With the New Year (and a new decade) looming on the horizon, it is that time again for all of us—when we pause, reflect on the past months, recollect our peak moments and failings, vowing to do better next time (or year) around.
The anticipation of the New Year is also infused with the sense of hope and expectation—that we will re-invent ourselves, will be able to draft a better narrative of ourselves, will finally do all the things we couldn’t get to in 2019. Like reading more books, spending more quality time with family, taking a better care of ourselves, enjoying life more, stressing less, eating healthier, and so on, and so on…
Simply put, with every new year, we hope this will finally be ‘IT’—The Time when we will turn our lives around for the better.
But we also know well that setting up Empire State goals by itself is not enough to turn things around. Willingness to make a change is a vital first step, but it’s exactly this—the first of many small moves and habits that you must build in order to make your aspirations come alive.
Goal-planning is a whole science on its own and there is lots of information out there about techniques on how to start small, improve 1% a day, track progress. All this is, of course, helpful.
But there is another side to goal achievement, the ‘soft’ side, as I call it, and it is the beliefs we hold about ourselves—that we have certain control over the forces that govern our lives and that we have the abilities to succeed (psychologists call these a Sense of Mastery and Self-Efficacy).
I wrote at length in a blog post why these are important to confidence and to the way we generally think, act, react and perceive our place in the world.
So, lacking self-beliefs and attempting to go after ambitious goals don’t quite mesh together.
If you want to give yourself a better shot at the life rejuvenation you’ve been dreaming about, you need to actually trust that you can get there.
Here are my 3 easy tips on how to become your biggest cheerleader in the New Year.
Draw from your strengths
Research shows that we learn more from our victories than from our failures. When we succeed, we feel happiness and fireworks start lighting up inside of us. Well, our brains notice too and try to remember these sensations and the behaviors that had led to the triumph, so that they could be repeated again.
Tip 1: Make a Strengths Inventory and read it often. Start with one or two things. But the crucial part here is to put them into practice. So, try to use at least one of these strengths every day in a new way. Cultivate and develop them over time. Grow your list. Remember that focusing on what we are good at is how we move up and build confidence, not by dwelling on our foibles.
Who am I?
Creative visualisation, or imagining ourselves achieving the things we strive for, has been praised and practiced by many accomplished individuals—from Tony Robbins to Oprah Winfrey to Jim Carrey. What this process does is creating a paradigm shift in the way we think and behave. Seeing yourself as the whoever you want to become—a famous writer, the CEO of your company, or an influencer —makes you to start seeing the world through the eyes of that person. Your actions will follow suit.
Tip 2: Every morning, before getting up, spend a minute to ask yourself: Who am I? Let the answer always be that you are already the person you want to become (for example: I am a successful business owner). Visualise how they speak, act, carry themselves. Look at the world through their eyes. Emulate the behaviour. And by the way, this is a great confidence-boosting exercise as well.
Start a Journal
Journaling is not a new kid on the block. Its benefits have been well-evidenced—as a stress reliever, a therapeutic aid, or as a way to simply reflect on our days. It’s also a self-enhancement technique.
I keep a daily diary where I write 3 things at the end of each day—1 thing that I learned that day; 1 thing that went well; 1 thing that could use improvement (and what type exactly). What these three things do is to boost your self-awareness and self-esteem.
Learning new things creates competence, which leads to higher confidence. Focusing on success goes back to the first point above about leaning in on your strengths. And the thing that needs improvement is simply a reflection of how you can do things better the next time around.
Tip 3: Write away. Do it every night. A post-mortem of the day helps to track progress, to spot perspectives and opportunities, and is a valuable self-improvement tool. Taking a daily pulse on how you are doing will boost your self-respect too—with the realisation that you are doing something to better yourself.
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In the end, believing in your stars—your abilities, skills, strengths, mojo—is the absolute first step in any undertaking.
Because if you don’t have the confidence that you deserve your dreams and that you can actually reach them, then why bother trying at all, right?
Change is possible, trust me. Few years ago, I wouldn’t even dare to believe that I can be at the place I am now, but in retrospect, fear was only living in my mind—putting me down, talking me out of my aspirations.
You can truly be unstoppable. Just put some trust in yourself first.
That’s the not-so-secret sauce to achieving your goals. See? Easy.
Happy New Year!
Looking forward to our confidence journey during the new 2020!
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