It starts off the same every new year. Resolutions are made and then resolutions fade as the months quickly give way to the next year when the cycle repeats. On many occasions I have gotten caught in the pattern of promising myself that this year would be different: I would get the body that I wanted; I would make the money that I desired; I would travel to places that I pinned to my Pinterest board, only to look back in December and realize that many of my goals fell by the wayside as life took over and reminded me that change is inevitable and flexibility is necessary.
But this past year I decided to stop making empty promises to myself and started creating actionable plans in all areas of my life from career to love and relationships to actually see my dreams and desires come to fruition. I moved across country to Los Angeles with just a few dollars in my pocket and a vision for my life. I shed the few pounds that I gained on the journey over. I started checking off goals and ideas that I posted on my vision board two years prior, and I started getting my confidence back as I discovered my own strength and power as a woman who can speak things into existence.
It’s not only changed how I perceive life, but my perception of myself and what I’m able to accomplish when I’m focused and committed to me. And in 2017 I look to take that to another level.
Here are 5 things that helped me to back up the things that I constantly talked about and that made me a winner in 2016.
1. I Wrote Down My Vision and Actionable Steps To Make It A Reality
There’s nothing wrong with having a grand vision for your life. In fact, if your vision is something that you can easily accomplish on your own, it’s not big enough. But one thing that I realized that I did years prior was write down lofty dreams without a real plan of how to make it really happen. I love a vision board as much as the next person, but as pretty as pictures are they don’t show you all the pieces that require assembly in order to get to that ultimate image. So this past year I switched it up and instead of pasting photos to a board I penned my vision on paper—and then penned all the steps leading up to the end goal.
I purchased a Passion Planner, which was perfect because as a writer my life revolves around deadlines and the planner kept me on point. But what I loved most about it was that at the beginning it asked you to write down a wish list of the different goals you had for yourself three months out, a year out, and three years out. You would define what your game changer was—the goal that had the most positive impact on your life at the moment. That goal would go in the middle of the page and surrounding the goal would be things you would do to make it happen. At the end of the month you would assess your progress and write down ways to improve the next month. It was like an accountability partner on paper, and it helped me to get close to my goals of being debt-free, moving to L.A., and creating multiple streams of income using my natural gifts and talents.
While you don’t necessarily have to have a planner to make this happen, the key is to write down smaller, realistic steps that help you to reach your end goal. That way it doesn’t feel overwhelming or unobtainable, and keeps you in check every step of the way.
2. I Stopped Watching Other People Live Their Lives
I’m guilty of aimlessly scrolling through Instagram and double-tapping pictures of people who are living their lives to the fullest. On one hand it’s motivating to see my peers accomplishing their dreams, but as much as I love celebrating their successes, it can sometimes distract me from focusing on my own goals. Those minutes turn into hours that could’ve been spent more wisely, and looking to them for motivation prevented me from diving within myself and tapping into the genius that lies within.
I decided to start making a change by fasting from social media for two weeks and deleted all apps from my phone because temptation is real. It honestly was the most productive—and peaceful—weeks that I’d had in months. Afterward, instead of pretending that I was going to stay off of social media all day everyday, I put boundaries around it. I set certain times of the day where I could go on and browse and catch up with people. I reserved the hours that I’m most productive for zoning in on my goals. I even put myself on a schedule. It sounds simple but it does wonders for helping to accomplish those dreams that we often speak about but have little to show for.
3. I Didn’t Turn A Temporary Setback Into Defeat
Okay, so I may have overslept one day. I had to push back a launch because my photographer rescheduled on me. Or to keep it real, I just didn’t “feel like it” and I chose to kick back and watch an episode of Queen Sugar instead of working on my own bestselling novel. Life happens, and so does procrastination. But missing a personal deadline isn’t the end all be all—it’s an opportunity to embrace what is, and adjust to make happen what you want to be. If I got caught up on every perceived failure then I’d live in a constant state of self-pity and never get anything accomplished. There are always going to be hurdles on the road to success. How you handle it not only speaks volumes about your character, but also about how badly you want it. Besides, it’s a marathon, not a race. The goal is to keep moving forward.
4. I Celebrated My Progress Along the Way
I admit that I haven’t always been too good at this. You know, patting myself on the back for that small goal that I can now check off my list. I’m always looking forward to the next thing; I don’t dwell too much on the past. But sometimes you need to pause for a second to celebrate how far you’ve come to appreciate where you’re going. It’s easy to get into the habit of complaining or worrying, but when you stop to see what has been accomplished it shifts your perspective and gives you a different drive and a new energy.
I used to do a blessings jar and throughout the course of the year I would write down good things that happened on slips of paper and close to New Year’s Eve I would pull them out one by one and reflect on the wide range of wins. Now I have a space in my planner for weekly reflections that I fill in every week. It’s made me realize that the small wins are just as significant as the big ones, even if they’re not things that seem worthy of bragging about on social media. It helps you not to rely on the praise and approval of others because you learn how to be your own cheerleader in life. You learn to find positivity in everything, and that even setbacks aren’t without a greater purpose.
5. I Made New Goals
So you made an actionable plan, put social media pause, stopped crying over spilled milk and found a reason to celebrate your baby steps. Now you’re checking things off your list left and right because you have a new attitude and your changed mindset is bringing good energy into your life. Now what?
You keep going. You make new goals. You reached 5,000 followers for your brand? Cool, now it’s time to reach 10,000. You built six months worth of savings in your bank account? Fabulous. Now start saving for the down payment on that dream home. You stopped looking for love in hopeless places and started loving you—all of you? It’s about time. Now let that good energy attract the right partner who you can continue to build and grow with. The point is not to always dream bigger, always strive for more. The top of the mountain is just an illusion to the heights that you can climb—the sky is the limit.
What steps are you taking to make your New Year’s resolution a New Year’s reality?