Do you have a habit of making a whole raft of New Year resolutions? Perhaps you vow to get fit, get promoted, get more sleep, take up a new hobby, help the kids with their homework, drink less alcohol, cook from scratch or read more books?

We’ve all been there. It’s natural at this time of year to take stock and reflect on the months past. We evaluate our achievements and the progress we’ve made – and vow to do better next year. The problem with this approach is that all too often it is scattergun. We feel the need to improve ourselves in all sorts of ways – and so make a host of wide-ranging, slightly woolly, indistinct and unconnected promises. It is unsurprising then, when the effort required to implement our resolutions and the juggling of priorities ultimately leads to failure. Research shows that a whopping 80% of New Year resolutions fail  – with most people giving up on their goals by mid February.

Those of us who have been burned in previous years might forgo the New Year resolution making process all together – why try when the most likely outcome is failure? So we’re caught between a rock and a hard place. We all need goals to motivate us, but continually failing to achieve these goals can be de-motivating. How do we break this cycle to make sure we actually move forward in 2020?

My solution is to simplify things and focus.

If you’re a prolific New Year resolution maker, dispense with your long list of vague promises. If you’re a  resolution refuser, cast aside the negativity and apathy.  You do need to have a New Year resolution – a goal to aim for.  But only one.  And that is simply to make 2020 ‘your best year yet’.

What do I mean by that? Well, It’s not just about having random unconnected goals here and there. It’s about taking a holistic approach to your self-improvement. Define an overarching, compelling vision of what your best year would look like. How will you be feeling, what will you be doing, where will you be at the end of it? Look at the bigger picture of your life in the coming year. What do you want from it as a whole? If you need help identifying your vision – start with your inner motivations, or values. Why do you do the things you do? What matters to you, what makes you feel happy and absorbed? (For more tips on finding your values, see my blog here). When you have identified your values, think about what areas of your life are most important to you. Family, career, finances, health? Think about what your best year in each of those spheres would involve. Be bold – think big and visualise your year. Make it technicolour and watch it on a big screen in your mind. This glorious vision is your New Year resolution.

Once you have your vision firmly imprinted on your brain, everything else falls into place. Now there is a definite focus for everything you do or attempt in 2020. Everything is connected and pushing you towards achieving your goal. Everything you do will be advancing your aim of realising your vision. This means you can take real ownership of your year. You can be focused and intentional, not scattergun and reactive. Now you know your goal, you can identify the specific steps you need to take to reach it. (Have a look at last week’s blog on the importance of specificity in achieving goals).

This all means you have a clear path to follow in 2020 towards realising your vision using specific, defined and measurable steps. Now you have both focus and control – the only person who can stop you from achieving your goal is yourself! If you doubt your ability to carry it off, question your limiting beliefs. Work out where they originate and challenge them! Remove the barriers that might constrain you – and be ambitious. Let the positive vision of your year bring you clarity and self-belief. Understand that you CAN do what you are afraid to do.

There is no reason at all why 2020 shouldn’t be ‘your best year yet’. If you dare to dream, but are positive, specific and intentional in your dreaming – you can achieve anything. Good luck with your New Year resolution – and if you’d like a peek into my own vision for my best year yet, tune into the Babyproof Podcast,

Having trouble getting started? I can help you identify your vision for 2020. Sign up for more information on my Having It All programme to find out how.