Setting goal or making plans for the coming year might seem like a waste of time. We’re in a period of great uncertainty and many of us may have already experienced a long list of things we planned to do in 2020 remain undone.
However, I think a lot of people did much more than they thought they would but in different ways. There was less focus on social activities, in person events and travel but perhaps more emphasis on wellbeing and personal growth.
Maybe this year you started a business, started a project, volunteered, overcame unexpected challenges, read some interesting books, discovered new interests, learned a new skill, developed your confidence, started a new job, got a promotion, visited a new city, bought a house, made new friends, tried some new recipes or figured out what you really want to do with your life.
Some of the things you did this year might seem small or meaningless but you still did them. It’s easy to forget afternoons spent catching up with your favourite people in a cafe, solo dance parties and endless laughter with siblings when you’re focusing on all the concerts you booked that got cancelled or all the places you never got to travel to.
And so for 2021, don’t be afraid to make plans or set intentions for the kind of year you want to have.
The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to at least check-in, recalibrate and ensure that the life you’re living is leading you in the direction that you want to go in.
If someone asked you why you didn’t achive a particular goal it’s likely that not having the opportunitiy would be one of your reasons.
When you’re far from where you want to be it can be difficult to realise that you are capable of making things happen. And it’s not that you’re in control of everything but more that you don’t have to rely on external things all the time.
You can create your own opportunities.
I think that statement has been true for a long time but with Instagram, Youtube, Podcasts and really just the internet in general, that has chnaged.
The person that wanted to be a talk show host can gather a few friends and put something together for YouTube or the person who wants to be a stylist can share images of their work on Instagram.
But opportunities can be created offline too in your everyday life. They might not be so obvious but they’re there. Often it is just a case of being open enough.
When you tell yourself that you will do something, it’s quite easy to just not commit. Afterall, there is nobody else that knows and nobody to hold you to it.
On the other hand if you share your aims or goals with others, you have to be willing to accept being called out of if you don’t follow through with your words.
If you write a daily blog, you don’t have to declare that it’s a daily blog, you can simply hold yourself to it. Make a promise or commitment to yourself that you will publish one post, every single day.
But maybe you think it is better to tell people, maybe you need others to hold you to your words and struggle to do it yourself. I don’t think thats a bad thing and in some cases a group of people that hold each other accountable is a great thing.
However, when it comes to some things, you shouldn’t become reliant on other people reminding you of the commitments you made in order to get things done.
When starting something new, whilst it’s great to have a long term strategy, it is also important to focus on the present.
The last thing thing you want to do is get overwhelmed or distracted with where you want to be in a few years time.
The long term strategy gives you something to focus on and can help you figure out what you need to be doing day to day in order to achieve the bigger goal.
But what can end up happening is that you’re so focused on the little things you’re doing each day that you aren’t actually moving any closer to your goal.
And so it’s important to ensure that you regularly check in to keep things moving forward.
There are some cases when, if you don’t know what to say the best thing to say is nothing at all. But that doesn’t apply to every situation.
In fact, in some scenarios saying nothing is one of the worst things that you can do.
Sometimes we hold off from speaking up because we think that less than perfect is not good enough. However, the perfect composition of words shouldn’t always be the aim.
At times it’s better to speak up in the moment, to perhaps let someone know that you care instead of staying quiet. The alternative is to wait until what you have to say is closer to perfect but by then it will be too late.
How often do you take the time to stop and think about what makes you happy?
I don’t mean in relation to acheiveing goals, I mean just in life overall.
Most of the time we over-estimate what brings us real joy, thinking that we need something grand or something that is difficult to obtain.
In reality, it is often the smallest moments that make us feel the happiest.
Things like dancing to your favourite song, picking fruit from the garden or laughter with an old friend.
When you’ve spent weeks, months or year working towards something it might feel strange when it finally happens.
The thing is often when we want something as much as we think about getting it, we don’t truly consider how it will actually feel.
Of course you’ll be happy but our thought process doesn’t always go beyond that.
I suppose it’s because there’s no real way of knowing how you’ll feel.
There will be times when you’ll work towards something but don’t feel happy, excited or even particularly pleased when you get it. Whereas other times you’re overjoyed with the things you’ve managed to achieve.
I think how you feel in the end depends on things like how long it took to a achieve, whether you still truly wanted it and how much it impacts your life.
When you feel like you’re making progress having to then take a step back is a big deal. It feels like you’ve wasted your efforts but more importantly time that you can’t get back.
But if you change your perspective, those steps back could actually be a good thing.
Perhaps you were heading down an unhelpful path and now gain clarity.
I think the main thing is to understand that a setback doesn’t stop you from reaching your end goal it just changes the path you take to get there.
Good news is worth celebrating.
When you set yourself big goals and have high aspirations it can sometimes feel like the little wins aren’t worth celebrating.
But when you get a some good news, why not celebrate.
You don’t have to go all out and do something grand. Perhaps you just eat your favourite desert or put on your favoriye music and have a solo dance party.
The purpose of celebrating is to acknowledge the good bits instead of letting them pass you buy. So often we’re just focused on the end goal that we ignore what it took to get there.
When thinking about what you want to do in the future, dream big.
You don’t have to be realistic and confine yourself to what you think is possible based on where you are in life right now.
In ten years time you’ll have more knowledge and experience so think of what is possible for future you.
It could be anything from writing a book, to owning a home in the countryside, visiting every country, moving a broad for a 6 months to a couple of years, starting a business, getting your products stocked in Selfridges or having a garden where you grow the majority of what you eat.
If those things don’t seem big enough to you then dream bigger. You don’t have to place limitations on what is possible for your life.