- January 6, 2022
“Keep on grinding boy ya life can change in one year. Even if it’s dark out the sun is shining somewhere.” – J. Cole
I remember listening to this song back in the day when I was just starting to take myself seriously. I started focusing on self-improvement. Even though I’d spent years of my life stuck in a pit of laziness, I was able to get it in my head that committing to working hard for a dedicated time frame could change my life.
I made dramatic changes within the span of a year after I finally put my foot down:
- I developed a daily writing habit that led to the career I have now
- I quit a job I hated and found a new position that inspired me to work hard and become a leader
- I quit drinking and smoking weed
- I started a daily meditation and yoga practice, which led to me getting in great physical and mental shape
- By the end of that year, I was almost certain that I was going to make something out of myself
I repeated the process year after year. I set a long-term goal of becoming a full-time writer in five years and ultimately reached my goal. In that span of time, I transformed my personality, my bank account, and my entire outlook on life.
Also, I set and accomplished a New Year’s resolution every single year. I have many in mind for this year that I will accomplish. I’ve mentioned this process a few times before, but today I want to talk about some techniques and timeframes I personally used to change my life.
Remember that line: your life can change in one year.
Use these tips to make it happen:
Set a time period to get yourself off to the races
There’s this famous talk by Earl Nightengale where he talks about committing to 30 days of being your absolute best self. He says to forget about the past and decide that you’re going to be your best self for the next 30 days, no matter what.
The keyword here is: decide. It reminds me of this Tony Robbins quote:
“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
There’s no secret to deciding. No amount of self-help inspiration can force you to decide. You have to just do it. It’s like the universe can tell whether you’re serious or not. I swear, as soon as I decided I was going to change my life, all of these opportunities started to come my way.
I don’t believe in the literal law of manifestation, but when you decide you’re going to change, you have a heightened level of awareness. All of these opportunities were there the whole time, but you didn’t see them because you weren’t committed.
Say you have some resolutions you want to work on this year. Reverse engineer those resolutions to time periods you can commit to completing. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to get in the best shape of your life in 2022, commit to going to the gym for 30 days without fail. Or a week. Or even just a day. Make sure the time period is something you can be serious about committing to and adjust your strategy accordingly.
This will give you the momentum you need to turn short-term bursts of inspiration into action that creates lasting habits and discipline.
This leads me to my next point.
One big mistake people make when it comes to setting goals and building habits
It’s a new year, so you’re all fired up to radically transform your life in every possible way. Think about how many times you’ve already tried this. It doesn’t work. You end up biting off more than you can chew, and you quit.
The more experienced you are with setting and achieving goals, the easier it is to set and reach huge ones. But, if you’re stuck in life, it’s best to start as small as possible.
Don’t try to change every single habit. Focus on developing a single habit that makes your life better. Focus on cutting one habit that causes the most problems in your life.
Do it in a way that’s doable. Most people who decide they want to get fit shouldn’t start with more than hitting the gym three times a week. If they’re really out of shape, it probably makes sense to start with simply going for a half-hour walk.
Instead of trying to overhaul their whole diet, meal prepping chicken and broccoli that they’re not going to eat, they should find one key area to work on like avoiding soda or fast food.
I built the life I live now by developing a habit of writing every day. Not for hours at a time, either. I didn’t try to write an entire book the first time I sat down at the computer.
My writing habit stretched me but didn’t overwhelm me. That’s key: stretch yourself, but don’t overwhelm yourself. Most people are too egotistical do to this.
They take the all-or-nothing approach, thinking they need to take massive action instead of taking some action. Some is always better than none. When you try too hard, you usually end up with the latter.
How to make this year different
Let’s be honest. Most people never change. Most people fail to reach their goals. Self-improvement is often a losing battle.
I can’t make you change, but I can give you some insights and strategies that might bring you to the water so you can drink. My main piece of advice is to try your best to have a brutally honest conversation with yourself.
Ask yourself these questions:
What is your life going to look like if you stay the same? A year from now? Five? Ten?
Who’s really to blame for the problems in your life? Have you been doing everything you can or have you been pointing the finger elsewhere when you should’ve been looking in the mirror?
Reflect on your mortality. You’re going to die. You’re probably scared to die. But you’re behaving as if you’ll live forever. Skip forward to the end of your life and the regrets you’ll feel for not taking enough risks, not being your authentic self, not doing even close to the number of things you told yourself you were going to do.
Think about how last year went. I like using the new year as a benchmark. You get to reflect back on what happened and see if you measured up to your expectations. Again, brutal honesty is key. If you wasted the year and you feel bad about it, then feel bad about it. Let it sink in, don’t push the feelings away.
Analyze where things went wrong, but don’t be bitter about it. One of the best things you can do for yourself is become an objective observer of your behaviour. Coldly analyze it instead of building an identity from it.
Losing doesn’t make you a loser. You’re only a loser if you believe you’re destined to lose.
Making mistakes doesn’t mean you’re incapable of change as long as you don’t let those mistakes define who you are.
The past doesn’t have to predict your future if you don’t allow it to. You have to break that mental loop and create a new self-fulfilling prophecy.
Think, marinate, and once the weight of everything that’s happened really hits you, use it as motivation to act.
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