The New Year is more than just a change in calendar, it’s the perfect time to change ourselves by making a commitment to become better. It’s the perfect time to take a good hard look at the things we want to change in our lives and recognize what actions we have to take in order to do that. That’s why the start of the New Year is the perfect time to set our short-term goals for the year ahead.
One of my favorite mental exercises to do at the start of each New Year is to sit quietly and pretend it is now the last day of this New Year ahead and I pretend to be looking back over everything that came about this year. What do I want to be able to say my life was over the past year as I look back at it? What will I say I have accomplished? What bad habits will I say I overcame and what good habits will I say I have implemented? What talents will I say I have developed or strengthened? What relationships will I have strengthened and which will I have let go? What things have I attained and what successes have I achieved? Then I begin to write and I write down the answers to those questions and these become my short-term goals for the coming year ahead.
“The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” -Melodie Beattie
Some people look at setting New Year’s goals as being useless, as did Mark Twain when he said, “New Year’s Day now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” I, however, have always found setting New Year’s goals to be extremely productive. Perhaps it’s the feeling of a ‘clean slate’ that comes with each New Year that makes it easier to mentally commit to making changes in our lives. Whatever the reason, no one can argue with the need to evaluate where we are now and determine where we want to go in the days ahead, and right now is the perfect time to do that.
A few quotes that always inspire me as I sit down to set New Year’s goals are these:
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…” -Alfred Lord Tennyson
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do — begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it”. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.” – Mark Victor Hansen
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” -Neil Gaiman
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” -Helen Keller
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it’s business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don’t love what you’re doing and you can’t give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short. You’ll be an old man before you know it.” – Al Lopez
“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.” – Margaret Thatcher
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S Lewis
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.” – Donald Trump
And with that I recommend you get out your paper and start writing! Tomorrow is the perfect day to begin achieving your New Year’s goals. Think of it as day one in making your New Year of AWESOME into a reality!
~Amy Rees Anderson