It’s likely you are happily bidding “good riddance” to 2016. But merely kicking something — be it a tough year or a bad relationship — to the curb, will not yield the results you’re seeking.
However low the bar may seem for making 2017 better than the last (and I know, it’s low), it takes more than changing a habit or thinking positively to feel the kind of transformational results most of us seek.
So what is it you want this year? And what’s your plan for achieving it?
For many of us, it’s hard to offer specifics. We know certain behaviors help or hinder us, but we struggle to identify how that fits into the larger perspective of what matters to us, what we want to achieve, and what makes us happy.
That’s why I created a framework for upgrading your life in a sustainable, incremental way in the New Year and everyday. Because change doesn’t happen overnight — it takes consistent work. But here’s the upside to that consistent effort: happiness also doesn’t happen at only major milestones and monumental achievements — it’s in the small “in between” stuff that the most sustainable, satisfying seeds of happiness blossom and flourish.
This year, go beyond the traditional short-lived diet and fitness resolutions and vow to make 2017 the year of ongoing change. How? Take a page from the Silicon Valley playbook and start living your life like a startup. Here’s the secret sauce you need to cash in on this year in small ways, everyday.
5 key ways to enhance happiness and success through resolutions that will stick:
- Experiment: Approaching your life like a science experiment allows you to test and learn as you go, minimizing large-scale regrettable mistakes and keeping you nimble. Experiment with everything from the way your food makes you feel, to the way you react in confrontations, to the clothes you wear on a date. You’ll get realtime feedback from your audience or your body, which you can then integrate into your behaviors and choices — or use the knowledge to fuel another optimization experiment. Constant learning, constant improvement.
- Disrupt your assumptions: Sometimes unlearning is the most important kind of learning. Bucking conventional wisdom helps you identify what you’re taking for granted and avoid groupthink. If you are caught up in “But I’ve always…” or “That’s impossible!” paradigms, you’ll limit your opportunities and never know what might have been.
- Embrace failure: Giving yourself permission to fall down can be a win. It cultivates patience, teaches hard lessons, and — if you commit to analyzing what went wrong — makes you exponentially stronger the next time around. Plus, once you make peace with the fact that failure IS coming, it makes it far less disruptive when it finally arrives. We live in transition, so accept the inevitability of failure and enjoy the fluidity that follows.
- Understand your audience: We are largely at the mercy of our audience, so it’s time to start paying attention. Finding your own personal “product-market fit” allows you to find the sweet spot between what matters to you and what resonates with your audience. At the center of this is rethinking “authenticity” as your most effective (not just most comfortable) form of self-expression in any given context. We are social beings, and it’s how we self-present in both the words we use and the images we give off that fosters the connection we crave.
- Hustle: Hustling — not exclusive pedigree — is often the X factor that gives you an edge. Complacency is what we must rail against. Instead of focusing on what we lack, we can be the little startup that could and hustle to maximize what we do have. Because I promise: you’re richer than you think you are.
I want to hear not just what you’re giving up, but what you’re dreaming up for 2017. Tell me in the comments section and let’s celebrate what’s in the works, in all its terrific imperfection.
Here’s to a New Year and a NEW YOU —
p.s. If you’ve already dug into Startup Your Life and want to go deeper, check out the video series I created to work together to maximize the recommendations and start putting them into action today (or get the book and read it while you work through the videos). And if you have a friend who is ready to take the leap and upgrade their life, they’ll thank you for passing it along :)