Let`s be frank, I have no idea what 2017 is going to be like. Of course, I have various plans and goals, and bright dreams fill my head. Naturally, I want to believe that I will be able to achieve and make come true as many as possible, but I also know that I have no guarantees. The thing is that 2016 has become a very long and a very painful proof that sometimes we are powerless, and despite all the hard word you had done and all the efforts you had made, not everything will work out.
I used to naively believe that if you do everything that is necessary, if you do it well, you will achieve your goal and you will receive what you aimed for. Moreover, I was convinced that my destiny was in my hands, in my full of control, if I was ready to be responsible for it and I was. I denied any other options, I refused to accept any of them. However, early or late the moment of truth should have come and it sure did. It became clear that I have been wrong. Not all efforts lead to the desired goal, not all actions make your dreams come true. Some goals remain goals, some dreams remain dreams.
With such a reality, while having to face the fact that my life was not at all going according to my plan, I have been reading a lot. Once again, reading saved me. Thanks to everything I have experienced in 2016, I know for sure — I am now definitely ready to start again and fight back. I know well what is essential, I know what my priorities are and I will try again no matter what.
These days I feel good realizing that this horrendous year, that has just finished, was not useless. I have never been as confident and calm as I am now. Moreover, I am in this state not because everything is stable and well, but vice versa — I accepted the reality, I accepted the fact that my path is not going to be straight and smooth. There will be pits and hills, which I am ready for. Like I said, reading saved me.
As there have been so many difficulties and failures, I have been choosing non-fiction more and more often, I have been choosing books that could teach me something, make me stronger and more effective; that would help me tackle the issues and become better in all sorts of aspects. Some web sites played an important role too. Today I would like to share a few tools with you, that will help you on your way to the life of your dreams.
“Focus on systems instead of goals”, — is my new motto. I have encountered this idea in various articles about motivation and productivity. I was reading one of them, when it hit me — I may have made everything more complicated for myself, when I gave all of my attention to the goal instead of the process. Let me give you an example — on the 1st of January 2016 I wrote down a goal “to become healthier with the help of sports”. It is a good and a very understandable goal, right? It sure is, but taking to consideration changes that has recently taken place, on the 1st of January 2017 I wrote this — “to spend 15 minutes every day doing sport exercises and go to a yoga studio twice a week”. Someone could say that this is a goal too, but in reality it is a system, it is a plan. I do not have a certain goal, I have a system, a set of actions to follow. I do not want to make any promises to you or myself, but I have an inner feeling that on the 31st of December 2017 I am going to be much more satisfied with myself than I were just a couple of days ago. The way we perceive our priorities and the way we formularize them is essential. By the way, if you have not read about “systems instead of goals” approach yet, you could find out more about it here.
I started using Medium on a regular basis last year. This process was exciting and very convenient. After choosing the subjects that interested me, I got a feed full of articles to read. After distinguishing the ones that I enjoyed and the ones that did not go well, I found authors, whose works were the most outstanding. That is how I discovered Srinivas Rao. At first, I simply kept on reading what he has been writing, then I decided to give his podcast Unmistakable Creative a try. You may have heard about Srinivas, you may have heard about his podcast, but if you do not listen to it on a regular basis, it is time to start!
“Unmistakable Creative” has become one of the most valuable discoveries in terms of motivation and self-growth of the year. I had a chance to listen to interviews with successful, but in no way perfect people from all industries, and I let their words will me with certitude that I could achieve the desired goals too. Not one of those stories is typical, every single one of them is a proof that it is essential to believe in yourself and your beliefs, it is essential to admit honestly to yourself and others what you want to do in life and then go for it with bravery and persistence.
This process of self-discovery became a full circle, when I found a scientific article about a research dedicated to how a positive attitude can affect your productivity and creativity. After reading it, I realized another mistake of mine — I have been using wrong ways and wrong words while coming up with goals and reasons to aim for them. Instead of a positive approach and, as a result, a motivational one, I had a negative and a disheartening one. For example, I said to myself “I have to write a new article today, because I have not done it in a while and if I do not do it, I will waste another day, I will make another step back from my dream”. I should have said, “I will write another text today, because working on it will give me an opportunity to learn and grow, to become better and to share this experience with others. Moreover, I will enjoy the process and I will feel much better afterwards”. Can you feel the difference?
It may seem like a tiny thing, but it is actually huge. That is what you create the big picture of how you function with. Try saying “I will work out, because thanks to it my body with become stronger and healthier” instead of saying “if I do not work out now I will keep on getting fat”. Can you feel the difference? Give it a try! Implement these small changes and you will soon realize that everything is becoming different and slightly better. It is such a tiny detail, but an important one, a crucial one. If you are curious, you could read more about it on my blog or take your team and read the article itself in full.
Finally, let`s simply be kinder to ourselves and to one another. With kindness in our hearts, we can achieve much more. Happy New Year!
This article initially appeared in Russian on Simple+Beyond.