A new year means new opportunities and a chance to set yourself up for a successful year ahead. But we’re not talking about making New Year’s resolutions. We’re talking about something much simpler, and much more likely to make a difference to your life, both personally and professionally.
The science shows that most New Year’s resolutions don't stick because they are grandiose and create a big shift in the way in which you operate.
So how can you set yourself up for success this new year? It all comes down to how you start your day. The power of a good morning routine shouldn’t be underestimated. Create a habit and routine that works for you and you’ll find it flows on into the week, then the month, and before you know it, you’ve had a successful quarter or six months.
Listen to the podcast episode here or continue reading below.
In order for your year ahead to be one filled with success, you first need to create some space and shift your attitude and behaviour so you can reset. It’s all about doing things that are realistic, but challenging, and that support the physical, mental and emotional parts of you.
We've found that the best place to start is physically. Focus on your wellbeing by doing some form of physical activity, whether it's going for a walk or a run, or yoga. Find whatever works for you that gets your blood flowing.
Mentally and emotionally, it could pay to journal. Write down what you’re looking forward to that day and what’s working for you in your life right now. If you can’t write it down, at least get into the process of sitting up and allocating that five minutes to ask and answer those questions. The important aspect around that is the emotion that you attach to that feeling.
Another great way to ensure success is to value your sleep; don’t underestimate a good night’s sleep. We’re constantly surprised by how many people don't get enough sleep and so end up slumped over their desks by 3pm in desperate need of caffeine or sugar.
Your evening routine is just as important as your morning routine. The process of going to sleep should begin by turning off your phone and limiting your screen time before bed. But it’s what you do during the day that will impact your sleep the most.
The latest research suggests if you can get out into the sunlight and get those rays through through the occipital nerve, it actually highlights different nerve centres in the brain to delineate the difference between night and day. So it really is important to get out in nature in the sunlight during the day.
Setting yourself up for success means making a conscious effort to seize the day and the best way to do that is to meditate. I (Michelle) have been doing a guided meditation by Louise Hayes each morning. She takes you through all the things you can appreciate in your life, like the people you’re going to come into contact with each day, and even things like the appliances in your house.
The difference in my emotional state after I do that meditation is really interesting. It really has changed the way I look at things because I'm doing it every morning and it actually carries throughout the day. For example, when I hop in the car, I think ‘Yes! It’s working!’. I'm appreciating things in the moment now because I have set myself up at the beginning of the day to appreciate them.
None of these habits are any good if you don’t pay attention to where you are and where you want to be. How do you determine if you are moving forward in your life? And where can you quantify progress? Because progress is something that every single individual needs in their life in order to feel satisfied and purposeful and on track.
As a people leader, are you making progress in your one-on-one conversations? Or the way you are setting up your priorities and using your time? Are you making progress in the way in which you are running team meetings and having those difficult conversations?
And it’s a good idea to visualise. Write three things you want to achieve this week on a sticky note and put it on your laptop as a visual reminder. It will focus your attention.
Being coached is another great way to ensure you’re moving forward. Even we get coaching because it’s important to upgrade your toolkit in order to stay on track. A coach will help you see things differently and ask the right questions. And we want people leaders to focus on themselves first.
While most people in the corporate world are focused on delivering results, remember, the only thing you can truly be responsible and accountable for is your actions. So what actions can you take today in order to progress?
Asking yourself the right questions will ensure everything is in place, like ‘What do I need to do to set myself up for success?’. ‘Who do I need to be in this situation or who don't I need to be today in order to have this conversation or to present this new idea or influence an outcome at a team meeting?’
For example, if you want to create a business or a team that is empowered and clear, are you acting in a way that will foster that? ‘Am I embodying the actions and behaviours needed to get me to where I want to be?’
Use those questions to start your day and in your first few weeks back, focus on setting yourself up for success so you’re a better role model. People can dovetail and you’ll all be in a good rhythm for 2020.
All of these actions we’ve covered (which we cover in our Leadership Essentials Program) will lead you to success not only in life but also the way in which you lead your life and other people.
And remember, habit is just a behaviour that you repeat over and over again until it becomes a part of you and your operating rhythm and that’s really what we’re aiming for.
Start small and tweak habits that you already have, write your goals down and keep them visual to set yourself up for success in 2020.
To recap, the five practices we’ve covered are: moving first thing in the morning, meditating or journalling, getting a good night’s sleep, mapping out your progress, and asking yourself quality questions.
So, we want you to go away and adopt those five practices for one month and let us know how you get on.
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