Welcome to 2019.  I trust you have had a break and are feeling ready to embrace the new year. During the past week I have been thinking that if I don’t decide now where I want to be by December, then I could drift into the year and in December find I have not achieved what I wanted.

Everyone talks about new year’s resolutions and goals at this time of year, discussing whether they are a good idea or not.  I sit on the fence in that conversation, because everything depends on what you do with your resolutions or goals.

In retirement, however, there is not the same structure that propels your forward as there was when you were working.  I work part-time, for myself and I find even a week, if I do not set out at the beginning of the week what I want to achieve, can drift by.  It is as simple as a “To Do” list drawn up on a Monday for the week ahead.  Individual weeks drift easily into a whole year.

In life coaching, we ask our clients to write their goals in the future tense,  e.g. “It is 21 December 2019 and I am sitting here in my new house feeling totally satisfied because I have achieved……. “  By imagining yourself in the position of having achieved the goal, you become aware of the pleasurable feelings associated with achieving it.  This makes it easier to persevere when the going road becomes tough.

But simply setting the goal is not enough.  The structure we build behind it is what makes sure we achieve it.  First, the goal must be specific as well as measurable, so there is no doubt about when you achieve it.  An example here is that we would not say “I want to lose weight”, we would rather say “ I want to lose 5 kg”  The latter is very specific and you would know when you reach it.  The goal should be achievable, as pie in the sky, unachievable dreams are very frustrating because you can never reach them.  They should also be relevant to your situation.  There must be a timeline, in this case, you can say “by the end of 2019”. Lastly, YOU need to take responsibility for how you are going to achieve your goal and then do the hard work yourself to get there.

It is best to start by breaking your goal into small steps.   We don’t eat a sandwich in one bite, we take small manageable bites.  It is the same with your goal.  Big steps make it far easier to fail.  Breaking the goal into achievable steps that eventually add up to the whole will give you the structure that you need for the year ahead.

For those who have worked in Corporates all their lives, the lack of structure in retirement can be a big issue.  Setting out to achieve something specific with the year is a simple way of applying your own structure to what can be endless, empty days.

Hope this will be of use.  Feel free to email me your goals if you feel someone else knowing what you want to achieve will help with accountability.

Best wishes and may 2019 be a really great year!