Happy new year! Isn’t this the best time of the year?! I like beginnings, it’s refreshing, it’s motivating. I makes me feel like everything is possible. If you also get a boost of energy on the first day of the year, take this opportunity to plan the best year of your life!
A lot of people start the new year thinking just that: they are going to make this the best year yet. But nothing ever happens. Last year was the same and the year before and the same goals are renewed are simple ‘new year resolutions’, but that’s it, no further effort is put into making these dreams come true.
Results, however, are a simple matter of direction, focus and productivity. Self-esteem, persistence, motivation and all the other stuff we talk about in self development helps, of course, but you don’t have to be perfect to get things done. Motivation is what you have right now, but it will fade away soon. Don’t worry about that, though. It’s how it works, nobody feels motivated all the time. But you must undertand that you don’t have to feel motivated to do whatever has to be done to reach your goals. That’s what’s called discipline and due dilligence! You do what you have to do, period. Now, to get to that you need to follow a few steps while you’re planning the year ahead.
Most people will just write down a few bullet points of what they think they want to accomplish this year and that’s all they’re going to do about it. They won’t even move one step ahead by thinking about how **exactly** they believe they can achieve those things. No, they won’t do that. All they have is a poorly written to-do list.
The great majority of people fail already at the first step: they lack direction. A to-do list of random things it would be good to get done by the end of the year doesn’t provide any direction. Some people know what they want, they have direction, but then they allow themselves to get distracted by every little shiny thing that crosses their path and don’t get anything done. The third level is rare, say you have diretion, you avoid distraction and stay focused on your goals, then you must remain productive at an optimal level. People that reach this third level, regardless of their other traits and personal dificulties, generally are very successful (just because they get things done sistematically and consistently). Remember that success doesn’t mean you’re perfect as a human being, it just means you won the rat race and you have become financially independent. Many successful people are still working on their self-development.
So, to get to this third level of productivity, you need to have a crystal clear sense of direction (purpose), not just the “things” you want to get done by the end of year, but how this year fits in the big picture of your life. This works as a filter in which all the tiny ideas and goals you have in mind must pass through. If they don’t make it through the filter, you should forget about them, they don’t “fit” in your life.
After knowing exactly what you should be focusing on this year, it’s time to think about how you’re going to reach (or make progress) every single one of them, planning them with as much details as you can. There’s a few apps and tools to plan goals, but I usually prefer to use project managament softwares built for businesses. They are much more robust and complete than tools made for personal use.
With the plans in hand, you need to make sure you won’t get distracted and you will get things done no matter what. You do that (no surprise!) with productivity tools! Yeah, no big revelation here! It’s just funny that most people that struggle with distraction and can’t do the things they set themselves to do never bother to look up a few strategies and tools they can use. They just allow themselves to go with the flow, if the flows says ‘watch TV’ then they watch TV! There’s plenty of productivity tools out there. Strategies, apps, tricks, all kinds of stuff to fit your personality and preferences.
Is it that simple? It is. If you think about it, getting things done is just a matter of staying focused on your goal and avoiding distraction, if necessary, using tools and tricks to keep you on track. Just don’t say “it’s not that easy” because it is!