As the new year ushers in, we all look forward to something 'new' happening in life. Some of us like to plan the upcoming year, while others want to continue going with the flow. While nothing is wrong with the latter, it is always good to have a plan for life ahead and try to be in a better position in the next year than the current one.
Many of us have ambitious goals relating to different aspects of life - career, family, health, travel, entertainment, relationships, etc. While we have a general idea about it, we don't always sit down to think about the exact position we want to be in for each of these elements. And this is where this article might be useful for you.
If you want to get ahead and accomplish more than what you already have, please continue reading. I have been reading quite a bit about manifestations, affirmations and new year goals. While I have been interested in fancy planners earlier, I realized the excitement of those fades away faster than we imagine. So the first thing I will tell you is this - no fancy book or planner will achieve your goal for you. It is not important.
Now let us talk about what IS important. I have listed down things to do step by step for achieving what you want without taking too much effort. Trust me I am lazier than all of you combined - so I won't suggest anything too elaborate. Let's begin.
1. Letter to yourself
I had come across this fun activity in a planner (yes I have to give due credit). Write a letter to yourself to read in the next year or at the end of the coming year - say 31st Dec 2023 or 1st Jan 2024. There are no rules except that you need to write where you see yourself by then and what goals you wish to attain. For example, I had once written in such a letter "I hope you have completed writing the book you had planned and published it online." And I had actually done it by the next year!
Just write whatever you want to get or do. Don't get into the nitty-gritty of how it will happen. That is not your problem now. You can write with a simple pen on paper or get more creative if you wish. This is very simple to do and yet a very powerful and effective exercise. Write this letter NOW.
2. Vision Board
You may already have heard of the term vision board. It is simply a collection of pictures that represent what you want and can relate to different aspects of your life. Again, this need not be anything too grand or artistic. You can make it on cardboard or chart paper or simply in any book that you look at every day. Use pictures from newspapers/magazines, or print them out or draw them yourself. Your wish is the rule here. It should be relevant to you in some way.
I have added my vision board here. This is just an example; you could make yours any way you want. It should just make sense and look nice to YOU. This is not an art contest. Do as you please.
3. List of Goals, Daily Activities and Habit Tracker
No, it is not complicated. Now we do a little thinking and list out the goals we have set for ourselves - for example, exercise every day, drink enough water every day, and read more books. If you have a career goal, break it into parts. (Like I am a writer, so I try to divide my time between writing, reading, improving my skills and pursuing more writing/editing classes, working on my blog and freelancing.)
Once this is done, quantify the goal. Say
I will exercise for 20 mins every day for at least 5 days a week
I will drink 6 glasses of water each day.
I will read at least 2 books in a month - 15 pages each day.
Get the drift? Don't aim for too many goals at a time. Keep it simple and start with three. As you progress, gradually add one goal each week. If you are not able to accomplish it, do not be ambitious and go on to add other goals because you will lose motivation. Keep it limited until you achieve the ones you have already set for yourself, whether it is a habit you're trying to develop or a one-time goal. Once you are able to see progress, you will automatically feel inspired to aim for more. Make a note or checklist somewhere in a book which you update at least weekly if not daily so you can track your improvement. And you are good to go!
I know you have heard this a thousand times and wonder "how will affirmations help?" Let me explain. Your mind is the monkey and you are the master. When you train your monkey mind to what you want it to learn, you can control it. Otherwise, the monkey will keep going bonkers and troubling you. An affirmation helps to affirm - to repeat something constantly either by reading or writing to establish it as a firm belief in your mind. I had my own doubts about it but once I tried it, I realised it does work and very well at that!
Affirmations can be applied to different areas of your life including money! I have listed some general examples of affirmations here, but you can write your own or easily find others online. First, note down all the beliefs you want to instil or things you wish to attract in your life - say a career position or a relationship goal or a specified salary. Now write it down somewhere - you can also make it a part of your vision board.
Make it a point to WRITE these down or READ them every day in the morning and/or night at fixed times. Again, limit the affirmations from 6-8. Too many get overwhelming and ineffective. Once you feel these have been established, you can replace these with other affirmations. I sometimes write down one affirmation 10-20 times when I find it too difficult to apply it in life. It changes perspective and helps in changing beliefs. Try it for a fortnight at least and you will be amazed to see the changes. Remember slow and steady wins the race. Do not lose patience. It will work.
5. Relax and Monitor your Progress
Most importantly, do not stress over any of the things. Most of these are one-time activities and the rest is easy to follow up on. Every week observe whether you are following the plan you have set out for yourself.
To sum up,
a) Write a future letter to yourself - one-time activity - and hide it until the next year.
b) Make a vision board - one-time activity - spend a few minutes observing it every day.
c) Goal list, a daily activity list and habit tracker - making the list is a one-time activity - just mark it every day.
d) Affirmations - list out once - Read/write them every day.
That's it! If you are lagging in any of these, don't worry, alter the plan a little to simplify it. If you can achieve even 5 out of the 10 things you plan, it is still progress and better than not planning and reaching nowhere.
If you miss 1-2 days of looking at the vision board or affirmations or doing any of the tasks, it is okay. Start again. Missing some days is better than doing nothing at all. This is why you should set achievable goals, say doing task ABC 5 days a week when you know you cannot do it on all 7 days. But try and stick to the bare minimum that you set for yourself.
You can also reward yourself for the completion of all your tasks every week/month. Say, watch your favourite movie or have that ice cream you so badly wanted to! Or go for an outing with your friends. It is totally up to you. Small rewards give big motivation. Pat yourself on the back for doing it all!
That was all the gyan I wished to share for the new year! I have learnt these things over years of reading and pursuing different courses. I hope you benefit from these. Do let me know if this helps you or if you have any additional tips. Thank you for reading all the way to the end. Also, tell me in December 2023 how far you have reached! All the best.