Have you ever fantasized about making the next year the best you ever had? Like at New Year, or just because you started a new job or got married to the person you love most in this world.
In other words: when you either felt the pressure (things had been turning in circles for too long) or the enthusiasm for life was just swept you away, to make this wishful promise to yourself?
Well, you’re not alone - I just made this promise to myself. In many ways this is going to be my healthiest year ever. I am building up this business where my heart really is and I am determined to have the best relationships ever with the people I love and everybody else I am dealing with.
Now the big question is how can this dream become reality without it dying a slow and painful death over some weeks or months during which “the daily trials of life” catch up with us? What’s necessary to actually grow and come closer to the best version of ourselves without burning ourselves out in the process and/or becoming a boring fart?
Growth is one of the main human drives
In the course of the last year I was on a learning journey. I always loved books, but took it to a completely new level while buying online courses and attending events to learn even more.
Not only the skills I reckoned were important, but also in the area of self development.
Oh – this esoteric, non tangible stuff where you end up humming through life like a gigantic bumble bee with an everlasting grin on the face, you might think.
Nope – not at all. Rather a journey which combined some deep dive work into myself, involving body, soul, heart and mind….and very tangible and practical tools came along for the journey.
Did you know that growing and developing is actually one of the main human drives?
While quite a few of us state that they are absolutely O.K. with our lives: “All is fine”, particularly those of us who might eventually start feeling this restlessness, and start to question if there is something more or different.
Worst case this ends up in the well known zone of the “midlife crisis”.
The best case scenario is that this leads to opening up to living a charged life, rather than a comfortable one. Engaged, energized and enthusiastic, rather than controlled, content, but restless.
Being comfortable in life is one thing – being caught in a life full of limitations is a completely different scenario. If you feel frustrated and angry every day and you’ve got the distinct feeling that nobody really understands you or your situation, then this might be you.
The good news: there is a way out!
We can all increase the level of joy and energy in our lives and I want to share the ten factors that capture the most important essence of what I’ve learned in achieving the best year of my life.
That is probably the most foundational one. When getting in the car, we normally know where we are headed. The path might change along the way (all those detours or blocked roads), but the destination stays the same.
This applies to our life as well. Where are we headed? And why? Answering those questions reveal our purpose and will keep our motivation going.
Listen to your heart and soul. This can be scary or difficult. It was for me in the beginning, until I could (re-)connect to stuff that had been buried for quite some time.
If for example your WHY is that you strive to earn more money to send your daughter to a good school, then you’ve got a good reason to walk this path and stay with it.
Visualizing the desired result is a powerful tool: See and feel the experience…even if you feel like an imposter. I know that feeling J.
Stephen Covey called this “start with the end in mind” in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and phrases it beautifully: “We are more in need of a vision or destination and a compass and less in need of a road map”.
Confidence is the belief in ourselves that we can figure things out. With that we can overcome every challenge that life is presenting to us.
Besides, there are plenty of ways of dealing with things, whatever they are. While writing this article and stating this so boldly I googled the phrase “1000 ways to….work from home, get paid, make a cake” and guess what? There are plenty of articles popping up.
So don’t limit yourself in anything. There is not just one way of doing things and there’s not just one thing for you to do. The sky is your limit.
It would have been rather sad if Steve Jobs had thought that the Nokia design of a mobile phone was the only way of how a phone could work and look like.
Thankfully he did not. :-)
If you see your opportunity coming, grab it. The job opportunity, this gorgeous girl/man at the bus stop (no I am NOT suggesting kidnap), or the chance to start your own business.
Then take action.
Even with the best intentions and the greatest will power some things will go wrong.
Taking those adversities for what they are was a great step for me.
No, the world is not out to get me, nor are my colleagues (well, at least this tends to be the exception), so I don’t have to take things personally
I’m not worthless either just because the launch of this product or this presentation was a mess and did not deliver the desired results.
Review, learn, improve – and continue. And that leads to number 5.
Somebody told me once that they use fail as an acronym for First Attempt In Learning.
I liked that, as this is the only way of dealing with failures. We are all human and we will make mistakes.
If you don’t, you have not tried anything new for a long time (either that or you died and did not notice).
I mentioned that earlier: developing and growing in the chosen areas of our lives is not only a human drive, but really does makes us happier.
We can all learn something new. Even the highest performers amongst us. Most successful people I know – even those earning millions – take part in masterminds or classes to further their growth and to learn from others.
Not just in terms of skills, but also in terms of character. Make time for that and you’ll have seriously increased your chances for a fantastic year!
If you are looking into having the best year of your life, don’t compare yours with others. We are all in different places in our personal journey and quite honestly, it’s rather pretentious to think we know exactly what and where other people are.
The idea is to become the best version of ourselves. Not to copy anybody else’s life.
It’s quite easy to start strong and eventually, along the way, to lose direction, overwhelmed by everything else coming towards us.
That’s the reason why it is so crucial to review our progress on a regular basis. This is not just the to-do-list, but how much closer we are to where we want to be.
If I want to become my healthiest self this year, I could for example measure the quality of my food, the amount of sleep, my exercise and energy level. Weekly or monthly.
Simply use a scale. If that is one with 5, 10 or 20 as highest value is completely irrelevant. Important is to stay consistent and to track where you are on a regular basis. Also, be honest with yourself.
Not being healthy means not having energy. Not having energy leads to having no drive to excel at anything.
Everybody who’s regularly ill or suffers from pains knows exactly what I am talking about.
I’m not just talking about serious illnesses though, but about our level of general fitness, healthy food, good thinking and sleep.
Where would you rate yourself right now on a scale of 1 to 10? Could you improve? How energetic are you when you come back home in the evening? Still up for playing with the kids or having this date night with your spouse, or do you rather collapse on the couch, happy the day is over?
Imagine your energy going up by, let’s say, only 20 % - what that could mean for your life!
I have developed my own energy boosting program meanwhile and it’s absolutely amazing how alert and full of energy I am when I stick to it. Here’s the caveat: only consistency will bring the desired results…yeah, you knew there was one, didn’t you? ;-)
Not always easy, but so worth it.
Life should be joyous and full of light and fun. As it’s a wonderful gift, if we want to see it. But you know that anyway, right?
So have fun on the journey, be patient with yourself along the way and relax.
Every day is a new chance to change whatever we wish to change.
All is going to be well.