“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
2020 is finally coming to an end, and the new year is swiftly approaching. If you’re like me, then your last year’s goals and routines were completely thrown off base when the pandemic started. Many people were able to adjust and restart, but for others, this entire year has been a struggle to just maintain and that is 100% okay.
Now, it’s time to set new goals, systems, and ways we can improve to help ourselves throughout the new year. We know exactly what to expect now and we can no longer just let time pass us by. It’s important to figure out the things we have control of and not stress too much over the things we don’t. The time is now, to walk in your purpose, and live up to your full potential.
There is a massive difference in goal setting and creating systems to support those goals. In James Clear’s world-renowned book, Atomic Habits, the point is made that we need to forget about goals and focus on systems instead. Our successes are found in our daily habits and routines.
For example, if you want to lose some pounds, what can you do every single day to ensure you reach that goal? If you want to become an artist, how much do you study Piccaso or Van Gogh? If you want to hoop, then how many hours do you spend in the gym like Jordan, Kobe, or Lebron? If you want to rap, how often do you study beats and the dictionary?
I’m sure you get my point by now. You need to create a system that breaks your goals down into small actionable steps for you to achieve every day. Goals are about the results you want to achieve and systems are about the processes that lead to those results.
To go even deeper, there are three very important questions we must ask ourselves as we embark on the journey of self-improvement. The first—What is your “why”? The second—What exactly do you want? The third and final question—How do you plan to make it happen?
1. What is your “why”?
When you’re thinking about your “why,” think about the thing that wakes you up every single day. This can either be something or someone. For example, me keeping a promise to my grandmother that I will succeed and take care of my family as best I can is a “why” for me. Figure it out, write it down, and reference it whenever you get tired or lose some of your motivation.
2. What exactly do you want?
Knowing the answer to this question will give our lives direction to know where to put our focus and work ethic. Not knowing the answer to this question can lead you down many different paths that may not be beneficial for you in the long run. So again, what do you want? What do you want out of life? What type of house do you want? What type of car do you want to drive? How much money do you want to make a year? What type of job do you want? What type of impact do you want to make? What do you want?
3. How do you plan to make it happen?
Here is a list of 20 things you can do to help you get one step closer to improving yourself and achieving your dreams.
- Start now, and don’t be afraid.
- Be focused.
- Get a mentor.
- Be Intentional.
- Always seek knowledge.
- Forgive your past mistakes.
- Have grace with yourself.
- Focus on what you can change.
- Reward yourself.
- Use daily affirmation with yourself.
- Sleep good.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Unplug from the world.
- Have a balanced diet.
- Plan ahead.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- Be consistent.
- Be disciplined.
The journey to self-improvement is not an easy one, but once you start to make progress, it will all feel so worth it. Everything worth having is worth fighting for and worth working for. Understand that in order to get the things you want out of life, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, focus, discipline, and consistency. Create the right systems, have the right goals, know your “why,” know what you want, and know how you’re going to go about achieving your dreams.
The most important thing of all to remember is no matter how hard things get, never give up, and have fun while living life.