Whether we believe in New Year Resolutions or not, it is almost that time when we stop to reflect on the past year and contemplate our aspirations for the next 12 months!

Therefore, think ahead to the close of 2014 and how you would like to look back on the events of the year?  What do you hope to have achieved in the time that has passed? Because most people, despite good intentions, don’t accomplish what they initially set out to achieve, setting goals has proved to be a disappointing practice for them. These people then get into an ‘it’s a pointless exercise’ mind-set. If goal setting is so good (to the extent that so many people will pay coaches to help them set goals) ... why do people not use goals more? What stops people from doing what they need to do in order to bring success to their lives? Here are the excuses that I hear:

  1. I don't know how to set successful goals.
  2. I am lazy.
  3. I procrastinate - so what is the point.
  4. Not sure I can handle success.
  5. What if I fail?
  6. I don't know what I really want.
  7. They don't work!

Do any of these sound familiar? Yet you know on some level that goal setting does work and perhaps you just haven't worked out what stops you, and what you have to do to make it work? Most people find it easy to do something that they love doing.  So ask yourself:

  • What do I love doing?

If you don't know or feel unsure, ask yourself:

  • How do I fill my time? 
  • What do I get engrossed in?
  • How do I spend my free time
  • What do I gravitate towards?
  • What is my purpose in life?

"Remember, your key purpose to your life is to be happy."

So the real question, perhaps, is: "What makes you happy?” Your purpose will be an expression of your top 3-5 values. That which you value, you will do. You will need no motivation to do what you love most and enjoying doing it.  If you love to read, no one has to force you to take a book and read.  You will have a kindle full of unread books waiting to be devoured!  When you do what you love, you lose yourself and feel inspired.  You are removed from your ego and issues of your self-doubts or your self-worth.  You feel alive and aligned - you lose yourself for that time whilst you are busy doing what you love.  It is not a chore, it is a passion!  When something feels like a chore, you will need motivation to do it.  Something or someone outside of yourself will have to motivate you to complete a task, and it will feel tiring, heavy and laborious! It is worth your time and effort to work out what you love doing and the way in which you can bring this into your life.  Remember that your values define your life.  If you don't define your life...someone else will. With that in mind, here are some practical pointers to consider when planning for the New Year: 1. Learn what has to happen to be successful.

People don't just make a choice and then become successful.  Success is a journey of learning, of guess-work, of hitting your head against a wall, of falling down and getting up, and then some more learning. One of the easiest ways to work out your goal and the steps to success is to do it all backwards.  Whacky as this may seem, the unconscious mind can work this out easily, and the conscious mind won’t interfere (as this isn't something logical).  So often you hear ‘Start with the end in mind’. This is the reason: it’s just too far out there for the conscious mind to resist it.

So start with the end, let’s say Christmas 2014, and create a happy scenario.  Imagine that you had the most wonderful year ... the best to date.  Now ask yourself "For me to have had this success, what was I doing in October?" "For me to be doing this in October, what was I doing in July?" and so on, until you get back to your ‘today’.  Now you have the steps. Imagine them in the right sequence and notice if the events flow in the right way for things to work.  You may want to change one or two things, or want to add some things in.  Allow yourself to be creative.

2.   Know what you want. Be clear and be specific.

Your unconscious mind needs a clear pathway to know where to go and what to do. If there are pieces missing, then the unconscious mind will wait for more clarity and instruction.  People often label themselves when they are inactive as lazy or procrastinators.  Neither is true.  It is a simple lack of clarity.  When people know what they want, what to write in a report, what to say in a presentation, what to wear to an event, they just get on with it.  So if you feel stuck and frustrated, ask yourself – “what other information do I need so that I can take action”?

3.   Worried about success?  What does success mean to you? 

Write down how you will know when you are successful? What will you be doing? Where will you be living? What will you be buying? How will you be spending your time?  Then, look at your 'success' and ask - 'What, if anything, is wrong with this picture?' Listen to that cynical voice inside of you and write out all the objections.  What can go wrong? Once you have all your criticisms out... challenge them, one by one.  Best questions here would be: "How do you know? Where is the evidence?" "Is that true?" and "According to whom?" You will be amused at what comes out!

4.   Know what failure is for you. 

Most people will stop just at the thought of failing... yet haven't identified what it is for them, what meaning it has and what they can do about it.  For most people when they identify what failure is, they almost always have a solution. The thought is scarier than the actual event.  Humans are built to survive, as this is their natural instinct.  You are a lot more resilient than you give yourself credit for.  Ask yourself "How will I know that I am failing? What can I do to prevent that? What can do to overcome that?"

So for the next year, find out what you can master and express in your world.  Live with purpose and live with passion. Live with gratitude.  Everything else will take care of itself. Honour and appreciate what you have.... and have a happy 2014! FURTHER INFORMATION AND RESOURCES Vicky Ross is a leading communications expert that enables business managers to empower their teams to do better business.  She specialises in Personal and Executive Mastery and has various personal programmes as well as business training packages to offer.