Aaarrrrgggghhh!!! January hasn’t even finished yet and the advice for this clean slate keeps coming. Set goals, create realistic targets, try ‘Veganuary’, participate in walking challenges, join your local gym… I know I am supposed to be motivated, but instead I feel slightly tight-chested at the prospect of so many have-to’s disguised as friendly suggestions. To make matters worse, I work in this good-advice-space, but wonder if January merely sets you up for accidents to happen and broken promises. I can’t help but think what will have happened to all these great intentions by the time it’s March. We are not accustomed to invest longer term. Jump on the bandwagon now or feel left behind.
An unconventional approach would be to make a self-determined plan. They are much more powerful and often destined for success. Plans that are driven by passion, plans that have a heart and are driven by purpose or a simple desire to change. Yes, it might evoke fear, you might be petrified even, but let that be a sign you’re on the right track. It’s got to be scary to be worth it.
So, what to do if you do want to maximise the opportunity January brings as the 1st month of the year? What if you want to step off the bandwagon and jump behind the steering wheel of your own car instead?
Start with your heart
Many might not know exactly what they want or have never wondered. This is a good time to start daydreaming, which is a very healthy practice. We spend so much time engaged in the things we have to do, that the ‘love-to-do’s’ get forgotten. We also devote so much time on things we believe are expected of us. It’s our unique-ness that brings ingenuity and innovation to any project. Dare to be different. What are the dreams you have given up on? What would you do if someone gave you free reign and all the resources? If you carry on only ticking boxes, then you might be reduced to a box before time. Listen to the prompts, the little voice that longs for a change in the way of a new home, career, challenge or adventure. Allow it to speak.
- Create some free-thinking time each day. Don’t make a big deal out of this; do it when you walk the dog or whilst shopping, or just stop (to think) occasionally.
- Remind yourself of what you were into as a child. What were you captured by, what made you feel alive?
- Create a vision board. Have fun finding inspirational images of things you would love to do (without working out how this could happen).
Feeling down, dissatisfied, frustrated? Brilliant!
Re-write any negative feelings. They are part of life and part of you. Don’t ignore them but read them as symptoms, use them as fuel. If all plods along quite nicely you would be less motivated to take action. Let these feelings ignite your determination to make a shift. There is real energy locked up in fed-upness.
- Ask yourself where you want to be when you are about 90 years old? What life do you want to look back on?
- Find short daily inspiration of people who have done something different. Listen to talks, podcasts, read a book. Only 10 min daily of having a different kind of input to give your ideas fresh perspective and oxygen.
- Surround yourself with likeminded people and find your (online) tribe. Don’t waste energy on people who don’t understand you
Tap into your creative brain and amaze yourself
Our left brain is the master of our lives and measures, calculates and logically plans the lists we obediently follow. It’s got so much power that successful people are imprisoned by it and struggle with creativity, agility and imagination. Those are however the skills for the future. Instead of the famous Smart principle, a left-brain child, try A-C-E-S:
- Get Awareness over your situation: what is the pain, the sticking point, the habit?
- Engage in Creative and out-of-the-box thinking: what is the dream, what is your talent/potential and where will it soar?
- Set up mini Experiments to research, dip your toe in the water and get a flavour, so as to find great self-determined Solutions.
Whatever you do, you’re not alone. There’re many people looking to shift, to break the mould, to leap. Use 2020 well. Invest, work out what you’re here to bring, be generous to yourself, go after your itch and leave no stone unturned. Make a start this January and do life and business your way. Differently.
Kirsten de Bouter is a coach/mentor, writer, speaker/trainer, change expert, communicator, thought provoker, and the author of The Every-Year Itch: Do Life Differently (Practical Inspiration Publishing). Follow Kirsten on Twitter at @kirstendebouter and visit her website, www.kirstendebouter.com.