Last update: December 11, 2022
Here we are. It’s December and another year is almost coming to an end.
I’ve never had a special association with the Holiday season. In my home we always had the Christmas tree and family dinners but that was about it.
Later, when I worked at a large corporation I was introduced to the huge Christmas parties. It wasn’t for me. I also never understood why people put extra pressure on themselves to hit their targets and have a full social calendar for the month of December.
And somehow there was always drama in December. Relationship issues. Family feuds. You name it.
But since 2015, when I started living a calmer and more mindful life, I’ve been taking a very different approach. When most people are partying and focused on closing the year, I retreat. I’m focused on planning the upcoming year.
I’m not talking about new year’s resolutions. I haven’t changed my habits in the last seven years. When I’m talking about planning the year, I’m talking about potential changes in my business, career, or personal life.
Always be present.
While I’m looking forward to a new year now, I’m also fully present and focused on enjoying life. I must say, it took me years to work myself in a position to do that.
Because we always have to stay practical. We still have to pay our bills, and still have to take care of others. I never walk away from my responsibilities.
But no matter where you are in life — when January 1st comes, we’re all equals. That’s how I look at it.
Every year you have the chance to start with a clean slate. You can hit the reset button and do things differently. It doesn’t matter if you had a good or bad year.
Celebrate. Cry. But never forget that life moves forward.
- What do you want to focus on in the new year?
- What do you want to do for your relationships, career, yourself?
- What will you do when things don’t go according to plan? (Never think that everything will go well. Be prepared for setbacks.)
For instance, in 2015, I focused on learning. I read almost 110 books, followed courses, read articles, talked to mentors, etc.
And in 2016, my focus was on exercising and writing. I exercised over 300 times (I’m going to write an article about how I did it soon), and wrote a little over 150,000 words.
In 2017, I focused on saving more money than ever and buying a new house. I also updated my online courses and aimed to increase sales.
Fast forward to 2022, my focus was to set my life up in a way I could travel more and solely focus on writing (and less on creating new courses, videos, or other activities). I also focused on getting in better shape than ever after coming off 1,5 years of gut problems.
When I plan my year, I only focus on setting targets that I can directly influence. I never say things like: “I want to have 10K subscribers by X.”
I can’t directly control those things so I ignore it.
What can I control? The equivalent would be: “I’m going to publish two articles a week. And I will spend one day a week on promoting those articles.” That’s also how we should operate a business.
You can’t control how many people buy your products. You can control your own effort and skills. How many people will you reach? How are you going to reach them? How well do you know the principles of persuasion? Etc.
Overestimating short-term impact and underestimating the long-term impact.
A year is enough time to make a lot of things happen. But at the same time, we also tend to overestimate what we can achieve in a year.
I started this journey in 2015, and seven years later, I feel that things are falling into place a little bit more every year. First, I mastered my mind, then my career, then my finances, then everything else. And I feel that my social life is also better than before.
My relationships with my friends are better and deeper. Same is true for my family. And romantically, I’m also in a better place.
But all these things only got better in the past two years or so. If you asked me five years ago, I would say my career was going well, but other than that, it was slow.
Most of us also underestimate what we can achieve in the long term. If you work hard every day for years, you can make a big impact.
No one can make a big impact by doing something for a week or a month. Mastering skills, working on your character, and building relationships take time. A long time.
If you’re chasing your dreams, never quit too early. Keep at it. But at the same time, also know when it’s time to quit or pivot. That requires self-awareness.
And self-awareness is a skill that takes years to develop. Do you see? Life is full of paradoxes. There’s never one truth or ‘right’ path.
The only path that’s right is YOUR path.
Let’s start thinking about the new year, but don’t forget to be in the moment during the final days of this year. Have a good time and enjoy the company of others.
And when January 1st comes, wake up, get to work, and keep looking forward.