Welcome to 2021. Today is my first day back in the office after a 2 week break over the festive season. I got super comfortable with seeing my family around the clock, having fresh seafood most nights and my hardest weekly choice being about what new book to read. There’s something about the Christmas holidays that really recharges my batteries, annually it never fails to bank stamina for another year of hitting the ground running. On that note, there’s also something in the air when it comes to a new year and getting touchy feely with an abundance of resolutions. Closing the chapter on 2020 I have to say wasn’t as much of a relief for me as it was for most of the world. I wouldn’t scream it from the top of mountains given how much misfortune there was in 2020 for others but I personally really enjoyed the year that was but have also caught onto the contagious excitement for a new year and the opportunity to reset and soar.
In saying that, as we all dabble with the life changing commitments that are usually made during this time of the year, I’ve decided this year to approach 2021 with a different attitude, that I can recommend for its realistic and manageable nature. I’ve been acquainted with myself now on a 24/7 basis for 28 years, I know myself well enough now to know when I’m staring down the barrel of failure and an unrealistic expectation. Around this time every year I set goals like I’m going to acquire Oprah Winfrey’s wealth, Steve Jobs company growth and Gandhi's wisdom in 365 days. In saying that, I will always anticipate to reach for the stars and I would never discourage that in anyone else either, but my worry about this sort of goal setting is that failure can break the trust between you and believing you can achieve a goal. Failure can also disrupt self love and not hitting goals can be discouraging in conquering the next. So come February, instead of feeling beaten or come July and feeling like this whole year has been a dog’s breakfast why not start the new year with a new approach… aim to still be you, just a better version through stacking better habits.
I’m reading an unreal book called Atomic Habits by James Clear.
James Clear describes how to build a good habit through the ‘The Habit Loop’.
The four factors above James Clear notes work together to form a new habit. This four-step pattern is the backbone of every habit, which you mentally run through each time. First, there is the cue. The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. Second are cravings which are the motivational force behind every habit. Without some level of motivation or desire or a crave to change there’s no reason to act. The third step is the response. The response is the actual habit you perform, which can take the form of a thought or an action which depends on your ability and how motivated you are to do it. Finally, the response delivers a reward. Rewards are the end goal of every habit. The cue is about noticing the reward. The craving is about wanting the reward. The response is about obtaining the reward.
So what does this all mean for a new year? I think if you want to create a successful route to smashing unbelievable goals instead of a focus on making them sky high with a 365 day timeline assess and reassess your habits. Habits are the compound interest of self improvement. Small habits make a big difference. James Clear says that if you get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up 37 x better by the time you’re done. Then on the flip side, if you get 1% worse each day for a year you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or minor setback accumulates into something much more.
So when it came to turning the leaf on a new year for me, I added a different arm to my goals and took a look at habits. Things that I do on a daily basis that aren’t life changing but are stackable in effect. I want to read more rather than a book a week like I’ve set in the past and haven’t quite got there on that; save wiser for my dream home not save X amount by X time and then give myself some tough love when I don’t get there; start each morning with exercise rather than exercise morning and night like I’ve said in a number of new years goals.
My new year goal categories (in no particular order) are:
Rather than taking the new year as an opportunity to create a new you, let it allow you to be more inclined to create a better you without neglecting the you that exists today. Break habits, and create new ones and I have no doubt that you’ll climb towards sky high goals when you give the process enough time and consistency.
Wishing you the happiest and most fulfilling 2021 x