This is the question I’ve been pondering on since the 1st of January. Actually, it’s more like a question I had for the last 3-4 years – every January: ‘How to have every year to be the best year I’ve ever had?’. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to it. Yet I think I’ve got the idea. So here it is – Embrace Change & Take Action. ‘I’ve heard that before’ – you might say, so let’s get more specific.
You see us, being human, we are not very good at changing. We like to get comfortable and stay in our comfort zones. That’s why so many of us settle in and barely do other things. Luckily, because of the information revolution which internet has brought. We can access more than we could have ever thought. Now we can find the right answers to all the questions. And we fear to change more than anything.
1 or 2 years ago I would have said – I fear no change, throw whatever at me and I will plough through it. But it isn’t true. Changing a bad habit or picking up a new one is hard, according to scientists it takes 66 days to do so, but who cares about what they think – how does this apply to you?
My answer to this problem was to start experimenting. One of my goals for 2017 was to complete 21 experiments.
Where Do You Start?
1. I start with an idea. How awesome would it be to enrich my vocabulary?
Let’s get more specific – learn 10 new words every day.
2. Hold myself accountable – Starting from November 15 and ending December 17
3. Draw up a roadmap for my experiment – include some awesome art (My drawing skills are killing it, I know)
4. Experiment rules
5. Put it where I could see it every single day.
6. Stick with your plan until completion
This simple plan works like a wonder for me. I understand we all may be different, so what works for me may not for you. But its a great place to start!
Finally, on the 17th of December, I felt so happy as I have picked up 372 words in my vocabulary. Let’s be honest, I won’t remember all of these words. But its a great start! If I could repeat this a few times a year I’m sure my knowledge would expand quickly.
How To Keep Going
Let’s look at 2 more experiments – one that I’m most proud of for 2017 – a daily habit of meditation and morning ritual.
Daily Habit of Meditation
You can find my detailed meditation step by step action article here. In short, I managed to make meditation my daily habit after failing it for years. It’s been nearly 200 days I’ve been meditating daily without fail. It’s the best habit I’ve picked up in 2017 and will hopefully maintain until the end of my days.
After years of self-development, I know better than anyone the importance of a morning ritual. Again, failing for years my goal was to get it sorted. I went from being super complicated to very minimal.
- Wake up to my first alarm (Doesn’t always happen still but I’m snoozing a lot less)
- At least 2 hours or better 4 hours before I have to be somewhere
- Make my bed
- Write my goals
- Eat breakfast and while doing so consume educational material.
- Proceed with the rest of the day
Since I’ve completed this experiment I feel like I actually have a morning ritual, what an incredible achievement again!
Experiments Road Map
- Start with an idea of something awesome
- At least one new experiment per month
- Hold yourself accountable by making it visible, forcing yourself to tick the boxes
- Don’t go digital or do both – I use Evernote to track more complex experiments like writing the words every day but also keeping a sheet of paper with my roadmap.
- Stick with it for 21 or 30 days
- Evaluate the benefits and the downsides
- Rinse and repeat
Ideas are the pillars of success but not all can be great. Many of the experiments I have started all pumped up and happy – I had to scrape off as it was not achievable or not applicable in real life. Don’t expect to come up with one and then nail it right away.
The essence of experimentation is to pull you out of your comfort zone and get you practising what you wished for. If it works and you like it – great, let’s keep it going. If you realize it doesn’t make sense – drop it and try something new.
Round Up For the Best 2018
To have 2018 as your most productive year I would suggest you take the same steps I took in 2017. Push yourself out of your comfort zone by starting to experiment with the goals you have. Stick with it for at least 21 days. Then evaluate and see what it brings to the table. If it’s something you definitely know is important, then consistency and holding yourself accountable is paramount. And last but not least – take action.
I wish you all the best and I hope you will have your best year so far!