5 Things That Will Make You Achieve Your 2012 Goals…or Not

Success beyond the obstacles

It may be arbitrary but the turn of a new year is a perfect opportunity to set a plan for what you want to experience, create, have and do over the next 12 months.

Part of what spurns us on to thinking about our future is the middle of December to early January, for most, is a time where we have time less time at work and spend more time with friends and family. This end of year cycle is a perfect catalyst for reconnecting with what matters most.

But knowing what matters (or what you want to achieve) and making it so are wildly different things.

Having spent a huge portion of my adult life investigating what makes the difference between ‘those who achieve what they want’ and ‘those who try but don’t, or don’t really try at all’, I’ve learnt that 99% of the time it comes down to five factors.

Five factors that are within your control.

1. Clarity

It’s near impossible to succeed when you don’t know what success looks like for you. Most people — not a general statement but a quantifiable one from surveying hundreds of people — have a loose, or vague, or ill-defined outcome they are working so hard for. Check this with yourself: What are you currently working so hard for, putting in lots of time and energy? Do you know what specifically you want to have or feel when you’re done?

Pick one goal or dream or intention you want in your life in 2012 and spend focused time on getting clear and specific on what that final outcome looks like, feels like or does for you.

Clarity is an essential starting point.

2. Conviction and Motivation

Let’s face it, with all the demands in our lives today it is incredibly challenging to stay on track with what you want and not get pulled in dozens of directions from distractions and other people’s requests. That’s life! And it’s your job to keep your most important things front and centre in your life.

Yet even when it’s on our to do list we still need conviction to put in the day-to-day investment – sometimes baby steps and other times giant leaps of faith – to keep working at it.

For your main goals in 2012, strengthen your motivation to make consistent progress. Get clear on WHY you want to do this. Summarise all the benefits you — and those around you — will gain from achieving this goal and reflect on that list on a very regular basis.

3. A plan for inaction

If you’re clear and inspired to take action you still need a plan to get it done. However, you also need to prepare how you’ll respond when things don’t go your way, when you get sidetracked or disillusioned at your results along the way. How will you respond to setbacks? How will you get yourself out of a rut of frustration, procrastination or overwhelm?

Successful goal achievement is not just about taking action but it’s mostly about how to overcome the hurdles along the way.

Here are three sentences worth completing when you sit down and design your action steps:

If I get frustrated with lack of progress, in order to keep going or find a better way I will….

If I find days or weeks passing by without taking any action towards my goals, I can get back on track by….

If I’m really stuck and not sure where to begin, or am overwhelmed by everything I need to do, I can ease my way forward by…

4. Habits of Success

As Aristotle noted long, long ago, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit”. Our day-to-day behaviour is largely driven by our habits.

Habits of behaviour, thoughts and feelings. For example, do you have habits that build physical health or erode it? What is your ritual the first moment you turn on your computer at the start of the day – productive work or guilty pleasures?

Your success in the next year is a direct reflection of the balance sheet of your habits — those that serve you in achieving your goals and those that prevent you from getting closer to them.

What habits will you need to create for your big goals? Which habits do you need to eliminate in order to make consistent (and enjoyable) steps towards living the life you want?

5. Be open and seek support from others

You’re not always going to have the answers, the willpower or the energy necessary to take action. No great things are achieved in isolation.

Collaborate with others on solving the problems in your way. Find a quick tip via Google. Get a coach or mentor to help you to navigate to your end destination. Join a like-minded online community to gain ideas and a network of enthusiastic supporters.

For all of your goals, identify a Top 3 list of people, tools or resources you can tap into when you’re stuck or when you simply start to feel your motivation fade. Nip it in the bud and get back on track!

This is where the magic happens. If you fail to address these Big Five you’re likely headed for a year of missed opportunity, frustration or regret. So give yourself the gift of spending quality time thinking – and writing – through all of these. It’s a wonderful way to kick start your year with optimism and vibrancy.

You’ll be hearing a lot more from ActionPodcast on these points in 2012 and we look forward to helping you achieve fun and rewarding success throughout the year.