Can you believe that we made it to the end of 2020? What a roller coaster of a year, right?! And somehow, even with all the lockdowns, I feel busy. Don’t you? But if there’s anything I learned in my first four years of school, it was that being busy can sabotage every good intention you have for yourself.
Busyness is not how you set yourself up for success. I mean, look around — we are so busy that we can barely catch our breath! We don’t even have time to think. How can you possibly focus on designing your life to be more fulfilling, uplifting, and abundant? You can’t because even if you make a grand list of goals, you’re too busy to take the first step. You’ll never end up working on things like improving your health or creating a rejuvenating skincare routine.
But I’ve got good news for you. Today, I’m sharing the mindset practice that helps me let go of the past year and create space for the new year. It’s a series of four challenges to help you reflect on the previous year and clarify what’s really important to you moving forward. I’ll even introduce you to something I call “micro-goals” that can help you accomplish big things without feeling overwhelmed!
If you’re ready to set yourself up for a phenomenal 2021, keep reading!
How Slowing Down Helps You Speed Up
It’s easy to feel like the faster you go, the more you can accomplish. But, in my experience, that’s not the case. Maybe you can go further in a specific area, like the two years I knocked out my bachelor’s degree. I went super far, super fast (you can hear about the whole journey here). But many other areas of my life suffered, like my health, personal relationships, and spirituality.
Living busy and fast often keeps you from noticing and cultivating what matters. That’s not to say there aren’t busy seasons in our lives. Moving to Texas this summer in the middle of a pandemic with a small child while studying for my board exam wasn’t exactly easy and slow (catch the whole scoop on this podcast episode). But it is to say that busy shouldn’t be our normal or, if it is, we should intentionally and regularly take time to rest and recalibrate.
Here are three ways slowing down has helped me speed up:
- You can focus on what truly matters to you. When we’re super busy, we’re often working on things that don’t truly matter to us. We’re actually spread super thin doing things we think matter to everyone else. Slowing down creates space to notice and focus on exactly what’s important to you.
- You don’t have to fix things you did halfway the first time. When we’re running at a thousand miles an hour, we often don’t give things our full attention and call them “good enough.” Slowing down gives you the space to do it right and with excellence the first time.
- You don’t have to play catch up repairing your health and relationships. Whether we want to admit it or not, when we’re frantically doing a million things at once, something has to give. And usually, that something that gives is our personal well being physically, mentally, spiritually, and relationally. Slowing down gives you space to care for yourself.
You are a complete being. That means all of you matters. You may be able to go super fast for a time, but at some point, part of you will fall apart and slow you down. That breakdown will often take even longer to recover from than going a little slower from the very beginning. Tribe, I’m not telling you all this to rain on your parade, but as a big sister who is looking out for you! Because I went too fast, I fell apart and then spent a lot of time recovering.
Tribe, you deserve to be taken care of by yourself. If taking care of yourself means going slower, go slower. You won’t regret it, and you’ll probably enjoy the whole journey a lot more, too!
The 100 Goal Challenge
The first step in this mindset practice is to write a list of 100 goals or more — 100 is the minimum. I have done this for the last few years, and, I’ll be honest, it is hard to get to 100 goals. Sometimes I only get to 60. But I really, really challenge you to do all 100 because shooting for 100 goals will force you to create “micro goals.”
“Micro goals” are basically when you take a larger goal and break it down into smaller sub-goals. For example, let’s say you want to be more organized with your skincare routine. Micro goals could look like this:
- Clear out and organize the cabinets in our bathroom.
- Throw out any products I am no longer using.
- Research the best skincare routines and products.
- Purchase only necessary skincare products.
- Use skincare products for three months and re-evaluate.
Do you see how one goal turned into five “micro-goals”? Whenever I fulfill my own challenge of writing 100 goals, this is how I do it!
I encourage the challenge of writing 100 goals because it forces you to get all the things you want to do out of your head and on to paper. When those thoughts aren’t taking up space in your brain anymore, you will find that some goals overlap, others are for years down the road, or some just take a phone call to complete. I think you’ll also find that you can more easily identify which goals you want to prioritize and start working on this year.
Few, if any, of us will live hundreds of years, but most of us have hundreds of things we would like to accomplish. If we’re intentional with our goals, we just might be able to put a dent in the list of things we would love to accomplish. I believe in you!
Find 100 Things You’re Grateful For
The second part of this mindset practice could be more challenging, but it is so valuable: Write a list of 100 things you’re grateful for. This is something that I also do every year, and it helps me do two things:
- A gratitude list helps me reflect on what truly matters in life. When I look over my gratitude list, I’m often surprised by how many small insignificant things I write down. Things like my bed, a steaming cup of coffee, and watching my son sleep. There’s nothing particularly grand about them, but life would be so much less delightful without them.
- A gratitude list helps me note the things that happened in the last year that mattered to me. When we’re busy, it’s easy to get to the end of a day, week, month, or year and feel like we didn’t get anything remarkable done. Every year I have made this list, I have found not one or two but many remarkable things that happened in that year.
These things — the small delights and the big accomplishments — were all things I had experienced or lived throughout the year, but I had to slow down enough to recognize them. Tribe, making a gratitude list of 100 things gives you the space you need to see the good already in your life and take note of what really matters to you.
Intentionally Release Chaos
I love the third step of this mindset practice because I feel like it helps to move away from the busyness and into a new year with intention. Here it is: Release excess chaos in your life. When I say chaos, I mean text groups that drive you crazy (at least turn the notifications off), skincare items you don’t use, clothes you don’t wear, and appliances buried in a cabinet — all of the things! The list is endless, right?
Just take a walk around your house and ask yourself, “Have I used this item in the last three to six months?” If the answer is “no,” release it. You don’t have to throw it away. Take it to GoodWill, a thrift store, a local church that has a clothing bank. All the things that aren’t serving you could be things that someone else is asking and praying for.
Excess things tie up your space, time, and emotional energy. You have to keep cleaning them up and moving them out of the way for things you do use. Releasing chaos will help you walk into the year with more time to do whatever matters to you and give you more space to breathe!
Write a Letter to Your Future Self
The last step in this mindset practice is probably the most important! Write a vision letter for your year. This is a letter to your future self, congratulating yourself on all the things you have accomplished in 2021. By doing this exercise, you are foreseeing and manifesting what you would like to come true.
Start by finding a quiet space where you can spend 30 to 60 minutes. Get out a piece of paper and write as though everything you’re talking about has already happened. Tell yourself about all the things you want to have happened by the end of the year. I talk about my family, marriage, health, faith, and spirituality, and our business — essentially, everything that’s important to me. I write about these things — exactly how I want to see them when the year ends.
This practice ends up being truly remarkable when you go back to this letter and see all the miracles that happened for you. Our words carry the power of life and death. When we choose to speak positive things over our life that we want to happen, we significantly increase their chances of happening. But it’s the same with the negative things we say about our life.
So, I encourage you to join me and write this letter for yourself in 2021, welcoming good things into your life!
Why You Need to Welcome 2021 with a Grateful Heart
I truly hope that as we close 2020, you remember what you are grateful for. You know, gratitude is at the heart of an abundant life. When we can be grateful for what we have, we send out a signal that we are ready to receive more in life. So, if you only do one of the four steps I shared today, let it be to list 100 things you’re grateful for.
Before you head into the rest of this year, I would love it if you took a screenshot of this and shared it on Instagram. Tag me, @drnikoleta, and let me know which of these tips resonates with you! Connecting with you all is the highlight of my day.
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Thank you again for spending this time with me today. Your support means the world to me!
I’m cheering you on! Now go Step Out with Confidence® and do what matters to you!
Disclaimer: The Millennial Doc® Podcast is advertising/marketing material. It is not medical advice. Please consult with your doctor on these topics. Copyright Dr. Nikoleta 2020.