As we celebrate saying goodbye to the shit show that was 2020 and welcome 2021 with a sigh of relief, you might be feeling some pressure to set some lofty goals for the year ahead. After all, you've got dreams to make a big impact in the world and I'm guessing 2020 laughed your plans into oblivion. I feel you.
To help you avoid becoming part of the 92% of people who fail to achieve their New Years resolutions and annual goals, I'm sharing three simple lessons I learned from this challenging year, as a framework to help you approach and achieve any goal.
There's a lot of power in goal setting and this is the perfect time to do it. Too much future focus, however, without leveraging the right tools in the present can make us sick with anxiety. Trust me, 2020 was an epic training ground in this for me. It likely evolved into some wisdom for you too and these three steps should help you access that wisdom while you plan for brighter days ahead.
1. Unplug and breath. (Rest)
Breath is your life force and because its automatic, it can be easy to forget to bring awareness to it. This year has left us with more virtual connectedness than ever. While technology is a wonderful tool, overuse can cause severe burnout and quick emotional craters, exacerbated by unconsciously holding our breath. Seriously. I noticed this in myself, my students, and my colleagues this year across hundreds of zoom hours.
Engaging with technology can cause our breath to become shallow and short. Throw in the heartache and challenge that 2020 and well, we've got a recipe for meltdowns.
The best way through and toward anything is with mindful attention to the breath. Slow and steady.
When we bring mindfulness to our breathing, it slows our heart rate and physical stress responses. It enhances a sense of peace in the present moment regardless of circumstance. It opens us to deeper connection with others (even virtually), but most importantly, creates more internal bandwidth for the spectrum of experiences life brings. I'm talkin more room for joy and perseverance, and who doesn't want that? Bringing more awareness to your breath will help you achieve any outcome you have in mind.
2. Invest in help and double down on self-care. (Reflect)
Help has a broad meaning depending on where you are in your life and the goals you are working towards. It could look like starting therapy, enrolling in a class, hiring a nanny or a house cleaner, finding an accountabili-buddy, delegating, or even just asking those closest to you to step in on something you need. If you own a business, help can look like hiring out certain jobs, creating intentional partnerships, or hiring a coach.
This year, I've had to do all of these things and more (minus the nanny part cuz I'm not a mom yet) to pivot my business and stay sane with so much unexpected change.
Help is one of those simple things to get that many of us have a hard time seeking or asking for. Sometimes justifying an added expense against the backdrop of a dwindling economy can stop us from making our lives so much easier. Do yourself a solid and get some help. You're allowed to have needs. You're allowed to seek help in meeting them.
Taking care of yourself is how you show up for the roles and responsibilities in your life with vitality and joy. Your emotional stability and physical health are crucial. Keeping your mind clear, your emotions stable, and your body healthy requires considerable amounts of self-care, especially with clear goals amidst a pandemic. Take the time to give back to yourself and watch this investment pay off in other areas of your life. Create loving boundaries around the practices that are serving you and take a moment to reflect on the areas that aren't working. Make a plan for help and breath in that brave goodness!
3. Surrender the outcome. (Reset)
When we're talking about setting and crushing big goals, surrendering the outcome can sound counterintuitive. So, let's distinguish between surrender and giving up because there's a BIG difference.
If you feel a twinge of resistance or curiosity here, I strongly recommend a book called Letting Go by Dr. David Hawkins. GAME CHANGER. Hawkins, in addition to presenting a life-changing Map of Consciousness, distinguishes between power and force as he shares empirical evidence for the transformative power of allowing.
Just like self-care, surrender might look different for different folks. For me, it's a daily dance of deepening my faith in a higher power by any means necessary. It's about showing up with integrity and accepting that my best looks different each day.
Surrender is about being with what is. When you allow yourself to be where you are, while taking kind steps toward where you'd like to be, a natural process of evolution unfolds.
Surrender is about (re)creating our belief systems to align with love and peace and relinquish fear (or lower level emotions). It's a process of aligning with principles that feed your consciousness, your spirit, your mind (whatever you want to call it) with a higher purpose that pulls you out of the daily muck and unhelpful mental chatter. This is why so many people (myself included) talk up meditation. Mediation is a practice of surrender.
Regardless of how you cultivate it, the state of surrender is the path to your goals. It also has the added bonus of allowing you to manifest them with greater peace and joy, especially amidst uncertainty. As you move forward into the year, no matter your plans, take time to discover how you can connect to a surrendered state of mind. It's allowed to look and feel like whatever you need it to.
So, what are you leaving in 2020? What are you inviting in for 2021?
When in doubt or feeling stuck, never underestimate the power of a walk in nature, a shower, reading that dusty book on your shelf, journaling, cleaning, or even (gasp) a nap. Whatever you decide, use it as path to reunite with the power of your breath. Rest, reflect, and reset you brave, amazing goal-crushing human, you. These three R's will strengthen your resilience as you move closer to the true you and the wonderful things you are bringing to this world.
Happy New Year, love.
Breathe and just be.