A new year is the traditional time to roll out positive changes. It brings added pressure to shed bad habits, kick-start big projects, and move toward audacious goals.
But once the initial excitement wears off and the fears and doubts creep in, it can be hard to sustain the momentum to get where you want to be.
Whether or not you’re into making resolutions, here are 3 surefire steps to create what you want (throughout the year and beyond):
1. Get clear on what you want
Until you choose your desired destination, you’re bound to end up someplace else by default. You need to get clear on what you want so you can commit to it and get real results.
And do some soul searching to understand why you want the thing you want. The thing itself is usually less important than the feeling or experience you expect to get from it.
If your goal this year is to meet the love of your life, imagine how you would feel if you did. Would you feel connected, blissful and aligned? Focus on areas in your present life where you already experience connection, bliss and alignment. When you come from a place of abundance and wholeness, instead of scarcity and inadequacy, you’re more likely to create what you truly want (which might be different from what you think you want).
2. Take committed action to get what you want
Too many options and undetermined choices can keep you stuck. Decide what your priorities are and commit fully to them, above all else.
In Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown notes that doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, is more effective than having it all and doing everything.
Start saying no and stop over-committing to opportunities that don’t line up with your real priorities. Save your time, preserve your energy, and make space for what you really want. Instead of multitasking and jumping back and forth, apply laser sharp focus on your top priority.
Break down your goal into a gradual, step-by-step process. Put each actionable step on a to-do list or add it to your calendar. Set target dates to complete your top tasks and prioritize accordingly. Then chip away and follow up until you’re done.
Small, gradual steps are much easier to sustain than huge, giant leaps that require drastic changes to your habits or routines. If I want to seriously progress as a pianist, I have to practice daily. I’d be better off starting out with 15 minutes a day and building on that after a month, instead of going for an 1 hour a day and fizzling out after a week.
Quit making excuses about why you’re not making progress. Make use of time pockets and work in short bursts if you don’t have huge blocks of time to get the steps done. Hold yourself accountable and call on a friend, colleague, coach or mentor to help you stay on track and keep your commitments. Delegate, barter or hire someone to deal with minutiae that don’t capitalize on your strengths.
3. Let go of what you want
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, letting go of what you want is essential. There’s a big difference between clinging to an outcome and striving for it.
Focus on what you can influence. Fully engage with the process. Be present. Make stops along the way to celebrate small wins and acknowledge where you’re at.
Go all out and give it your best shot. But drop the urge to control outcomes and circumstances that are uncontrollable. Despite your dedication and diligence, there’s no guarantee you’ll get exactly what you want.
You start out by choosing your desired destination. You might encounter hurdles and detours that cause delays in getting where you want to be.
You gain simply by stepping on to the right path, appreciating your progress, and enjoying the journey itself. And if you stay open enough, you just might end up in a place that is way more desirable than you ever dreamed possible.
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Photo by: MeganLynnette