Did you face many challenges last year and celebrate the fact that you survived 2019? Without a doubt, many of us faced personal and professional trials, some quite profound. So how might we enter 2020 with the intention to do more than endure the coming year? With focus and determination, we can turn our attention from merely surviving to actually thriving.
We cannot always control events around us, but we can control our response to them. For a long time, I was among those who would often see my life as a series of events to get through. I’d go to work knowing I’d have to have a difficult conversation and would just hope to survive it. I’d even find myself going to a social event I’d been looking forward to for weeks, but when the day came and I was tired, I’d tell myself I just want to get through it so I can go home and rest. Once I committed to find the joy in daily life, I’d do what I could to boost my energy before heading to the party and then focus my attention on enjoying the company of friends. With this new intention, I’d approach the difficult conversation with compassion and look for the common goals we shared so I could focus the conversation on how to help the person find a positive path forward rather than simply confronting their bad behavior.
Beyond adjusting our responses to what confronts us daily, we often have more control over what we do when it comes to living the life we’ve always wanted. Going into 2020, we can focus on creating a vision of what a positive, successful year looks like for us to live our best life personally, professionally, and as part of the global community, whatever that means for you.
Try this exercise. Envision yourself on December 31, 2020 looking back at the year coming to an end. You have just had the happiest, healthiest, most successful year yet in all areas of your life. What did that look like? Imagine yourself telling your family, friends, and colleagues about all of your great experiences over the year and what you did to make them happen. Once you can see yourself describing this outrageously positive year, think about what you would have to do starting now, in January, to be ready to describe the outcomes this coming December.
Then, as the Nike commercials used to say, “Just do it!” Make a commitment to something to make this vision come to life in the coming week. It can be as simple as going on line to look at the curriculum of some educational programs you’ve been considering or as audacious as finding the courage to apply for a job you worry is beyond your ability to land. Pick something meaningful and just do it. Once you get some momentum going, commit yourself to taking regular positive steps toward achieving some of the accomplishments that will make you feel like 2020 was an amazing year. Put a recurring appointment on your calendar each week to take some action, large or small that will make you feel happy, fulfilled or satisfied in some way.
Regardless of the outcome of your efforts, find some satisfaction in the fact that you took positive actions. Celebrate your successes along the way. If your results fall short of what you’d hoped for, look for ways to improve your approach based on your experience and try again.
Here’s to keeping focused on finding the positive in daily events and taking action to achieve our own definition of success!