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Achieving Your Goals in 2013: Preparing Your Survival Kit

Achieving Your Goals in 2013: Preparing Your Survival Kit

As the new year has started, it’s time for us all to begin thinking about what we’d like to achieve over the next twelve months.

In setting out in pursuit of your goals in 2013, it’s likely that you’ll first throw yourself headlong into the incredible adventure ahead, filled as it’s likely to be with its own successes and struggles, monumental triumphs and maybe the odd moment of tragedy, yet—like all adventures—it pays to be prepared.

Without proper planning and preparation, and without packing your all-important survival kit, chances are that you’ll encounter all kinds of hazards and situations which you won’t be able to deal with effectively. With that in mind then, here are four vitally-important tools you should arm yourself with as you set out on an adventure in pursuit of your goals.

1. A Map

Pretty obvious right? After all, who sets out on an adventure without a map?

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In this particular case, the routes plotted on your map won’t be highways and byways drawn by some skilled cartographer. Instead, they’ll chart a course from your present location to that magical destination known as success.

When you create your map, you need to draw up three crucial things:

  • Point A 

Where are you now? What is your life like? What do you hope to change or improve by setting out on this adventure?

  • Points B through X (and any others you may need to stop at) 

These are milestones you’ll need to reach in order to make it to Point Z. Without keeping an eye out for these milestones, how will you know if the pursuit of your goals is on course? Plotting your Points B,C,D and so on will also help keep you motivated: as you pass one milestone after another, you’ll be more determined to keep going.

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  • Point Z 

These are your completed goals—the hidden treasure that is the whole purpose of your adventure.

2. Your Compass

Most intrepid adventurers require a compass of some sort. Most often, these tell us which way is north, which is south, which way we should go and which we shouldn’t.

For our pursuit of goals however, we need a different kind of compass. We need one which will tell us which action is right, which action is wrong, what we should do, and what we shouldn’t do.

Like a number of people, I prefer to think of this as a “moral compass”. You may decide to call it a list of values, your own personal Ten Commandments or anything you like. The point is to have a good idea of what is driving you, what values you hold closest, and what you are (or are not) prepared to do to complete your adventure.

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Some people write this out as a manifesto, others don’t. Do what works for you, but don’t set out without your compass!

3. Supplies

Only a fool would set out on adventure without taking adequate supplies with them.

The brave explorers who cross deserts, oceans and even deep space may take food, fuel, medical supplies and tents: on our adventure, we’ll need to take anything we feel would help us pursue our goals. Before setting off, take an inventory of what you have at your disposal. Consider things such as:

  • Material possessions
  • Financial assets
  • Books, computer programs, reference materials
  • Friends, family members, or colleagues who could help you

Ask yourself how what you have right now can help you achieve the things that matter the most to you.

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It’s also helpful to take an inventory of the things we don’t have, but will need at some point down the line—that way, we can barter, trade and negotiate with all the fellow adventurers we’ll meet along our journey to help each other out.

4. Journal

When the day comes that you’re revered as the most excellent adventurer on the planet, when you’ve reached the summit of your goals and find yourself sitting by an open fire smoking your victory cigar, other people will want to know how you did it. Make sure that you never forget both the highs and lows of your adventure; that you document how you overcame obstacles, discovered things you never thought possible and ultimately achieved your goals, by documenting the process.

Keeping a journal also has another, perhaps even more important, benefit: it allows you to track your progress. Keeping tabs on where you’ve been so far should at best keep you motivated, and at worst, keep you on course. Keep a hard-copy journal or start a blog—do whatever you need to do to make sure you never forget the epic journey you’re about to undertake.

Got all that? In that case, I wish you well, oh brave adventurers, and hope you have a wonderful and successful 2013.

Featured photo credit:  Survival kit on a wooden table via Shutterstock

More by this author

Chris Skoyles

Coach, and trainee counsellor specializing in mental health and addiction.

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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