With everything we are still going through we know that Christmas 2020 will not be a rerun of previous years. For some of us realising we won’t be joining our regular large work events or family parties is a bit of a downer, while others may be pleased that they won’t have to think of a gift for the work Secret Santa, or wrestle a giant turkey into the oven.
We may find that with fewer people around we have some time on our hands. So, rather than fretting over the current difficulties we face why not spend the free time you have looking at how you can change your life for the better and getting started?
It’s time for change
Looking back at 2020 I do rather feel that everything has been thrown up in the air. It’s been unsettling but it also provides an opportunity to start making changes that you may have been thinking about but haven’t had the courage to put into action.
My belief is that micro moments and tiny interventions are the best approach to change of any kind. Forget the grand statements of intent. Instead put your attention on making little shifts. To make 2021 your year of positive change I’ve pulled together some micro moment ideas to help you. Some are from my ‘Meee in a Minute’ books. Each book offers 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our mindset in our life, work and family.
Assess the past year – what have you discovered?
Rather than snoozing in front of the telly TV after the Christmas lunch do something different. Ask your loved ones to make their assessment of 2020 and share their discoveries.
Did you find ways to enjoy yourself that cost very little money? Did you find yourself missing your job or did you uncover a desire to earn your living doing something very different? Did spending more time at home help you discover a greater sense of closeness and understanding?
For many people 2020 has been terrible, particularly if you or loved one have been ill, or you’ve lost someone close to you. In such situations it is hard to recognise that anything useful has come out of the past 10 months. However, it is worth trying to find something good, something that has emerged that you can feel grateful for.
Take a minute: write down the insights you’ve gained and carry them forward into the New Year. I recommend starting a new tradition of focusing on gratitude. Just take a few minutes every day or even once a week to bring to mind what you’re grateful for. It’s been shown that this practice can lighten our mood and have a positive impact on overall health.
Where did you find happiness in 2020?
Take a little time to look back and remember where you found happiness in 2020. Before Covid we often thought that happiness depending on getting a promotion, going on an expensive holiday, or starting a new relationship. How do you feel now? Perhaps you’ve found more happiness in the little moments – playing music, reading a new book or rereading an old favourite, baking a loaf of bread, or time spent with those who mean the most to you.
Take a minute: Create a list of 10 activities that you know make you happy. From today weave these into your daily life.
What do you no longer need in your life?
We have many options for how we spend our time and easy to waste in pondering on what we could do, should do, but probably will never get round to doing! Rather than letting these thoughts drain our energy, be honest with yourself and decide what is really important to you.
If you know you need to take more exercise but never get to the gym what can you commit to instead? Can you make a firm commitment to go out for walk for half an hour a day? If neither attending the gym or the walk are going to happen, don’t castigate yourself! It is far better to focus on what you can and will actually find the time to do.
Take a minute: Let go of the coulda, woulda, shouldas. Let go of what is weighing you down. Do this by getting rid of all the things you know you aren’t going to do either at home or work (you could describe this as an anti-bucket list). Having escaped from the burden you can put your attention on what you really want and take steps to make it happen.
What will you start doing?
What sort of year do you want your 2021 to be? We may find we still have to contend with travel restrictions but luckily our minds can roam free. Use this freedom to formulate a plan covering your personal and business life. Then begin. And remember there will be people ready to give help if you need it.
Christmas is a time of giving. What better present can you give your loved ones and yourself than a 2021 which is changed for the better? Take you first small, positive step and make change happen.
Do more of what makes you happy:
Take a minute to consider where you found happiness this year? Before Covid we often thought that we would be happier with a better job, better health, more money, a bigger house, different relationships. What about now? Perhaps you’ve discovered that happiness is in the little moments ‘ spending time with family, meeting friends (socially distanced of course), reading, listening to music, enjoying nice food or a good coffee.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, surely, it’s to appreciate the simple things. Take a minute to write down a list of 10 things that make you happy. Make sure those are woven into your weekly life for 2021.
Make an anti-bucket list:
We waste so much time musing over what we could or should do, even when we know in our heart that we probably never will. It’s time to lean into those energy drains and work out if they are important to you or not.
Instead of lamenting that you should walk for an hour a day or go to the gym three times a week, what will you do? Can you commit to a 20-minute walk? If you have no intention of doing either, then be honest with yourself. Use the energy you waste beating yourself up about the things you are not doing, to focus on what you will do.
Instead of getting weighed down with what you might do or should do purge yourself of all the things you definitely won’t do or don’t even want to do. Liberate yourself from the shoulds and coulds and focus on what you want and what you will do to make that happen.
Commit to learning:
We live in weird times where lies and nonsense mix with genuine information which is making truth harder to access. And the uncertainty is playing havoc with our mental health. How many of us know someone who has fallen down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole on social media? Take a few minutes each week to turn off social media and instead dive into TED.
TED talks believe in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world. Use their ‘Surprise me’ feature where TED will randomly select a presentation for you to watch. Watch a different TED Talk every week. Read more books or enroll in an online course and broaden your horizons.
We can never truly know what we are passionate about or gifted in unless we experiment with new skills. FutureLearn.com or Udemy.com are great places to start and some of the courses are great value.
How do you want 2021 to be? We may not be able to travel as freely as we want physically but our mind is always open. We can travel anywhere with our mind. Use it to formulate a plan and begin. Begin a course, begin a job application, begin mapping out your business idea. Begin your exercise practise. Begin your meditation. Whatever you want for 2021 ‘ begin it now.
Think about what help you need. People are receptive to helping out at this time of year, so ask for help if you need it, or contact people who may be able to lend a hand in the new year. Begin it. Take a minute to consider what you are putting off. Take one positive step toward that today and keep going.
If Christmas is going to be different anyway, make it really different and use it to map out a changed you in 2021. Start small. Make like shifts and small manageable changes and you will be astonished at where they can lead.