Has this ever happened to you? You get to the end of a year and wonder, “What happened this year?” or “What did I actually achieve this year?”
You had started the year with a lot of enthusiasm and hoped that this would be “the year” in which you had big breakthroughs and moved your life forward in a big way. However, things may not have worked out the way you wanted and now you feel like you’ve not made any significant progress over the past year.
If you’re like me, then you know that feeling we’ve not made any real progress in our lives can be demotivating and cause us to question whether we have what it takes to achieve what matters most to us.
The bad news is unless we’re aware of what may have caused us to fall short in achieving what we wanted, it’s very likely we’ll do the same things again and achieve similar type of results this year.
The good news is things can be different. By becoming aware of certain mistakes that prevented us from achieving what we wanted this past year, we can make the changes necessary and achieve big breakthroughs this year.
What is a Big Breakthrough?
A breakthrough means achieving an outcome that will make a significant improvement or bring forth a major benefit in our lives. As we’re all different and have different priorities, what we consider to be breakthroughs may be different.
For example, for one person, earning an additional $50,000 in one year may be a significant breakthrough, whereas for another person, that figure may not be a big deal at all.
A Free Gift So You Can Win Big This Year
Our ability to be creative comes down to finding a connection between two unrelated things and determining the value that emerges as a result of that new connection.
Put simply, being creative is very similar to what learning is, which is connecting something we know to something we don’t know.
Some questions that often arise around the topic of creativity include:
- Are some people naturally more creative than others?
- Are we born creative or is it something we develop?
- Is creativity genetic?
- Why do some people appear to be more creative than others?
- What makes a person creative?
Some of the beliefs around creativity includes:
- Right-brained people are more creative.
- We’re either creative or we’re not.
- Highly creative people are not normal, maybe even a little weird.
- We can’t all be creative.
While there will always be different ideas or opinions around why some people are more creative than others, the truth is creativity is something that can be developed.
We know the importance of having a regular exercise routine but unfortunately, we don’t always do what we know is good for us.
Some of the common excuses people make for not having a regular exercise routine are:
- Not having enough time.
- Being too busy.
- Exercising takes up too much time.
- Don’t know what exercises to do.
- Not motivated enough.
The truth is if something is important to us, we will always find the time for it. Having a regular exercise routine will lead to:
- Better health and fitness.
- Better mental and emotional health.
- Less stress or anxiety.
- Better mood or outlook on life.
- Higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.
Exercising does not need to take up a lot of time daily if we’re committed to living a healthy life.
The start of a New Year is a good time to reflect on the things we have been doing up until now and identify how we can do better.
It’s highly beneficial to review our previous year and put plans in place for the New Year.
As part of that review, an area we should look at are the things we did, that either didn’t serve us, or move us closer to where we wanted to be or what we wanted to achieve.
The reasons why we want to look at these things include:
- It’ll help identify patterns we know we should change.
- It’ll help make us more effective or productive.
- It’ll help eliminate unnecessary commitments.
- It’ll help reduce stress and overwhelm as we’ll be taking on less things.
- It’ll help us focus on the things that are truly important to us.
As we identify these things, it will help us tremendously this year if we make a commitment to stop doing them.
Whenever we have excessive clutter in our external environment, it will have an effect on all aspects of our lives, most times, in a negative way.
Clutter is a sign we’re not in a healthy mental state and if we continue to ignore the signs, it can lead to:
- Distraction and lack of focus.
- Feelings of overwhelm and despair.
- Lower levels of motivation.
- Lack of efficiency and effectiveness.
- Higher levels of stress or anxiety.
If we continue to tolerate clutter, we’ll use up units of mental energy, which will make it more difficult to consciously design our environments the way we want. The more clutter we can eliminate, the better our chances of creating the results and the life we want.
The digital age we live in is making it more difficult to stay focused on what we want and what really matters.
According to a study done in 2016, the average American adult spends 2 hours, 51 minutes on their smartphone every day. That’s almost 86 hours a month! That figure does not include time spent on tablet devices or on laptops or desktop computers surfing the internet.
With so many social media platforms, video streaming services and news outlets available to us, our ability to stay focused on what matters most in our lives is becoming increasingly difficult. Our attention span, which is linked to our ability to focus, has reduced greatly in recent years.
The choices available to us will only continue to increase as more services or new technologies are introduced. It’s predicted that in a few years time, most of the content we consume will be via videos, so it will be even easier to be distracted.
Today, being able to stay focused is closely tied to our ability to eliminate distractions. This is why knowing how to eliminate distractions and stay more focused is going to be critical if we want to make progress faster and get things done that really matter.
Our work environment has a major effect on our mental, emotional and physical well-being. The better our work environment, the better we will perform.
As we spend close to a third of our lives working, it’s important to design our work environment so that it can support us to be at our best consistently. If our work environment is set up the way we want it to be, it can greatly enhance our effectiveness and assist us in achieving what we want faster, easier and with less effort.
If our work environment is not the way we’d like it to be, it can cause us to:
- Feel agitated or frustrated when working.
- Generate unproductive thoughts.
- Use up valuable mental energy focusing on what we don’t like about our work space.
- Take longer to get things done.
- Appear to be untidy or messy to our team members or work colleagues.
Setting up our work environment to enhance our personal effectiveness does not have to be difficult or time consuming.
Getting adequate sleep every night is a vital practice if we want to have better overall health and be at our best.
The subject of sleep has becoming quite popular in recent times with books such as The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington and Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson shedding new light on why sleep is so important for us.
Arianna Huffington also gave a TED talk on the subject, which now has had over four million views.
The costs of not getting enough sleep or sleep deprivation is becoming widely known as more studies are done on the subject. Some of these costs, especially to our health, include:
- Anger and irritability.
The old belief or saying, “If you snooze, you lose” is being questioned because all the research is now suggesting that we cannot be at our best if we’re not getting enough sleep each night.
As we get busier and busier and seemingly have more things to do, it’s becoming more difficult to stay focused and be productive.
We have more opportunities now that ever before, which is both a positive and negative. On the positive side, we have a better chance of creating the lifestyle we want by taking advantage of the opportunities available to us.
On the negative side, having more opportunities can make us indecisive, feel like we have more to do than we can handle, and also cause us to feel like we’re not making progress or taking advantage of the opportunities available to us.
Once our capacity to deal with things is reached, unless we have a strong mindset, we can easily become overwhelmed, stressed and not perform as well as we know we can.
What we want is the right balance between taking care of our priorities and taking advantage of the opportunities available to us without adding more stress to our lives.