5 Tips on Conquering the New Year

So, the New Year is coming and your’re excited. You probably have a thousand different goals you’d like to accomplish and one million things to complete and scratch off your to-do list. But you’re reluctant to even do anything because last year and the year before, oh and the year before that, you accomplished none of your New Year resolutions and therefore you’re discouraged.

Don’t be. You’re not alone. We have all been down that road. Just remember to keep your head up high, don’t throw the towel in--- it doesn’t always have to be all or nothing.

This is a big year. 2020. A New decade. It’s kind of a big deal! Follow these five steps to break the cycle of unproductivity, discouragement, and procrastination. Here’s to 2020!

Number One: You can’t change everything about your life in one single year. Accept that, then set 3-5 major goals you’d like to accomplish, and focus on those goals. Make sure these goals lead to a larger goal. For example, if you’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur—maybe this is the year to map that plan out and take small, important steps towards that larger goal.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to set 3-5 goals that are attainable for you this year… and you must work to achieve them all. You have 365 days to achieve these goals. If you cannot do that then the first goal for the following year is to discipline yourself.

Don’t overlook the range of 3-5 goals. Do not overwhelm yourself with 10 goals. Have you ever heard the saying, “a jack of all trades, a master of none”? That should not be you. Master, own, realize and experience the confidence in the 3-5 goals you dominate this upcoming year. Let that be the fuel to push you forward continuously.

Number Two: You have selected 3-5 major goals; now you need to get organized. Getting organized includes a few things. First, set daily objectives… EVERY SINGLE DAY. Write these objectives down and cross them off when each has been completed. The visual effect helps tremendously—this has been proven. The physical effect also helps by reinforcing a great sense of progress, which is important for the human mind while also providing a sense of accomplishment.

Second, you must literally get organized. Do you use your phone, iPad, computer, or old school calendar to track your to-do lists and progress? Some of you might even resort to apps that hep you. Whatever tool you use has to be something you understand and can use without much of a thought process. Please read David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) an excellent book on organizational systems that helps to increase productivity and relax you to stimulate more creativity.

Number Three: Get Motivated. How do you get motivated? This sounds like such a simple question, yet this simple question often is the main dip in the road.

There are a few necessary things you must do before you can really get motivated. You must first clarify your objective, your reasoning, your strategy and your overall plan or idea. How can you obtain a goal that you don’t clearly understand or can’t articulate? If someone asks you, “why are you going back to school?” You should have a quick, clear and concise answer. Take for example, “I’m returning to beauty school to master skills I don’t currently have and to obtain my certification and license so that I can practice at a higher-skilled level and be paid accordingly. My goal is to then open my own business in three years.” This is better than, “I am returning to beauty school because I hope it will help me get a better job.” That’s terrible. Why will it help you get a better job? Is there a gap in your skills you’ve identified? Do you need that certification to advance in your career or can a few more years of hands on experience get that for you?

Then there’s a silent part of clarity that’s kept close to your heart which should motivate you the most—especially during your trying times. It might be that you’re working these two jobs for the next year to save ‘X’ amount of money to help you create a better lifestyle for your child. Whatever it is, keep reminding yourself of it to help you not give up.

Next you need to believe. If you don’t have a strong conviction in who you are, what you want, how you’re going about that then who do you expect to believe in YOU? Be confident in yourself and your vision, be comfortable with your strategy, and it’s okay to be cocky in this moment! Just don’t be arrogant. Arrogance closes doors, opportunities and enhanced clarifications. Your confidence and comfort will automatically provide you resilience, strength and determination.

Then it is important to focus on what you CAN control. Don’t take yourself in a downward spiral by devoting lost energy into matters you can’t reach, change or control.

Last, you must eliminate waste. Eliminate the unnecessary shows you watch. If you do have a few you love and can’t go without then try recording your shows and fast-forward through commercials. Your one-hour reality show can turn into 35 minutes—that is significant. Thank goodness for DVR and Netflix!

Eliminate fully or limit your time with “Debbie downers” and pessimistic people…. Even if they are people you love. You need to either tune them out, grow numb towards their comments, or Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. This negativity can be toxic. You don’t need that because remember, your unwritten goal is to achieve all goals you set, and as say they “you are who your friends are”, let’s choose them wisely!

Eliminate wasted time in the grocery store by shopping online and pulling up to collect your order. Large retailers like Target and Wal-Mart offer such convenient services. I save at least four hours a week from grocery shopping and use that time to be productive with other things.

Number Four: Schedule in some free time. This is very simple to understand and extremely important to practice. You MUST find time to relax and rejuvenate otherwise you risk running into a big problem, called “burnout.” The burnout stage can ruin all of your goals, schedules, mentality, and dreams. Don’t risk it. You deserve the time to yourself. Do what makes you feel free, comfortable and relaxed. Surely, you will need the energy and the laser focus to achieve success.

Number Five: Reflect. Don’t do this on your free time…. unless you get lots of joy out of this process. Reflect on your vision, your rationale, your strategy, plan and of course your progress. Reflect to implement changes or to reaffirm your confidence in the good flow you’ve established. No matter what, during your reflection moments, I want you to literally tell yourself how proud you are of who you ARE and who you are BECOMING!

Wishing everyone a successful, productive and cheerful 2020! Let’s conquer this new year!

-Fatimeh Barrie, Executive Director, Modern Day Woman

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