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January 31, 2022

What do I actually want to achieve this year?

January is over and 2022 is well underway! 

But have you spent enough time planning what you want to achieve this year? Do you know what kind of partner, parent, colleague, business owner, etc you want to be? 

If you don't get clear on this there is a risk you won't achieve what you hope to. You'll be at the mercy of other people's desires and demands on your time.. Instead, you can follow the steps below and take charge of your beliefs and actions that will shape the year to come!

Get clear on your Vision

The best visions for your ideal future are deeply tied to your values and beliefs. If they move you on an emotional level, they'll move you when you're low on energy or motivation. This is the main gift of a good vision. Too many people rely on motivation or external accountability to lose weight, get fitter, or change their habits. Learn to rely on yourself!

The best way I've found for you to be self directed with this is answering these questions for yourself:

  • What do you love to talk about?
  • What do you love to research?
  • What skills do you love to acquire?
  • What do you love to contemplate?
  • What do you know a lot about?

Identifying your values and beliefs can be an involved process that is often facilitated by a coach, so if you want my help just contact me here.

Your values dictate your destiny

- Dr John Demartini

Now it's time to visualise how your life could be. For the purpose of this article, think about 1 year from now. How do you want life to look like? What has changed, and how has it changed? What is your energy like? What daily routines do you have? Describe a day in your life in February 2023.

This is your chance for real blue-sky thinking, nothing can be wrong here, just let your creativity and desire go wild!

Set your Direction

Now you know where you're heading, you can clearly identify what are some milestones towards this ideal future. You can also determine what is the priority for your limited time. If you are working on 1-3 major projects each quarter you're far more likely to achieve them, compared to having having 6-10 minor projects that all compete for your time.

Another way people tend to create barriers for themselves is over committing, either in time, energy or money. The only thing this achieves is high effort for a short period of time, then a fast return to life before the change. In reality this looks like yo-yo dieting or constantly starting a new exercise program.

To help manage these issues and set your direction, ask yourself the following:

  • What do you need to achieve in the next 3 months to work towards this future life?
  • How much time do you realistically need to dedicate to achieving these milestones?
  • What are the main things that will take you off task, and how can you minimise these?

    And more generally:

    • How do you want to interact with the world each day?
    • How will you manage setbacks and disappointment?

Of course, life happens and you may need need to be flexible. Changes to work or relationships, a birth or death in the family, illness or unexpected travel, and the recent years has shown things like Covid-19 can change all of your plans overnight. So hold onto your plans with a soft grip, ready to drop them when you need. Holding onto anything with a tight grip limits your ability to adapt right when you need to!

Transform your Habits

Your habits are any automated behaviour, totally separate from whether they are 'good' or 'bad'. Knowing how your habits work is one of most impactful tools I share with clients. The secret is called the Habit Loop.

Concept & Image from Charles Duhigg

The diagram is quite intuitive when you think about your habits, but let me break down each step:

  • Any behaviour or action is triggered by a Cue. Without a Cue, there is no Action. 
  • Every Routine is simply an Action that leads to a certain Reward. It can be simple or complex.
  • The Reward is the pay off for the habit. There is always a benefit for a habit, even bad habits.
  • For every well established habit (good or bad) the Reward is SO desirable the habit sometimes happens without you even consciously thinking about either the Cue or Action.

A few examples:

Change the Cue - Everytime you walk past a cafe or vending machine (cue) you feel compelled to buy something sweet (action) to fulfil your sweet tooth (reward). To manage this, you can just avoid cafes or vending machines as best as you can. No cue, no habit!

Change the Action - It's 3pm (cue), you go have a coffee or smoke (action), to get out of the office (reward). If you want to stop the coffee or smoking, maybe replace these with a walk around the block, and still enjoy the reward of getting out the the office.

Change the Multiple steps - Every time you see an advertisement with a skinny model (cue) you feel terrible about yourself and emotional eat some chocolate or ice cream (action) to feel better about yourself (reward). Instead, next time you see the trigger advertisements stand up proud and strong and declare to yourself "I'm beautiful and I'm enough, just as I am!" (action) and see how great your feel then (reward)!

Now it's your turn, think about your 3 best and 3 worst habits through the lens of the model above. What can you learn from these and how could you change them to make them better?

Taking the first steps

What happens next is up to you. The key is to stay excited and positive about the process. Just get started, perfection comes later. Your perfect health and lifestyle is just around the corner!

Book a Clarity Call

Want to talk about what you're working on, what you need help with, and how I can help? I'd love to chat about this with you!

About the Author

Michael Keogh is a Health Coach and Exercise Physiologist with 7 years experience in clinical and corporate settings. He is also the co-author of upcoming book “Thrive: How to 10X your Health, Wealth and Happiness”. He uses exercise as medicine to treat chronic disease and ensure healthy ageing, whilst guiding his clients towards sustainable health behaviours that result in improved performance and greater satisfaction in work and life.

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