It’s the new year again!
I spent the last weekend holding a virtual session on goal setting. And from the look of things, I will invest more time guiding a handful of people to ace 2021 for good.
Saturday’s virtual goalsetting masterclass was so engaging. I could sense the hunger in the looks and voices of these young people who want to make the best of the year. But one thing I couldn’t help repeating is, “goals are powerless without the right habits.”
As much as I preach goal setting, I am also aware that our daily habits are more important than what we scribble on paper. Or the pictures and affirmations we hang on our vision boards.
Habits are the backbone of an extraordinary life. Over the years, I have seen people make the mistake of overemphasizing their goals while they downplay the importance of their daily habits.
It is not enough to have affirmations. It is not enough to have ideals you want to live up to. You must also find a way to sync your daily life with the kind of goals you have set for yourself. Habits are the key. Great habits!
That said, here are 5 habits you should emphasize in 2021
1. Practice Gratitude
As simple as this sounds, gratitude is the great divide between a charged life and a frustrated one. You don’t need to have everything you want to be grateful. You just need to be mindful of the great things you have deemphasized all along.
Your health, family, friends, shelter and the gift of sight to even read this article is worth being grateful for. If you want to be more thankful for your health, steal a day and visit the hospital.
See for yourself how much of a treasure you have. There are people who wish to do the things you trivialize. While you fall asleep so easily, others need sedatives to have a normal night. While you eat effortlessly, others have pipes running through their nostrils. While you pee without overthinking it, others go through pains to empty their bladders.
This is only the health part. How about the others? When you aggregate every other aspect of your life, you start to see how blessed you are to be alive. The more you practice gratitude, the more motivate you are to make your life count. Always focus on what you have. Not what you lack.
2. Develop a solid morning routine
As a life coach, I have emphasised this for years. Whether you are a night owl or a morning gazelle, build predictable structure around your day. That way, you have more chances of maximizing your time.
Take a look at your life currently. What are the things you deem to be the most important? Schedule them. What activities do you honestly consider to be a waste of time? Lump them up and send them to the outer spheres of your life.
The more you focus on the most important things, the more fulfillment you will derive.
Quit snoozing your alarm. Get up when its time to get up. Take a glass of water. Do a few pushups to clear the drowsiness off of your eyes. Meditate and pray. Reflect on your daily goals and say your affirmations like you mean them. Review the to-do list you scribbled down the night before and charge into the day with your first task.
3. Prioritise Learning
Never stop learning. No matter how busy my day gets, I carve time to feed my mind with the right books and podcasts. There is no better way to get ahead in life than feeding your mind with quality stuff.
Figure out where you are lagging and find resources to help you improve in that area. If you are honest with yourself, you probably have areas in your life where you can be better. Settle down and learn. Your life is a crucial project. Treat it as such.
4. Up your water intake
You see, this is the part where many people flop. Most people know what to do to make their lives better. They are aware. However, they don’t take consistent action in the right direction. We all know that an optimized water intake is a powerful health hack. It will make you look younger, feel healthier and enable your organs work at their optimum. But for some reason very few people practice healthy water intake.
Now, it’s not entirely your fault. You only lack the right system to make this happen. Years ago, I learned to use my phone’s alarm clock. Every 3 hours or so, it goes off to remind me to take water. Today, there are apps that do this. Hop on iOS or Android app store and choose one.
5. Regulate Your Use of Social Media
Notice, I did not say “stop using social media” or “reduce your social media use.” What you hear is important to your understanding. The word “regulate” simply means to control.
In other words, don’t let social media control and determine how you allocate your time and priority. Rather let it be the other way around. If you don’t make money on social media why should you be online 24/7? If social media is not critical to the work you do, why does it have to run your life every day?
Put the most important factor in your life at the centre and then put every other thing around it. Set time limits on the social media apps you use. Have a specific time when you go online. Have a time of the day beyond which you cannot be found online. This way, you are putting the control back into your hands.
2021 is a great year already. But it depends on what you make of it. You can set goals, targets and make your vision board as appealing as possible. But if you do not build supportive habits, it will all crumble like a lego castle. Although this list is not exhaustive, these 5 habits are worth considering for the long haul.