You’ve probably read countless posts since the 30th of December with people sharing different insights or tips for having a great year.
Chances are you’ve even seen some of the same things I’m about to share with you.
The only claim I make is these are things that work for me. And hopefully, they might work for you too.
1. Do 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 Things Every Day. No More.
What are the things you need to do every day that will make you feel fulfilled or feel like you had a good day?
For me, I read a daily devotional and pray, read a book (fiction or nonfiction) for about an hour or more (long enough to finish at least one chapter), practice Spanish on my phone with Duolingo for 5 – 15 minutes, read a sales letter, and write for at least 30 minutes. I work out at least 3x a week.
As long as I get all of these done in one day, then that day is a great day for me already. I don’t need to do more. But if I end up doing more, good!
And just to add, I’m not some sort of Superman. I’m sorry, but there are days when I’m low on energy and I can barely manage to do all of this.
On days like that, I might just read for 15 minutes, work out a bit or not even work out at all, practice just one lesson on Duolingo, read just one page of a book, write for a few minutes, and read either just a page, a few paragraphs of a sales letter or none at all.
The most important thing is consistency and frequency.
By being consistent, I’ve managed to lock down these habits. As such, my body doesn’t need a lot of motivation to do any of them. The response is almost automatic. And boy, does it feel fucking good!!!
I can also sleep peacefully.
2. Know What Works For You + Understand Your Body.
This is not an excuse to be lazy or procrastinate. But it’s a great idea if you understand your most productive hours and maximise them, plus also understanding how your body works and how to gain the most from it.
I’m a bit of a nightcrawler (been this way since secondary school). I don’t sleep much at night plus my most productive hours are between 11 pm and 4 am. It’s quiet, less disturbance, plus it feels like this is the time the heavens are open and my brightest ideas are born.
But as much as I’m a nightcrawler my body still demands that I sleep at least 6 – 7 hours every day. If I don’t I end up having a fucked up day!
Well, thankfully, I work a very flexible day job and my resumption time is between 9 – 10 am, plus I live about 20 minutes away, which means I can catch in an extra 4 – 6 hours of sleep every morning. I’m also careful to nap during the day, or once I get back home in the evening.
Going outside this and my day would be a mess.
I read somewhere that our bodies are alarm clocks. This is why people with bad health habits get heart attacks, people with crazy working schedules are strained and become mentally tired over time, and people with bad sleeping habits have a less than an optimal day. It’s simply your body begging you to slow down.
I work out enough to keep myself exceptionally trim – defined muscles, flat stomach, a bit of chest and arms, at least enough to look good naked and in tight clothing.
Doing more than the above doesn’t end well. My body can hardly keep up (passed out in a gym after doing too much in 2019, fell seriously ill twice when I aggressively increased my workout regimen in 2020).
3. Don’t Make Wishes, Set Goals.
You’ve seen this before, in fact, I’m certain that every productivity and getting the best out of the new year post will carry this.
But I read somewhere that dreams are dreams, wishes are wishes, but goals are dreams with a plan to achieve them.
It’s typical for people to make lots of resolutions every New Year and get lost a few months into the year.
Sometimes it’s their fault, sometimes it’s not. Which is why you must have plans to achieve anything you set out to do.
And these plans involve cutting your goals down to bit sizes. Small achievable sizes.
Do you want to write 100 songs in 2021?
It’s a big goal.
But it’s simple.
There are 52 weeks in a year. And you just need to write an average of just 2 songs a week to reach 100 songs. You could spend just 1 hour every day to do this.
I used this as an example because I know someone who did it.
He reached the 100 songs mark in 8 months, and write around 50 more over the remaining 4 months to end the year.
I read at least 40 books every year, for at least the last three years.
But I don’t spend all day in a library. Far from that!
I’ve got a job, a family to feed plus a myriad of personal ventures and I can’t spend my whole day reading. But I manage to read for at least 15 minutes to 1 hour (or more) every day.
At that pace, I can comfortably finish 1 book (or sometimes 2) in 1 week.
There are 52 weeks in a year, remember?
So, I can comfortably read 40, 60, 80 or even 100 books in one year, and neither my business, job or family will suffer.
In 2020, I set a goal to get better with my writing.
But we all know that is a vague goal.
What exactly is get better with my writing?
I simply identified I needed to write more, at least once a week or even every day.
So, what did I do?
I started writing for at least 15 minutes every day. I also started a blog where I post my thoughts at least once a week (Sunday evenings). I wrote at least 50 blog posts in 2020 alone.
I won’t lie to you, it was hard some days.
Sometimes I was so mentally wiped out that I didn’t know what to write about. I just managed to put down anything that came to mind.
Some days it was so easy that my Sunday posts were already ready early in the week. But sometimes I had to write some last minute.
It was so bad sometimes that I had no idea what to write about until I started writing.
Inspiration met me halfway.
But inspiration needed to find me working.
And that’s the most important thing about setting goals or making plans – EXECUTION.
I just got a push notification from Netflix. A new series I’m interested in has been released. I still haven’t finished over 40+ episodes from the other series I downloaded.
There are so many distractions to keep you going for the next one thousand years. You look at everything you have to do every day and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. But it’s unnecessary to wallow in it.
You can make your life simpler… by simply focusing on the IMPORTANT things.
Focus on one important thing at a time.
I learned late last year from my mentor about the importance of deep work.
You have something to do? Turn off every distraction and just zero in on that single activity.
But it’s also important you understand your body.
Some people work for at least 6 hours straight nonstop!
I can focus for at least an hour and up to 3 hours straight just working and churning out content.
But not everyone can.
So, you must find what works for you.
20 minutes? 30 minutes of totally focused deep work? 45 minutes? And then intermissions in between to recharge your brain. This simple exercise will push you farther than anything else this year.
Remember, whatever you focus on grows.
5. Say No
“You can’t be everything to everybody” – J.Cole (Sacrifices)
Some people aren’t good for you.
Some requests from even the good people in your life aren’t good for you.
Some opportunities aren’t good for you.
Learn to say no to people, to things, to ‘opportunities’ etc.
Offered a drink or weed at a party and you don’t want it? Say no. And don’t try to explain or defend your stance. Just keep it moving!
A friend asks for a small loan and you can’t afford it? Say no.
A job or career opportunity opens up and you don’t see it aligning with your purpose? Let it go.
Be willing to walk away from people, things, situations, circumstances and even ‘opportunities’.
Every open door isn’t meant to be walked through. Accept that fact.
Need I say more about this?
Few activities leave you feeling good about yourself, while also boosting your health, improving your appearance and elongating your life.
You don’t have to run for a thousand kilometres. Or lift as much weight as Arnold Schwarzenegger does.
It’s okay to just take walks regularly.
Walks have been even proven to be one of the most important factors behind the longevity of the Japanese. They work almost everywhere.
10, 15, 20 pushups, situps or squats everyday compound over time. You don’t even need to do too much. Just keep it regular.
Reading 15 minutes or more, or just one page a day can change your life.
Reading changed my life. I have nothing else to add