The New Year is a chance for a fresh start in your career and your life. It is a time to close the book on previous events and to plan new events. There are new opportunities, new goals to set, and new chances to grow and to improve the quality of your professional and personal life. Now is the time to create your best year yet and to obtain everything you want out of your career. A fresh start means breaking away from habits that did not work, focusing on what did work, and creating new opportunities. Take a moment to think about your previous year. Where did you succeed? Where are your areas of improvement and potential growth? What worked for you? What did not work for you? What successes would you like to duplicate to further your growth in the New Year?
Acknowledge the highs and lows the previous year brought as you prepare yourself for 2016. This gained perspective allows you to let go of what did not work and to double down on what worked. This reflection will also allow you to clean your slate and to see that your future is not limited by your past. Creating your best year consists of two parts: constructing a fresh start and setting goals. For this article we will focus on a fresh start in a new year and goal setting will be addressed next week.
- Focus on the positive
Take a moment to embrace the positive moments from your previous year. Write down your major successes and the goals you managed to complete. Of these successes, which ones would you love to duplicate or multiply in the New Year? Keep these goals as positive motivation. Tony Robbins, one of my favorite motivational speakers, talked about The Seven-Day Mental Diet. In his speech, he highlighted the power of positivity and creating habits around focusing on what is right in your world. “The habit of focusing on what’s right in your world, instead of what’s wrong. The habit of focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t have in a situation.” Focusing on the positive leads to developing a sense of pride and gratitude in what you have accomplished. Having pride and gratitude is a critical part of inspiring other people to offer you opportunities.
- Confront the negative
Reflecting on and confronting the lows in your year opens the door to growth. After all, if you do not recognize the areas where the year did not progress smoothly, you cannot create a path to a better year. Take the case of Erin Joy Henry. Erin is a holistic nutrition counselor who used to have a negative outlook. She thought of positive people as insincere. One day she came to the realization that her negative thoughts were standing in the way of her getting everything she wanted out of life. She began to use positive affirmations and enjoyed the process so thoroughly that she sought the help of a wellness expert. With the help of the wellness expert, Erin was able to pinpoint her negative thoughts, confront them, and dedicate herself to writing down her positive affirmations every morning. She gradually transformed herself, saw her own potential, and uncovered her own brilliance.
Changing your outlook as you move into a new year means leaving your negativity in the past. T.D. Jakes, a popular pastor of a megachurch and best-selling author has written extensively on why negativity is best left in the past and how letting go can enable you to succeed. “The only thing left to change is how you process it. And if you process it right, you can turn it into something. You can use it for fuel.” See these events in a positive light and use them as an opportunity for growth.
- Physically manifest your feelings and release them
Take your negative emotions and physically manifest and release them. The act of creating a tangible form for your negativity allows you to capture those thoughts and treat them as though they were real. Seinfeld had the yearly eve of Christmas Eve Festivus, an event where people sit around a table and air out their grievances, among other things. In your case, create a list of self-grievances then destroy them. This destruction could be as simple as burning the list, ripping it up, or my personal favorite, blowing up balloons. Blow up a balloon and take one breath for each item on your list, then pop the balloon. The point is to give your grievances a physical manifestation, to obliterate those manifestations, and to symbolically rid yourself of the mental energy they carry.
The Sedona Method is another great way of letting go of negativity. It consists of a line of questions with “yes” or “no” answers created by Lester Levenson to create positive change. Positivity is created by the act of releasing negative thoughts and emotions. You fully accept whatever you are experiencing by taking note of the underlying desire behind it and finding a release. The mental exercise is often likened to holding a pen in your hand until your hand begins to ache. The pen represents negativity. You have the power to choose to let go of the pen, i.e. your negative emotions, at any time. In short, the Sedona Method works because it allows you to take control of your emotions. Sarah Johnson, an entrepreneur, has created a video on how to use the Sedona Method.
- Release negativity and reclaim mental energy
Negative emotions can also be thought of as baggage. Once you understand what is weighing you down, you can release that baggage. Carrying baggage is not very different from walking with sandbags in each hand. When you first lift the sandbags they are heavy, but not particularly burdensome. As you walk further and further to your destination, it becomes hard to walk effectively with them. The muscles in your arms are strained and eventually you drag the bags in an attempt to ease the load. Wouldn’t it be easier to drop the sandbags? Once you drop the bags the load is completely gone and you are no longer worried about your burden. Instead, you are now walking lighter, faster, and are able to focus on and accelerate toward your destination. This renewed focus allows you to reclaim your mental energy. Mental energy is defined by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) as the ability or willingness to engage in cognitive work. The type of energy that goes into maintaining baggage is referred to as mental clutter by entrepreneur Eben Pagan, and it drains of you much needed mental energy. Clearing away this clutter gives you the ability to focus on energy that allows you to build or renew relationships with family, friends, or colleagues, create professional or personal projects, and create thoughts that carry you into a brighter future. Think of what a renewed focus means to your career. You will be able to complete what is incomplete in communication, administration, and housekeeping. In short, once you’ve reflected and dumped your baggage you can focus creating opportunity.
Create your best year yet by leaving the past in the past and capturing new professional and personal opportunities in the New Year. Preparing for a new year means recreating what worked for you, pinpointing what didn’t work and using it as a chance to grow, letting go of your negativity, and reclaiming your mental energy. Are you ready to leave the past behind and make 2016 your best year? Are you ready to create and seize new opportunities?