out of 10, where 10 is extremely satisfied / fulfilled) and ask yourself what you would need to:
- Start doing
- Do more of
- Keep doing
- Do less of
- Stop doing
in order to increase the scores much closer to 10.
5 Learn and / or develop yourself
One of the traits of people who are successful is that they want to be the best they can be, whether it’s on a big stage (e.g. the best athlete, business person, musician) or much closer to home, e.g. being the best parent / partner / sibling / friend they can be. One way to be the best you can be is to learn and develop yourself. Whether learning how to be successful in business or learning how to be the best parent you can be, by learning we grow and develop.
One way to do this is a technique known as performance profiling (https://www.thelazarus.com/performance-profiling/). Essentially, this involves you
- making a list of the attributes of someone successful in your chosen area (e.g. parent, businessperson, athlete),
- ranking yourself on a scale of 1-10 on each attribute
- identifying which area(s) you want to improve
- creating a learning / improvement plan
- measuring progress and taking action accordingly.
If you have any questions on anything written here, please contact Jeremy Lazarus on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great year and beyond!