INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
Apple’s Steve Jobs once shared the key to having a better new year when he said, “You can only connect the dots looking backwards, not forwards. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down – it’s made all the difference in my life.”
In other words, resist the temptation to make assumptions about what 2022 is going to be like based on what was likely a very difficult 2021. Yes, there’s plenty of carryover anxiety to start off the new year with. But the symbolic beauty of the turn of a calendar year is this: it’s a new year, and you don’t know. You never know. The new year holds as much possibility, change for the better, and hope, as you’ll let it.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
To make 2022 the year you get unstuck, i.e. getting out of an unhelpful pattern of spinning and not moving forward that we all fall into at times, try practicing the Unstuck Manifesto (part of my popular One-Minute Habits for Success course). It consists of four “I” statements:
I will take responsibility – Unstuck starts with “U”. You have to realize you’re in a rut before you can pull yourself out of one. Will Rogers said, “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.” Be honest with yourself if you’ve put it in “park” and take ownership to get it back in “drive.”
I will identify patterns and habits – Take time to be introspective and spot (and name) the unhelpful patterns you’ve fallen into and bad habits weighing you down.
I will recommit to the concept of challenge – Think what it means to challenge—it’s to put opposition against or test the abilities of something. Both increase your ability to succeed over time. But when you’re stuck in a rut, you push the idea of being challenged out of your mind, numbly staying in your comfort zone, taking the path of least resistance. You aren’t challenging much of anything – your assumptions, the status quo, or yourself. Instead, remind yourself how exciting it is to be challenged, how it leads to growth. To whet your appetite for challenge again, start with a small, doable challenge, and build up from there.
I will get “next” going – It’s hard to get unstuck and change course if you don’t have a destination. Envision what you want (not what you’re supposed to want) and your next reenergizing step to get there. Commit to learning, growth, and taking some risks.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
A friend of mine at P&G, Jason Duff, shared a wonderful tip for creating new habits that will stick in the year ahead. Inspired by Jerry Seinfeld’s method/habit of writing a new joke every day, he sent me a calendar template that gives you a view of every day of the year all at once. He prints it out on 36” x 24” paper at FedEx, and puts an “X” on each day after he completes his practice of a habit he’s trying to form. The daily X gives him a sense of accomplishment and encourages him to keep going because he doesn’t want to break the chain. Here’s the power of it, straight from Jason: “When your goal is based on an endpoint, you spend most of the year in a failure state because you have not yet achieved the goal. Conversely, if your goal is to create a new habit, you can achieve success every day, which reinforces habit creation.” Simple. Simply brilliant. (By the way, if you’d like the free calendar template, email me at email@example.com).