At the end of 2019, I spent almost two entire weeks reflecting on my year. I wasn’t satisfied with what I achieved throughout the past twelve months. Thus, I took a considerable amount of time to figure out what my significant mistakes were and how I could avoid them in the next months or even for the rest of my life.
I printed out self-reflection exercises, joined online-workshops, read books, and listened to podcasts to get to know myself better and figure out how to make 2020 way better than 2019.
Admittedly, the first few days were not much fun. I was close to ending the whole reflection thing as I didn’t see any progress. But I continued because I wanted to avoid wasting one more day of my life not feeling satisfied.
And I am incredibly glad that I did. After the first few tough days, my whole perspective changed. I developed a clear vision for my future, and I was more empowered than ever before.
All the exercises helped me discover myself and my actual values. Once 2020 kicked in, I felt well prepared, and I am still highly motivated to make this year my best year yet.
I’ve decided to keep certain habits and exercises throughout the year, as I believe they will help me become my best version. Some of the following are already part of my daily life and became inevitable. On some others, I am still working.
Create a Strong Vision for Your Life
I’ve spent a significant amount of time figuring out what my vision in life is. This was tough as there are many areas of my life which I can’t pretend or picture to myself. Yet, it was some well invested hours.
I created my life-vision with the help of an online course, but it’s doable without any costs. What I did was visualise each of the key areas of my life:
All of these are different fields of our lives, and they might come with different visions.
When I had to think about a 10-year vision of my life, I struggled. Yet, thinking about the state of my health, my finances, my career, or my spiritual journey, in particular, was more straightforward.
For example, considering my health, I know I want to be in an excellent physical state within ten years. I want to be fit, healthy, and full of energy. Once you have this vision of a particular area of your life, you can create daily habits that support this lifestyle.
While creating my life-vision, I meditated a lot, and I also worked with images and pictures. I created several vision boards and printed them out. This helped me to get a clear feeling for the life that I desire.
‘The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.’
— Helen Keller
Admittedly, creating a compelling vision for your life is not simple, but I believe it’s the foundation for a successful year and life.
Set Short-Term Goals
A lot of people set new goals at the beginning of a new year. For me, that was close to impossible.
I had been self-employed for two years, plus, I still didn’t finish my studies in business administration. I have lots of different projects going on, and I can’t plan for a year. Maybe I could, but I know that throughout the year, many appealing opportunities will arise that’ll make the whole planning thing rather difficult.
So instead of setting long-term goals over a year, I set short-term objectives.
I plan my months and weeks properly. These are timeframes that I can schedule and map out (almost) entirely.
At the beginning of each month, I reflect on the previous one and set new goals for the upcoming weeks. By doing so, I know what I need to do on a daily or weekly basis to achieve these objectives.
Start a Success Journal
If you struggle with motivation and perseverance, this one can be a real gamechanger.
Quite often, we focus on our mistakes and forget about all our past achievements — which is a pity since this tendency only drains our energy.
Becoming aware of our successes and all the goals that we already achieved can be a great motivator.
A success journal is a notebook that is full of your previous achievements. Of course, you can also keep a digital journal, if you prefer so. Every day, you can take notes and write down what you’ve accomplished.
On most days, we don’t even realize how much we get done; instead, we focus on all the to-do’s that are still open. Keeping track of your successes will remind you of your accomplishments and motivate you to be even more productive.
Plus, it’s a great way to boost your confidence.
In my experience, gratitude is the holy grail to a successful, happy, and mindful life.
If you keep chasing things in the future, you won’t ever be fully satisfied in the present. True happiness lies in being thankful for and paying attention to the here and now.
Even if you have big goals and a ton of motivation, stopping for a minute and appreciating everything that you already have will enhance your level of mindfulness and boost your energy.
‘Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.’
— Zig Ziglar
We are so used to living quickly, performing well, and aiming for high goals, that we often forget to appreciate what we already have.
Once you start practicing gratitude for all the things that you already have, you will realize that life has so many beautiful things to offer.