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2017 is just around the corner and it’s time to put this year behind you and start strategising on how you are going to make 2017 the best year yet.   Everyone starts the year with the best of intentions and goals in mind, but keeping to those is the hard part. One of the key factors that will probably keep you on track to ensure that you make sure 2017 your best year is purpose. Purpose in everything you do is a hugely positive motivating force and should be sought in every aspect of your life.

One simple way to make 2017 your best year yet is to make the decision to live an intentional life. How do you achieve this? It is all about goal setting and being intentionally focused on a holistic life plan.  Goal setting is the first thing that you need to consider to ensure that this goal of living an intentional life can be achieved. When you are setting goals, be sure to limit your goals to no more than 10, even less is good. If you try to set more, it can become hard to keep track of them, and you could lose focus on what is most important.

Also, when goal setting, you need to set goals in all areas of life in order to achieve the highest levels of wellbeing. There is proven research that shows that achieving goals in the areas of career, social, financial, physical and community life leads to general well being and a much happier life.

So, you have made the decision to make 2017 your best year yet and to live an intentional life – how exactly do you do that…. Here are some tips:

Step 1. Reflect on The Past Year

Like anything in life, you need to take learning from the past in order to move forward. It is not about living in the past, but making sure that all the lessons that were learnt last year are heeded and taken forward with you into your future to ensure that you don’t make them again. Similarly, all of your achievements and successes can be reflected on and can inspire you to achieve further success.

There are a couple of questions that you can ask yourself that will help you to assess the year that has gone before:

Did you meet your previous goals?

What went well?

What didn’t go so well?

What are areas in which you grew?

What areas did you feel a lack of growth?

These are all important questions to answer before setting goals for the upcoming year. If you don’t, you might repeat mistakes. You also might miss out on celebrating your achievements.

Step 2. Dream Big

Don’t settle for mediocrity! You can be a lot more of who you already are if you’re willing to put in the hard work.

In step two, think about your highly aspirational goals. These might be big life goals or bucket list types of things.

The only rule during this step is that you need to be realistic. You are probably not going to qualify for the Olympics, or double your income this year. BUT, you can certainly set your sights on a significant improvement in skill or getting a raise at work. The point here is not to limit yourself by what is, but rather, dream about what could be.

These big dreams will probably be a little vague and ambiguous. That’s ok… for now. What is good about this process is that by making a long list, it will help you see patterns, and identify what you value most, then, it’s just a matter of setting a SMART goal to get there.

Step 3. Set SMART Goals

This is one of the hardest steps. Whenever you are setting goals, they need to be SMART – these goals are:

  • Specific: Your goals should state exactly what you want to do, with as much detail as possible.
  • Measurable: Your goals need a way you can quantify (numerically or descriptively) completion. Something that will tell you exactly when you’ve achieved it.
  • Action-Oriented: Use verbs tied to specific behavior to help you take some form of action. This moves you closer to achievement.
  • Realistic: Goals should always stretch you, but be connected to past performance in every area of life.
  • Time Bound: Every goal you set should have a date and time attached. You need to know the target you’re trying to hit.

Step 4. Create a Plan to Meet Those Goals

If you set a SMART goal, you need a plan to make that happen. One of the reasons it is important to think holistically when setting goals, is because our life isn’t compartmentalised. Each part touches every other part.

Creating a plan can be tough, but productivity experts agree that the way to stick to the plan is all about identifying the next action you need to take to complete your project. Start with the end in mind. It can then be helpful to list out all of the possible steps needed to take in achieving your goals. Start on the first one and take it from there. This is the eating an elephant theory and it works – you really need to understand that every small step you take towards achieving your goal is important and if you stick to that plan, your goals will be achieved.

Step 5. Review and Reevaluate… A Lot

It is easy to write your goals down. It’s harder to make them happen. By reviewing them on a monthly or weekly basis, you will be able to not only gauge your progress, but determine if you need to alter them. Life is not static, things happen and circumstances can change. When you evaluate and realise that a goal was not realistic based on the time it is taking you to achieve it or that it perhaps was a bit ambitious, you need to take stock and reevaluate.

Life is bound to throw you some curveballs…. Rather than beat yourself up over things out of your control, reset.

Reviewing your goals is also important to see if you are selling yourself short. If you are able to meet your goal faster or easier than anticipated, you probably didn’t set your sights high enough. Remember; push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Make a conscious decision to make 2017 your best year yet and you probably will achieve this. Set goals and live an intentional life – a life with purpose – and you will be amazed at what you can do. Your best year yet is within grasp – go out and grab it.

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