What is the best way to start your 2023? I often get asked, “What can I do this year to become the person I want to be and accomplish my goals and dreams?” So let me share some simple but profound actions you can take each day to move you in the right direction toward the person you want to be by the end of 2023.
Fair warning—these actions require honesty and self-reflection and may initially sting a bit. Personal growth, accomplishment, and success will always cause some discomfort.
The first step is to think. Yes, use that noggin of yours. Research shows one of the best ways to begin or start a change in your life is to think and write. This helps you focus on what you are aiming at. If you don’t know precisely what your target is, it is impossible to be successful.
Understanding the actions you need to take, and the actions you need to stop taking is the beginning. There are seven questions to think and write about. You only need fifteen minutes per question, so it is a fast and furious dump of the first thoughts that come to your mind. The total time required is 90 minutes; feel free to break this into two sessions of forty-five minutes. Your future life is worth ninety minutes of your day.
What would your life be like, if you could have a life that you choose?
1. What do you want from your family?
2. What do you want from your friends?
3. What do you want from your career?
Please say more than money because materialism always leaves you empty of meaning. What will you wake up and do every day that will provide meaning and fulfillment and help you move forward? How are you making a difference?
4. How are you going to educate yourself?
This doesn’t necessarily mean schooling. It means life-long learning. How are you going to improve so you can reach your dreams?
5. How are you going to take care of yourself physically and mentally?
6. How will you regulate your use of drugs and alcohol?
7. How will you make productive and meaningful use of your time outside work
When you do this, you will clearly understand what you want your life to look like three to five years down the road.
Now let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. Write for 15 minutes about what your life would be like if you let all your character weaknesses fully manifest. What would your life be like if all of your bad habits stuck around for another few decades and took you out? Your worst-case scenario of life. Be honest, and be brutally straightforward. In 15 minutes, write down your living hell!
You have written a description of your promised land and your personal hell. Now you have every reason to work hard every day to make sure you reach the promised land and every reason to run away from your personal hell.
Why did I have you write down the terrible aspects of your life? It is essential to do this; research has shown it is necessary to write down the worst-case scenario of your life. It is one thing to be motivated towards a goal, but when you add in a bit of fear about what could negatively occur, your brain begins to make plans to ensure you change and don’t end up with your worst-case scenario life.
Dr. James Pennabaker and Dr. Jordan Peterson created an online program that expands on this concept. https://bit.ly/TheDrCKBrayShow-SelfAuthoring
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