With 2020 around the corner, we imagine that many of you have plenty of hopes, aspirations and intentions for the new year… and the new decade! Every day is a new day, and therefore a potential new beginning; yet there is something about a new year that feels more like a blank slate; an opportunity to create something new and go after whatever it is that you truly want for yourself.
It’s natural to seek improvement on the previous year (or years). Perhaps you’re trying to create the better version of you, or maybe you just want to tie up some loose ends or inject some fresh energy into projects that haven’t yet been completed. Whatever your goals are for the new year, any form of improvement requires a certain amount of reflection and analysis.
This article offers some tips to help you get your new year off to the best possible start:
Did you write down your plans and ideas at the start of last year? Even if you didn’t, you can do this with hindsight. Take some time to think carefully (and be honest with yourself) about what you actually did accomplish, compared to what you intended to accomplish in 2019. Some things may have worked out well, and others… not so much. Think about reasons why you didn’t achieve some of your goals, or even just certain aspects of them. Pinpointing what it was that held you back can illuminate tendencies that you can strive to avoid in the new year. You may want to start by asking yourself:
- What did you plan, and how determined were you initially to achieve these things?
- Where your goals realistic?
- How carefully did you prioritize your goals and plans?
- Are there any behavioral patterns that frequently stopped you from moving forward?
- Do you have a tendency to procrastinate?
- Did any life events prevent you from staying focused on your goals?
- Were you afraid of failure, or did you struggle to imagine your own success?
Life as we know it, is full of challenges, so well done if you overcame some of those and successfully achieved enough of your goals to be satisfied! Reflecting on your successes can remind you of your own power, and motivate you to make similar (or better) decisions for your growth next year. Focus on what worked out (and why), and you’ll stand more chance of injecting that same energy into future goals. It may help you to ask yourself questions like:
- How did your success change you as a person (e.g. are you more determined, proactive or driven)?
- Have your views on life changed, and how?
- Would you change anything about your approach?
- Have you developed more self-confidence, or overcome any particular self-doubts?
- What do your priorities look like now?
- Have your relationships benefited from your heightened awareness, and how?
You should never be afraid to celebrate your successes, but also it’s important to resolve to iron out any creases as the new year starts to unfold.
Now is the perfect time to start thinking about what it is you want for yourself over the course of the new year, and how you’re going to achieve it. Planning ahead can be highly beneficial - provided that you know when to plan and when to just go with the flow! A general plan can serve as a healthy guideline. Decide on what you should be determined to achieve and what would be more of a bonus, and prioritize accordingly. You could give some thought to the following questions:
- If time or resources were no issue, what would your life look like?
- What goals do you already have?
- Is there anything you have always liked the idea of but never got around to trying?
- Do you have any general personal ambitions (e.g. a higher level of health or fitness, or more fulfilling relationships)?
- In what order should you prioritize your goals?
- Could your life benefit from building on previous successes, and what would that look like?
Make a commitment to doing things differently if you failed to achieve some of last year’s goals. For instance, if you gave up on fitness because your schedule was too busy, this year you might focus on ways to stay active even when you’re busy.
Once you have decided on what you want to achieve, it’s time to think about how you will go about things. Again, writing down your ideas and plans is a great idea as it means you can refresh both your memory and motivation later if necessary. To encourage clarity, ask yourself:
- What steps must you take to get the ball rolling?
- Are your goals within your power to accomplish alone, or do you need assistance? If so, who can help, and how? It may be that you have more work to do on mastering self-challenge; if so, you could even make that one of your goals for next year.
- Who and what serves as your greatest inspiration?
- Is there anything you could learn that would make the process easier?
- Do you have the resources to accomplish your vision, and if not, how will you attain them?
- What will it take for you to drop old habits and retain your willpower?
You may also want to keep a written record of your progress as the year goes on in order to stay focused. Although you should give it your all in terms of effort, don’t be disheartened when things don’t always work out the way you anticipated. Sometimes this actually needs to happen so that something even better can materialize. Life is full of lessons, and we can’t always get what we want… but the trick is to know when to keep trying and when to give up. As always, balance is key!
One way or another, you can make this new year work in your favor. Who knows… you may wind up discovering the better version of you, whether you intended it or not! A little reflection and self-honesty goes a long way, as does forward planning and determination.
From all at XOH!DNAIR, we wish you a Happy New Year… and may 2020 be your best year yet!
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