Briar DeHaven is a poet, writer, and tech head who hails from the South Dakotan prairie. She is Digital Marketing Executive for the Asheville Citizen-Times, assistant editor for...
Here’s what I think: 2016 is the year for you. I mean it. This is YOUR year to take on the big projects, ask for that promotion, finally commit to volunteer hours, or adopt a puppy. Whatever goal is of most importance to you, this is your year to achieve it. Why? Because there is no other time than now. There is no other year than this year. There is no better moment or opportunity to change.
If this sounds vapid or cliche, I’m sorry I’m not sorry. This is age-old advice that can’t be ignored. Those who stave off immediate and momentary pleasure for long-term rewards will win. Those who get their asses out of bed to conquer the early-morning workout will win. Those who do the hardest possible thing, failing better every day, at the hardest goal they wish to achieve, will win.
Here are just 5 simple ways to set yourself up to WIN in 2016.
1) MAKE A BUDGET
So Last Year: Too many of us are blind to the inflow and outflow of cash in our lives. We are trapped in a cycle of working a job we hate to earn money to spend on things that make us feel better about the jobs we hate, which leaves us needing to work more to replace that cash we spent. Sounds like a horror movie, I know. Unfortunately, this is our modern reality.
This Year Baby: Instead, get with the times and monitor your money. It’s easy and surprisingly fun with apps like Mint, YNAB (You Need A Budget), or GoodBudget that allow you to manage your earnings, spending, savings, and budgeting within a sleek and simple user interface. Most of these apps even sync to your bank accounts so there isn’t much input required or effort involved.
Takeaway: Start Budgeting, Start Saving, Achieve Freedom
2) SEEK OUT PROFESSIONALS YOU ADMIRE
So Last Year: I know it’s tough to extend yourself beyond your already-busy schedule of job/s, family, hobbies, and binge-watching House of Cards. I know it can be intimidating to get face time with a professional you admire. I know it can feel easier to stow away and wish you could achieve your goals. But you won’t get there, you can’t get there, without help from a lot of people, smart people.
This Year Baby: The fact is, you just never know how one person could help you achieve your goals. You never know who they know. But you’ve got to put yourself out there, request the meeting, and sit down for the conversation to learn whether or not someone will be an asset to you. And don’t forget, networking (or relationship building) should be reciprocal. How can you benefit them?
Takeaway: Stretch Yourself, Go to Meetings, Be Inspired
3) PRODUCE 1ST, CONSUME LAST
So Last Year: Our attention spans suck, we constantly seek immediate gratification, and we’re obsessed with consuming. Icky. Nothing about these stats bodes well for our planet, our relationships, or ourselves. Of course it’s easier to roll over in bed and snarf the pint of Mediterranean Mint Talenti while mindlessly thumbing our way into newsfeed oblivion than to kickstart our goals and take action. (Trust me, I get it.)
This Year Baby: Old habits don’t dictate future behavior. Change now. Trade the TV for a book if you must be entertained and slow your roll when it comes to scrolling. The richest and happiest among us have created something, and they’ve done so by sacrificing immediate gratification in the form of consumption for that harder-earned, longer-awaited reward. Plant a garden. Write a letter. Stretch.
“To consume richly, produce richly first.” -MJ Demarco, The Millionaire Fastlane
Takeaway: Produce 1st, Consume Last
4) MOVE YO BODY-ODY
So Last Year: We’re fat and it’s costing our country millions. Eep! Hate to keep harping over the harm on immediate gratification, but it’s immediate gratification (along with the addictive properties of shitty food and the power of big buck marketing) that causes us to over-eat and eat poorly. Burgers taste better than salads; fries taste better than carrot sticks, I’m aware. But ya know what tastes the best? Success.
This Year Baby: Your mind is inextricably linked to your body, and the healthier your body, the sharper your brain. Exercise produces physical effects that stimulate brain activity and growth. The most successful people note exercise as a core reason why they remain motivated to achieve. Not to mention, you’ll gain confidence from your hard work, an added bonus also helpful in success.
Takeaway: Move More, Think Sharper, Succeed Faster
So Last Year: We’re always so focused on tomorrow, we forget to learn from past experiences. There’s no way for you to jumpstart the new year without thinking back to this year, your tribulations and your victories. What could you have done better? How can you learn from what you experienced?
This Year Baby: Pat yourself on the back for all you have achieved in the last year. Perhaps you didn’t scratch off something you thought you would, but that’s cool. Life happens and things change. Your goals aren’t fixed entities, but moving targets. Be proud you withstood another year of life’s challenges, and note all the big things you did accomplish. Allow yourself gratitude for yourself.
Takeaway: Think Back, Be Proud, Dream Big