Photo by Félix Lam on Unsplash

How To Completely Turn Your Life Around This Year And Become 10x More Effective At What You Do

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln

A lot happens every 365 days.

Victories. Lessons. Failures. Physical changes. Special moments. Career successes. Personal growth. And much more.

It’s the best time of the year to consider what you really want and assess which areas of your life deserve more attention.

These are a few tweaks to your daily routine — all of which take 10 minutes or less — that can make you more productive, happier, and healthier this year.

Review 2018 today!

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” — Meg Wheatley

2018 went by rather quickly.

How did it work out for you?

Did you achieve your goals early last year?

What went right? Wrong? And what can you do better?

Did you consume more media or took time to become a better version of yourself?

How about my time management? How did your screentime affect your productivity?

Review all your goals; those you achieved and those that you did not even to start work on.

Have you started on the same path this year?

Or are doing more of what worked?

Be brutally honest when you review 2018.

Take responsibility for the situations you could have done better, and start taking action to make this year even better.

Write all these things down in your journal/book for reference.

Identify your patterns and how you can replicate everything that worked whilst you focus on this year’s most important things.

If you are future-focused, this is a helpful reminder to look back, even for a few minutes, and think about how far you’ve come and what you need to do to be better, and smarter in the future.

Embrace 90 days sprints

This year, instead of going on 365 days run, do 90 days sprint.

Most people can’t achieve a significant goal because there is little or no pressure to make real progress in your life or career till you get to October.

To beat your procrastination habit, focus on checking in yourself every three months.

At the end of every 90 days, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What did I achieve? These are the things you were able to accomplish.
  2. What went well and what didn't, and how can I do better in the next 90.
  3. What are my most important tasks for the next 90 days? These are the few goals (between 3 and 5) you are most excited about.

Write your MIT’s down.

Cross them off your list of things to do when you get them done. Seeing progress can make you more productive.

To achieve a bigger goal, work backwards

There is nothing wrong with a bigger picture.

But when you focus too much on how exciting the future looks, you will miss the important details you need to work on to achieve that all important goal.

You need to work backwards.

Looking at an end goal can be super scary and often times, seems impossible.

The bigger the more impossible.

Big goals often require multiple steps. Productivity is a process, not an achievement.

The most productive people you know or have read about do not rely on huge bursts and then stop working.

They focus on the details. Micro-steps.

Jim Rohn once said, “Success is a few simple disciplines, practised every day, while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. ​There is power in small wins and slow gains.”

Instead of thinking about the big picture, break it down into smaller, more manageable goals.

Your daily tasks should contribute to a meaningful and greater goal

According to Charles Duhigg, author of Smarter Faster Better, reminding ourselves of how a small action fits into a bigger objective makes it easier to link our small efforts to more meaningful aspirations.

Focus on high-value activities every morning

Many successful people spend the first hours of each day alone, to reflect, think, meditate, create or read.

Find something that motivates you and look forward to it every morning.

Time management starts right from the minute you wake up from bed.

You are most active and productive in the morning, hence the need to do everything in your power to make the first few hours count.

Lean to avoid the busy work that adds no real value to your work, vision or long-term goal.

Low value activities, including responding to notifications, or reacting to emails keep you busy and stop you from getting real work done.

Make time for work that matters.

Prioritise positivity every week

What can you plan today that will make you happy tomorrow?

Or better still, what activities can you add to your weekly routine that will bring out the best in you?

A 2014 study, published in the journal Emotion, found that the key to happiness and a happy day is “prioritizing positivity,” or structuring your day so that it includes activities that are likely to make you happy.

To schedule your days to maximize happiness, add activities that bring you contentment. Don’t just focus on work every day.

Set aside time for your best hobby every day.

You don't have to spend hours doing it. Just 15 minutes can make a huge difference in your life every day.

Take time to connect with your best self every day. You can spend the first few minutes every morning doing what you enjoy, a few minutes every night to focus on your best activity.

It could be anything that relaxes you and that is replicable each day.

Put your evenings to good use

Evening routines can make or break your mornings.

Here is a familiar routine you should give up: After work, you eat dinner, sprawl out on the couch, binge Netflix, you keep using your smartphone until you practically fall asleep, struggle to get a good night sleep, wake up tired or late, and start your day without knowing exactly what needs to be done.

Long before the week is over, you’re burned out and know you won’t hit this week’s goals.

How do you get out of this rut?

Better morning and evening routines!

A routine at night means better time management.

“Maintaining healthy habits is a good idea at any time of the day, but certain ones can give you more bang for your buck when done before bed,” says Rachel Daniels, RD, senior director of nutrition at Virtual Health Partners in New York.

Laura Vanderkam, author of “Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done” recommends setting one (simple) priority for every weekday evening.

“It is very easy to come home after work and just feel like, well, I’m too tired to do anything. But you have several hours then that are going and you will never get that back,” says Vanderkam.

The close of each day is just as important as the start.

Choose to read a few pages of your favourite book, write down what you are grateful for the day, spend quality time with your family, go to the gym, or spend a few minutes to plan tomorrow tonight.

Use these habits to get ready for tomorrow and minimise the resistance you encounter in getting things done in the morning.

Slow down

Stop doing busy work.

You don’t have to keep your calendar full of tasks every day of the week.

Life can be a rat race that often pressures us to keep pushing until we burn out. You don't want that.

Make time for YOU!

Take a break every now and then to refresh, recover and start over.

Your body needs it to deliver what you expect of it.

Review your commitments and get rid of everything that adds little or no value to your life.

Start defending your time, attention, energy and resources.

Sometimes slowing down means saying, “No,” even if it means disappointing one or two people.

Work. Rest. Refresh. Repeat.

Key takeaway

How 2019 turns out is largely within your control. You can make it your best year yet if you are ready to make a few changes to your daily habits. Your focus this year is significant to your success.

Changing your life for the better this year is about picking a destination and taking one step at a time to get there.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +415,678 people.

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