We appreciate the time and attention you have given to us. And we are grateful that you are sharing this part of your life’s journey with us.
2021 has often been like walking a balance beam, remaining alert and flexible while trying to find the proper balance of virtual life and in-person interactions.
Although 2021 has had its challenges, it has also presented many gifts. It prompted us to look at things from different perspectives, taught us new strategies and skills, and gave us an even deeper appreciation for the people in our lives.
As we look back on the last twelve months, we share seven lessons we’re taking with us into the new year and beyond:
1. Embrace change.
Life is constantly changing, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Still, we can choose how we respond to it.
We can let the uncertainty of facing something we’ve never experienced before scare or overwhelm us. Or we can choose to look at it as an opportunity for growth.
Think about how you act when faced with a new circumstance or stressful situation…
Do you see it as a crisis you don’t have the capacity or resources to overcome? Or do you see it as an opportunity to change direction or build on your skills?
Like anything else, starting to see change as an opportunity or, at a minimum, nonthreatening is easier said than done. However, you can adopt strategies to help you become better at it.
For example, you can make a list of all the ways you could use the change to improve your life, take steps to remove as much of the uncertainty as you can, or choose to look at it from different perspectives. You could also use a long-term goal as motivation to keep you focused on what you want instead of letting the new circumstance derail you.
2. Never stop learning.
Because life is constantly changing, we must commit to lifelong learning to continually expand our minds. The more we grow, the easier it is to meet challenges and obstacles with poise and develop solutions.
The best way to expand your mind is to spend part of each day involved in self-development and self-renewal. In addition to taking care of your body, commit to engaging in practices that increase your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Continuing education is the answer to long-term success. However, it may help in a different way than you might expect…
Rather than increasing the intellect, you develop your untapped potential and bring more of yourself to the surface. That allows you to respond to life changes and challenges rather than reacting out of fear or ignorance.
3. Do something different.
No circumstance or situation is so dire that you can’t improve things.
It starts with what we talked about in lesson #1—having a positive mindset that constantly looks for opportunities. That is critical to making life’s changes work for you instead of against you.
However, you need more than the right mindset, what you do matters as well. Things won’t get better just by thinking it so. Anyone can think of different ways to improve a situation or reach a goal, but it requires action to affect the change you want or bring your goal into reality.
Start by coming up with a plan, prioritizing the tasks, and then working and focusing on the most important tasks first—taking on at least one task each day until you’ve reached your goal.
4. Foster resilience.
Over the past couple of years, many people have realized that we are more resilient that we may have thought we were. Resilience is different than having a positive or success-oriented mindset. It is being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
You can build your resilience skills in the new year by adopting some of these strategies:
- View your decisions as active choices, not sacrifices
- Surround yourself with people who make you feel good and further your development
- View stress and setbacks as opportunities to push yourself without neglecting your self-care
5. Have, create, or join a like-minded tribe.
Being part of an uplifting, supportive, success-oriented group has become more important than ever for our mental, emotional, and even financial health.
However small (or large) your trusted tribe is, having people to brainstorm or vent your worries, fears, and frustrations will positively impact your happiness, fulfillment, and success.
6. Always be appreciative.
The ongoing uncertainty in 2021 has helped us appreciate more people, things, and opportunities in our lives.
Being grateful helps every area of your life improve. Wallace Wattles puts it this way in “The Science of Getting Rich.” He said, “The grateful mind is constantly fixed upon the best. Therefore, it tends to become the best; it takes the form or character of the best and will receive the best.”
I encourage you to put pen to paper and write down five to ten gifts that 2021 brought into your life. Taking time to see the gift(s) tucked inside of difficult times will teach you to always look for gifts when navigating any personal or professional challenge. Looking for the blessing or that proverbial silver lining also helps you thrive no matter what circumstances you face.
7. Identify what you want.
A bit of inspiration can do wonders. Identifying something that pulls you forward, something that inspires you to leap out of bed each morning, and working your way towards it each day, can help you achieve much more than you would think.
As we enter a new year, now is the ideal time to think about what you really want—something that is extraordinary or precious to you. Think of something that excites you enough to move you into action.
Progress is rarely linear, so make sure you’re ready for challenges, setbacks, and get other people to guide and support you, and keep you accountable as you go along.
If you’re not in love with your dream, it’s doubtful that you’ll ever achieve it. Passion starts the process and caring enough keeps you going. So, let desire rather than intellect set your direction and how far you go.
Don’t worry about how it’s going to happen. Leave that up to God and universal law. Just dream it, fall in love with the idea, and make a committed decision that it is how you’re going to live no matter what. Feel it as if it has already happened.
If you do this, we promise two things will happen. First, unexpected changes and challenges will not prevent you from continuing to move toward your goals. And second, the details of “how” to achieve your dream will take care of themselves; it will happen by law.
No doubt about it
With the lessons we have learned from a challenging year, we can face 2022 with confidence and optimism.
Next year may bring some incredible and unforeseen opportunities – so seize them and strive to make each day your masterpiece.
Looking after yourself, surrounding yourself with the right people, and focusing on what you want will help you become the change you want to see.
Remember: you’re capable of more than you may think. Use all the challenges, struggles, positive changes, growth, and achievements you find when you look back on 2021 as tools as you head into 2022.
Warm wishes for the New Year,
Bob Proctor and Sandy Gallagher