Several days into the New Year and you may already feel like you didn’t start it off right. For many people, when the fireworks go off, they will still have to wake up to the same life, with the same job and aspirations. What should be different?
Your focus for the new year is what should be different. Instead of filling a notebook with resolutions you’re not excited about, why not try something different?
Here are five tips on how you can start your year off on the right track. If you are determined about your personal and professional growth this year, these tips are for you.
1. Reflect on the previous year
The first step towards a better future is to take stock of what happened in the past. To say that 2020 was a difficult year is an understatement. Just like everyone else, you had to deal with a situation that you would never have dreamed of and that undoubtedly had a lasting effect on you.
Start with what you liked about the previous year. This can be difficult, considering the year in question, but if you look back with an objective lens and a clearer view, you may notice some blessings that you hadn’t considered before. After all, hindsight is 20/20, right? (pun intended)
As you do your thinking, here are some questions for you to consider:
What worked for you professionally?
What worked in your personal life?
What had you envisioned for the year compared to where you are now?
Did you manage to pivot to reach your goal?
What would you change about the way you handled the situation (think global, professional, and personal situations)?
While this exercise requires you to be self-critical, be careful not to put yourself down. If there were situations you could have handled better, acknowledge them with respect and objectivity, not with malice and self-hatred.
The right amount of self-criticism will wake you up and push you to be better. If you begin to feel discouraged at any point during your reflection, remind yourself that you are still on your feet and actively working to become better. That is the formation of a strong individual.
2. Set your goals
Now that you have a clear understanding of what went right and what went wrong in the last year, you can move forward into your present and future. Set your goals for the year and plan how you will reach them.
After the reflection exercise, you may notice that you still have some outstanding goals from last year. Before writing them down as this year’s goals, think carefully about why they’re still outstanding and if they still align with your beliefs or if they’re really something you want. What you wanted in the old one could have changed for many reasons.
One thing I find that people are afraid to do is let go. Sometimes your beliefs and aspirations change, especially when you have a life-changing experience. Letting go of your old perspective can be scary, especially since it means embracing the unknown most of the time. However, pursuing goals that no longer align with your true essence will only waste your time and energy, which are vital resources that you must diligently protect and spend wisely.
That said, you can carry over any goals that still align with your purpose and are pending from last year. Also, set any new goals you may have for this specific year.
There are plenty of resources online on setting SMART goals, or you can attend my Goal Setting Bootcamp which provides detailed guidance on setting powerful goals. Whichever you decide on, research and give yourself an appropriate amount of time to work on each one. It is important to keep up the pace; the only race you’re in is with yourself.
3. Cultivate your support system
This step is really important and is one of the most often overlooked. Looking at your list of goals, you may feel like you can accomplish them all on your own. The idea of being “self-made” has been shoved down our throats for years and asking for help is seen as weakness.
Could not be farther from the truth!
No human being is an island. Unless you are a monk seeking enlightenment through solitude, isolating yourself for extended periods of time is a bad idea. Studies have shown that prolonged isolation can lead to cognitive decline.
Michael Siffre, a French scientist and adventurer, locked himself in a cave for six months as part of an experiment. At the end of the second month, he reported that he “could barely put his thoughts together.” And he still had four months left!
Isolation is not just social. You could be surrounded by people and still feel a sense of isolation. It’s harder to detect, but that’s why this isolation is so insidious.
In a culture that increasingly seeks to isolate people, go against the grain and nurture the relationships that are most important to you. Identify the people who have been instrumental in your life and take time for them. Allow them to support you and, in turn, support them.
Now, I understand that not everyone has someone to count on. That is why I am here to help you and guide you towards your success. Send me a message outlining your mentoring needs and I can help you get started with what you have.
4. Set a schedule
There is a public secret here: nothing is done for which no time is set. You know how people say they’re busy all the time? Well, the truth is, anything you put off with those two words “I’m busy” really isn’t a priority in your life. For what you prioritize, you make time.
Which brings us to this fourth tip. Create a schedule. And stick to that.
I know that many people hate schedules, prefer to go with the flow, and believe that a free-field approach is effective. However, in my experience, the free range approach rarely works, and when it does, it’s only for small to intermediate targets. If your goals are so big that they scare you, then a schedule is your best friend.
First of all, your schedule tells you what is most important in the current season of your life. It also shows you exactly how much time she could be stealing from his top priority through procrastination and other bad habits.
A schedule also helps you cultivate the necessary discipline that every successful person has. Once you set your schedule and stick to it, you gain a new respect for your time and energy, as well as other people’s time and energy.
Note: when setting your schedule, the goal is not to fill it with tons of stuff every day. It is to create the kind of day that you would find most meaningful and fulfilling. That includes talking to your friends, going out whenever possible, and spending time with family.
5. Social Media Detox
Finally, it is important that you start your year by staying away from social media. The fear of missing out (FOMO) keeps us glued to our screens, mindlessly scrolling through social media timelines and consuming all kinds of content. The result? Information overload.
We live in the information age, and immense good has been done as a result of the technological advances made over the years. However, information overload has begun to pose serious problems in society. Information overload is reported to have dire effects on the human brain, including decreased retention of information and feelings of exhaustion (even when you haven’t been as productive).
A healthy way to start the year would be to unplug for a while, a weekend, a week, or if you’re really committed, a month. Take this time to reconnect with yourself, choose a new hobby that doesn’t require any gadgets, like painting, reading, or walking.
Some benefits of a social media detox include improvements in mood, increased self-esteem, and being more present as you become more connected to the real world.
I hope this article has been useful to you. If you would like help getting started on your goals for the year, please visit us at http://www.tawawn.com for a free consultation and let me help you start your journey to success.