What are your priorities for the New Year? To move house, save money, take up a new sport, lose weight or to find more me-time?
Or maybe you are struggling financially so making ends meet is your top concern. Or you are recovering from a bereavement or illness and just getting through each day is a major achievement.
The end of the old year and the start of the new is a time when people begin to look back over the past 12 months and plan to make changes. These can be major with life altering repercussions or minor ones which can be turned around in an instant.
So, if you want to change your life where do you start? And what is the best way to achieve success? Anne Farrell, a local life coach and the director of MAF Coaching, says begin by clearing your mind of clutter.
“When you have any discrepancy between what you have in your heart and what you manifest in your outside world this will result in a situation of disharmony in your life. When you can clear the clutter of your mind it helps you get focused on what you really want.”
Step 1. Clear your clutter.
She says we all have areas in our lives that need attention. It is important to clear the clutter in our heads so we are able to focus on making 2009 the best year yet.
“This could be in your home, it could simply be the clutter in the press under the stairs that has been on your mind or items that are in the wrong place that need putting away.
In your office, it could mean clearing out your emails or PC, clearing your desk, completing your filing or finishing your tax returns. It could be to consolidate your bills and make a budget for your outgoings.
“It may not be a tangible thing. It could be something that needs to be dealt with in your relationships with your partner, your children or a friend.
She says we all have a great ability to push this clutter to the back of our minds to try to forget about it.
“The problem with this is that we feel more stress when the things in our lives are not right. These tend to build up over time so we want to take the first step by eliminating these clutters.”
She recommends getting a sheet of paper and putting today’s date on it.
“Make a list now of everything that needs to be dealt with so that you can conquer your list one by one. At the bottom of the page, put another date (your deadline ) for when you want each area cleaned.”
Step 2. Focus on what you really want.
Think about what changes you want to make at home, at work or in your personal life. On another piece of paper make a list of the changes you want to make in the next six months.
“Be realistic and ensure some of them are easy for you to achieve. By writing your ideas on a piece of paper you are making the decision and the commitment that you are going to go for what you really want.
“Again, put a deadline on your sheet so that you can work towards a date. This is important as it stops us making things open-ended and therefore less likely to be achieved.”
When writing goals or making resolutions use the present tense, she advises.
“Write them down as if they have already happened, as if you are doing what you want to do right now. When we make the decision to do something we start to put things in place to help us achieve that something.”
Step 3. Write down your reason why
It is human nature to resist change, according to Anne Farrell.
“On some level we all resist change or resist going out of our comfort zone. This is perfectly normal but in order to get to where you want to go and in order to make the changes you have just listed on your page, you need to be able to work through this.
“Some say if your ‘why’ (to do something ) is strong enough the ‘how’ will come easily but I feel sometimes you have to ‘jump off a building and grow wings on the way down.’
“What I mean by this is - make the decision, make the move and know and feel that you will grow and learn as you are making the move.”
She says a great way to start working through the challenge of making changes is to make two lists. Ensure that each list has 10 points. Make each point count and take some time to really think about it.
“For example write down ‘10 reasons why I need to make this change’, eg, I will feel healthier. Then write down ‘10 consequences for not making your change’, eg, I won’t be living the life of my dreams if I don’t.
“The purpose of each list is to get you really thinking about the great change that you want to make. It is also to get you thinking how important it is to make this change. We want to make your reason why so big that you are motivated to get going and start taking the steps you need to make this great change.”
Step 4. Break it down
When you are about to make a big change in your life it can seem like a major project. This can be overwhelming for some.
Anne Farrell recommends taking another page to make a step-by-step plan and break down your change into monthly lists.
List the next six months across the top of the page. Make notes under each heading detailing all the things you want to achieve in that month to ensure your change happens in the next six months.
“Remember that you have only 24 hours in each day and that you have a life too so make your plan achievable for yourself every month.
“The point of breaking it down is so that you only have to focus on your monthly steps and to prevent you from being overloaded. The great thing about your plans is that you can change them as you go along. If you feel that you can achieve more you look at the following month’s list. If your list has not been completed this month add it to next month’s list.”
Step 5. Just do it.
“Since Nike puts it so well we’ll use their words. Just do it, go for it and make a promise to yourself that you are going to be all that you can be and achieve all that you can achieve.”