A little over five years ago, I quit my full-time office job at a glossy fashion magazine to go out on my own as a freelance writer and stylist. Back then, I hadn’t exercised for more than a collective week since high school, and (spoiler alert!) that was longer than I cared to admit. So on that first Monday in May (yes, it really was…) I woke up before the sun—my very own boss—and was invigorated by the new non-scheduled schedule I was about to set up for myself.
I started the day with a hot power yoga class. I had dabbled in heated yoga in high school, and then again in college, but it never really stuck. Now, with little structure to my full-of-work days as a freelancer, I needed something to jump-start that energy. So, I slipped into my leggings and tank top, threw my yoga mat in my bag, and off to Earth Yoga I went. Quietly sitting in the back of the class, it took me all of 3 minutes to decide that I was going to sign up for an unlimited membership.
Very quickly, I found the teachers I loved and followed them to different studios around the city as my weekday routine, without fail, began with me sweating. I felt like it set my day up so that, no matter what happened, I had actually done something with it right then. It wasn’t long before those “five mornings a week, as long as I hadn’t had a late night” became “show up and kick that hangover’s ass,” which became “sometimes taking more than one class a day.” And while, early on, I was too embarrassed to admit any of that to most of my family and friends, it had become such a constant—a necessity—in my life that I don’t skip a class, even when I’m traveling.
Yoga has made me a more balanced, more relaxed, more driven, and more focused individual. Frankly, those are all qualities I already thought I had, until they became all-the-more easily conjured as I grew deeper in my practice. I never thought I’d be a person who Googles fitness studios before I ever book my flight to far-flung locales, but by seeking out studios in London, Paris, Cannes, and even tiny Greek islands, I’ve had experiences that I might not have otherwise had. It’s exploratory. It’s grounding. And when I touch down in a new location—whether my favorite home-away-from-home ski mountain in Tahoe or a brand-new city—I’m instantly settled as long as I find my way to a class.
Many days, I find myself at my hot yoga studio long past a class, fitting in that “one quick hour” before rushing off to dinner with wet hair. In fact, while most of my friends wouldn’t be all that surprised to read the following, I feel as though I owe it to you to admit that I’m sitting in the middle of the floor of my home-away-from-home, hot power studio as I write this particular love letter to yoga…though the heat is not currently at full-blast (though in the cold of winter, I wouldn’t mind it all that much, either).
There’s something about a yoga studio that encourages a community, whether you’re a first-timer, casual yogi, or full-blown master. And, I have to be honest that, despite my fitness fervor, I’m no master—I still don’t breathe like a lion, have never said an “Om” in my life, and I view savasana as more of a physical re-set than a mental one. But, I’m happy to report I since that first class in that studio in May, five years ago, I’ve since moved out of that dark back corner. And, whether bleary eyed or full of energy when I first make my way into the warmth of the room, I’m a better person when I leave it.
7 Essential Tips to Make 2008 Your Best Year Ever
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. – Eleanor Roosevelt
As I reflected on this past year, I realized that 2007 has been perhaps my best year ever. It’s funny, because that’s what I thought about 2006, but my years seem to be getting better and better.
And so I reflected on what made these past two years so great, and how I could leverage these successes for even further improvement. I’d like to share some things I’ve learned about the past two (very great) years, and how you might be able to use them to make this next year your greatest year yet.
1. One goal. This will sound crazy to many of you who have so many goals you’d like to accomplish. And trust me, I know how that feels. I started out 2007 with a whole bunch of goals, but I only accomplished about half of them. I didn’t realize how things would change for me during the year, and anyway, 9 goals is too many.
I’ve said this before, but it’s so important I’m going to repeat it: you’re at your most powerful if you focus on one thing at a time. If you have 10 goals, you’ll spread your focus thinly. But if you have one goal, you’ll be able to focus you energy and attention completely on that one goal. And that’s one of the secrets of success.
You might have 10 goals to achieve for your lifetime. If so, choose just one to accomplish this year. And focus completely on that this year. You might have shorter-term sub-goals to achieve in a month or two, but those should lead to your One Goal for 2008.
Put your goal on your wall, on you computer desktop. Make it your mantra. Keep it your focus for 2008, and you’ll not only achieve it, but you’ll feel great for doing so.
2. Create a new habit. In 2006, when my goal was to run a marathon, I built up the daily habit of running. That habit led to my goal. When my goal became to grow my blog in 2007, I developed the daily habit of blogging. Goals are achieved by habits. What habit can you develop this month to help achieve your One Goal for this year?
Once you’ve identified that goal, you’ll need to commit yourself, hold yourself accountable to a group of people, and focus completely on that habit for a month. I recommend the Zen Habits January Challenge. It’s the perfect way to create a habit and lead to the achievement of your One Goal.
I also plan to write more about creating habits in the next week or two, so stay tuned.
The journey of thousand miles starts with a single step. – Chinese Proverb
3. Take action now. It’s all good and well to set goals or resolutions, but the best plans are worthless if you don’t act on them. Action is everything. Take action today to make your goal come true. Tomorrow, take another action. In fact, take one action toward your One Goal every day, first thing in the day, and make it the most important thing you do every day. If you do that, there’s almost no way that you won’t achieve that goal.
The actions can be small things: making a list, making a call, doing some research (“find five possible venues for the conference”). But take action.
4. Simplify. As you might have figured out by now, I’m all about simplicity. So this will sound redundant. But if you take the time to simplify your life, in some way, this month, your year will be much better. When we have too much going on in our lives, it overwhelms us. It spreads us thin. It makes us ineffective. Simplifying things helps keep us sane, and makes us more powerful. Take some time to identify the 4-5 things that are most important in your life, then simplify your commitments (and goals and to-do list) so that they fall in line with those 4-5 priorities. More.
5. Focus on happiness. It sounds corny, but if you make your happiness become your focus, you’ll be happier. It’s really that simple (or at least, it has been for me). What makes you happy? That should be the focus of your life. This year, make happiness be your priority. Then do the things necessary to make it a reality. Some tips.
6. Schedule time for you, and your loved ones. If these two things are in your top 4-5 important things (see above), you might consider revising the list. At least one thing on your short list of 4-5 things should be something you love to do. At least one other should be spending time in some way with people you love to spend time with. For me, that’s my wife and kids, and running and reading and writing. Actually, that sentence describes my entire short list: spend time with family, read, write, and run. Everything else is superfluous.
Spending time with yourself, doing something you love to do, will give you time for reflection. It will make you happier, and give you time to decompress. Don’t have time? Make time.
Spending time with loved ones, connecting with them, is in my opinion absolutely essential to happiness. Make it a priority.
7. Learn to focus. This goes back to what was said above about One Goal and simplifying, but it’s important not only on those macro levels, but on a day-to-day basis as well. It’s easy to get caught up in things that come our way, in the daily crises that derail our plans, in distractions and email and phone calls and Twitter. Very easy. If you allow yourself to lose focus, you’ll have a very difficult time accomplishing your goals.
To make this your best year ever, learn to focus. Make it one of your monthly habits. Start by identifying your One Goal and your 4-5 priorities. Then, every day, focus yourself on those things. Each morning (or the night before), make a list of the 3 Most Important Things (MITs) that you want to accomplish today. Then start on the first one, first thing, instead of getting distracted by email or any of the other things that take away your attention. Shut everything off except what you need for that task. Clear your desk and turn off the phone and any notifications on your computer. Then focus on that one thing, trying your utmost to complete the task.
When you’re done, take a break and reward yourself. Then focus on the next task. Working like this, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.
We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. – Oscar Wilde
More great posts elsewhere on making this year great:
Would you like to make this your best year ever?
Now, lots of things go into having a great year. Like setting out your goals and vision, creating a plan for getting there, and taking action. Plus, it helps to have a bit of luck along the way.
But while these are important things to do and have, they’re only part of the picture and a lot of it is outside your control.
Alongside the planning and the luck, you need a strategy that’s completely in your control and happens on a day-to-day level.
That’s where a key to success I learned from my father just a few months ago comes in. It’s helped him live a wonderful life and been a game-changer for me. Maybe it can help you too.
What I Learned from My Father
My father recently retired after a 60-year career in academia. His university hosted a 2-day celebration honoring his legacy, which ended with my father giving a personal speech.
After he’d thanked everyone for attending and shared some memories and highlights, he said, “… and I’ve enjoyed every day.”
And my father really meant it. He has enjoyed every day. Yet, things haven’t always been rosy in my father’s life.
In his youth, he and his family lived through times of war in China and ultimately fled the country with just a small bag each.
As an adult, he faced financial pressures supporting a young family plus various relatives on a junior academic’s salary, serious illnesses and deaths in the family, and challenges at work like being passed over for promotion and grant funding falling through. And that’s just what I remember.
Yet he found a way to enjoy every day.
Enjoying Every Day is a Choice
Enjoying the day is a choice my father makes every day. And since hearing my father’s remarks, I’ve made it part of my daily practice to remind myself to “enjoy every day” too.
“No one is a failure who is enjoying life.” – William Faulkner
Having that mindset as I go through the day has made a huge difference to my mood and the way I react to what’s going on around me.
When I feel anxious before a meeting or presentation, I’m reminded to enjoy the moments leading up to the event and to frame the event itself as something I’m looking forward to. And when I’m impatiently waiting for someone to finish making their point, it’s a reminder for me to appreciate that they’re sharing their views.
It can take some effort as you consciously build this habit of enjoying each day. Especially when there’s so much that can happen outside your control that knocks you off course or onto a different path altogether.
When I asked my father how he enjoys every day when things aren’t going well, he said he reflects back at the end of the day and appreciates what he’s accomplished and been a part of. Some days it’s just being grateful to be alive or looking forward to the next day to come, but there’s always something to appreciate.
So, having great days that add up to a great year – even your best year ever! – is about focusing on what’s in your control and appreciating what you have.
Creating a Virtuous Cycle
The practice of enjoying every day is powerful because it creates a virtuous cycle that has a positive effect on your life and career.
When you’re enjoying your day, you can’t help but bring positive energy. This rubs off on the people around you and makes them want to be around you and support you.
This, in turn, attracts opportunities to you which leads to a better future for you to enjoy. Like getting an unexpected introduction to someone who ultimately becomes your future “best boss ever”. Or having word get back to top management that you’re someone worth investing in.
All it takes is the daily practice of choosing to enjoy every day.
And when you enjoy every day, you can’t help but have a great year.
The Path to Your Best Year Ever
To have your best year ever, it’s important to set your vision and plan.
But it’s also incredibly valuable to create your daily practice of enjoying every day, no matter what happens.
Some days will be more challenging than others but that’s when this practice becomes more important than ever and will make the biggest difference for you.
So let’s make this your best year ever.
What will you do to create the habit of enjoying every day?
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You might be wondering how you can make 2020 your best year ever. No doubt, there is something about the start of a new year that makes life more exciting. If you are like me, the new year is a time to assess, make changes, and improve upon what didn’t go exactly as planned last year.
There’s nothing like a fresh start. Another chance to get it right. If I haven’t achieved a goal I set at the start of the year, I am never discouraged from starting all over again when the new year rolls around.
Although you cannot control every aspect of life, like any external circumstances, you can control your inner world. Knowing the future can be whatever you want it to be gives you some measure of control over what happens for you.
What if I told you there is only one thing you need to do in order to accomplish any goal you want to achieve and make 2020 your best year ever? You have had the ability to utilize to your advantage this one thing your entire life.
Do I have your attention now? Awesome! Please allow me to break this down for you.
Table of Contents
Just How Can You Make 2020 Your Best Year Ever?
Let’s start with what we all know is a common goal: weight loss.
While weight loss is a great goal. But it’s not very specific, and I’m not referring to a number on the scale. Without being specific, you actually set yourself up for not following through with what you ultimately want for yourself. Why? The main reason is that losing weight is only a piece of the goal-setting puzzle.
Let’s face it when trying to lose weight, it’s like any other journey. There is a beginning, middle, and an end.
Think of having weight loss as a goal like your reward for the effort you put out. If it’s easier to think of it in business terms, weight loss can be considered the result you want, or the return on the investment you make in yourself (ROI).
But Robin, what’s the investment? I’m so glad you asked.
In setting goals, you are more likely to achieve them if you start with the end in mind but work backward from there. So, if you want to know how you can make 2020 your best year ever, start with what you want to achieve (the result). Then think about your plan to accomplish the goal (the investment).
Let Your Emotions Decide For You This Year
I’m speaking from my own experience here, so you’ll have to trust me. In the area of weight loss, the foundation begins with your health. And, for the record, when I say “health”, I not only mean your physical health but also your emotional and spiritual health.
After all, being at a healthy weight is definitely a component of “wellness” which encompasses the body, mind, and spirit. In this context, if you think of the goal of weight loss as an investment in your overall health and wellness, the focus is more on how you want to feel, and less about the external result which is what most people focus on.
If you take a minute to think about it, any goal you really want to achieve is because you desire the feeling that you think the goal will bring. According to my absolute favorite Life Coach Brooke Castillo, feelings are everything because they drive our actions like nothing else.
It really isn’t so complicated. Now, I may or may not be talking about myself here, but think about a person who eats when they are stressed, anxious or bored. When you take certain actions that either get you closer to your goals or further away from them, hands down it’s your emotions or feelings that are driving you to act.
You Can Make 2020 Your Best Year Ever By Controlling Your Thoughts
The best news? We have complete control over our feelings because they are directly caused by our thoughts. Do you know what this means? Well, it’s simple. If you really want to know how you can make 2020 your best year ever, you must change what you are thinking about! Doing so will change the way you feel, and your feelings will cause your actions which will change your results.
Yes, you actually have control over your thoughts. Fascinating, I know!
Here Is How You Can Make 2020 Your Best Year Ever
So back to the weight loss goal example. Using the work backward from the results approach, your actions are based on how you want to feel.
In this example, I’ll keep the concept simple and easy. It’s January now, so if weight loss is your goal for 2020, your initial action to help achieve this goal might be drinking 16oz of lemon water 3 times per day (or at breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Why? Because in your case, you want to feel more alert and less bloated.
If you do this continuously (in other words make it a habit), you build confidence because you have kept your word to yourself. Going forward, what you have to do is continue to take action based on how you want to feel and you will see the results you want. Even the smallest simplest actions count.
I have to warn you, there is a lot of checking in with yourself when you go about making changes in your life this way. You can’t plan out your goal achievement strategy and slay it by checking out mentally. It helps to prep yourself for goal achievement success by having a “no matter what attitude”.
I know for a fact this theory works. A couple of years ago, I set out to lose a significant amount of weight knowing I couldn’t use the same old watered-down approach the majority of the world uses.
Current Circumstances Are Neutral
The trick to getting started with this strategy is to ignore the current circumstances once you have decided that you’re just not living your best life. The reason why is because of the current circumstances that you live with is the result of your past thoughts, feelings, and actions. They are what they are.
It does not serve you to fixate on current circumstances, the cause of which is in the past and cannot be changed.
Test This Theory For Yourself
Putting in the effort to achieve a goal isn’t easy. But it’s worth it when you embrace the inner thought work and approach it from the standpoint of investing in yourself. Start at the end, and work backward, and plan your actions based on how you want to feel.
This strategy is so valuable because it can be applied to any goal. However, if weight loss is your goal, think about the current state of your health and how you feel right now. Then think into the future, maybe 2 months, 4 months, or 6 months into this year, and visualize the way you want to feel.
See yourself feeling amazing, proud, and confident because you’ve made some simple, healthy changes that are sustainable.
Remember the future can be whatever you want it to be. If you want to make 2020 your best year ever, you don’t have to settle for the status quo. The power to change directly correlates to your thoughts, your feelings and the actions you take to achieve your goals.
Do you like setting yearly goals? Can you think of any special tips or tricks on how you can make 2020 your best year ever?
I would love to hear from you in the comments!
You want 2018 to be an amazing year, right? It will be the year you say, I made it! I did it! I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Maybe you’re hoping it’s the year you meet the love of your life (or spend more time with them), the year you’re a better parent, better partner, finally take that trip, write that book, start that company, build that cabin ( insert your passion project here).
If you’re like most people, you’ll set yourself a long list of resolutions with great intentions. Me, I usually have way too many resolutions and push myself too hard.
Here are a few samples of recent resolutions:
- exercise more
- eat less sugar
- spend more time with friends and family
- have a daily writing practice
- have a daily meditation practice
- go to bed earlier
This year, I’m doing something completely different. Because research tells me that if I set and achieve this one goal, it will make me happier and more successful in every area of my life.
This year, I have one resolution and only one resolution — to make myself happy.
Shawn Achor (author of The Happiness Advantage) has done extensive research that proves that the happier you are, the more successful you are. In every aspect of life. We think that we’ll be happy when we achieve our goals but research has shown that we only achieve a small surge in happiness and then we focus on our next goal. Achor’s research found, “Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.”
- 23% reduction in stress
- 31% increase in productivity
- 39% better health
- 34% more positive social interaction
He also found that happier people had better outcomes in every single business and education outcome tested for.
I know all this. Intellectually. I read Gretchen Rubin’s book, ‘The Happiness Project’ a few years ago, I read Shawn Achor’s book, ‘The Happiness Advantage’ this year. I know it — but living it — that’s the hard part. That’s where the work comes in. And I’m ready. Ready to do the work. To find happiness no matter what.
A decade ago, my mother was dying of Alzheimer’s and through a lot of hard work — journaling and grief counseling, practicing loving-kindness meditation and spending time with good friends and finding the grace to surrender to reality, I found happiness. If I could find happiness in that terrible time, I know that if I can do the work, 2018 is going to be my best year ever.
So I’ve set myself the ambiguous and ambitious goal of being happier in 2018. I’m letting go of my long lists of very tangible goals and flying off into a realm of intangibles. Being responsible for my own happiness rather than looking to others. But I know it’s the right move, not just because it will lead to my success but because my success won’t matter so much.
The best thing I can do for everyone in my life, including me, is to be happy. If being happy will make me a better mom and a more loving wife, a more creative writer and a better consultant, sign me up, because at the end of the day, those things matter more to me than anything else I might accomplish.
Thinking back on the last year, I can see what made me happy:
- dates with my husband (and an amazing overnight trip sans children)
- spending time with my kids — relaxed, easy time (as opposed to stressed out time spent forcing them to bathe while they scream and squirm)
- seeing my friends — this is the year I came out of massive sleep deprivation and overwhelm (but really, kids are worth it ;)) and have had more energy to see friends
- going for walks on the beach and in the forest — quiet time just for myself
- accomplishing goals I set — writing two e-books, finishing my novel, blogging regularly, presenting at a conference — but I have to say it was more satisfaction than happiness and it was short lived before I moved on to my next goal (just like the research says)
To make myself happy is a goal that’s hard to measure so I thought I’d try a practice I use with my coaching clients to break it down a bit more. In order to make myself happy this year I need to:
- Putting so much pressure on myself to be an amazing parent, spouse, friend, writer, consultant — be happy with good enough
- Worrying about people and situations I can’t control (which is 99% of what I worry about)
- Saying yes out of obligation rather than interest
- Doing Loving Kindness meditation every morning for 10 minutes (there’s an app called Calm that has one for free)
- Writing every day for 15 minutes
- Exercising — start with 20 minutes three times a week (walking, yoga, swimming)
- A weekly gratitude journal (that includes what I’m grateful to myself for)
- Spending time with the kids, my sweetie, and close friends
- Dancing around the living room with the kids
- Doing work that I love with inspiring clients
- Expressing appreciation and gratitude to specific people (including myself)
Some of what I’ve chosen is based on the research about what will make us happier — spending time with loved ones, expressing gratitude, exercise, and meditation. Some of it is based on making time to do more of what I love — dancing, writing, yoga.
I think this is the best New Year’s resolution I’ve ever set myself and I’m also daunted by it. That list feels a lot harder to look back on in a year and say I’ve accomplished something. But I know what it feels like when I’m happier — a loosening of the shoulders, a relaxing in my heart, an ease with life, deeply felt love when I look at my loved ones (in contrast to deeply felt irritation), an openness to new people and experiences, more energy for my life. Yes, happiness is hard to measure but it’s worth striving for.
I’ll keep you updated. I’d love it if you want to join me and let me know how you’re going to make yourself happy this year.
This year, what do you want to achieve? Are there things about you and your life you have been wanting to change? Most of us answer a definite YES to this…I know I did. Thinking of too many things at once can be overwheming. So what’s 1 or 2 things you want to change but have been putting off? Maybe it’s to stop smoking…lose weight…or perhaps communicate with someone you’ve had a falling out with.
Now ask yourself (or better yet, write this down):
Why haven’t I taken action?
What pain have I associated with taking action?
Tony Robbins says to be honest with yourself when answering these questions. If you can’t think of pain associated with your disaction, then think harder. Maybe the pain is as simple as you’re too busy and just don’t have time. Boy do I personally use that one a lot!
Now let’s jot down the pleasure we linked to indulging in this negative cycle. Like, if your desired change is weight loss, why are you eating cakes, brownies, pizzas and guzzling them down with soda? Sure, you’re avoiding the pain of depriving yourself and at the same time eating those things is a form of instant gratification cause that sugar rush feels so good. That is until the crash hits.
I love how Tony goes on to say that if you want to create longterm change, you must find a new way to get a similar pleasure without negative consequences. That’s just one of the many ways I’ve been able to help my clients with their health and weight goals. We take it nice and slow and introduce small and easy changes over time…making adjustments as needed along the way. Diving all-in head first may seem like the best way, but so many people backslide from this. Be super careful here.
Next step is to jot down what it will cost you if you don’t start making positive changes now. What will happen if you don’t stop eating so much sugar and bad fats? If you don’t stop smoking? If you don’t make that call? If you don’t start working out?
Again, be honest with yourself.
What’s it going to cost you over the next 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on years? What will it cost you emotionally? What’s it going to cost with your self-esteem? Will it effect your relationships? Don’t just say it will cost money here. That’s not deep enough…Remember our emotions can drive us so we need to learn how to use pain as your new friend…one that can push us to a new level of success.
Lastly, jot down the pleasure you will receive by making each of these actions now. Make a huge list here to delve deep into those emotions that will really get you excited. Like, I’m gaining the feeling of really being in control of my life, of knowing that I’m in charge. I am more confident. I am feeling so much better. I am looking amazing. I am strengthening my relationships. I am love. I am prosperous. My life is better in all these ways now, next year, and several years down the road. It is important to envision the positive impacts both now and in the longterm. And don’t just envision them—feel them. Allow yourself to feel as though you’re already right where you want to be in life. Take note of just how amazing it feels and let that sink into your subconscious mind.
If you’d like help making some positive changes in your life, then come join me in my next 10-Day Gut Cleanse where you’ll learn more about intestinal health and how it effects your weight, explore all the various ways to get your gut healthy and balanced so you’re feeling amazing all the time, learn about how choosing to be happy can reduce your stress—and improve your health, find encouragement, great recipes, and education about nutrition and supplements for whole body health. You truly do have the power to make the life of your dreams a reality. Don’t doubt yourself—instead live life every day as if you’re already right where you want to be.
So what are your goals for next year? Are you ready to dive in and make them your reality?
Olivia Jaras is the CEO of www.empowHERsociety.com and Salary Coaching for Women.
My best year ever? 2021? You’re kidding me, right?!
Doubtless, there are folks out there that’ll react to this title like that. I’m talking to you, my friends, and I’m totally serious.
If you want, you can start by thinking about how 2021 can’t be worse than 2020 was, right? But I need you to get past that as fast as you can. Turn it into a positive and look into the future. Think: 2021 will be better than 2020 because it will be the year I take massive action.
Surely you’ve noticed — with no action, nothing happens. Take massive action, do the work to get the results you want and things start to happen. To get the results, you have to do the work. There’s no way around that.
Now, what do you do? A lot of your initial work is on yourself, your mindset. I’m a big believer in mindset.
1. Have at least one big goal for next year.
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You can set two, but do not set more than three. In my experience, too many goals start getting in each other’s way. That leads to confusion and paralysis, and you might as well not have any big goals. So make a commitment to just one or two big goals for 2021. Put it in writing — your big promise to yourself, to your spouse or other loved ones, to your work colleagues, etc. If it’s a really big, hairy, audacious goal, don’t worry about “the how” right now. Realize that putting your commitment in writing does something psychologically that just telling yourself mentally does not do. It gives you resolve. It’s a way of saying, “I’m going to do this or else!” Telling others also creates accountability. Tell them to get on your case if you’re not making progress.
2. Look at your big goal(s) and ask yourself why.
Your answer is your big why. If you have a big enough why behind your big promise to yourself and to those who will hold you accountable, you can justify (or maybe tolerate) any how. State your why and make it “white-hot.” You want the hottest motivator you can think of!
If that’s giving you trouble, ask yourself what would get you up in the morning day after day ready to face the world. What would excite you, so you’d be wide awake, with or without an alarm at 6 a.m.
Is there something you see, some problem you can solve for others or something that will really benefit your employer? Something that inspires in you an immediate reaction, something like, “Hell, yeah! Let’s do it!” And if you don’t know what to do right away, you’re motivated to find out. It won’t leave you alone until you do!
We’re talking about your superpower(s) here. If you can bring your superpower(s) to the marketplace, nothing can stop you. But you have to know what they are and how to package them.
3. Once your big why is in place, think about the how.
Answer questions like: What new skills do I need? What new training and mentoring do I need to obtain them? What partnerships might I create to help me make things happen?
Notice I’ve only focused on the things you can control. You see, your future is in your hands at least somewhat, regardless of outside factors. Your future is in your hands at least somewhat, whatever your past and even your present — even if you’ve been laid off or furloughed, and even if it happens again. If, because of the pandemic, we’re locked in again for a while, you still have your computer and you can find thousands of hours of training in any conceivable subject online. You can sit and stare at the walls, or you can start on your how. This is in your power.
4. Lastly, do review your past year.
What went well? Where did you feel stuck? What was out of your control, and how did you react? What did you learn?
Is there anything you can be grateful for in 2020? Nothing will improve your big why more than gratitude. You still have family, you still have friends one phone call or text message away and you still have people from work you can reach out to. Plus, the sun keeps coming up daily, your heart keeps beating, food keeps its flavor (wine, too!).
Start thinking in abundance. Start working to become the person who’ll achieve the big goal(s) you promised yourself. And then imagine how your future self will look back a year from now and think, “2021 was my best year ever!”
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Do you sometimes yearn for a simple life? A life where time seems to flow slower. A life that is spacious where you have time to think, or even to dream?
I did. Until I realized that my life is how I create it. And that I can change my life if I want to.
I can live a simple life. Or I can live a busy life that includes spacious times. Here are five changes that worked for me. I now enjoy life more, am less stressed, and sleep better. I’m a more relaxed companion and friend and more fun to be with.
1. De-clutter your home
Clutter produces stress. Look around you for a moment. Can you spot things that sit around doing nothing for months and even years. Things that you could give away without even noticing a lack?
- Clear up cluttered rooms.
If you find things that you haven’t used in the last two years, consider giving them away. If you find that impossible because the things still have meaning for you, box them up and put them into storage.
- Give away what you don’t need
Go through your wardrobe and toss out what you haven’t worn for years. Chances are that if you didn’t wear it in the last two years, you never will.
- Keep the rooms you live in tidy. Clutter creates stress.
2. De-clutter your mind
- Refresh your mind daily through meditation
Even just ten minutes of meditation a day helps you to find a more calm and collected peace of mind. There are some very simple ways to meditate. Sit upright, either upon a firm cushion on the floor, or on a chair. Focus on your breath and let your thoughts go.
- Use a journal to note down all your pending tasks
Tasks clutter up our mind. We tend to get anxious if we have a lot of things we have to do and want to keep track of what needs to be done. Let your notebook or scheduling software hold the thoughts for you!
3. Give up energy drains
- Stop watching TV indiscriminately
Check out how much time you are spending in front of the TV. Passive entertainment drains your energy. Plan what you want to watch for the coming week and stick to the schedule you have set. If you find it difficult to stop watching after a program has finished, set a timer at the other end of the room. Getting up to stop it will break the spell and you’ll be able to switch the TV off.
- Stop spending time with people who drain your energy
Are there people in your life who are energy drainers? Maybe they are chronic complainers, or you find it difficult to communicate with them. If so, limit the time you spend with them. You will find that your life runs more smoothly and is less cluttered with emotional junk.
4. Slow down
- Do one thing at a time
Stop multitasking. Do you watch TV and work on your laptop at the same time? Do you chop carrots and listen to the radio? Do you carry on with household tasks while listening to your partner? If you said ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, you might like to try slowing down. Just do one thing at a time.
- Take up a activities that slows you down. Surfing, yoga, Tai Chi, etc
Intense physical hobbies blow all the cobwebs out of your mind. When you’ve just caught that wave or are about to launch your snowboard down a steep slope, your mind naturally empties. Yoga does something similar. You don’t believe it? Just try holding a post until your legs start wobbling and you’ll find your mind becomes clear.
Quiet activities, such as painting or book-binding, can also be engrossing and help to slow you down.
5. Take time out
Take time each week to refocus on what is important to you.
- Spend time with people you love
- Take time out to be in touch with nature
- Take time out to enjoy yourself
These five steps allow you to reduce clutter in your mind. We need space in our lives to think and dream. Nobody can be creative when they are locked into a cluttered life.
What about your life? Is it cluttered or simple?
What works for you?