You've done it…
You've (just about) made it to the end of another year, in one piece.
If you're like most people, I bet it was yet another rollercoaster year… with more ups and downs than a Gold-Medal trampolinist!
(Is that even a thing?? If it is, I might consider changing careers…)
I know mine certainly was, but that's part of the adventure of life.
Now it's time to get settled and stuck in for the year that is to come, making sure that you start as you mean to go on… with the right foot forward.
I'm not necessarily talking about the whole ‘New Year, New You' bullshit, because I don't really buy into that.
It's just not practical to think that you'll wake up on 1st January as a whole new person, with totally different characteristics, skills and whatnot.
As if you can, overnight, develop an entire new resolve for a better life.
That'd be crazy talk.
It'd be equally realistic for me to set a New Year's Resolution that I'm going to become Brad Pitt… and that ain't happening any time soon.
Instead…Life is really a perpetual path of gradual development... where every single day you can make changes and improvements. Click To Tweet
So rather than ‘instantly' transforming into a whole new person, lets work on how we can kickstart 2018 in the best possible way and begin your best year ever…
1) Reflect On The Whole Of 2017
I don't believe that you have to wait for a new year to begin, in order to make great changes in your life, but I do think that the new year is a good ‘measuring stick' and a great opportunity to compare your life (and your progress) year-on-year.
Spend some time with a notebook and a pen, looking back over the last 12 months and reflecting on how it went in 2017.
Ask yourself questions like:
– What didn't I do, that I should have done?
– What could I have done, that I didn't do?
– What did I do, that I shouldn't have done?
– What did I do, that I could have done better?
– What opportunities did I allow to slip by?
– What excuses did I make that slowed me down?
You might want to grab your calendar or diary and actually look over the activities and phases of your life, to examine the year, month-on-month.
Try to determine how much of what you set out to achieve you actually DID achieve in 2017.
Looking specifically at the things you didn't manage to achieve, decide whether or not those things are still relevant and important to you. If they are, circle them, as you'll be coming back to them in a moment.
This is a really great opportunity to take a long hard look at 2017 and map your progress (or lack of progress) along the way.
By analysing last year, you're able to see clear, solid and quantifiable ways to improve and achieve more in 2018.
Understanding and accepting what worked and what didn't really is half of the battle.
2) Write Down Your Goals
As we enter this new year and begin this new chapter, it's important to decide roughly how you want that chapter to end (happily ever after?).
The old adage says… if you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there.
One of the exciting things about a new year is that it's the perfect opportunity to define new goals which have a strict time period on them.
Where do you want to be in exactly 12 months from now? Assess this in your career, business, relationships, friendships, finances, hobbies, etc.
Trying to determine where you want to be in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years is TOUGH, because there's a shit load that can change, both within and outside of your control…
…but simply deciding where you want to be in a year's time is really not so tough.
The first place to start is with the things you circled in the previous step. Remember those things you wanted to get done last year, but didn't?
Well, if they are still relevant and interesting to you, then perhaps they can be your first goals for the coming year… so pop those onto your list.
Next, look at the things that you DID achieve in 2017. Perhaps there's a logical next step to kick things up a gear, and that can become a goal for 2018!
Setting goals for the year ahead really isn't that tough, you just need to take the time to actually do it.
I'd recommend using my free goal setting worksheets to make it easier, along the way.
3) Create A 30/90/365 Day Plan
The next step is to take your goals and create a roadmap to get there. Otherwise your journey will be like jumping in the car to a strange destination without your satnav!
Instead, you need to make sure that every possible step of the journey towards your goals is planned out… (within reason).
Does that mean that your plans are going to go exactly to plan?
Hell no, there will always been bumps in the road and unexpected circumstances, but at least having a proposed plan is better than just winging it.
Begin with your 12 month goals. That's where you want to be in 365 days time.
Now break that down into 3 x 90-ish day chunks on your calendar or, failing that, a piece of paper.
Take your first 90 day chunk and break that down into 3 x 30 day chunks.
Grab the first of those 30 day chunks and break it down into 4 weeks.
This gives you some beautifully bitesize ‘stepping stones' to follow, on the way to achieving your major milestones.
In other words, you can focus on exactly what you need to do for the next few weeks.
It's much easier to build 4 x weekly plans for the month ahead, than it would be to plan out your path for the next year.
By breaking everything down this way, you can make sure that you're always working on the month ahead… but every step will take you to where you plan to be in a year.
This is SO much more effective than just starting a journey and making it up as you go along!
4) Take Up A New Hobby, Interest Or Venture
As humans, our brains thrive on adventure, novelty and spontaneity, and when things become stale we grow tired and bored.
‘Comfortable' is one of the most dangerous places to be in your life… because it hinders your growth.
Imagine being sat in a big comfy armchair for a long time…
The kind your Gran probably had, with a tin of biscuits next to it.
The longer you stay sat down, the harder it is to muster up the energy to get back up again.
This exact same thing happens in life. The longer you stay still, the harder it is to get moving!
So, this year… I want you to make a firm commitment to start up with one of those hobbies, ventures or travel plans that you have been putting off, for some time.
Maybe you want to start horse riding, ice skating, playing darts. Or perhaps you've always dreamt of travelling to a particular destination.
Whatever it is, I want you to pick one of those things on that list (everyone has one) and create yourself the TIME and MOTIVATION to start actually doing it.
That probably means three things:
a) PLANNING – build it into your schedule and carve out the time to actually do it (see the previous tip about planning). Things that don't get planned, don't get done.
b) EDUCATION – you'll probably need to make a conscious effort to start learning about this new ‘thing'. So grab yourself some books or training on the topic and begin your education.
c) COMMUNITY – one of the best ways to actually start doing the things you've dreamt of, is to surround yourself with other people. Are their clubs or societies you can join to inspire action on this thing? Or an online community on Facebook (or any other social website) to hang out with likeminded people.
It's time to finally dive in and throw yourself headfirst into an amazing new adventure… all towards making 2018 your best year ever.
5) Hold Yourself Accountable
Alright… let's get honest with ourselves for a sec.
You've decided WHAT you want and you know what you need to do, in order to make it happen. Then you've built a plan to do it.
BINGO. You've gotten further than most.
Now we have to add the extra step… ACTION-TAKING.
Let's face it, if you're not taking action, you're not moving forward.
And sometimes it takes a little extra motivation to get shit done, right?
That's why you need to build accountability into your life from Day 01. You need something that will actually force you to move forward and take action on your plans.
I would start by publically declaring your goals and your vision, to a trusted group of people.
In the past, I have actually gone as far as blogging about my goals and following the journey to achieve them, to share each step of the adventure with the world.
When you share your vision and your plans with other people, it puts a lot more pressure on you to actually accomplish things and MAKE them happen.
You might not want to actually push yourself to ‘blog' about your plans, but how about posting your ambitions to your friends on Facebook or telling your family and loved ones?
Just telling someone else about the things that you're setting out to do, gives you a strong extra incentive to get it done.
If you can, try to find an accountability partner to work with in your life. Someone who has a similar vision (and may even be on exactly the same path!).
Get together once a week (either in real life, on the phone or on an online call, like Skype) for an accountability session. Use this time to look back at what you have both done, assess it together and both set goals for the week to follow.
The idea here is that you both inspire, encourage, motivate and help each other to keep moving forward.
Celebrate each others victories. Support each others struggles. Help wherever you can along the way.
And if your accountability partner doesn't achieve something that they planned to do, then ‘open a can of whoopass' on them (in other words, tell them off (in a friendly way)) and try to find out what went wrong, so that they can solve it!
You might even want to get together a small group of people who are all working towards the same goal as an ‘accountability group', where you all work together in support!
6) Have A Big Clearout
One of my favourite activities at this time of year is to spend time clearing out my apartment and throwing out things I don't want/need anymore.
We're all naturally ‘hoarders' to a certain extent and often find ourselves keep things long past their ‘throw-away date'.
Dedicate some of your spare time to sorting through clothes and possessions, looking for things that you have kept… but you're not quite sure why!
Be brutal and vigorous. Look at everything you have and decide whether it plays a crucial role in your life or your growth.
If it doesn't consider getting rid of it! This process creates physical space in your home, of course, but it also creates an amazing mental space, too.
Taking time for a clearout is therapeutic and relaxing, once you get into it. It helps you to de-clutter your mind, as well as your home.
It's like subconsciously making room for a whole new you – and that is so, so powerful.
You could choose to throw things out, take them to a charity shop or even sell them on eBay, depending on what it is!
This year, I've also spent time sorting through the ‘boring' admin stuff, like bills and paperwork. I found that I was hoarding a few years worth of paperwork that I just didn't need anymore.
It took a little time, but it felt so good to shred a bunch of stuff that was just taking up space and serving no real purpose!
So, make room for your new, improved life… by getting rid of old stuff!
And, there you have it… six powerful ways to make 2018 your best year ever – and I believe in you that you can do it!
Remember: if you want 2018 to be any better than 2017, then you have to do things DIFFERENTLY.
There's no logic in doing the same thing and expecting a different result, is there.
As they say… ‘If nothing changes, nothing changes'.
Let's plough ahead with your ‘best foot forward' and kickstart the new year in the best possible way.
And, of course, I'll be here with you… every step of the way… with help advice and guidance for total, unstoppable personal growth.
If you're interested in getting even more and really kicking things up a few notches, then I'd recommend joining my Evolution Hacks Insiders' Club: