“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
As I reflected on this past year, I realised that 2019 has been perhaps my best year ever. It’s funny, because that’s what I thought about 2018, 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 years and how you might be able to use them to make this next year your best yet.
1. One goal.
This will sound mad 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 2019 with a whole bunch of goals, but I came to realise that I had to concentrate on one goal at a time. If you start yourself off with so many you will spread your energy and focus across them thinly.
But if you have one goal, you’ll be able to focus your energy and attention completely on that one goal and that’s an ingredient to succeeding.
You might have a number of goals to achieve in your lifetime. If so, choose just one to accomplish this year, and focus on that.
You might have shorter-term sub-goals to achieve in a month or two, but those should lead to your one goal for 2020.
Put your goal on your wall, on your computer desktop. Make it your mantra. Keep it your focus for 2020, and you’ll not only achieve it, but you’ll feel great for doing so.
2. Create a new habit.
In 2001, when my goal was to recover and become stronger, I built up the daily habit of training back in the gym. That habit led to my goal. When my goal was to raise money for H4H in 2017 (H4H Everest Trek), I develop the daily habit of asking for sponsorship. 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.
The journey of a 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.
But take action.
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 calm, 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.
5. Focus on happiness.
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.
6. Schedule time for you, and your loved ones.
For me, that’s my wife and family, plus exercise, and reading and writing. Actually, that sentence describes my entire short list: spend time with family, read, write, and lift weights.
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 Social Media. Very easy. If you allow yourself to lose focus, you’ll have a very difficult time accomplishing your goals.
When you’re done, take a break and reward yourself. Then focus on the next task.
“We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.“ – Oscar Wilde