The holiday season is a whirlwind of activities leaving little time to relax and decompress. You’re more exhausted when you return to the office than before the holidays. Somehow, you need to summon up the strength to get back on track. It won’t be easy and you’ll have to push yourself. Start by fighting back against the temptation to say, “I’ll gradually ease back into the swing of things. I’ll hang around the house and sleep all weekend, then I’ll be ready to start focusing on my career.”
Let’s dispense with the procrastination and start right now. Since you are reading this piece, it’s clear that you have drive, ambition and motivation. You should congratulate yourself, as you’re far in front of everyone else who is currently nursing a hangover and complaining about how tired they are. You are taking bold actions while they are binge watching Bandersnatch and Bird Box on Netflix.
Here is what you can do to keep moving forward to make 2019 the best year ever:
1. Create a growth mindset.
Since you are reading this, you most likely possess a growth mindset, but didn’t consider the need to pretentiously ascribe a fancy title to what you already do. A growth mindset is a way of thinking and believing that you can create a better future for yourself—despite obstacles in your path and past baggage you’re burdened with.
A staggering amount of people possess a fixed mindset. This train of thought includes believing that you are predestined to be who you are and where you are in life. A fixed mindset person will resign himself to his fate. Diametrically opposed to this line of thinking, having a growth mindset emboldens you to seek out solutions to your challenges. You believe that you can create your own future—no matter how difficult things are right now. No obstacle is unassailable with a growth mindset. You believe in yourself and have faith that you will overcome anything standing in your way. You commit to learning, growing, improving and developing.
This isn’t easy or a miracle cure. It takes time, inner strength and determination. I personally view things in this fashion: if someone is going to be a successful recruiter, businessperson, writer or entrepreneur, why shouldn’t it be me? Why shouldn’t I be the person who becomes successful just because I’m not a certifiable genius, I possess shortcomings and come from a modest background in Canarsie, Brooklyn? I look around at the people who are already in my field and recognize that—most often—they aren’t so great. Since I’m just as good as my competition, but possess a borderline obsessive drive, old school work ethic and am unafraid of failure, there is no reason or excuse. I will find ways to succeed!
2. In addition to thinking about goals, write them down and hold yourself accountable.
Everyone daydreams about winning the lottery, attaining a high-paying job or striking gold with a game-changing business idea. We all know someone like this. They talk endlessly to whoever will listen about what they’re going to do next. A few intrepid souls will even venture to dip their toes in the water: conducting research, taking online courses, listening to podcasts, seeking out mentors, writing, editing and rewriting business plans. However, they never act and execute their grandiose plans.
You need to establish your goal, write down an action plan on how you will achieve that goal and then actually do it! The plan could be scribbled on a scrap of paper or napkin. The process of writing it down makes it real. It transcends a dream to a viable way to achieve your desires. Writing helps you fine tune and focus your thoughts. It prods you to turn a concept into a road map. Having it in writing will serve to keep you committed and honest with yourself. The next part will be harder: you have to keep track of your daily progress and hold yourself accountable without excuses.
3. Don’t stress about the enormity of the task. Simply start with small habits and build from there.
You’ve been building your growth mindset and have a written action plan that you are religiously following. Now, take your audacious goals and break them down into small daily habits and routines that you can accomplish. Slowly and methodically grind away and make incremental progress. If your plan calls for procuring a new job, develop a habit and routine of spending at least an hour each day on a specific process or activity that will lead toward finding the new position. Write a résumé on Monday, enhance your LinkedIn profile on Tuesday, search for jobs online and submit résumés on Wednesday, network online and in the real world on Thursday and so on. By breaking these steps into a daily plan, it won’t seem so overwhelming.
4. Daily affirmations aren’t only for Buddhist monks.
Growing up in a hardscrabble and lower socioeconomic, working-class neighborhood, I would have never believed that I would be writing this. I’ve gone from eating pizza and Italian ice at Original’s Pizza on Avenue L in Brooklyn to having quinoa, kale, sun-dried tomato bowls with a Kabusecha tea. Affirmations, visualization and meditation were unheard of in my small world. I’ve learned that you need to be open and embrace new ideas that can help you succeed.
If you’re wired to have negative thoughts that hold you back from achieving your goals and leading your best life, it makes sense to get outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Self-affirmations are statements that we tell ourselves to initiate change. They alter our beliefs about ourselves. Start with saying and repeating positive phrases. If you are interviewing for a competitive job, you may say to yourself, “I deserve this position. I will get this job! I have the background, experience and possess all the requirements. I will succeed in this role! It will happen!”
Then, translate these thoughts into actions to manifest our intentions. When you first start saying your positive affirmations, they may not be fully grounded in reality. With repetition, they sink into your subconscious mind, you start to believe them and they eventually become your reality. They become a self-fulfilling prophecy and actually become true.
Affirmations are positive statements that can help you challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often—and actually believe in them, you can start to make positive changes.
5. See your future success with visualization.
Visualization is the act of creating a picture in your mind of having already achieved your goal. You then play this movie in your head on a repeated loop every day. Use your imagination to see yourself as the end result of being successful. Picture living in that beautiful new home. Visualize yourself driving your dream car. See yourself as the CEO sitting in a corner office.
You will attract what you focus on. It’s a mental hack to visualize that you already have what you desire. Rather than wishing you will achieve it (or hoping one day it will miraculously happen), live and feel it as if it is happening to you right now. The subconscious mind cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. Your subconscious will act upon the images you create within—whether they reflect your current reality or not.
Good luck in 2019! Wait, you don’t need luck. You set an audacious goal, wrote it down, will visualize success, build your growth mindset, use your self-affirmations, work daily on achieving your mission and will do amazingly well this year!