As December reaches its halfway point, we will naturally begin to shift our attention to the possibilities of a new year. Although most of our energy this month will be taken up by holiday parties and developing our gift lists, inevitably we will begin to consider our New Year’s resolutions. Most people make resolutions at the start of the new year, full of hope and potential. Unfortunately, many of us generally abandon them by the end of January. A new gym membership or a time management system may be discarded, as we revert to our old habits. If this is the case for you, let’s make this New Year different by committing to manageable and realistic goals. The following are 5 tips to transform your life in 2016:

1) Embrace your present truth – sometimes it is difficult to admit the size of the gap between our ideal self and our actual self. Our ideal self is always super motivated, productive, and fully engaged in goal achievement & living our desired life. Our actual self may procrastinate a bit, feel frustrated about a lack of change, and may be stuck in how to progress. You must prioritize the possibility of you, and make it probable. You can do so, by first determining your motivation for change vs. your resistance to change ratio. If your resistance is greater than your motivation, change will not occur. Therefore, you must be honest about the potential barriers to transforming your life, both externally (e.g. lack of opportunities) and internally (e.g. lack of confidence). By being able to recognize where the gaps are, which prevent your happiness and productivity, you can begin to craft a plan to address them.

2) Set 3 SMART Goals and write them down– the simple act of writing down your goals, will increase the odds of you reaching them. Also, by crafting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals, you will provide a clear roadmap for success. For instance, rather than saying, “I want to lose weight for my beach vacation this summer,” say, “I plan to lose 10 pounds by June 2016.” SMART goals also enable you to evaluate your progress. Finally, although we may feel hopeful and ambitious at the start of a new year, setting 3 goals is manageable enough to see success. If we set too many goals, we may become demoralized, if we fail to reach them all. If we set too few goals, we may not challenge ourselves enough or keep ourselves motivated. If you achieve your three goals quickly, you can then move on to setting more goals for the year.

3) Hold yourself accountable– we may often set goals and may need a little push to attain them. By identifying an accountability partner, you can make your commitment to change more public, which improves the probability of success.   Your accountability partner should be someone you trust, with whom you can be completely transparent, and communicate openly.

4) Consistently strive for greatness– we are all at times plagued by the scourge of mediocrity. We do just enough to get by. Or we may be overcome by the tyranny of perfectionism. We delay action, until we think our work or the situation is perfect. Neither position is ideal. A quest for perfection will always lead to a failed journey, since we all have areas for growth and development. Meanwhile, settling for mediocrity prevents us from reaching our full potential. Rather, strive for greatness (however you define it) in all that you do, at work, in relationships, and in the community at large. If you don’t feel that you can be your best self, or are not motivated to be so at work, you may be in the wrong job or organization. It can be a daunting challenge, since fear and doubt may stop us from reaching for the greatest heights. But now is the time to take that risk.

5) Emotionally connect to the New You– we all develop narratives about ourselves, which may prevent us from changing. Narratives such as “I’m just lazy” or “I’m unlucky” or “I can never sustain anything I start” cause us to remain stuck in our old patterns. By emotionally connecting to the New You, honoring an optimistic narrative, despite some doubt or fear, you can create your ideal life.

The New Year signals a fresh start, limitless possibilities. Now is the time to position yourself for the New You in 2016. Let’s make the possible, your probable!

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