During the first weeks of the year, it has become very frequent to create plans for the next 12 months; a stage of our lives that, although it may be defined in a somewhat arbitrary way, we want to dedicate to improve both personally and, in many occasions, professionally.

Taking advantage of the motivational drive of New Year’s resolutions is often exciting, especially if we get down to work from day one and start to engage in our transformation into that "I" ideal. However, if we do not know very well how to face this task, the chances of running into frustration are high , especially if our plans are ambitious.

If you are in the situation that you are not satisfied with your personal or professional situation and want to do something about it, here are some key ideas that can make it easier for you to reach your goals and turn your life around . These are simple principles, part of which we psychologists use to help our patients and clients when they are challenged to make progress in aspects of their lives (not necessarily related to the disorders).

Key ideas to turn your life around

Betting on pouring large amounts of effort into a project is counterproductive if we waste these attempts by not knowing how to measure our strengths or define our short-term objectives. This is part of the raison d’être of the psychological assistance that we experts in human behaviour offer: to avoid motivation being wasted by not having a master plan with which to set our progress. It’s a bit like training your voice to sing: if when you try to use it you notice that you are always forcing it, something is wrong, and you have to modify your technique.

Here you will find several tips to improve the technique with which you promote your personal or professional development, to redirect it towards what works. They are simple, but you must keep in mind that in order to make them work you must be constant with them, and depending on what your needs are you will require the help of a psychologist to accompany you in this process, whether or not you have diagnosable disorders or syndromes.

1. Analyze the current situation

First of all, we must bet on realism and know how to describe the current situation, to be aware of what we can work from . The best thing to do is to create a SWOT: a four-part table in which you can write down, in short terms, what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats/risks are, taking into account what aspect of your life you want to progress in.

2. Draw your desired situation

Now it’s time to define your arrival box, the state you want to be in in a few months. It is important that you try to delimit it by going to the concrete , without falling into the use of very abstract concepts. For example, don’t resort to "I want love", but "I want to spend more and better time with my friends, my family, meet new friends", etc.

3. Seeks objectives that can be achieved in the short and medium term

It’s important to have goals in sight for months, but as long as you can sub-divide them into other short-term goals. Create a calendar in which these challenges are distributed with a certain periodicity (for example, with at least one mini-target each week) and that allows you to visualize your achievements following an upward curve of difficulty.

For example, if you want to learn the basics of a new language to broaden your professional profile and you have study material, you can set yourself the goal of reaching Saturdays having studied a new chapter.

5. Establish an action plan

Now it is time to see the totality of what you want to approach as your plan to turn your life around, and add to it, take away from it, and make some corrections. To do this you must make an estimate of the time you will have available and your energy level with which you will start week after week.

6. Take care of yourself

It is very important to be in good physical condition in order to perform well, since personal and professional development involves going through challenges. It is very important, above all, that you get enough sleep and eat well , because if this fails you may have problems with fatigue, lack of concentration, etc.

7. Creates an environment without distractions and a routine of progress

Finally, it is recommended that you create a workspace in which you will make your progress and in which you will submit to few distractions . If you want to set up your own business from home, reserve a corner of your home to be your studio, away from noise and TV screens. If you want to learn to play an instrument, do something similar, having all the necessary material for training at hand. Follow this philosophy of creating specialized workspaces so that nothing will take you away from your goals.

Do you need help?

If you notice that you have difficulties in reaching your goals, we recommend you contact UPAD Psychology and Coaching, our psychological assistance center in Madrid. Here, either in person or online, we can guide you to drive your change for the better.

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