What. A. Year.
When you met friends and family and rang in the new year, who’d have imagined the months ahead? 2020 didn’t care for plans – it hit pause on many and stole the chance of success from even more. But your ambitions haven’t been paused. Look at how people placed passionate energy to new, old, and rediscovered hobbies and interests, threw themselves at unforeseen challenges and questioned what their driving motivations are and what they want from life.
What a year (it can be).
You can still choose your future; you just need to get started and get going.
Sound good? Let’s have a look at our top tips below in a handy guide to owning 2021.
Getting Started: What do you want?
Pressing the Reset Button
Do you find keeping New Year’s resolutions impossible? You’re not alone. Maybe this year you’ll learn Italian, become an amazing painter, or write a book. Or maybe not. What makes keeping resolutions so difficult?
What if they aren’t what you really want? Think about it. When was the last time you had a look in the mirror and asked yourself what you really want to accomplish? Maybe those resolutions aren’t what you’re after anymore.
That’s fine – in fact, it’s good. It’s a sign that your priorities have shifted, whether you’ve realised or not. Here’s a resolution: stop dusting off failed goals every year and set some new ones which reflect the real you.
Should you Trust your Gut?
Ask yourself how different goals make you feel. Difficult doesn’t mean it’s not what you want if it excites you. Likewise, achievable isn’t for you if it bores you.
Should you make big decisions based on your gut instinct? The science points at us being poor at making gut decisions – just because we think we’re good at something doesn’t mean we are. Want our advice? Ignore your gut instinct. Assess your options, choose what you think you really want to achieve and then, most importantly, go back and think again. Is it really for you? If the answer is still yes, then you’re on to a winner.
Getting Started: What do you need to get there?
Create the Right Environment for Your Success
Do you enjoy a messy workspace or a clean one? Are you a morning person or night owl? There’s no right or wrong answer here – only a right or wrong choice. Your choice should reflect how you work best.
Once you’re sure of what you want to achieve, you’ll need structure to get there. Vague goals add uncertainty. Avoid words like ‘more’ and ‘less’; instead, set actual amounts to tasks. Want to write that book? Write at least one page per day. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s garbage, as you can always come back and edit it. It’s much better than nothing and keeps you focused on fulfilling your ambition.
Getting Going: Work on Your Willpower
So, you now have a clearer image of what you want to achieve and need to do to see it happen. But you need to move to achieve. Doing that requires two things: motivation and good habits.
Motivation is an emotion
Ever watched a great film, finished a brilliant book, or listened to an inspirational speech? It makes you feel as if you’re made entirely of energy and can do anything, right? But, as moments do, this passes. The fact motivation can come and go reveals it’s an emotion. It’s why when you feel down and discouraged it can slip away from you.
Understanding this is to control it. Be happy. Be sad. By appreciating how temporary emotions are, you know your motivation will return. If you feel down, you don’t have to stop trying – just accept being a bit of a grouch that day. Likewise, if you feel powered by rocket fuel then great! But don’t expect that of yourself every day. Put things in perspective – it’ll do wonders for your willpower.
Excellence is a habit
An old toga-wrapped gent from ancient times called Aristotle once said that ‘we are what we repeatedly do’. Want to progress your ambition? It takes time and demands discipline. Say no to zero days where you don’t do anything useful. Keep a habit of pushing yourself every day, if only for an inch closer to your goal.
Do you exercise regularly? That’s a good habit. Do you find yourself eating unhealthily and going to bed at different times? That’s a bad habit – you can find out more for beating bedtime blues here and health food facts here. Do you eat food in order of least liked to favourite so the final thing you eat is the best? That’s a weird habit.
We all have good, bad, and weird habits and it takes time to change. You can’t uproot your lifestyle in a flash, so try making changes bit by bit. Small changes that last become a foundation for bigger things.
Getting to Your Goal: Embrace Change
Which reminds us! Change is good. Sometimes, if scraped together, you can even buy a meatball marinara from Subway and those things are…wait – we’re talking about the wrong kind of change.
So. Change is great! Life isn’t stationary (look at 2020!) and your plans shouldn’t be. You’ll also make mistakes. It’s normal. But trial and error do not equal failure. It takes courage to put yourself on the line and seize an opportunity. Mistakes are experiences to learn from, and that means changing your direction in pursuit of your goals.
Maybe you’ve been reading non-stop but nothing’s sinking in? Podcasts might be your thing. If that doesn’t do it for you, then try getting your hands dirty and practice what you’re learning.
No path’s set in stone. Ambitions may stay the same but allow yourself to tweak your approach. Don’t sweat it. Experiments set precedents.
Finally: Remember this
In 2020 we all waited. Seasons passed. Our great outdoors went from bare to bursting with summer green, autumnal orange and back to bare. But now, with your drive and determination, you can choose your future. So, what will 2021 bring? You decide.
2020’s done. 2021’s only just begun.
Want to see how we can help you choose your future?