The end of the calendar year is an effective and convenient time to decide to make changes in life. For a few days, everything stops, when you start again, the dates have changed, we tend to think of ourselves as already approaching our next birthday. Arbitrary… yes. But powerful… hell yes!

I write a lot about the power of self-determination that creativity gives us, so maybe this is a good time to put that to some practical use. I am sure there are things that everyone wants to materialise in their lives for 2020… some manner of change, development, growth etc.

In essence, this is something that needs to be created from the current situation. So, here’s a small toolbox to help you pull off those changes in 2020.

Step 1

Formulate the change or growth or whatever it is that you want for 2020 very clearly in your head. Don’t worry about the HOW of what it might entail, just formulate the WHAT. The introduce this idea to your subconscious. Say, ‘Hello subconscious. Next year, I want to effect (this change/growth) in my life. I am leaving the details of how that happens up to you.’

And then leave it there.

Step 2

Whatever it is that you want, you are going to need new information, skills, ideas and so on. Identify a time in your weekly schedule that you can set aside on a regular repeating basis. Like 30 mins…preferably every day but if all you can squeeze in is once a week… that will do. Now, book that into your calendar as a repeating, inviolable appointment. You may book nothing into this time. What are you going to do during this time? You’re going to think about and work on your Change.

Step 3

Accept that this is not going to happen overnight and that the first things you try might (probably will) fail. Not only is this OK, it is part fo the process. Language is an inexact thing and sometimes we need to experiment and try things out to get closer to what it is that we really want. Think of it as fine-tuning an engine: you have to run the engine to hear if it is tuned. This is the same.

Step 4

Start doing concrete things. Sign up for a course, join a related networking group, start writing, join a mastermind, ask for a transfer, research the subject. Start filling your mind with more information, connections and potential opportunities.

Step 5

Follow your nose. One thing leads to another as the old saying goes… so follow the trail. Always keep the big goal somewhere either back of your mind, but when you suddenly experience a breakthrough, run with it, don’t let the fact that it might not be totally in line with your original idea stop you… Go! Nothing you do or learn is ever wasted!

If you follow these 5 steps, you will get where you wanted to go. Most big changes are initiated by the smallest of steps. Never underestimate the power of turning up regularly and making small bits of progress. Like compound interest, it all adds up. Celebrate every piece of progress and every win. Write them down, share them on LinkedIn or with your friends and family. But keep them front of mind. Mine your failures for information: what did I do right? What did I do wrong? How have other people solved this problem? Who can I ask for help here? What did I learn? How could I do this differently next time?

There’s a good reason why you should always ask a busy person for help: they know how to act. If you want to change, you need to act. Not wait until you are sure about what the change looks like. Start acting now, start making small changes now. The rest will come once you are in motion.