It’s the new year and collectively the energy around this time is one of new opportunities, turning a new leaf, resolutions, and starting a fresh new year. This energy is awesome to leverage to make this your best year ever.
And the key to it all is to make decisions, intentions, and actions that sustain you all year long.
Heading out of the gate with all guns blazing…is not sustainable, and is illustrated in the statistic that by February over 90% of New Year’s Resolutions have already fallen by the wayside. That is not a good success rate.
Our brains are focusing/questioning/searching machines and I want to encourage you and inspire you to make use of this to your advantage. The best thing I ever learned from a teacher was my son’s Lower Elementary teacher who used the phrase often, “Use what you’ve got”. I didn’t know at the time there was a whole lifestyle contained in that statement. It set me on the path to work WITH life, and use what I’ve got – and that includes this amazing brain I have.
So we’re going to leverage what we’ve got and the science of focus through these few steps below to set you on a course for the best year yet!
Let’s set the stage for deliberate success.
- Choose a word.
- Have more Fun!
- Know your Inputs.
- Quality over Quantity.
- The Power of Reflection.
- Get in Community.
👉 Move one: Choose a word for the year.
If you only do one of these, this is the one. These steps are to set the stage for the best year ever and this one is a game changer. You may ask, “Carri, it is so simple, pick a word?”
We live in a culture of an inordinate number of options, choices, avenues, new things, inputs, messages, opinions, etc. – and without something to ground our focus, this can have us moving about like a plastic grocery bag in the wind.
Choosing a word, and then living that word all year long, leverages the power of focus to show you what your brain and your mindset do FOR you.
<Geek alert> From a quantum mechanical perspective, there is a field of infinite possibilities or infinite potential. It is only upon observing something that it becomes fixed. So, this word is a deliberate lens of observation. We get to CHOOSE what we fix, what we make real…and when our focus is deliberate – watch out. You are leveraging the field of infinite possibilities. </Geek Alert>
Some words to give you an example – > serenity, bold, resolution, freedom, kindness, abundance, ease, balance, adventure, fun, and family to name a few.
Action: Decide you will give this a try. Let the word find you. Keep it in focus (post-it/top of your planner/keychain / on the home screen of your phone, etc) Pay attention to it and how it reveals itself in your life.
👉 Move Two: Have More Fun
I could just say, “Have more fun” and if I did, I’d be just phoning it in. More specifically, the encouragement is to have more good, effective fun through conscious play.
Did you know there are different types of play (or fun)?
Mike Rucker does a great job of outlining different types of play into these 4 categories:
- Pleasing -> easy to do, enjoyable such as catching up with friends, unstructured play
- Yielding -> easy to do yet doesn’t add much value such as TV, Social Media scrolling, things where you may describe them as ‘zoning out’. These are things where you don’t reminisce about the experience.
- Living -> things outside your comfort zone, some call these peak experience activities, such as white water rafting, going to a new country, retreat, touch challenge, new skill
- Agonizing -> challenging but little to no joy such as intellectual work, domestic responsibilities, hard work
The goal is to do more of what is in the Pleasing and Living Categories and a lot less of what is in the Yielding category.
I often hear, “I’m burnt out so I need time to ‘zone out’”
This may seem like the logical choice, however from a neuroscience point of view you are not refilling your bank to move out of burnout, you are just prolonging it.
As for the Agonizing category? Well if you can outsource or delegate some of those things, do it. If you cannot, make it more pleasurable. Some examples are rewarding yourself after cleaning the house with something you enjoy -> activity bundling
*Rucker, M. (2023). The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life. Atria Books.
Action: Pick something in the pleasing category to do more of and get it on your calendar. Pick something in the yielding category and do LESS of it. Put one thing on your calendar this month in the Living category (and repeat each month!).
👉 Move Three: Know your Inputs
Life only happens TO us when we don’t take responsibility for what we allow.
The first time I heard the question, “Are you a victim or a volunteer?”, I have to admit, I was really pissed off. My immediate, internal reaction – You don’t know me and you don’t know my life!
What I found when I allowed the question to settle in and gave myself time to really respond to the question, my perception shifted. The question lit up that a lot of what I was experiencing that I had said was happening to me I had a choice about. I actually could do something.
This is the same as what you choose to ingest, whether it be physically, mentally, or spiritually.
The first thing I ask clients to do when we begin working together is to shift the content of their first waking hour and the last waking hour of their day. NO electronics, no outside inputs, stay on your agenda. I now encourage you to do this. It is a great first step in becoming aware of how often we are at the mercy of outside messaging and listen very little to ourselves, our hearts, and our dreams.
Action: Become more aware of your choices of inputs (what you are letting in via people, TV, experiences, and relationships) and let go of / tone down what doesn’t serve you or your well-being.
👉 Move Four: Quality over Quantity
Less is more. This flies in the face of many of the messages coming through these days.
When I was a young single mother with a full-time high-tech job that had me traveling all the time, I found myself overwhelmed with guilt that I didn’t have the time with my son that the other mothers had. It was a push-pull struggle – this employment kept a roof over our heads, food on the table, the resources for him to be in school and to get all of the support he needed, worldly security. At the cost of presence, time to watch him grow.
I could not find a solution to my guilt on my own until one day my spiritual mentor offered the simple idea, “It’s all about quality over quantity Carri. You have plenty of time to have quality time with him”.
This shifted everything, starting with my attitude. I had enough time to have quality time. Next, I had to put it into practice. I chose to be present, fully present to this young soul when I could and to really be aware of when I was going to be home, and how could I create quality time and experience. The first step I took was that evening at dinner, I put my phone in my office, made something that he enjoyed, lit the candles that sat on the table for show and did one thing at a time – dinner with my son.
Action: Decide where you’d like to begin to pay attention to quality over quantity. Begin with one relationship, one activity, and be present. How you do one thing is how you do everything, so when we start with one, and get good at it, all areas can move in that direction.
👉 Move Five: Reflection
This one can be a game-changer. Why?
We learn from experience. Make it a habit to do it consciously.
Reflection is another powerhouse process that drives progression and feeds a growth mindset.
Coming back to the idea that positive experiences often, by default, are not stored in long-term storage as regularly as negative experiences (by default) – the power of reflection reminds us of these positive experiences, accomplishments, and moments and puts our lives in a more neutral, true, perspective.
Action: Practice this with something consistently to make it a habit. Begin with a daily reflection:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- What would I do differently next time?
- Change to something I currently do based on what I’ve learned.
This can take 5 minutes or less with practice and can yield GOLD in growth based on your own experience. This also taps into your heart’s intelligence.
Extra Credit: Use this after an important meeting, an interaction that may not have gone great with your children, spouse, or friend for example. This reflection and insight can be cultivated through this practice.
👉 Move Six: Get in Community – Surround yourself with Success
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
― Jim Rohn
The pandemic really shifted up our ability to gather, yet it also accelerated opportunities to get into a community with like-minded people independent of location. Finding a community or communities that encourage, inspire you, and have a common interest, passion, hobby, or profession can be eye-opening, and heart-opening and support you in your best year yet.
These can be in the form of organizations, programs, forums, and masterminds.
Retreats can be amazing for this. Consider attending my next retreat
Get in the middle. Need ideas? Contact me and I’d be happy to give you ideas based on your interests.
The environment will trump willpower any day. Pay attention to who and what you surround yourself with.
So we’ve covered a lot in this read. Implementing even one or two of these consistently will have great benefits to you as you live out 2024 and beyond. If it feels like too much, pick one and come back later to see if you’d like to apply another.
✨ Choose a word. Leverage the power of focus and observation to light up life’s love for you.
✨ Have More Fun! Make informed decisions on activities that build your well-being bank account.
✨ Know your Inputs. Pay attention to what you allow and reap the benefits from clean inputs.
✨ Quality over Quantity. Leveraging time to work for you and your relationships
✨ The Power of Reflection. Leveraging your experience to grow and enhance experiences to come.
✨ Get in Community. Amplify your experience by sharing it with others.
Here’s to an amazing year ahead! Want some extra credit? Add gratitude to the mix. You can read more about that here: Nurturing Abundance Through Gratitude.