Who are you when you are at your best? When do you feel most fulfilled?
Reflecting on these questions helps us to become more mindful of where we are and what we aspire to be. There are three key actions we can take to excel in 2021 and beyond: focus on energy, work, and love; set small goals; and strive to close the gap between who we are and who we are capable of being.
Focus on energy, work, and love
When it comes to being happier and better managing stress, we need to simplify our mindset and focus on our physical energy, work, and love.
Intentionally increase our physical energy
The foundation of our energy is rooted in how we take care of ourselves through eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, focusing, playing, and celebrating. When we are busy, it is easy to forget to prioritize our health and self-care, so take a moment and ask: What are you doing each day to increase your energy?
We can be intentional about this by eating nourishing meals, moving often, prioritizing sleep, focusing on celebrating the little things, and allowing ourselves time to breathe and meditate. It is important to reframe our mindset and think about what we can add to our routine instead of just focusing on what we need to stop doing.
Take a moment to think about a time in your life when you had a high amount of energy. What were you doing then? What can you add to your current routine to get closer to feeling that way again?
Find fulfillment at work
Enjoying the work we do is a key part of our happiness and self-development. Unfortunately, there are many people who do not feel fulfillment in their work and who are unable to leave their job. It is important to recognize that every challenge in our lives is a lesson, and every person we encounter is a teacher. Even if we are unhappy at work, we need to pause and ask ourselves what we are supposed to learn from this experience.
Finding fulfillment at work often comes from using our strengths and feeling like we are a meaningful member of our team. To identify our strong points, we should observe the activities that energize us. Ask yourself, what are you doing to share your gifts, use your creativity, and further develop your talents at work?
Surround ourselves with love
To truly excel, it is important to surround ourselves with people who love and support us. When we foster meaningful relationships, we are able to increase feelings of love and fulfillment.
There are many opportunities to increase the love we experience, whether that be communicating more openly with our partner, tending to new friendships, or volunteering in the community. Wherever we invest our time, it is essential to be present and appreciate the special moments we are able to share.
But first, we need to look inward and have a healthy relationship with ourselves. Practicing positive self-talk and affirmations can boost our confidence and help us to accept the love others give us, too. Ask yourself: Where do you find love in your personal life, community, and work? What can you do each day to increase self-love and find meaning and connection in your relationships?
Set small and attainable goals
It’s common to feel like we need to “think big” to achieve real change, especially in the new year. In reality, larger than life goals set our expectations too high, and when we struggle to achieve them, we end up discouraged and often abandon our efforts altogether.
Instead of creating impossible New Year’s resolutions, let’s aim to do a “goal cleanse.” We can evaluate our goals and group them into columns: “realistic goals” and “unrealistic goals.” Focus your attention on the “realistic goals” and break them down into manageable pieces. It is helpful to keep in mind “SMART” objectives; these are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. For the “unrealistic goals,” either break them down into smaller goals that are more achievable, delegate them, put them on hold, or even decide not to pursue them at this time.
Close the gap
It can be discouraging to think of the gap that exists between who we are now and who are capable of being. We need to reflect on what we can do – in little steps – to get closer to our ideal self. This could involve investing time in new skill development, taking a course, and surrounding ourselves with supporters.
This is an opportunity for growth, and it allows us to challenge ourselves and steadily lessen the gap between our current state and our potential. In order to achieve this, we need to continue to be intentional about increasing our energy, striving for fulfillment at work, and surrounding ourselves with meaningful connections and self-love.
As we embark on a new year, let’s focus our attention, time, and efforts on what we can control; keep moving forward; and see opportunity in every challenge. Our habits will continue to test us, but if we concentrate on energy, work, and love; set small, achievable goals; and take measured steps to close the gap between our current self and our potential, then we will be prepared to accomplish great things and excel in 2021 and beyond.
Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company with a primary mission for advancing individuals in leadership. Through keynote speeches, training programs and executive coaching, Dima has empowered thousands of professionals across the globe to expand their leadership potential. In addition, she provides guidance to business executives to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and to implement a multi-year plan for advancing quality leaders from within the organization.