Every year between late December and early January, we start to think about what we will do differently for the upcoming year. What will we commit to? More exercise? More family-time? Life-balance?

This year, my wife and I wrote down our family resolutions for 2022: cook more at home together, introduce our 3-year-old to Art classes, physically move around more on the weekends, among others…

We compared our list to the one we had made the year prior, and noticed some items were the same, meaning they were on our list in 2021, and again in 2022. I noticed that the goals we did not achieve in 2021 all had the same thing in common: what was driving us to write those specific goals was more a “should” rather than a strong emotional reason as to “why” we wanted to achieve them.

To succeed, first get clear on your “why”

What is driving you internally and emotionally to want to do this?

Let’s take an example. Say one of your goals this year is to change careers. In 2022, I will change careers because:

  • I have been unhappy in my current career for too long.
  • I deserve to be doing something I love.
  • I want to have more flexibility in my job so I can spend more time with my family.
  • I want to take a month-long trip to Europe this summer.
  • I want more upside, and a higher financial ceiling down the line than what’s currently possible.
  • I want to stop complaining about my job all the time to my spouse.
  • I want to work in a field where I can learn new things daily.
  • I want to wake up, and look forward to the day.
  • I want my kids to be proud of what I do for a living.
  • I want to work from home.
  • I want to be in a career where I can make a difference in other people’s lives.

I don’t know about you, but I’d feel a lot more motivated to take action after reading that list, wouldn’t you?!

Once you have your list, read it out loud every single day, and commit to doing one thing towards that goal each time you read it. Take just one step, no matter how small, in the direction of your goal.

In our earlier example about wanting to change careers, any of the action steps that follow could represent what you commit to doing on that day:

  • Share your “changing career” goal with your best friend so as to create some accountability for yourself.
  • Spend 20mn writing out what your dream job would look like.
  • Spend 15mn writing out your skill set.
  • Explore the possibility of working with a career coach.
  • Redo your resume.
  • Talk to someone who is in a field that interests you to find out more.
  • Look at your local community college online classes being offered to see if something is of interest.
  • Spend some time thinking about what values your next career would need to include so they match your current individual values.

The next step is about envisioning how you will feel once you achieve your goal. This is crucial, and will create an emotional connection, and draw out a feeling you can lean when you need.

Staying with our “changing career” example, if we were to envision how we’d feel once we made the transition to a career we loved, it could go something like this:

  • I will be on top of the world
  • I will feel relieved
  • I will feel so proud of myself
  • I will feel happy to share the news with everyone
  • I will wake up more easily and with a huge smile on my face
  • I will be planning my trip to Europe.
  • I will be excited about what I will learn today.
  • I will want to inspire others to make a change too.

Be playful and imaginative with this. Then commit to reading this list outload as well daily.

To recap, so far we have:

  • Write out your goal.
  • Write out the list of reasons why you want to achieve your goal.
  • Write out the list of how you will feel the day you achieve your goal.
  • Commit to a time daily when you will read both lists out loud.
  • Commit to taking 1 small step after reading the lists that you will take that day towards your goal.

A couple of last tips that will help along the way:

  • Be consistent
  • Remember tocelebrate the small wins along the way (you’ve set up an informational interview where you will ask someone about a career that possibly interests you, or you’ve taken small actions towards your goal for 10 straight days…)
  • Create some accountability for yourself by asking a friend to check in on you weekly and ask about your progress.

You got this!