How To Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet

How To Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet

By Michele Connolly

Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet

Many people I’ve talked to lately say 2011 has not been a great year. From global challenges to personal problems, it seems many of us are hoping for a better year in 2012.

What can we do to make the new year a great one?

There’ll be things we can’t control and disappointments out of our hands. But there are also steps we can take to make the best of what is in our hands.

Here are three steps to making the most of 2012.

1. List Your Key Life Areas

People are always talking about wanting better work-life balance. Or feeling frustrated that they lack time for their own health and wellbeing.

By diversifying your goals across life areas, you can build greater balance and health right into your life.

So the first thing to do is decide what your main life areas are.

I like to have 12 – this way, I can assign a month of the year to give more focus to each goal. Putting your attention squarely on one life area at a time can help you gain serious momentum – much more than you’d get with the same effort spread over a longer period.

Here is my list of life areas:

1. Personal Development

2. Health & Fitness

3. Business & Career

4. Fun & Recreation

5. Technology & Social Media

6. Home

7. Personal Presentation

8. Strategies For Happiness

9. Money & Finance

10. Relationships

11. Time Management

12. Family

Some may not be relevant for you, or you may have other areas that are significant.

Take my list as a starting point and add, delete or substitute to make your list of important life areas.

2. Choose A Goal Or Two For Each Life Area

Once you’ve identified your key life areas, think about what you want to achieve in those areas over the following year.

Here are some examples of goals and New Year’s resolutions for each life area:

1. Personal Development

· Learn a language
· Improve spirituality

2. Health & Fitness

· Lose weight
· Exercise regularly
· Cut down on alcohol

3. Business & Career

· Get promoted
· Start a business

4. Fun & Recreation

· Travel
· Take up a hobby

5. Technology & Social Media

· Start blogging
· Learn Photoshop

6. Home:

· Get rid of clutter
· Organize the spare room

7. Personal Presentation

· Organize the closet
· Makeover your look

8. Strategies For Happiness

· Stop negative thinking
· Be more grateful

9. Money & Finance

· Repay a debt
· Save money

10. Relationships

· Find a romantic partner
· Improve friendships

11. Time Management

· Eliminate time wasters
· Get more done

12. Family

· Spend more quality time with family members.

My goals for 2012 include:

· Health & Fitness: Trying yoga. I’ve never been able to stay still long enough to enjoy yoga, but I’d like to quiet my monkey mind and give classes a good try. I’ll focus on this in February.

· Business & Career: Writing one or maybe two new 52 Missions programs. These take a lot of research and time, so if I only get one done, then that will be okay. I’ll focus on this in July.

· Family: Visiting my sister. I miss my sister and her family terribly (they live in Minnesota) so in 2012 I want to go visit them. The timing will depend on many factors so I’ll be open to the right time as the year unfolds.

For each of the life areas you’ve listed, choose one or two goals that you’d like to achieve in 2012.

If in doubt, aim lower rather than too high. If you’re successful in achieving what you set for yourself, you’ll be motivated to do more. But if you’re unrealistic you may get demoralized.

And have a mix of small and large goals. The year will fill up with many unplanned challenges – you can count on it! So don’t set yourself up for disappointment by overcommitting.

Instead, choose a couple of bigger goals in areas that really matter, and round out your resolutions with smaller, easily achieved projects in other areas.

3. Put First Steps Into Your Diary

And you’re done. Now go succeed.

I’m kidding! Stopping here is a sure-fire way to be setting the same New Year’s resolutions again next year. This step is crucial.

Now that you have a range of big and small goals across your key life areas, it’s time to translate them into action. Action is really the secret to achieving your goals and keeping your New Year’s resolutions.

So how do you action-ize your goals?

For each goal:

1. Write down the first couple of steps to achieving the goal
2. Allocate each step to a date in your diary (the Goals & Priorities Diary is good for this).

For instance, I’ve entered ‘Check gym timetable for yoga classes’ in my diary For 1 February. I don’t have to think about this goal again until I see that task come up.

Now don’t worry about choosing the one perfect date for every task. The idea is to program your actions into your diary so that you’re reminded about your goals as you go about your daily life, and prompted to take the actions that will move you toward those goals.

As you come across a task in your diary, do it that day if at all possible, or reschedule it if you must. Then, as you complete each task, diarize the next step toward that goal.

With this approach your goals will become part of your life. Tasks will pop up, progress will get made, all in a low-stress way.

The inevitable challenges are sure to come our way in 2012. But with these steps, you can put a system in place that will help ensure the things that matter still get the attention – and action – they deserve.

If you follow these steps, then no matter what else happens, 2012 could be your best year yet.

Summary

To make 2012 a fabulous year:

1. List Your Key Life Areas
2. Choose A Goal Or Two For Each Life Area
3. Put First Steps Into Your Diary.

[Image by xioubin low]

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