At the close of each year, we’re reminded of what has been. Spotify gives us the top songs we listen to, the media lets us know which events shook the world, and we begin to look forward to a holiday period with friends and family. We’re placed in an environment of reminiscing, which triggers our what has been into what could be. It’s a recurring theme each year, leading us to consciously think about what we can do to improve once the dust settles and how we can approach life heading into the New Year. For many, it’s to become more healthy, improve our business, start a new hobby or travel.
While we all set targets, It’s often the case our momentum falters throughout the year. It’s almost natural for this to occur due to the inundation of information we receive daily, which directs our attention away from the target set for ourselves. To maintain our focus on what’s important, there are a few factors to consider which can help improve our focus on where we would like to direct our attention to in the New Year.
The Art of Patience
It’s often the case we stop performing positive actions because we aren’t achieving positive results. But when this occurs, there’s a high chance we just haven’t reached that critical threshold to keep us on track. If we stay patient, our actions provide us with breakthrough moments, leading us to a stronger focus and raising the bar of potential. When we stop performing, it’s usually during the early stages because we are solely focusing on the outcomes.
We should persist in overcoming the initial plateau of zero results. Believe that the work you’re doing is being delayed for when the breakthrough happens. And when it does happen, recognising the hard work applied and the outcomes of your actions is a validation of patience and results. When we’re patient, our capacity to succeed grows. But it all becomes meaningless if we aren’t focusing on our system.
Focus on The System, Not The Goal
We all want to lose weight, earn more money, graduate from University, buy a new house, start a business, and the list goes on. While we all have goals we want to achieve, there lies a problem. We restrict our happiness by believing that “Once I reach XYZ, I can be fully satisfied”. We limit ourselves in our ability to maintain our focus and performing what’s required because all those habits which lead us to reach our targets go by the wayside once we reach them. There’s a difference between having a goal and having a system. The goals are just results. Our systems are more than results. They are the identity we have and the processes we engage in which produce results.
Think of it this way: All Olympians have a goal to win a gold medal. If all athletes forget about their goals and focus on their systems to achieve a medal, the results remain the same. They would still continue to get better each day with a focus on winning. Goals are still important because they provide us with direction. But when we focus on a system, we begin to fall in love with progress, and that keeps our habits and behaviours in check while they positively compound over time.
The older we get, the more chaos seems to present itself around us. These are interesting times we live in. Responsibility, uncertainty, rebuilding- Our way of living has been affected in ways we never thought would exist. But it’s happened. For us to be stoic in nature, we’re required to accept what has happened without complaints or negative emotions. We can continue to object, or we can project our effort into something of value. And if it’s the latter, we remain in control. In 2022, there will still be more uncertainty. But if you can find something which you can do to help yourself, even if it’s learning to manage your emotions, it becomes a lot easier to remove distractions and keep your attention on what’s important. We need to remember the happiness of our life is dependent on the quality of our thoughts.
Embrace The Challenges
As we open up each year with a celebration, be sure to celebrate the challenges that will come your way. It may be as an athlete, an entrepreneur, a parent, a writer or wherever you direct your time and attention to. Let it be known to yourself that resilience is formed from the practices of continuous improvement through the face of challenges. If we’re able to maintain our attention on what’s important through harder times, the trajectory of our results improve over time. Our potential is raised that one bar higher, and when we see it, our momentum comes along for the ride.