A new year is a common (and perfect) time to set new goals. We often start a new year reflecting on the past year’s events and learning what we want to change and achieve in our lives. Some areas may be personal and some may be career based.
Setting goals is important for both our personal growth and our career progression. There is always room for improvement in our lives. If we achieve our goals, we can feel happy and successful. It does not matter whether the goal is big or small: you may want to simply create better relationships with your work colleagues this year, or you may want to try stepping up the career ladder towards obtaining your dream job. Whatever your goals, you must be clear about them, how they will benefit you and what may hold you back from achieving them.
When setting goals, it’s useful to create a spider chart on a sheet of paper to clarify what you want. For example, if you want to improve your relationships with colleagues, first you need to outline your reasons. So, draw a round circle which says ‘Why I want to get on better with my work colleagues’, and then draw lines coming out of the circle. At the end of each line add your reasons, such as ‘It will create a good working atmosphere’ or ‘We can help each other’.
Next, you need to process your beliefs about your work colleagues. So, draw another round circle which says ‘Beliefs about my work colleagues’, and, being as honest as possible with yourself, write down your answers as you did before – for example ‘I haven’t spoken to Rachel much, as she seems too serious’.
In your next spider chart, you need to work out what may stand in your way of achieving your goal. Draw a circle which says ‘Why I’m afraid of being closer to everyone at work’, and write down whatever answers come to mind. You may find yourself thinking that you are worried about having to join them for their usual Friday after-work drink or that you don’t want to get to know your work colleagues too well as you already have to spend every day of the week with them. Think of all the excuses you give yourself not to have better relationships with people.
Finally, draw a spider chart stating what you think about people who have good relationships with their colleagues. At the end of each line, positive or negative answers may materialise, such as ‘They are being false’ or ‘They find their work really satisfying’. Write down whatever comes to mind, and don’t censor any answers.
When you have finished, take a look at your spider charts and all the negative points you have noted. It is these negative beliefs, however irrational they may be, that can stop you from achieving your goal, and it is important to get rid of these blockages. A good way to focus on changing negative thoughts or beliefs is to start using positive affirmations to ensure that what you want is coming into your life. These affirmations can be written on small pieces of paper or cards and must be brief and to the point, for example:
- The more I am nice to others, the more they will be nice to me.
- Having good relationships with everyone in my life will make me happy.
- I am a lovely person and can get on with anyone.
Read and repeat your affirmations to yourself as often as possible, with feeling and belief. If they don’t feel real to begin with, they soon will as they resonate with the positive part of you.
Another way to achieve your goals is to visualise what you want, not just with your eyes but involving all your senses – seeing your office environment as an enjoyable place to be or hearing the happy chatter of people as they go about their work. You need to make it real and feel enthusiastic about it. Imagine that you have already achieved your goal and how good you feel as a result.
A good exercise is to remember and make note of the goals you have achieved throughout the year and how they have improved your life. This will boost your confidence and help you to carry on a successful path in the future.
Good luck in creating the life you want.