A new year is a perfect time for a fresh start. Don’t let memories of last year’s failures hang over you—think positively, set goals, and remake your life into the one you’ve always wanted.
Be Honest with Yourself
Before you can decide how to get where you want to go, you need to know exactly where you are. Do you want to reach your ideal weight? Then you need to know exactly how many pounds you have to lose. Do you want to start exercising? You need to know what you can reasonably handle now, so you know how much you need to increase your stamina.
Dream a Big Dream
Set aside some quiet time and brainstorm. What do you want to achieve this year? In the next five years? In the next 10 years? Let your imagination run wild. If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you undertake?
Instead of letting your dreams float around inside your head, pin them down by writing them down. This simple step has the powerful effect of making your goals seem firmer. You can see where you want to go; now you just have to figure out how to get there.
Don’t write, "I want to lose weight." Make your goals specific! Write, "This year, I will lose 20 pounds. By June, I will have gone down one dress size." Do you want to be more active? Write specific goals that will help you do just that. "I will go for a 20-minute walk every day. I will sign up for a water aerobics class in the spring. This month I will get a tape of fibromyalgia-friendly exercises and use it at least three times a week."
Take One Step at a Time
"Taking small incremental steps gets you started," write Mark Samuel and Sophie Chiche in The Power of Accountability. "The minute you stop moving, you ruin the chance of reaching your final destination. On the other hand, if you’re in motion, whether it is forward, sideways, or even backward, success simply becomes a matter of navigation."
See yourself achieving your goal. Picture yourself going for a jog without pain, wearing an outfit in your desired size, earning that degree. The more you visualize yourself achieving your goals, the more within reach they will seem—and the easier it will be for you to take the steps you need to reach them.
Think From the End
You’ve already visualized yourself achieving your goals—now figure out what steps you need to take to reach those goals. If you want to revamp your diet, do you need to eliminate certain foods? Do you want to quit drinking soda? Will you increase the servings of fresh produce you eat every day? Try implementing one of these changes into your diet every week, and before long you’ll find that your entire eating plan has been redesigned to be healthier.
Listen to Yourself
Do you denigrate yourself? Do you criticize your appearance or your remarks? Do you downplay your abilities? Listen to the way you talk to yourself—and change it to the positive. "If your inner speech is in conflict with your desires, your inner voice will win," writes Dr. Wayne Dyer in The Power of Intention. "So, if you match desires with inner speech, those desires will ultimately be realized."
Surround Yourself with Positive Messages
From Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking in 1952 to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s 2004 The Power of Intention, there is an entire genre of literature devoted to positive thoughts and how they affect our ability to achieve. Numerous websites and e-newsletters are also dedicated to positive thinking and disseminating positive messages. Or, if you prefer, surround yourself with your own affirmations. Write down your goals and leave the messages where you will read them throughout the day—or carry them around with you so you can refer to them throughout the day.
Cherish Your Spirituality
The world is a hectic place. We all need to carve out a place of quiet and contemplation where we can recover from the hurly-burly, rest, and remember our goals. Nancy Sonneman, a writer in Ohio who has fibromyalgia, incorporates her faith into every aspect of her life. "I read the Bible to stay positive, and I also pray," she says. "There is so much negativity around us all the time that I've vowed to be positive."
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Review your goals regularly. Read them when you wake up in the morning, so they will help you shape your day. Then re-read them before you go to sleep, so your subconscious can mull over your next steps while you’re resting.