After a long and rough 2017, many of us are anxious to usher in 2018. We welcome the roll over of the new year with hope and excitement; believing that next year will be better. We start making all sorts of plans to improve ourselves and achieve lasting growth and transformation. From loosing weight and getting fit and healthy to advancing careers, improving relationships and growing a spiritual practice – so, how do we ensure that we don’t wake up at the end of 2018 in exactly the same place?
It is tempting to hold onto the magical illusion that the old year’s eve countdown will cast some kind of spell and make everything better in the new year. And things can be better in 2018 if…you have a plan and you do the work that is required to make your plan a reality. It sounds simple, but for some of you; there may not be a clear picture of how you can make it better or even how you want it to be better, let alone how to go about putting any kind of tangible plan into practice. There is only the nagging feeling that you just don’t want it to stay the same.
The following simple steps will help you to make balanced and sustainable life-style shifts that result in real change no matter where you are right now…
Before you start planning and goal-setting for 2018, take time to do a holistic life-review by making a list of the areas of your life and then evaluating the quality of each of those areas. For example you might start by dividing your life into different areas or categories such as health and wellness, career and income, housing and safety, creative and recreational pursuits, growth and development, relationships, etc. Once you have a comprehensive list of the areas of your life; give each area a score out of ten depending on your satisfaction in that part of your life. You will soon get a picture of the areas that need some attention. For example, if you notice that your career and work life elements all get high scores of satisfaction, but your relationships, recreational pursuits and creativity elements score really low, you may want to work at creating more work-life balance.
This kind of analysis of where you’re at now allows you to make a more balanced plan and set more meaningful goals.
So you’ve probably learned that the first meaningful step in achieving anything is to write it down, and that is so true, but the road to nowhere is paved with lists of things people want to achieve. The key is to make a workable plan – to formulate a strategy of how you plan to achieve those goals or sustain those new habits or behaviours or life-style shifts.
To develop or formulate your growth and transformation strategy for 2018 you can start by taking each item on your list and prioritsing it – list them in order of importance to you. Now choose the top 3-5 items to work on in earnest. You can always come back to your original list and continue working on it, but you will achieve more if you focus on a few really important items at a time, and very often when we tackle one or two of the bigger issues, the rest begin to fall into place as a consequence of the work we’re doing.
Now for each item on your short list ask the following questions:
What will it look like if I achieve this? / How will I know that I have achieved this?
What will it mean to me if I achieve this? / How will it change my life?
What do I need to do to achieve this?
What resources – materials, skills, strengths, budget, people/support, etc – do I need to achieve this?
Now you need to ask yourself…What is my first step? And the one after that? And the one after that? etc, etc…
Knowing what is and taking the first step is one of the hardest things we do on the journey to change and transformation and as with all these steps it is usually best done with support and guidance.
No matter how competent we are, making changes in our lives requires looking at things and thinking abut things differently and that often – if not always requires or benefits from a new perspective. Albert Einstein said We cannot solve a problem from the same level of consciousness (or mindset) that created it in the first place. If you work with someone who can help you to see things differently and support your growth and transformation strategy for 2018 you are far more likely to make meaningful and sustainable changes.
There are many different support options available and choosing the kind of support can be a daunting task. A new cadre of professionals called coaches are particularly well-suited to helping in this kind of a situation. A coach can help you to get clarity about who you are, what you want and how to go about achieving it.
Coaching is about empowering people to to live up to their full potential so that they can be the best version of themselves. More specifically, coaching is a process in which your coach supports you to achieve your goals or to make life-style shifts so that you can grow and develop certain areas of your life. So if you have a big – or a little – dream for 2018 or even if you need help to come up with a dream, you could benefit from coaching.
Your coach will help you to see things differently and this shift in perspective can open you up to more possibilities. Together you can then look at ways to tap into some of those new possibilities and start to make meaningful changes in the year ahead. Another aspect of coaching involves helping you to develop skills to better manage yourself within your own context and to identify and maximise the resources that you will need in order to do that. This can be referred to as self-regulation or agency and it is integral to functioning at your best and achieving your goals.
Your coach will also help you to improve your ability to perform independently with greater accountability. By learning to be more self-directed and disciplined; you can actually start moving through the steps and activities that are required for you to make the changes and achievements that you intend to in 2018.