Do you make a long list, every year, of things you’re going to do to make your life better? What does your list look like? Do any of the following look familiar? How many times have they appeared on your list?

  • lose weight
  • start looking for a new job
  • go to the gym more often
  • give up smoking
  • stop spending so much money…

All of the above goals start with the words “I must”, “I should”, “I ought to” or “I need to”, and they are all focusing on something you’re not currently doing.

So the underlying message to yourself is: “I don’t really want to do x, so there’s no way that I’m actually going to do x, but in the meantime I’m going to make myself feel guilty for not doing x”!

Instead of focusing on what you’re not doing, concentrate on the positive change you want to make, and on why you would like to make this change.

For example, if one of your goals is to lose weight – why do you want to lose weight? What benefits will there be, if you lose weight? Perhaps there’s a particular outfit you’d like to wear? Or perhaps you want to get really fit so you can ride a bike or run a marathon?

What will you feel like when you’ve reached your ideal weight, and you’re looking gorgeous in that outfit, cycling to work every day or storming over the finish line in your first marathon? Write it down. That is your goal.

How will it feel when you’ve started your fantastic new job, or you’ve got a great fitness regime and are going to the gym every week, or you’re a healthy non-smoker, or you’re saving money to go on that exotic holiday you’ve always dreamed of? Write it down. That is your goal.

Instead of saying “I must lose weight”, say “I’m looking gorgeous in my new outfit, and everyone says how fabulous I look, and I feel fit and healthy and happy …”

Instead of saying “I need to stop spending so much money”, say “I’m saving regularly, and I’ve booked a fantastic holiday to X, and I’m really excited and looking forward to relaxing in the sun and seeing the sights …”

  • Decide on the positive change you want – focusing on what you want, not on what you don’t want or what you want to avoid
  • Picture the benefits of making the change – why you want to make the change, what it looks like, sounds like, how it makes you feel
  • Write it down as if it’s a done deal – describe it as if it’s already happening now, right at this minute, and really get into the feeling of having achieved it
  • Remind yourself every day that this is what you want and this is how it feels to have achieved your goal

You don’t have to wait until 1st January to set yourself an achievable goal. You can start today…

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