It's traditional at this time of year for most people to set New Year's Resolutions, but as I have written in past years I don't subscribe to the whole concept of setting goals only at the start of the year.
I firmly believe that you should be setting goals and objectives all of the time.
The new year isn't some magical crossover that gives us a magic wand to change things, I suppose that's why so many people then break their new years resolutions within weeks / days etc.
Instead at this time of year I reflect on what I have achieved over the last year and what I have missed or how my goals and objectives have changed over time.
I break my goals into three areas, my big long terms ambitions and goals, my business and work goals and my personal day to day goals.
My big key long term goal is to be totally financially secure and have a comfortable life.
But there are other small incremental goals and things I want to do / achieve.
I think my big thing is to find balance in my life, I tend to let work encompass me and forget how to relax. A big part of getting a Kindle for Christmas was so I could encourage myself to read much more, as I find it both relaxing and stimulating.
But I have in the past tended only to read when on holidays.
Having not been to the gym in months and months I have been feeling the need to start doing regular exercise again. Even when I was busy as all hell early in the year I still found time to go to the gym , but then as the year wore on I found myself working more and not making the time to go and exercise.
I would think to myself that unless I was going to go religiously to the gym then it wasn't worth going at all.
I think in retrospect this was a very bad concept.
So I am changing my thinking about this and realising that i just need to go and make some time, even if it means that I am sometimes just getting there once or twice a week and doing some very basic cardio.
I did start smoking again this year after a three year break and every day I wish that I hadn't started again but have not had the 'guts' to stop even though I kick myself every day or multiple times a day 'wanting' to stop.
From my past experience when I stopped I know that I have to accept that for about a week I will be in semi club cuckoo land, and be unable to concentrate on much, but then it just gets better and much easier.
You might think that this sounds just like a new years resolution, but it's not, January is a good month to change some things, because I can have the bit of luxury of not having to be totally on the top of my game for the first few weeks because most of our clients are still on holidays.
So I have the perfect opportunity to allow myself some leeway.
I am pretty obsessive about things and the smoking has become obsessive rather than a habit, and this like many things in my life is part of the balance i need to find.
I must admit that as I think about stopping I do get apprehensive and a very little bit panicked, but I know that's just a normal physical reaction and not something that should consume me.
I just need to channel that energy, and at the end of the day that mild feeling of anxiety / panic is nothing more than energy that can be tapped, for other things.
There are lots of goals that I set last year during the year that I have achieved some minor some major.
I had promised myself and so many people that I would finish my little novella before the end of the year and I did, and for that I have been rewarded with countless emails from people reading the story. Every email and comment is my little reward ad motivation to achieve more and keep to my goals.
There have been some goals that have been totally missed, some due to circumstance, some due to a change in what I have wanted, and yet some because I totally forgot about them.
The coming year is going to be tough in some respects, my mother's dementia is advancing more rapidly than we would have expected. And this is going to be particularly challenging for all the family.
But this must not become an excuse to not achieve my goals, nor should it be an excuse to put things off that I should be doing, like I have done with the gym last year.
Mind you goals and objectives have to be both achievable and realistic, and the small goals have to be part of the foundations to achieve the big ambitions and goals too.
One big thing I started last year and am continuing into this year is be a little but more fearless and take bigger (although) calculated risks.
I am not the biggest risk taker and in almost every way I am very conservative, but if you are too conservative in things especially business you tend not to make huge strides forward.
In my business gals from last year I took some good calculated risks, this year coming there are going to be some even bigger calculated risks, I am really looking forward to this.
These are all building on last years things, some worked out really well whilst others never really worked.
But that's the result of a risk really isn't it.
I have a sort of month by month calender of stuff I want to achieve that I update and read regularly. It's not printed on paper it's a text file on my computer and I review, analyse, revise and update it every few weeks.
These are my goals moving forward to help me get to where I want to go.
I find this so much better than setting unrealistic goals at new years and then not being able to achieve them.