New Year, Same You, New Mindset = Change.
One small difference in the two sentences yet a hugely important one.
This notion of a New Year, New You is more Disney than reality. Using January to obtain effortless perfection, to make a dramatic change and to live a Pinterest-perfect life is nonsense.
If you really want change in your career, in life, or in both, greet the new year as the same old you with one significant difference – a new mindset.
Sounds simple? I could say it is, but that would be more bulls%*t.
So here is the truth. Any worthwhile change is hard. It requires sustained commitment. It takes time. Overnight success is a myth. You will suffer setbacks. You will have multiple crises of confidence, and you will want to give up.
BUT if you change how you think about change, 2017 can be your year.
- Carve out 2 sets of 15 (private) minutes over the next 24 hours. Pen and paper in hand follow the next steps.
- Change means something different to everybody. During your first 15 minutes consider what change actually means to you. Your personal definition is vital. Does it mean you want to improve a skill, develop a talent, explore an idea, transition in your career, set up a business, start a new course, go back to work, get a new job, try something new or improve on something?
- For the second 15 minutes put yourself in a bubble. Literally a bubble. Listen only to your thoughts. Ignore what you think others are thinking or what they might say. During these initial stages ignore the voice of those that ‘influence’ you. Ignore the ‘what if’, ‘what will others think’, ‘Am I crazy’, ‘I could never do that’ internal dialogue. Silence the voice of doubt. Replace it with thoughts of possibility, of options and of potential. By changing your mindset and believing, you have the ability to be the best version of yourself in 2017, you can. If you want the science behind it, check out world leader Carol Dweck’s research on a growth versus fixed mindset.
- Dream big. Limit yourself by nothing and explore exactly what you want to do. This doesn’t need to be Shakespeare. Get your thoughts on a page in words, images, sentences, or pictures whatever works for you. But write it down – all of it.
- After dreaming big – be practical. Ask yourself realistically can your big dream be achieved in 2017? Is it possible and practical to achieve in 12 months or will it take longer? Be honest with yourself. Do you need to break it down into smaller more realistic and achievable steps? Is your dream a 2, 3, 4 or even a 5-year plan? If so, plan accordingly.
- Look at your overall goal for 2017, work backwards from your big dream and identify exactly what you want to achieve this year. Be really specific.
- Do small. Break your big dream into smaller actionable steps achievable in 6-week blocks.
- Prioritise each actionable step in order of importance. Look at your identified steps ask ‘What should come first?’, ‘Which step will take the longest to achieve?’, ‘What is the most important thing to do first to achieve my goal?’, ‘Who can I ask for help?’. Start NOW with the one that makes the most sense in the context of your plan.
- Take action to confront roadblocks NOW. Remember, you are still the same you but your mindset has changed. Ask yourself what is most likely to hold you back from achieving your plan? So, if you struggle with time management, sticking to a plan or organisation do something about it now. Otherwise, nothing will change. Do you need somebody to check in with you to make sure you are sticking to your plan? Is time management a struggle for you? Do you need help to get organised? If so deal with this NOW. Ignoring it only acts as a roadblock to achievement.
- From here on in commit 1 minute every day, or 7 minutes every week, at a specific time. Use this time to reflect, re-evaluate and see how things are going. Be flexible and dynamic make adjustment as necessary.
- Buddy up, find a mentor or join a networking group. Choose one person to share your goals with. Meet once a month or arrange a weekly check in or meet for coffee. By sharing your goals with somebody else the support makes you much more likely to succeed.
- Accept that failure is possible and setbacks are inevitable. They are painful and upsetting providing the perfect opportunity to give up. You don’t want to think about them, but the reality is you must. So if you encounter a setback or failure here’s what you do. Acknowledge disappointment, that you may want to give up, and allow yourself to cry. But decide that there will be no pity parties. Part of your new year, same you, new mindset is to accept failure and setbacks but above all to learn from them. Own them and build from them. So after a failure, a setback or a mistake sit down to analyse the data. Figure out what happened, why it happened and what you will do about it. Get back up again and get on with it armed with new information to propel yourself forward.
- Each time you make inroads into your goals celebrate. Get your nails done, go for a walk, have a coffee in your favourite café. It doesn’t matter what you do so long as it is something meaningful to you.
By Sinead Brady