How are you feeling?

Did you charge into Christmas loaded with stress from unfinished work, ill-prepared for the family festivities, ate and drank too much and now feel sluggish and unmotivated or have you had a great Christmas, feel rested and ready to start the new year with renewed enthusiasm?

Whatever your state there a few simple steps that you can take to start your new year in a positive and enthusiastic way.

Top ten tips

Reflect

Consider your successes and all the positive things in your life from the previous year, both at home and at work.

Even those small achievements are worth recalling. What made you feel happy? What increased your confidence? What provided you with peace or contentment?

To evaluate and reflect is important. It can help motivate and plan for the year ahead.

What’s important to you right now, and what are your priorities?

Spend a little time thinking about this and then write down two or three things that you want to achieve over the coming year.

Then consider which is the most important to you.

You’ve probably heard of the saying: ‘don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today’.

By taking just the smallest step right now to move you forward you can ‘kick start’ the year ahead in a positive way.

Write down those few things you want to achieve as ‘SMART goals’ but focus on your number one priority.

What is a SMART goal?

A goal is something that you want to do, something that you want to be, or something that you want to have.

SMART is an acronym. A goal must be:

Specific – clear and concise

Measurable – it must have a clear objective – what is your measure of success?

Attainable – it’s possible and you know that it can be achieved, even if it seems challenging

Realistic – it shows sensibility and there are practical ideas around the achievement of the goal

Timebound – a span of time is attached to achieving it. For example, ‘. . . . . . by the end of February’.

Writing a goal down helps with motivation and you can refer to it regularly.

Bounce your ideas to positive and forward-thinking friends or colleagues

If you want to start the new year with motivation and you find it useful to have a ‘sounding board’, speak to those people that are positive, optimistic and fill you with enthusiasm and encouragement.

Start each day with a set of actions

Each goal must also have a set of SMART actions too.

Take your priority one goal and think initially about what you need to do FIRST; a small step.

What one thing will be the quickest and/or most effective thing you can do right now to get you started?

Make a short ‘to do list’ each day to keep you on track with each step and use a diary or reminders on your phone – whatever method suits you best to ensure that the action you set for yourself IS carried out.

You can then consider the next goal, and so on, to continuously move you forward throughout the year and to remain motivated.

Use tried and tested strategies

Think about previous successes; how you achieved these, what made a difference, who helped you?

See if you can apply the same methods and strategies to your current set of goals and ensure that unnecessary distractions are reduced or even eliminated.

Do things that make a real difference

We can all say that we are ‘busy’. This means heavily occupied but what are you absorbed with?

Is it some menial task, that has little impact on achieving your goals? Is it something that could possibly be left until another time, or delegated? Or could it be dropped completely?

If, however it is an activity that WILL make a real difference and move you closer to one of your priority goals, forge ahead with genuine intent and commitment.

Treat setbacks as a challenge to rise to

Do not be deterred if the day does not go as planned. Setbacks can arise.
It’s how you respond to these that makes a difference. We can all take responsibility for our own time-management.

Change your mindset and start each day afresh.

Be concerned about what you have control over – not what you have no control over.

To fail is to learn

If you make mistakes don’t beat yourself up. Treat it as a learning opportunity. Reflect and analyse where mistakes were made and what you will do differently next time for a positive outcome.

Dealing positively with adversity builds self-awareness and understanding and every experience can help to create resilience and determination.

Take pride in progress however small

Give yourself a pat on the back when you have made progress and moved yourself forward to where you want to be. This will help with self-esteem and confidence, which in turn helps with motivation.

I know how I want to start my new year, how about you?

If you want some help to start the new year highly motivated consider the support that Strive can offer through one-to-one support and read about the experiences of others that have taken this up.