The beginning of a New Year is a natural time to make changes in our lives. It’s an opportunity to literally create a fresh start. As we are about to begin this new year, I invite you to leave aside the usual new year resolutions, and invest some time in some self-reflective work. This involves asking yourself some questions, and digging deep for your most honest answers. So, grab a pen and paper, make yourself comfy, and enjoy!
Define what success means to you
There is no one definition of success. You may want to brainstorm for this part. Write down any words or inspiration that come to you. Don’t hold back!
Here’s some pointers to get you on the right path. Perhaps you are somebody who loves the outdoors, and travel. Does your current life prioritize these activities? It can be normal to confuse others’ definition of success with what is truly important to us. For example, maybe your family or friends value a high-income salary more than you do. Perhaps you are open to earning less in return for more freedom or creativity in your work.
This work can be ever-evolving. You are just starting! You have free rein to write to your authentic definition of success!
This work formed a key part of my coaching course which I did in 2018/19, and helped me to get really clear about what is most important to me to live my best and most fulfilled life. Of course, it’s going to be constant work in progress!
I learned that my own definition of success centers around my desire to help and inspire people feel happier, healthier and more fulfilled. I already knew this and have made this such a vital part of my life, that I have made this my work.
But I also discovered that many other elements make up my own definition of success. I found that learning and growth, adventure, nature and strong relationships are also vital for my success. These are things that are a “must have” in my life. I perhaps wasn’t so clear on their importance before I did this work, but now I know that to feel my best, I need to build my life around these values.
I also made another discovery about myself - that I am not afraid to get out of my comfort zone. I discovered that I am quite courageous and resilient. I looked at these qualities through a new lens and I realized that they are in fact two of my core values. These qualities have formed such an important part of my being over my life, that they have helped me get to where I am today. They enabled me to take action, despite doubt and fear, and to keep going through fear, challenges and setbacks.
Consider what else you truly value in your life. There is no right or wrong answer here.
Who do you need to become?
Ask yourself what behavior, beliefs or qualities do you need to let go of, or cultivate, to live your life aligned with what is most important to you. Perhaps you have gone through life with a “limiting” belief from childhood (and all of us have these!). Figure out – perhaps with the help of a professional coach – who you need to become in order to live your own version of a successful life. Maybe you need to let go of that belief that marriage and children means success. Or owning that 4-bed house, or 2 holidays a year, or whatever!
Now, what habits could you develop? Maybe becoming more self-disciplined will help you start your own business. Or working on your confidence will help you make that career leap if that’s important to you. If your health is important, then work out what you could do to address this part of your life. Work out any other habits, behavior or traits that you could adopt or change to set the foundation for your own version of success.
Listen to and trust in your inner “GPS”
This is about trusting yourself. It’s about listening to and acting upon those little signals that keep showing up in your life. A longing, a feeling, a path to follow, an action to take. These nudges are your deepest intuition. They will help you stay on the path and keep you going in the direction that is truly right for you.
You will take diversions, or even get lost along the way, but if you follow your own inner GPS system, you will always find the right path.
The time will never be perfect
There is never a perfect time to make a change, to take a step towards a personal goal. There’s always going to be something to get in your way, to make you procrastinate. But I have learned that taking consistent, small steps - even when there’s fear - is the only way to move forward, to grow. Fear is a completely normal emotion when it comes to change. But you need to ask yourself – are you prepared to stay where you are, feeling unfulfilled and stuck, paralyzed by fear, or, can you be brave and move beyond that fear towards the possibility of success? (On that note, there is a great book called “Feel the Fear and do it anyway!”.)
I have personally made decisions that instill huge fear and doubt, yet doing nothing has caused depression and stagnation. There are never any guarantees in life. Now is the best time!