Now that we’re deep into the holiday season, the first instinct is to completely relax, take a load off, and begin making a concerted effort to eat everything in the house.
While downtime is crucial in maintaining both your physical and mental well being, the achievement of ending off the year having accomplished something during this time would be an even greater benefit than seeing how many servings of milk tart you can finish before becoming violently ill.
So how do you accomplish something during a time renowned for its ability to break even the most hard-coded habits you’ve formed over the year?
Form a new Habit
It takes 21 days to form a new habit.
So why don’t you start with that? Some habits (like getting up early) will probably already be eradicated by the time you read this, but instead of starting the New Year with the feeling that you’ve lost something (and I’m not talking about weight – that’s impossible!) instead try and form a new habit that you’ve never had the determination, discipline, or time to form during the year.
Forming these habits will take less than 15 minutes a day, and doing them in the morning creates a sense of purpose and achievement that will last you the entire day.
- So, begin taking your dogs on walks in the morning, instead of leaving it until you get home and you’re already exhausted. Walking your dogs early in the morning puts them in a great mood and gets your blood flowing for the day.
- Try and fit in five minutes of exercise first thing in the morning. Have a read of Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Body for an excellent list of short, powerful exercises that take less than a minute.
- Start a daily mindfulness habit. Try using this app, Headspace.
Start Daily Goal Setting
And I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions. Form a habit where, every morning, you sit down with a notebook and write down 10-15 goals that you want to achieve in the next 12 months. Use a free app like Evernote to get started if you’re not the pen-‘n-paper kind of person.
- Write these goals in the present tense (I own my own business)
- Put an exact date on the goal (I own my own business by 15 June 201X)
- Always write in the first-person (I, me, mine)
- Put an action verb right after (I *own* *live* *weigh* *have*)
- Mention 10-15 goals. Never less than 10.
There’s tons of science involved in this process, which you can Google during your break, but the important thing to take away from this is that this daily process will awaken your subconscious and put it to work making these goals happen. It’s passive. All you have to do it revise and tweak this list every day. No excuses. Even boxing day.
Create a To-Do List
Okay, before you close this browser window in disgust (a to-do list during the holidays? Madness!) hear me out. To-do lists create a sense of achievement. Every time you tick off something, you get a small dose of endorphins (your body’s happy drug). That, alone, should make you want to attempt this.
Prioritise your tasks according to importance/urgency/consequences if not done. A for highly urgent and important, B for important but not urgent, C for tasks that are not important but must be done (ie: reading emails), D for tasks that you can delegate.
Don’t do a lower priority task before completing all your higher priority tasks first.
To keep track of these and to give yourself a pat on the back every time you’ve completed a task, use a free app like ToDoIst to keep track of what you’ve done and what you need to do.
Nurture Your Productivity
Take some time out to plan for 2016 by discovering productivity methods being used by thousands of people who get a lot more stuff done than you’d think possible. Here are some guidelines for good productivity methods that work. I’ll be writing a more detailed article about the productivity workflow that I’ve recently employed that works wonders.
- Pomodoro Method
- Focus Music
- Asana for project management
- Toggl for time keeping
- Todoist for keeping track of todo’s
Find Your Passion
By training yourself to become more productive during the holiday season, you are giving yourself the gift of more time, more focus, and a better outlook on your life.
Now it’s time to figure out what you want to do with your life. What your passion is. And start working toward it one step at a time, starting this holiday.
If you want to take up painting, begin Googling how to to paint.
Want to become a writer? Start writing one sentence, one paragraph, one page each day.
Always wanted to be a ballroom dancer? Youtube has just become your best friend.
Want to learn a new language? Check out Duolingo for an amazing free app with hordes of languages.
You don’t need hordes of money or private lessons or any such thing to start out doing what you love. Instead, go the DIY route and begin teaching yourself whatever it is you want to learn. Then, when you have the funds and the time, and you know for a fact that this is something you want to pursue, you already have the basics down!