As you read this, somewhere in the world, New Year’s resolutions are being drafted, intentions are being set, dreams are being carefully worded to reflect the passions and desires of their writers (or typers). All of this is happening around you because, once again, a year – all of 365 days – has managed to slip by. And if you are like most people, you honestly don’t know where half of it went. If you are like most people, you tried. You honestly did. But somewhere in the process of making a living and surviving the days, you got sidetracked, or tired, and became inconsistent with things you had intended to follow through on. Yes. Another year has somehow managed to slip by. Not unnoticed, but maybe unharnessed.
Sometimes the issue is not that you didn’t set your resolutions properly, or didn’t want them badly enough. Sometimes it is simply a matter of clarity. Sometimes our desires and dreams are so large and varied that we get confused and have difficulty identifying and documenting them. We want this to be your best year yet, so we have compiled, based on extensive reading, a list of 10 questions that should help you to find clarity in the New Year.
1. What is missing in my life right now?
It’s time for you to sit down and identify the things that are missing from your life. What is not present in your life that you would like be there? What would make you really, truly happy? Many persons have heard the question, ‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ Well, it’s a good question to ask yourself. What do you want to do or have or be more than anything else in the world? Forget the limitations and take the time to figure it out. Then write it down.
2. What’s holding me back?
Now that you’ve decided what you want in your life, the next thing to figure out is why you don’t already have these things. Why don’t you have the money you would like to? The education? The friends? The boyfriend/girlfriend? The job? If you can identify the hindrances, then you can figure out ways to over come them. So, be honest with yourself: what’s holding you back? Is it you? Is it the way you behave or think? Is it another person? Is it time? Think it through, tell the truth, then write down your answers.
3. What is the biggest time-waster in my life right now?
Be very honest. You know what it is. From idle friends to Netflix binges to senseless and futile activities … you know the things that are wasting your time. What you may frequently forget is that time is life. Your life is comprised of units of time, and how you spend your time is literally how you are spending your life. So look at it, and identify the things that are not helping you to be your best self. Be brutally honest. What are the things that serve no purpose, take you nowhere, and only make you feel guilty and ineffective? Then select the one thing that wastes more of your time than anything else. Write it down.
4. What’s the best use of my time right now?
What do you need to be engaged in that will help you move towards your goals? Choose wisely. Always remember that you have the option between a MOST ideal activity and a LESS ideal one. Choose the most ideal one. Select the thing that you are certain, in this moment, is the absolute best use of your time. Then make the decision that you will be proud of in the long run. }
5. What are some actions I can take to change things now?
This is an essential step. Now that you’ve taken the time to identify the things you want and what is most ideal, you need to choose action. For anything to change, you MUST take action. So think of some concrete things you can do to make your life this year different. Don’t make them large and sweeping, make them small, doable, manageable steps. Never forget: progress is progress, no matter how small.
4. How do I measure progress?
What are some of the ways that you will know that you are making progress towards your goals? They have to be measurable things. For example, if the aim is to write more, then a measurable goalpost would be to have typed 500 words for a short story. If the aim is to lose weight, then a measurable step is to go a week without eating any chocolate. Measure the small steps and celebrate the little victories. Every step counts. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. So go ahead, take that baby step.
5. Do I make and meet clear deadlines?
Deadlines ensure that you don’t keep procrastinating. It can take you three months to type 500 words if you don’t set a goal to do it within two days. Set specific date and time limits for your goals. And then keep them. And don’t worry about missing the first hundred times you try. Just keep trying. Keep setting new times. Keep going after excellence.
6. What is my why?
You need to take time to examine the motivations behind your desires. This will also help you to stay fueled and motivated. Why does making more money matter to you? Why do you need to write a novel? Why must you travel more and try new foods? Is it happiness and self-fulfillment, meeting your life’s deepest longings and needs, making your loved ones happy, or proving something to yourself and others? Ask yourself what your why is. If you are clear on why you are acting, and you are fully convinced of the importance and necessity of that why, you will not be easily deterred.
7. What is my spiritual practice?
Some people shy away from the use of the term ‘spiritual’, but it speaks to doing something that helps you to stay calm, refreshed and strengthened internally. Everybody needs to have a routine for replenishment. Life takes a lot out of us, and we often don’t realise it until we are all burnt out and ready to drop. Don’t let that be you. Nothing is more confused and confusing than a tired, drained mind. Identify the things that uplift your spirit and keep you happy and hopeful. Is it spending time with friends and family? Is it quiet time alone? Is it a walk along the beach, or maybe a sit-down session at a favourite park or restaurant? Maybe it’s attending a religious place of worship, or communing with God. Whatever it is, identify it and plan times for it from now.
8. Who or what is my support system?
Because everybody needs one. People need people. But they need genuine, non-judgmental, caring and authentic people. Who fits that description in your life right now? Who are your true-blue, always-there-for-you friends? Who comes to mind? Stay close to those people this year. You know, the ones who tell you the truth and love you no matter what. It could be your mother, a coworker, a gym partner. Whoever they are, they will help you to work through the confused and unclear moment s of your life with your best interest at heart. They will definitely assist with clarity.
9. Am I comfortable and satisfied with myself physically?
Be honest: If no one else’s opinion factored in, are you really happy with how you look and how your body feels? Is there anything you would change about your physical appearance? And why? People like to pretend that they don’t have issues with their bodies, or sometimes put it at the bottom of their list as a ‘less important goals. But it is a well-known fact that if you look good, you feel great. Looking good helps you to have a winning attitude and gives you one less thing to worry about. So go for it. Go after the body you want so you can have the confidence you need to be exceptional.
10. How can I support someone else’s journey?
Thinking less about yourself and more about others, from a standpoint of genuine care and concern, can work wonders for your perspective and clarity. When you get involved in helping another person be their best self, you can’t help but be motivated to be a better you too. It also enriches your journey, because goodness to others has a way of filling our hearts with a certain light and joy and fulfillment that doesn’t come from anything else. Practise kindness. And be to your friends what you want them to be to you.