06 June 2013


At this time of year in New Zealand it's the celebration of Matariki – the traditional Maori New Year.

Of course we also celebrate New Year on the 31st December/1st January, and as there is also a large Chinese population we have festivals to celebrate Chinese New Year, as well as Matariki events.

I’m fascinated with our obsession of changing habits and making goals on a specific date because it’s a New Year. I think having several different dates emphasises the point that we can make goals and change behaviours at any time.

I’ve blogged about making goals before, but it seemed a good time to post about a few of the things I've learned. The major thing has been to make one goal at a time, which is a good reason not to confine them to New Year.

If our goal is about big behavioural changes, then we’re more likely to succeed if we concentrate on one change at a time.

Ask yourself what you really want to change? What skill you really want to improve? Or what skill you’d like to learn? 

Take some time and really think about what you want out of life. Now is a good time as the papers and magazines aren’t full of celebrity goals that can sway our thinking.

When you’ve come up with your goal, write it down. I find the act of committing it to paper makes it more real.

Now break the goal down into smaller more manageable tasks you can measure and set a time period for achieving.

In the past I’ve tended to choose a number of things I want to change or do, and then I get bogged down trying to keep them all. Making one goal at a time and steadily progressing towards it allows me to focus on what I need to do. 

I’ve also found it useful to tell someone about my goal. Usually just one person, again it’s about making it real, but also about choosing someone who recognises why that goal is important to me, and will remind me about it in a supportive way.

Many companies have a program of continuous improvement. I’ll leave aside the fact that many pay lip service to it, but I think about it in respect of my goals. Things aren’t going to change overnight, we will probably find ourselves reverting to old habits, but concentrating on one goal, breaking it down into bite size pieces and giving ourselves the time and space to achieve makes success a lot more certain than a New Year’s Eve scattergun approach.

Start now - get out a piece of paper and think about something you really want to achieve.

If you're interested in finding out a little more about Matariki here are some links: 

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