If you’re anything like me, you tend to end each year in a ball of self-criticism, beating yourself up for all the things you didn’t achieve. You think of the wasted time and missed opportunities, and to compensate, set yourself a list of lofty new years resolutions, likely forgotten before February.
This year I’m proposing we put an end to this vicious cycle and create an environment for ourselves that sets us up for success. Not just the kind that involves checking boxes off to do lists. I’m talking about inner success. The thing that happens when you align with your purpose, take responsibility for your time and realise that perfection isn’t a requirement for achieving your dreams. It’s getting up every day and doing the best you can, even if progress is so slow it’s hard to even see.
Create a “have done” list for 2018
Yep. Instead of staring at the list of things you never got around to in 2018, I want you to create a huge-ass list that puts in writing ALL the things you achieved. Career, health & fitness, financial, relationships – I don’t care whether it feels big or small, I want you to write it down. Set aside a decent chunk of time because you’ll probably want to look over your calendar for prompts. You could even call your closest friends & family to ask for ideas. I guarantee you’ve allowed yourself to forget about a lot. But that ends NOW.
Put the list on the wall or somewhere you can look at it any time you need a reminder that you are making progress in your life and that it is worth giving 2019 a good chance to be awesome. After all, it’s your choice how you want to spend it.
Clear out some clutter
There’s nothing worse than starting a new year surrounded by mess and the physical baggage of the previous year. Whether it’s your whole house, your workspace or even something as simple as your bathroom cupboard. Make some time to throw out anything useless and find an intentional place for anything you want to keep. If you feel like you’re buried in more like 10 years of clutter, I recommend checking out Marie Kondo’s book below. It is, as the title says, life-changing.
I also have a #READYINTEN challenge which starts by helping you declutter your makeup kit (something most of us tend to forget about as part of our spring clean). It’s free and you can sign up here.
Give yourself a break from the screen
I was horrified to recently discover that I spend an average of 2 hours per day on my phone. Most of those hours spent checking Facebook, Instagram & YouTube for notifications or mindlessly scrolling. That’s an entire month each year that I’m flushing down the toilet. A MONTH.
“I don’t have time”, “I’m so busy at the moment” and various forms of these sentences seem to be our favourite things to say these days. And while we are doing way too much, I have a feeling our free time is slipping through the cracks thanks to these “helpful” devices. For this reason, I decided to take a social media vacation in January to reset the system and re-design how I spend my downtime. If that’s too extreme for you, consider setting a rule for yourself that you only look at your phone during certain hours of the day, or give yourself a social media break one day per week. I guarantee this excessive phone usage is doing more harm than good, despite what we tell ourselves about using it for business or to ‘stay in touch with overseas friends’.
Set smaller goals more often
Lose 10kg in the next 8 weeks.
Save $25,000 by the end of the year.
Read 100 non-fiction books this year.
By setting and not achieving goals like these, we lose faith in ourselves. And since we tend to do it regularly, we lose faith in ourselves ooover and ooover. At least that’s what I’ve spent the last 10+ years doing. And I’m kinda sick of it.
My coach helped set me straight when he told me that I need to give myself the opportunity to trust myself again. And that way I needed to do it was by setting very small, achievable goals, so I started to have wins again. And each time I achieved one of those baby wins, I got the confidence back that I’d need to achieve the bigger ones.
Trying to get in shape? Start by setting goals like “I will go to the gym 3 times this week” and “I will home cook all my meals this week”. Eventually, you’ll build enough healthy habits that getting fit & healthy will be inevitable.
Trying to save money? Focus on cutting down your excessive spending and consider leaving your credit card at home. It hurts so much more when you have to pay for everything in cash!
Make intentional [micro] decisions
Every time we say yes to something, it’s like dropping a pebble in a pond and those ripples are the effect the decision has on our entire year. I believe every decision we make and every action we take will have either a positive or negative effect on us and our life. There’s no “neutral”. And we make around 35,000 decisions a day. That’s over 12 million a year!
So what we’re doing in the micro IS affecting our bigger picture meaning we can’t just think about the big stuff – “Should I quit my job?” “Should we buy a new car?” “Should we buy our dog a tuxedo?” – because those big decisions still won’t be enough to override thousands (or millions) of poorly made small decisions.
“Should I have an apple or a chocolate bar for morning tea?”
“Should I watch another episode or go to bed?”
“Should I call my best friend or scroll Facebook?”
We like to think big because the results are often instant and measurable. But it’s the small, thankless decisions that are more likely to lead us to a happy, fulfilled and successful life. So think smaller this year!
Comment below and let me know one thing you want to tackle from this list that you think will make a difference this year!
Kat Elizabeth is a personal branding coach and copywriter who helps entrepreneurs and creative freelancers become the go-to experts in their niche. She started her professional career in musical theatre before writing and producing her own cabaret show which led her to uncover her love of branding and marketing. For 4 years she worked as a freelance copywriter before moving into course creation, building her own personal brand on YouTube and starting to coach others do the same. Nothing makes her happier than helping other purpose-driven humans get paid to do what they love (and change the world while they do it!)