Boldly go where you choose

This could be the year. But if so, it is probably going to require some planning, writes life coach Jan Aitken. 

"We all have two lives, the second begins when we realise we only have one.'' - Confucius.

I stumbled across the quote while reading during the Christmas/new year break.

It really struck a chord and got me thinking, which is quite an achievement for a holiday break I can tell you!

The quote tied in with my reflection time for taking a look at 2015.

What had gone well, what hadn't, what do I want less of in 2016, what do I want more of? Had I lived to my values?

I asked myself, "What do I really want to do? Am I putting it off and, if so, why?''

So, what do you want to do in 2016? What do you want to be different?

Did you start the year boldly stating your new year's intentions/goals/resolutions?

If you did, great; if not then it's not too late to start creating a year that reflects more of what you want.

Either way, let's do some planning so you are more likely to get to the end of 2016 with a smile on your face and a sense of achievement.



1. Be clear about what it is you want

Like any goal, the clearer it is, the more likely you will be to achieve it.

What is it you really want to achieve, to do, to see, to learn?

A vague "I want to get fitter, eat better, learn a language'' is just that: vague!

Do you want to be fit enough to walk the Milford track, run 10km in less than 60 minutes, eat fresh food for your lunch, cut out the sugary snack bars for morning and afternoon tea, learn Russian or French or Italian?

Be clear, get specific. Start making a list of intentions.

2. Make each intention authentic

It has to be something you want to do, not something you think you should do or even worse, something others have told you you should do.

Having an authentic intention is much more motivating than doing something because you think you should.

Without a genuine desire to achieve something, you are on a fast track to failure.

Cross off the intentions that are not authentic and true to you.

3. Own the intention

Be clear about why this intention is important to you.

What will it do for you, how will achieving it make you feel?

It is worth taking time to clarify what this really means to you.

If you are struggling to identify why you want to do something then it is likely to be a struggle to achieve it.

If you have one or several great reasons for wanting to achieve your intention, write it/them down.

This process will give you energy and can be a boost later down the line if the going gets a bit rocky and you're wondering "whose daft idea was this anyway?!''.

Write down why the intention is important to you.

4. Plan, plan, plan

They say that failing to plan is planning to fail.

Achieving your intentions is no different.

It's important to think about what resources you need: time, money, equipment, a dedicated space etc, and what you might need to sacrifice or change in order to reach your goal.

This could mean missing your favourite TV night, giving up your favourite comfort food, meeting new people, feeling a bit silly while learning a new skill.

Make a list of what you need and what might need to change.

Does this list outweigh the list of reasons for going for it (section 3)?

If it does, can you tweak your intention or your plan to make it easier to achieve?

5. Get it on paper

With all the best will in the world, keeping all this in your head just will not cut the mustard.

Keep a record of what you have been thinking and planning.

A simple notebook will do, a fancy journal will do: whatever works for you.

When you have figured out the things you want to work on for 2016, it's a great idea to keep a reminder of them where you can see them every day.

You could create a vision board using pictures and symbols to represent the things you are working on, write a card for your wallet, stick them on your fridge, take five minutes every day to visualise you achieving the things you want to.

(Intention/goal-setting forms can be found on the Fit for Life Coaching website,

If we want it to be, 2016 can be different from 2015.

It can be the year we discover our second life, take a bold step and start doing those things we've been putting off!

"Make the best of every moment.'' - David Bowie, Esquire 2004. 

• Jan Aitken is a Dunedin-based life coach.

For more go to

Twitter: @jan-aitken


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