It is only natural to start the new year with good intentions and a positive outlook for the forthcoming months. It is the perfect time to review and reflect on past experiences, in order to stride onwards and upwards to fulfilling your potential.
With a new year comes fresh ideas, a shift in attitude and the opportunity to learn from the year gone by. 2017 is officially behind us, but lest we forget the importance of remaining aware of previous experiences - whether positive or negative - to allow us, on a much deeper level, to improve, drive forward and, ultimately, help us fulfil our potential in 2018.
'Self-improvement' is a popular term, particularly at this time of year, and there are a plethora of ways in which a person can make minor and major adjustments to their everyday life to achieve this. It is very much a personal affair; but the areas of improvement can generally be categorised across the board. For instance; health - mind and body; career development and personal life are hugely common focus areas, with varying methods, guidance and opportunities projected across social circles and media platforms.
Fulfilling your potential is not necessarily an easy journey though. Based on past experience, here’s what I’ve learnt about the process of progressing into a more successful and happier period.
Phrases such as 'aim high' and 'dream big' are common soundbites of advice; and whilst there is no harm in setting yourself bigger targets and greater goals, it is important to maintain a realistic outlook. According to Forbes, typically only eight per cent of individuals stick to their New Year’s resolutions for the entire year, which suggests that the majority of intentions set are unachievable. Since this is completely pointless in your journey to fulfilling your potential, my advice would be to start small, tackling your goal on a day-by-day basis and building steadily as you go.
As Forbes contributor and career coach Jeanna McGinness puts it so perfectly; "When you break a large goal into manageable pieces, you'll stay focused, accomplish more and increase your success!"
In a nutshell, you can easily avoid feeling swallowed up and stressed out by your life-adjustments with careful but simple planning to ensure you are not taking on a bulk of impossible work.
Perfectionism is not real
A recent study conducted at the University of Bath entitled "Perfectionism is increasing over time" found that millennials are a generation of perfectionists. However, it is fair to argue that this is not an attitude exclusive to one age-group only. The fast-paced digital age of today means that we are all more susceptible to an unhealthy amount of comparisons - both personally and professionally - as well as being able to access huge amounts of data, in stark contrast to past generations. These factors, amongst others, result in individuals having enormous expectations of themselves, which has been proven to be damaging to your health and disruptive on the road to fulfilling your potential.
To strive for perfection is admirable, but impossible. No one is perfect and so it is completely unnecessary to pressure yourself to be. Instead, why not take the time to review your previous experiences, particularly those where you didn’t feel 100 per cent confident or comfortable, in order to identify areas of improvement and grow from there.
In fact, the three-step process - reflect, address and accept - is a great starting point on the journey to confronting your fears and weaknesses as a means of progressively moving forward.
Disconnect to reconnect
A little emotional 'self-care' can go long way on the road to fulfilling your potential. We are fortunate to live in a society that is acknowledging this widely; it is no secret that pressing pause on the 'everyday' is a positive action, even when you are completely engaged in achieving results on your journey.
Life coach Matthew Jones highlights on Inc. that becoming hooked on the measurable outcomes of personal progress can have its downsides; "When you stay busy and focused on achievement, you aren't as aware of your shortcomings". He then goes on to highlight the importance of reconnecting with oneself in order to achieve maximum growth.
Disconnecting does not need to be elaborate or expensive; it can be a small daily act that allows for reflection and relaxation, such as reading a book, doing a physical activity or maintaining a hobby. As the CEO of a start-up, I have to carefully factor this into my everyday routine, to ensure it doesn’t get pushed to one side. I find that starting the day with a little yoga and a nutritious breakfast generates focus and calm, setting me up for the busy day ahead.
A healthy balance in both your personal and professional life is paramount to your productivity, wellbeing and happiness, which in turn, will aid you on your journey to fulfilling your potential.
Whilst reflecting on last year’s experiences may take you out of your comfort zone, it is an essential step on this year’s journey. Embrace and accept the times that made you cringe or caused you pain, and you will find development and progress on a much deeper level.
2018 can be your year of self-improvement! Nourish and value yourself; remember to set realistic goals, accept help, acknowledge shortcomings and celebrate achievements. These action points are the basis to fulfilling your potential on a much more manageable and successful level.