A new year brings with itself several possibilities to push past your limits and shatter self-imposed boundaries. Come January, you are met with a new beginning, a clean slate, which you can use to reset and re-calibrate goals. A chance to make 2018 anything you want, to turn your weaknesses into strengths and mistakes into learning.
There is always a great satisfaction in looking back and taking account of all that you have achieved in the past year. As you begin to set goals and determine strategies towards a successful 2018, intermittently introspect where you stand. Reflect on your accomplishments, the relationships you have forged, the difficulties you have weathered and the pain you have endured. Ask yourself what areas of your life demands more attention and what lessons you have learnt from your mistakes. Your past experiences and learning will present themselves as a valuable roadmap to lead a life filled with positivity, contentment and success.
Look at 2018 as a year of change, a year of exponential growth in your personal and professional life and most importantly, a year of great success. You can have it all, just by incorporating positive changes to your mindset and lifestyle. Practice these five mantras to navigate through all things, good and bad, that 2018 is going to throw your way.
Use optimism as a survival mechanism
At the heart of optimism lies a fervent belief in the possibility of a positive outcome. Author Tali Sharot, in her book The Optimism Bias, states that the belief in the possibility of a positive outcome is a coping mechanism that drives us to pursue success, even when the odds are against us. She also cites studies that show that optimists are healthier and live longer.
Research also shows that being realistically optimistic leads you to better health, happiness and success. Realistic optimists, a term coined by researcher Sophia Chou from Taiwan National University, are people who believe will succeed, but also believe that they have to make success happen. They have a firm grasp on the reality of the situation and use their optimism to deal with it. So the next time life throws a curve-ball at you, try to steer your mindset towards this state of realistic optimism and see how your path to success clears out.
Embrace your mistakes
As Dale Turner aptly states,
“Some of the best lessons we ever learn are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future.”
Mistakes can form the basis of successful development – however, you must learn quickly. A mistake made once can be a valuable lesson; the same mistake made twice can be destructive.
Mistakes and bad decisions endow you with the ability to look at opportunities in everything. They enable you to reflect and understand how and why you failed – which is an important pre-requisite in planning your road map to success. Be honest and accountable for your shortcomings and recognize your mistakes as key learning moments – for experience comes with learning; and with experience comes the ability to identify opportunities that are larger than life.
Play to your strengths
The most common perception that permeates within the society to achieve success, is for us to focus on our shortcomings and improve upon skills we lack. However, this new year, forget your weaknesses and own your strengths instead. Nurture your natural skills to achieve excellence and become a thought leader within your field of interest. Double up on what you are good at to perform better in all areas of your life and achieve greater success.
In order to play to your strengths, you must first identify them. The first step in this endeavor is to observe the skills that come most naturally to you. Create a list of things you do in your personal and professional life where you are recognized for your talent. These are the skills and competencies you need to continue nurturing. By playing to your strengths, you open a number of doors that can lead you to ultimate success.
Form new habits
Habits can play a vital role in helping you follow through all the new year resolutions you set yourself. According to Bas Verplanken, professor of psychology at the University of Bath, there are three factors that make a habit. First, a habit includes actions that are automatic or occur every day as part of our routines. Second, a habit can be activated by signs from the environment. Third, a habit can be triggered when our brain anticipates or craves for a reward.
Nurture the right habits – be it eating healthy or following a discipline sleep cycle – so that tasks that once seemed arduous become an automatic behavior and a thoughtless activity that pushes you towards success. Habits can help you do all those things that eventually move you forward.
Invest in creative and knowledgeable activities
Author Micheal Simmons states that most successful people often step away from their work responsibilities and find time for activities that improve their creativity and build their intellectual capital. He calls this, compound time because a small investment now has the potential to yield tremendous returns over time. He cites the example of Warren Buffet who spent nearly 80% of his career, reading and thinking. Thus Buffet’s success can be attributed not just to the compounding of his money but also the compounding of his knowledge.
In order to achieve great success this year, incorporate a few compound time activities into your lifestyle. Take a short walk everyday to rejuvenate your mind and body, as well as to boost creativity. You can perhaps even take naps to improve your productivity, awareness and memory. Cultivate the habit of reading to gain more knowledge of the world and develop empathy. Indulge in healthy conversations to improve your ability to think and come up with brilliant ideas or inventions. Last but not the least, let your imagination run wild.