I know there’e epic loads of new year articles and blog posts about change and new year resolutions out there in the inter-webs. I’ll try not to make this one of those. My take is a hopefully a little different.
Every year we go through this cycle. New year resolutions, new year, new you, yada yada yada. Its BS, honestly.
Nothing really changes, except for the last digit on that four numbered thing. Until every new decade that is, or century… or millennium for that matter.
You’re probably not going to wake up on the 1st of January levitating. And Hans Zimmer probably won’t be conducting an orchestra as you make breakfast. And you’re probably not going to ‘never miss fajr prayer’ ever again.
Why would it happen.
If you lived isolated on an island for 20 years, you probably wouldn’t feel any different waking up on the first day of the year. Its just another day.
Its all hype. Its just the thought of an illusional clean slate thats appealing. We all want to start fresh, become better. Its natural human instinct to want to improve.
But it won’t happen just like that.
Change requires a process.
A cake isn’t a cake until its put in the oven.
That being said, a fresh attitude can be all thats needed to get things going. And by getting things going, I mean having an action plan for change.
Moving on from the philosophical…
I’m going to try to hopefully inspire you awesome reader to do three things in 2015, thats it. These 3 tips will help you be more focused, more organised and smarter.
Forget new year resolutions. Have monthly goals instead.
A year is way too long to have resolutions. Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? Just the thought of having to stick to a new habit for a year is daunting. I’ll pass on that.
Instead, break the year into bite-sized months. Why?
By doing this, we go into every new month feeling the same way going into a new year.
I like to structure my months like the following (in a journal entry, for example):
- 3 Best things about December
- 3 Worst things about December
- 3 Resolutions for January
Just 3, thats it. This will limit you to keep to the really important stuff. Having a monthly retrospective outlook every month is an effective way of keeping yourself in check on a consistent basis. Its easy to lose track on your progress otherwise.
Its also important to highlight your positive achievements. Though If you’re top ‘best thing’ is ‘I watched Interstellar’, you need to get your stuff sorted (I should know, it happened to me).
And for the 3 resolutions, having the monthly timeframe is perfect. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I’m no mathematician, but 30 days is more than 21, consolidating the habit.
Just make sure those 3 resolutions are real problems you want to tackle. If you fail, its ok, try again next month, not next year. That’s the beauty of it.
‘Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress’ – Charles Kettering
Every human being on this planet should have calendar on their wall.
This is my number one tool for staying organised. Thats a big statement.
Forget the reminders app, or the Facebook events feature, or even your little brother. I can almost guarantee having a physical paper calendar on your wall above your desk will never let you miss an event or deadline again. Once you go calendar, you can’t go back.
I was lucky to start this habit early, but for those who still don’t have one, I wonder how they keep up with life.
Why is having one so good?
Because you can physically see time.
A deadline or event is not a looming thought. Its a few millilitres of ink on paper, distanced a few squares from today’s date. One glance at the calendar, and you have an accurate feel of how far something is, and how much time you have to prep for it.
Using it to the fullest is powerful. Plan ahead by filling in admission dates, exam times, events, appointments, even life events like graduated school, or ‘got haircut’ (okay, I might be the only one interested in knowing how long I go between getting haircuts). Add in weekly weight measurements to track your growth, or add the days you gymed.
One last thing: it goes hand in hand with monthly goals. I cross days with big marked X’s and having to turn that page for a new month to see a fresh white slate can be quite satisfying, and motivating. I use two colours to cross off days, blue and black. Blue for ‘good days’ and black for ‘bad days’, trying to minimise the number of bad days as I go through the year.
I urge you readers to go and buy one (if you don’t have one) for 2015 asap. They should be on special too.
‘Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself’ – Robin Sharma
A journal can improve the way you think, write and deal with problems.
Usually, better writers are better thinkers, and better thinkers are smarter people. If you want to become a smarter person, write.
Writing is the best way of organising your thoughts and feelings. You actively form a relationship with your mind, even being able to tap into your subconscious thoughts. Spilling out your feelings on paper can be incredibly stress relieving too.
A journal allows you to see your thoughts third person, instead of experiencing them.
Its a way of solving problems. We often don’t solve problems in our lives because we don’t give it much pro-active thought. Sitting down and writing them down along with brainstorming solutions is an extremely powerful method. Asking yourself what the problem is, how you feel about it, what you think may solve it, and writing down answers can sometimes show how trivial the solution may be.
As you go throughout the year, its also a retrospective tool to map your progress. Read back on old entries and notice any differences in your thought process. I can almost guarantee you will see improvements.
I know at first it may seem weird. But give it go in 2015, all you need is a notepad and a pen. Make it a weekly 10 minute habit at first. Soon, you’ll be reaching for that pen and paper daily.
That’s my take on going into 2015.
If you’ve noticed, my 3 tips go hand in hand. Using them simultaneously will maximise each of their own individual effects.
Hope this was a beneficial read and one thing’s for sure: let’s make 2015 better than 2014!
Its just another day, but heck lets go with the hype. 🙂