Let’s be real honest — a lot of people these days have problems with New Year’s Resolutions.
“That’s so old school!”
“I don’t need New Year’s Resolutions — I’m already doing ____.”
“They’re a waste of time!”
I’ve seen countless people on social media denounce this tried and true practice of using the change of calendar years to reset, take stock and start anew. Maybe it’s cool to do that now. What’s not cool is thinking these attempts at resolving to change our lives don’t matter.
Here’s why New Year’s Resolutions matter: We all get lost, immersed and sometimes trapped in what we’re doing. Whether it’s good, bad, productive or time wasted, we don’t often know it in the moment.
This is why perspective is so important. It’s vital to our success that we take a step back, take inventory of what we’re doing, where we’re going and whether it’s the right thing for us.
I write New Year’s resolutions each year and they lead to me being highly productive and successful. They provide a measure of accountability through planning and memorization that I deeply crave. I know they make a difference.
I’ll be the first to admit — there’s nothing sexy about planning or resolutions Resolutions feel outdated to some or an exercise in futility. So if you feel this way, take this from Dr. Theo Tsaousides:
“One of the most important functions of the brain — and the most recent in terms of our evolution — is executive function, a cluster of cognitive abilities that evolved to enable us to set and achieve goals. This brain function is what sets us apart from all other living things. Most other creatures react based on instinct; we take action based on planning.”
This takes time, and it’s not nearly as fun as socializing or dreaming about that big idea.
Most people walk away from dreams, not because of a lack of desire, but because they’re simply unwilling to “do the work.” Whenever you hear this very important phrase, know that “the work” first involves a foundation of values and then planning.
This must come before anything else! If you just jump in without direction, you may succeed at first, but sooner or later you’ll fail. It’s not sustainable
Here are bold resolutions for a bold new year: 2021. I hope they give you the courage and confidence to put together your own resolutions in an effort to live the life you truly want. To quote Zac de la Rocha —
“We have to start somewhere. We have to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?”
1. Find a way
Think about your life. What’s holding you back right now from pursuing your dreams? If the answer to your question is simply, “time,” then allow me to kindly point out you’re making excuses.
I guarantee you the most important things in your life (your dreams, values and goals) are well worth your time. You just need to make the time for them.
You have to find a way. Start by trimming time off unproductive activities like watching TV or spending minute-after-minute on your smartphone. Spend time working on your dream. At first, it may be research, fact-finding and information gathering.
Then, it’s pure “execution” of the doing part of whatever it is you love. Could be painting, writing, launching a business or developing a new app. Find a way.
2. Build on what you’ve started
As you begin your 2021 plans, look back at what you’ve already accomplished in 2020, 2019 and even well before that! I’m willing to bet you’ve already produced some awesome work. I’m willing to bet you’ve built a foundation of skills, experiences and achievements that you’re truly proud of.
Start consolidating those gains! Think at all that you’ve spent time on, the fruits you’ve produced of your labor. Build on those things. If you took a web development course, use that knowledge to proceed forward with what it is you love to do. Don’t stop now. KEEP GOING!
3. Take a bold chance
Remember how I talked about having so many great ideas, but needing to prioritize? That’s very important, though it shouldn’t hold you back from taking a bold chance. For any of you considering entrepreneurship or looking to make a bold change in your career, just know there’s so much unknown in the market. But that should never stop you from taking a bold chance.
I bet there’s that one thing in your life. That itch you want to scratch. Be willing to take a bold chance when there’s no safety net there. Take a leap of faith when you have a great idea you believe in, and a well hashed out game plan for achieving your goal.
4. Become the industry-leader
I’ve written a successful book on emotional intelligence targeted to leaders looking to take bold steps in their careers. I’ve been recognized by my peers, gained acceptance in the writing community and had some awesome speaking appearances. Others are beginning to recognize me as an expert in this space. And I’m happy to walk through the door and live this.
My advice to you is to think of your greatest talent — your greatest skills — and what you spend your time on. Become an expert in one thing first, then you can start acquiring the skills and knowledge in multiple areas. But start with one thing first. Become the best. Become an industry leader and sought-after expert. Dedicate that time and keep growing. Speak it over your life!
5. Get into the best shape of your life
Cliché, right? Of course it is. This is the obvious advice given at this time of year. But, guess what? It has tremendous relevancy to you wanting to accomplish your many goals. The better you feel physically, the more that affects your emotional, mental and even spiritual life. You’ll need your beautiful brain to achieve your goals.
I’m trying to up the amount of activity I have both for cardiovascular and strength training. But I’m also cutting down on unnecessary foods and dieting better. So much of the battle of getting into great shape is eating well. But don’t diminish the importance of getting in an extra 1–2 days per week to jump rope, run or do some crunches.
6. Read more, keep learning and keep meeting people that will help you grow
This is not a new resolution. This is a constant reminder of what I know I need to be successful. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve hungered to learn and the more I’ve gone out to meet people, the more it’s benefited me. I usually take meetings with a particular purpose, but I’m also open to meeting someone new that could be a powerful connection.
One meeting completely changed my life.
Networking gets an ugly name but it’s the name of the game if you’re truly looking to further yourself. Have a voracious appetite for reading, learning and constantly growing. Keep a journal and keep locking in the gains you make each day.
7. Embrace the fear of failure in all walks of life
This one is very simple. I’ve written extensively about both the “good” and “bad” types of fear. The bad type of fear is the fear of success. Fearing that you’ll accomplish your dreams, and not know how to handle it. So you move away.
The good type of fear is the fear of failure. I’ve come to believe through experience that embracing the fear of failure is one of your greatest assets. Adversity is life’s most powerful tool that helps mold you into the person you truly want to become. Fear is equally as important in helping to drive you to success. Embrace your fears in all areas of life. Keep going!
8. Enthusiasm and discipline united!
One of the best things you can do each day is this: Blend your enthusiasm with a huge heaping of discipline. What do I mean by this? Have huge passion, love and enthusiasm for every day and every moment. Have enthusiasm for everything you do. It could be the love of your family, your day job, your new project or learning a new craft. Be passionate!
Find a way to get excited about the mundane (while you’re there), find a way to get excited about all that you do. But also be disciplined. Go to bed earlier, wake up earlier, have a set plan for every day to maximize production. Be disciplined in how you use your time. You need both enthusiasm and discipline if you’re truly going to be productive and happy. Which leads me to my final two resolutions…
This is a simple reminder that the very basics of human living are absolutely essential to launching your journey to a life of personal freedom and happiness. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat well and exercise. If you don’t have these basics in your life now, then you should consider a lifestyle transformation that gets your physical self-care in order.
But it’s not just physical. Self-care is mental and emotional. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be too critical of yourself. As a mentor of mine is fond to tell me, “Give yourself some grace.” Mistakes are expected and welcomed. Learn from them and take the best care of yourself that you can.
Priorities are so much of what will determine your journey and course for success. You can do anything you set your mind to.
You must game plan for it. Just know that life is full of competing priorities.
How you budget your time is up to you. Like you, there are a lot of things I want to accomplish. I have so many things I want to do and YES!, not enough time for all of them.
First and foremost, I put my family first. My wife gave birth to another beautiful child earlier this year; my third son. I have to focus on my loved ones above everything else, while still finding the time to run my business.
The better planned I am, the more these priorities resonate with my values, mission and goals and feelings of my heart, the better equipped I am at doing what is in line with my destiny.
Life is all about how we prioritize. May your 2021 bring you a life you love and one that brings you closer and closer to living your dreams!
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