How To Focus In The New Year

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We’re all setting goals and reflecting on changes we want to make. We do it every year. But how many of us actually achieve our goals?
Forbes magazine reported that only 8 percent of people achieve their resolutions.

So what have we learned about focus and achieving goals?

Be Clear

In the book “The One Thing,” Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan discuss thinking about goals in multi-years, then working backward. An example goal: In five years I want to double my income. They suggest thinking about a step toward that for this year. Then break that down into what you can do this month, week and each day.

They also advise working on your big goals first thing each day, so you’re always moving the needle forward.

Don’t announce

I’m sure you’ve already seen it on Facebook, “I’m doing this diet” or “Join me as I save money for retirement this year” or “What’s your one word for 2017?”

It’s all over the place.

When we announce our goals before achieving them, our brains release positive hormones. Our bodies feel the same way as actually achieving the goal, which causes us to loss momentum. Instead, keep your goal to yourself or invite a partner or friend to join you. Then, celebrate the achievement of the goal when you are done.

Form keystone habits

In Charles Duhigg’s book, “The Power of Habit,” he discusses “keystone habits.” These are habits that unlock other habits. For example, making your bed has been found to be a “keystone habit.” By starting your day organized, it actually influences other aspects of your day.

Each of us have behaviors that we know represent a lot. When we do those behaviors, it unlocks other positive behaviors. If we form some of these microhabits, it will help us form other habits. For example, make your bed, take your medication, do some sort of reflection/meditation/prayer or go for a short walk. All of these short activities will influence other positive activities.

Build your average

Numerous writers have said some variation on this phrase, “You are the average of your five closest friends.”

How are your relationships? Are the people around you pushing you to reflect on becoming a better version of yourself in the next year? Or are they bringing you down into negative habits? Evaluate who you have invited into your life to encourage your growth.

As you build clarity, keep your goals to yourself, form keystone habits and build your positive friendships, your goals will naturally come to fruition.

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is the owner of Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City. At Mental Wellness Counseling, counselors help people to create a plan for growing into a better person, www.MentalWellnessCounseling.com

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