I bet you have some big dreams in life and you’re set on accomplishing them, I know I am. And that’s awesome! In order to accomplish them, one of the most important things you need to do is to create and implement an effective strategy. I like to use New Years Resolutions as a way to really figure out how to make these dreams come true.
Strategy plays a crucial role in making your New Years Resolutions come true. Having good strategy is like setting a proper route to reach your destination, and obviously, without a proper route, you may not really get there.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to establish a coherent strategy for accomplishing their dreams. This leads them to taking chaotic actions, which don’t build up to something, or not taking action at all, which keeps them in the status quo.
I’d like to share with you a step by step method for creating effective strategies and making your dreams come true. Here are the steps to follow.
1. Turn Your Dreams Into Goals
Take stock in priorities and decide what is really important to you. Dreams are nice and fancy, but they’re also not very practical because they tend to be vague. In order to make a dream practical, you have to turn it into a goal.
Turning dreams into goals means first of all defining them more precisely. For example you may want to see the world. What does that mean? Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there and when? You have to get clear on what that dream is to turn it into a goal.
It also means making your dreams measurable and time bound. For instance, if you turn “I want to make a lot of money” into “I want to be earning 250K per year within the next 5 years”, you’ve made it measurable and time bound. You’ve turned a dream into a goal, which is much easier to achieve. Remember a New Years Resolutions does not have to be achieved by December 31, you just need to be making good movement towards it.
2. Plan Backwards From Your End Goals
Once you’re transformed a dream into a goal, you need to find intermediate steps towards it, which will act as intermediate goals.
The best way to do this is to plan backwards from your final destination. And you do so by asking yourself: “What needs to happen just before I am able to reach this goal?” And so you determine the step just ahead of it. Then you ask yourself “What needs to happen just before I am able to do that?” And you determine the step before that.
And you keep going until you get all the way to what you believe can constitute the very first step for you to take. When you’re there, you have a step by step plan to follow for turning a dream into reality. And you can start taking action. Make sure once you have the plan in place, make sure to add due dates to help you track progress and stay on task.
3. Get Psyched
This is a really important step. You have set your goal and made a step by step guide to get you there but getting psyched up to achieve each intermediate goal is very important. Keep in mind that there are many ways to “get psyched”, the goal is just to get you excited and motivated to accomplish your next task.
Here are a few ideas:
Find your mantra. A mantra does not have to be long, it just needs to get you motivated. When you’re tired, lazy, slacking, it’s those few words that remind you what matters to you and get you to take action.
Envision how you will feel after the task, track even the smallest of progress to see how far you have come.
Visual motivation. Post pictures of how you want to look if your trying to lose weight, or pictures of places you want to travel if you want to see the world. Motivational quotes are also great and you can find some great ones on TheBerry.com
Recruit support and ask for help. Some of us have trouble holding ourselves accountable at the best of times. With little motivation or energy, it’s that much harder. Confide in someone you trust, and ask for their help. Ask a friend to hold you to your commitment. Ask your partner to accompany to a yoga class. Pay for your support group like Weight Watchers or use Fat Bet to keep yourself accountable using good peer pressure.
The biggest thing is to decide to be dedicate and make an effort.
4. Test and Tweak
The truth is that the very first time you design a strategy for reaching a certain goal it will have flaws. It’s normal. You are dealing with a lot of unknown factors. Your strategy will be missing some steps, or it will have some unnecessary ones, or some of the steps will be incorrect.
But you will only be able realize this as you implement your strategy and you notice what really happens. This is why it’s crucial, once you have a strategy, to not look at it as final. Treat is as a first draft. And treat your first actions as tests of this draft. Implement the strategy, see what works, see what doesn’t, and make adjustments as you go and you learn from your experiences. If your goal is to lose weight and your first step is to drink two protein shakes a day as meal replacements and you hate the drinks, switch brands and flavors or maybe just start with one a day. Drafts are made to have revisions.
5. Be Honest With Yourself
Be realistic and honest with yourself is an important part of the process. Understand that you will slip and intermediate task due dates will have to be pushed back. Do not be too hard on yourself. 92% of New Years Resolutions fail, to be part of the 8% understand eating cake one time or not working out for a week does not mean your goal is over. Start over the next hour, day, week or month.
My husband always says that the “difference between the master and the beginner is that the master has failed more times than the beginner has tried”. I know he did not come up with that, but I love that he says it.
Also, you need to practice self compassion! It is one of my Resolutions this year, but if you are setting any New Years Resolutions of your own you need to practice this.
6. Learn From Others
Besides learning from your own experience as you use a strategy, there is one more method of learning that is highly valuable; learning from others who have tried and succeeded in reaching similar goals.
The accumulated experience of such people is much more than you could accumulate in a lifetime. And there are a lot of lessons that you can extract from it, thus greatly accelerating your learning. Keep in mind however, that not everything that worked for others will work for you. Personal situations are always different and motivation styles and other factors can play a large part on whether something that worked for them will work for you as well. Ways to learn from others include: reading articles, blogs, or books or go talk with friends and family.
7. Spread The Word
Social media is a great way to spread the word about what you are working towards, achievements and to get advise and encouragement.
I also like to make notes that I put up as reminders. Is your goal to workout 4 times a week? Get a motivational calendar and X off everyday that you work out. I think having a list of the intermediate step you are working on for every resolution in your bathroom is a great reminder too. Make a small note and put it on the mirror. You see it every day and it will help you keep them at the front of your thoughts.
The biggest thing about New Years Resolutions is that you should decide that what ever you select as a resolution, it is not a one and done kind of thing. You made a resolution to run a 5k? Great, run it, but then don’t stop there. Do more of them, work for a better time and then go further. Resolutions should be a jumping off point, not a end destination. I love the achievements I had in 2015, but that does not mean they are over now. As human beings we are ment to get better and keep up with old resolutions and starting new ones is a way to do it.
So what are your resolutions?
I would love to hear from you!
Note: Here is another post I love that talks about this link