As one who is not a big fan of new year’s resolutions, I get asked each year what my top tips are for starting a new year and for cultivating the best year of your life. While not the exhaustive list, these are my ‘top-ten’. Enjoy!
1. Take time to learn from the year before
What were the key learning’s from last year? What do you wish to change, evolve or keep the same? Without reflection you are likely to repeat the same year you had last year. Use the power of hindsight to learn, pivot and feed into plans, intentions and your desired way of being.
2. Take time out – rejuvenate, be fresh
Fatigue, stress, and burnout impair cognitive function, contribute to disease and diminish creativity and life force. Take real breaks – unplug from the phone, computer, and social media. Breathe in life, nature, loved ones. Prioritise sleep, nature’s most potent elixir. Start the year refreshed; plan ahead, and actually take breaks daily, weekly, and extended quarterly.
3. Create mindful platforms to live your life the way you want
The question of “what do I want to do this year?” is an erroneous first question. First ask – “how do I wish to experience or be, this year?” Notice the difference in your answers to these two important questions. With your new awareness, now explore “what structures, personal practices, and routines, will I need physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally and spiritually to experience A, B C while also achieving X, Y, Z?” Commit to these, as it these rituals, not RedBull® that will give you wings!
4. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others
Unexpressed, assumed and unrealistic expectations are most often at the core of conflict, disappointment and low motivation. Increase your sense of play and energy by dreaming big and stopping to also articulate clear, realistic expectations to yourself and others, grounded in actual realities of time, resources, capacity, and where each of you are in your project or personal journey. Successfully meet these expectations and then with the confidence and experience you have gained, up the ante and expand beyond.
5. Practice ‘continuum thinking and experiencing’
Stop trying to tackle projects and goals in one single bound! While superman and you can do this in a crisis, people who sustain success without a cape, actually attend to multiple facets of their life (including work or business) progressing projects incrementally, focused on the successful achievement of small steps and stages. They also minimise artificial dichotomies, so they experience less inner turmoil or conflict, more creativity and a sense of freedom and flow.
6. Take ownership of your personal power – strengthen resilience
While you cannot control what happens to you in life, you can control how you respond. Harness and take full ownership of your four super powers; your thinking, feeling, speaking and behaviour. Find out where you let yourself down, and where you are living at the effect of ‘life’ and others. Make it your priority to take charge of these powers. Live your life from a position of choice, use your abilities to ride the natural ups and downs of a passionate life, well lived.
7. Objectives / Goals / Vision
Decide, are you a goal setter, or not? At different stages in your personal evolution there is value in setting and striving towards audacious goals, times for allowing life to organically unfold and other times for the synthesis. No matter what your choice, stay true and relaxed to the way in which you wish to move towards your future. Your way, the way that works for you, is simply the best approach. While there is always opportunity for experimentation, and learning from others, once you know what works for you, wholeheartedly commit to and navigate your own path. Stop comparing, exhale, embrace and enjoy your unique journey.
8. Recognition of progress = momentum
As our client case studies have demonstrated and science now proves, the fastest path to sustainable change is to recognise the smallest incremental steps and stages of change, development, progress and achievement. Similar to what parents recognise in the first few words, steps, and other milestones of their child, as we do this, for ourselves, it sends messages to our neural pathways and starts to solidify what we did and allows our nervous system to focus on our next step or level of complexity. Counting your progress accelerates your change, and gives you momentum.
9. Give and receive support
Life is much easier and enjoyable with support! Surround yourself with a vibrant posse of people who are on your team, who value your unique expression and want for you to be the greatest version of you. Ask for ruthless and compassionate feedback, ask for help and be the first to give the same back. Seek experts when you need them and learn the art of allowing the world to conspire for your deep fulfilment and success.
10. Be open hearted – love generously
There is a reason that most of the music we listen to, the stories we read and the films we watch have love at the heart of them. Allow yourself to be loved, and learn how to live + love open heartedly; giving generously your passion, gratitude, affection and appreciation to those you love and to the adventure of life. Embrace the full spectrum of your emotions; learn how to ‘accept’ that which you cannot change, and in equal abundance allow yourself to be moved by beauty, nature, art, and the pure magic of life!
What are your top tips for cultivating the best year of your life?
May 2017 be your best one yet!
Image artwork “Asphyxiate” © Ted O’Donnell and Vicki Lee, 2014