As 2021 draws to a close and we look forward to a new year, many of us will start to think about new years resolutions for 2022.
Around new years eve and at the start of a new year we typically think about how our lives are going and what changes we would like to make. We think about our dreams, and set goals (or resolutions) to make the changes we crave.
We can't move for lists of new years resolutions at this time of year, but in many cases, they are just that - lists. Most of the time these lists tend not to offer any practical advice on how to actually achieve the change in our lives we desire.
As a qualified UK life coach, I find the best way to approach new year's resolutions is to look at your life in different categories and think about what your dream would be for each and then set goals (resolutions) that would enable you to achieve your dreams.
As an example, I tend to divide my dreams into life categories as follows:
Love & relationships
Home and environment
Once you have set your dream for one or more of these categories, you should then think of goals (resolutions) that you should aim to achieve that would turn your dream into reality.
I spend a lot of time listening to people's dreams & goals and so often I find that they are rooted in self-criticism, self-loathing and harshness - they are often devoid of all joy.
They shouldn't be!
So just close your eyes for a moment. Do you remember as a child that feeling of anticipation as Christmas or your birthday approached? That feeling in your tummy? That anticipation that infused you with excitement and gave you something to dream about? Dreams call you forward. They can pull you through periods of fear and doubt. They give you something to look forward to on the horizon. They set your soul on fire.
Dreams & goals, what's the difference?
Dreams are BIG, they excite, they inspire you and others. They are filled with joy. I encourage you to make your dreams public, share them with people that matter to you - make them visual and create vision boards. Give them colour.
Dreams have no expiration date, they are not time-sensitive. When you think about them I expect them to illicit an Ahhhhh sound. Dreams should be EASY - Energising, Aspirational, Spacious (they expand you) and uniquely Yours. In fact, they may make absolutely no sense to anyone else.
Goals are important. They are the actions you plan to take that help you to move forward towards your dreams. They work to make those dreams a reality.
Goals are smaller in scale and they are often best kept to yourself - the reason is based on neuroscience, for there is lots of research to show when you discuss your goals it tricks your brain into thinking you’ve already achieved something when you haven't yet.
Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART). They tend to make you go urgh! Urgh because they are hard and you are present to what you have to do. If dreams are EASY, goals are HARD - they require habit (so important for achieving goals), they require action - big or small, they need to be reachable and they definitely demand you adopt a just do it attitude
As you can see dreams and goals work together.
How do dreams and goals work together to help you achieve your new year's resolutions?
So how do they work together? I’ll share one of my dreams with you to give you an idea.
The example I am going to share with you is the dream I have for my health.
My dream is to live a healthy, vibrant life. I have a very clear image of me hiking in mountains at 80, riding a motorcycle at 70 and still lifting weights in both of those decades.
I want to have a lower golf handicap in my 70s than I do now! I want to be pain-free, strong and in shape at every stage of my life. If I had my mood board with me you’d see all those images and more.
I am clear in this dream of what I want.
So what is my goal (new years resolution) for this year to achieve my dream?
My goal is simple and it is to ensure that I move my body every single day. I have a range of activities and programmes I intend to complete this year and it requires discipline and habit to ensure I achieve this goal.
Your 6 dreams and goals for 2022
I would encourage you to think about your own dreams in each of these 6 key areas of your life.
Once you have a dream for each area of your life then think about what goal or goals you need to achieve to be living your dreams. Remember, to achieve your goals, you need to make sure they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely).
You also need to be disciplined and once you make your goals a habit they will become easier to achieve.
So I encourage you to play with your dreams. After all, don’t we all deserve dreams as well as goals? We need to listen to our imagination - after all, imagination is how personal revolutions begin. Dreaming is the first step in planning.
Please take time to listen to your imagination and conjure up and paint your dreams.
Those of you who have talked to me before or heard me speak will know I want women to conjure up, from the depths our souls, the truest, most beautiful lives we can imagine. Put them on paper. Look at what you have written and decide these are not pipe-dreams but in fact are your marching orders. Make the invisible imaginings visible and use goals to make those dreams become your future.
As Henry Thoreau said
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined."
About the author
Helena Bailey is a fully qualified UK life coach who specialises in coaching women, empowering them to successfully navigate midlife and everything it throws at women such as menopause.
As a life coach for women Helena has made it her purpose to spread the word that the world needs women who have realised there is NO rule book or blueprint for loving, parenting, living or working.