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Beyond New Year’s Resolutions: Reaching Your Goals  

 

 by Elizabeth Connors-Keith, CHt 

 

 

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2015? Or have you given up on this practice because you feel that resolutions never amount to real change in your life? If you find yourself, like many people, creating the same goals for this year as you had for last year (but didn’t reach despite your firm new year’s resolutions), maybe it’s time to consider what you need to do differently this year. Most people abandon their New Year’s resolutions within weeks because of one or more of the following reasons: they don’t properly set their goals, they have limiting beliefs around their goals, they don’t develop a plan for achieving their goals, or they don’t have a system for keeping track of their progress. Goals won’t be accomplished without the right mindset and a blueprint for achieving them. In addition, you may need to get rid of something in order to get what you want to have in your life. 

 

Set Your Goals Properly 

 

Set goals that are big enough to really motivate you and to stretch you to grow, but not ones that are so big that they feel unattainable or overwhelm you. If they’re too big or too small you won’t take action on them. You can still set big goals, but give yourself time to achieve them. Where do you want to be 30 days from now? 60? 90? One year? Small achievements will build confidence and momentum.  

 

Set goals that are compelling, not boring. If a goal isn’t “juicy” it won’t hold your attention for long. If it seems more like a “should”, ask yourself why you want this goal. What motivating reason will propel you towards that goal? We do things that we think will make us feel better. Get in touch with the feeling you are trying to achieve. 

 

 

Create a Strategy 

 

Resolutions without action steps are just words on a page. What are your strategies for reaching these goals? Write down at least three action steps that you could take for each goal. Then every day deliberately take those action steps while focusing on the feeling state you are trying to achieve for your goal. After 21 days daily actions become habits in the subconscious, leading to automatic behavior. 

 

If you’re trying to break a habit, sometimes what will help is to remove yourself from tempting situations or to change your environment. If you are trying to lose weight, for example, eliminate the cues to overeat and decrease your access to fattening foods by either not having them in your house and workplace or (if there are other members of your household/work who want them) by putting them in a place you’re not likely to go. Out of sight truly is out of mind. Likewise, make healthy foods (such as vegetables) readily available. Give yourself a no-fail environment. In this way you’re programming yourself for success. 

 

Keep track of your action steps, checking them off in a planner. Hold yourself accountable. Better yet, be accountable to another person such as an exercise buddy, a trainer, a life coach or a hypnotherapist. It’s harder to not follow through if you know someone else is counting on you.

 

Change Your Beliefs  

  

One of the biggest obstacles people face when reaching for a goal is their negative self-talk, which is a result of negative beliefs. Are there beliefs about yourself or the world that you need to change? Those beliefs will cause you to sabotage your efforts, hindering your ability to achieve your goals. Beliefs become filters through which we experience life. We can literally block out (not see or hear) anything that is contrary to our beliefs, including that which would help us achieve our goals, or even not notice our progress toward a goal.  

 

Do you believe it’s possible to reach your goals? Do you believe you are smart enough, good enough, deserving enough? Start paying attention to the content of that constant stream of thoughts in your head. Does your internal dialogue about your goal serve you or sabotage you? Try writing down the thoughts that come to you about it and take a good look at them. For the negative ones, ask yourself, “Is this true?” “Do I know for SURE that this is true?” “What if there’s another possibility?” Then deliberately choose a thought about this goal that makes you feel better. Keep choosing better-feeling thoughts until you become a vibrational match for what you want.  

 

Make Space for the New 

 

“Out with the old, in with the new.” This is not just a cliché, but an admonition to clear away what you have outgrown (physically or emotionally) or what you no longer want, in order to make space in your life for the new to show up. Take inventory of not only your possessions but also your habits, beliefs and attitudes, sorting out what does and doesn’t work for you. What drains your energy, or makes you feel like you’re going in circles? Where do you feel stuck or out of control? Out with the old could mean, for example, getting rid of clutter, or ending a bad relationship, or changing your thinking. This is, no doubt, a lengthy process and one that can be ongoing. However, you can begin it by taking one old goal you still have for the new year and analyzing why you haven’t met that goal yet.  

 

One more thing to let go of: shed the idea that the past determines the future. Just because you haven’t done/gotten it yet, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Every moment is a new moment, filled with new possibilities. Release what’s holding you back and you’ll be on your way to fulfilling your dreams. 

If you’re having trouble letting go of things, changing your automatic thinking or habits, or creating a new self-image or new beliefs, hypnotherapy can help you to make those positive changes that will allow you to reach your goals.