How to Take Control of your 2021!

4 January 2021

2020 will certainly go down in history as a challenging year.  The global Covid pandemic has changed the way we work, think, socialise and live.  Whilst it is easy to focus on the challenges we have faced, there are so many opportunities and life lessons that we can take from it. Some of us have shown enormous resilience in dealing with both personal and business challenges whilst others have not fared so well.

As a HR Practioner and Coach, I have spent much time this year (mostly via Zoom or Microsoft Teams!) working with CEOs, leaders and individuals the like. I learnt that those that had an abundance mind set (that is they saw and acted on the opportunities that came from their changing circumstances rather than standing still and focusing on the challenges) actually thrived. I saw businesses that pivoted, found new ways of working and adapted their services to the changing needs of their customers. But then there were those that didn’t change and hunkered down hoping that the storm would pass. They may have survived but didn’t thrive. Sadly, some did not make it through at all.

So how then should we approach 2021? Are things going to remain volatile and uncertain? Most likely they will! You may be asking” is it even possible” to take control in this kind of environment? Well my answer is simple. You may not be able to control the global markets and economies or the health outcomes of millions, but you can control your reaction to it and the course that you steer. Assuming you are not one of the unlucky ones to catch Covid, you can choose if you are going to just survive or thrive. I believe that having the right mindset is the single most productive thing you can do to ensure your success.

  1. Focus your goal on what you love to do. Don’t set goals that require you to muscle all the willpower you have to achieve them. If your goal is related to something that you love, you will be drawn to it naturally.  For example, if you want to lose weight, but you hate going to gym, find another way to achieve the goal.  You may love walking and socialising so set up a regular walking session with your friends in the park where you can support each other and make it more fun. You can then build up the intensity from there!
  2. Assume you have already achieved your goal.  Write your goal down in the present tense and include how you will feel when you have achieved it.  For example, you may write a goal as “I want to lose 5 kg by June 2021” or you could write it as “…By June 2021 I have lost 5kgs.  I am excited because I feel fit and healthy and can wear the clothes I love”. Talking about the goal and how it will feel to with have achieved will help you to feel good about it, reinforce it in your mind and help it to come true.
  3. When you are planning your goal, remember to also focus on the things you want first. For example, you may want to start your own business next year, but you might have to save some money and do some research and business planning before you go ahead and quit your job.  Focusing on the small steps as well as the end goal will be a great way to get you to move forward. If the goal is too big, it may be too hard to get your head around it.
  4. Be as introspective as you can be.  Ask your friends, family, colleagues or even your boss about any habits they observe that are getting in your way of achieving your goal.  Work out what you can do to form new habits to replace the ones that are not helpful.  For example, you might find that you need to improve your listening skills and concentration in meetings as you know that you sometimes let you mind wonder. Set yourself a goal to come out of the meeting with 5 key take outs written down and then check in with a colleague to see if they got the same ones.
  5. Find a friend, family member or coach to help keep you accountable with the actions you need to take to achieve your goal.  If you have ever had a personal trainer you will know what I mean!  After paying for several gym memberships that I have never used, I have realised that having a weekly commitment with my personal trainer is the way for me to go.  When my alarm goes off early in the morning, I know I have to get out of bed and show up!

As we approach the new year many of you may be giving thought to what you want out of 2021. If you are like me, you may start each year writing endless lists of goals that you want to achieve. Here are five top tips for ensuring your get to the end of 2021 having achieved what you want despite the volatile environment around you.

Life is never straightforward; things will happen and there will be hiccups and road bumps along the way.  When they do, re-focus on the goals you have set yourself and they will put you back on course.

Oh, and make sure you take time to enjoy the journey, it can be just as fun as the destination!

Cover image by Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash.

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