New decade, new you: How to make a strong start to the new decade

new decade strong start

We look at our final goal as if it’s the first step, leading us to feel overwhelmed and quickly give up on trying to achieve it. The key to progress involves building new, small habits to help you achieve your goals. Go slow. Set smaller milestones and make small incremental changes in the direction of your big goal. This helps make the goal more achievable, rather than too drastic and unachievable, writes Stuart Taylor

For many people, the turn of a new year comes with a new year’s resolution. But despite our best intentions, most of us have already abandoned our resolve as the first month of the year comes to an end. Only 25% of resolution setters stick it out for a full month, and fewer than 8% take their resolution through to the end of the year.

Despite these glum statistics, the year of 2020 is a golden opportunity for serial resolution setters as it signals the beginning of a new decade and the promise of a clean slate. Bill Gates once said that while people overestimate what they can do in a year, they underestimate what they can do in a decade. What better time to turn over a new leaf and set bigger and better goals for the future?

To avoid finishing before you’ve even begun, here are some tips to help you start the decade strong, achieve your goals and come out the end of it better than ever.

Go slow. Set smaller milestones and make small incremental changes in the direction of your big goal. This helps make the goal more achievable, rather than too drastic and unachievable.

Find your purpose
A lot of people know what they want, but not why they want it. However, you will find it’s much easier to stick to something when it is something that matters to you.

Having a purpose makes it easier to bounce back in challenging times by providing stability, confidence, and determination. To kick off the new decade, take the time to re-evaluate or land on your purpose. This will help you to decide on which goals and activities are important to you and set you up for long-term success.

The Japanese concept of Ikigai could help you land on your purpose for the next decade. Ask yourself the following four questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need?
  • What can you be paid for?

Ikigai believes that your purpose can be condensed into six words (no more, no less). My purpose is, “living, laughing, contributing, with assertive humility”.

It is a combination of these things that can help you understand your priorities and contributes to a more fulfilling life as a whole.

Go slow
We look at our final goal as if it’s the first step, leading us to feel overwhelmed and quickly give up on trying to achieve it. The key to progress involves building new, small habits to help you achieve your goals.

Go slow. Set smaller milestones and make small incremental changes in the direction of your big goal. This helps make the goal more achievable, rather than too drastic and unachievable.

For instance, if you want to lose a certain amount of weight by the end of the decade, don’t start with an unsustainable crash diet or an extreme exercise routine – it won’t last. Start by adding one positive habit to your life at a time. Start by walking your dog twice a week for a month. Once it’s part of your routine, start cutting out soft-drink during the week. Eventually, these tiny positive changes will feel like part of your lifestyle rather than a chore.

For those with a professional goal in mind, start by breaking down the steps into smaller milestones like a promotion or a pay rise. Work out exactly what you need to do to get to the next level – perhaps it’s to exceed sales targets. If it is, commit to reaching out to five next sales leads a week.

A lot of people know what they want, but not why they want it. However, you will find it’s much easier to stick to something when it is something that matters to you.

Build your resilience
For some people, a minor setback can send them off the rails, while others can bounce back with a spring in their step and even more determination to succeed. What’s the difference? Resilience.

It’s a common misperception that resilience is either a born-with skill or only developed in the wake of major adversity and trauma in a person’s life. In fact, resilience is a skill that can be learned and acts as a psychological buffer against obstacles; enabling you to maintain balance, protect your wellbeing and sustain high cognitive performance.

A few ways to build resilience to help you achieve your goals include:

  • Tackle life with a glass half full approach: A positive mindset acts as a launchpad for victory, and it’s important to recognise that every challenge comes an opportunity for growth. This attitude will keep you moving forward.
  • Maintain positive lifestyle practices: Exercise regularly, enjoy a healthy and well-balanced diet and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. These basic lifestyle factors are really important contributors to emotional wellbeing and longevity.
  • Be social: Having a strong support network is imperative for building resilience and improving overall life satisfaction. More than that, positive reinforcement from your peers can improve self-respect and confidence.

For some people, a minor setback can send them off the rails, while others can bounce back with a spring in their step and even more determination to succeed. What’s the difference? Resilience.

There is no better time to reflect on what the last ten years have delivered and set some goals for what the next ten will bring. But remember that your life won’t change overnight. Take the time to understand your purpose, invest in building your resilience and go slow. Doing this will allow you to keep your head up, navigate setbacks and put you on the path to being the best version of yourself this decade.

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