December has swept through like a hurricane of colour, passive annoyance, sugar and noise.
Although time for a well-needed break is vital, like most of those who celebrate at this time of year, you’re probably not in the best shape, both mentally and physically.
I know I’m not.
As heart-warming as the holidays can be, they can also screw us up. We have plenty of excuses at this time of the year to get complacent about the things that matter to our deeper fulfilment.
The New Year is a time to accept and reflect on what happened in the last year, good or bad, but more importantly, it is the time to visualise and prepare for a healthy and rich year ahead.
The beauty for me at this time is that if I’ve slipped, there is scope for massive upward gains. Starting fresh, we can make significant leaps.
Let’s commit to this year being better than ever. Let’s not settle for unhappy and mediocre.
Keep it simple. Forget habits, resolutions, and goals for now.
What we need is a simple foundation on which to construct the kind of life that is best for us.
Such a grounding begins with how we see ourselves.
We need to see ourselves as determined, healthy, happy people.
If we view ourselves as mince-pie eating, depressed couch potatoes, this will not set us up well for a renewed start.
We need to decide to be the kinds of people who are immersed in — and feel — success for the majority of our days (in whatever way you define ‘success’).
This is possible when we hold in our heads a clear vision of our best, happy selves (note I didn’t say happy ‘elves’).
To change the way we see ourselves, we need to adopt (re-adopt) a few principal positive modes of thinking.
These four mindsets, when adopted, energise me and lead to successes in other areas. You can use them as mantras repeated through the day.
Repetition, visualisation, and absorption of these states of mind is the most powerful thing you can do for your self-esteem and personal growth.
These mindsets have been life-changing for me when I remember to make them a part of who I am:
Mindset 1: I am a physical athlete
Movement must fill my days. I will struggle to be motivated to be active and creative in work and mind if I’m not active in body. Multiple times a day. Every. Day.
Rest is vital, and if you are active, you will know when to rest, because you will be genuinely tired.
Robust, regular exercise leads to clear thinking, feeling good, breathing more deeply, lowered anxiety, and the passion for which you are looking. If you lack movement in your life, you can’t be surprised if you lack motivation.
View yourself as an athlete, even if you work in a library. Physical training is not just for sprinters and boxers.
Sweaty daily exercise and regular movement have improved my life more than anything else.
Mindset 2: My body is a well-oiled machine
I eat real, whole food until I am full. More vegetables, protein and complex carbs. I avoid sugar and refined carbs, but a few treats are fine. I know that caffeine makes me anxious, so I reduce it and cycle off it often. Smoking is out, and toxins need sweating out regularly.
I no longer pay no heed to what others say you should eat and drink.
I understand how vital it is to have explosive energy each day, and I fill my body with the nutrients needed — those that make me feel alive. If I need to stop drinking alcohol to feel better, I will, because my energy is everything.
Mindset 3: I am dedicated to improving my value (not my personality)
“Try not to be a man of success. Rather, be a man of value.” ~Einstein
I’m always at my lowest when I take myself too seriously; when I’m doing everything to maintain a flawless personality; when I’m trying to look good in front of others.
All this communicates is subordination and weakness, and it makes me feel awful.
There is no such thing as ‘personality.’
Being shy, extroverted, excited, and depressed are only fleeting states. They, therefore, cannot be personalities.
You are you. Multi-layered.
When I believe in personality, I try to protect it, and I cannot take risks. I am nervous. I care about what others might think of me.
The only thing you need to focus on is value and continually upgrading it.
Strive towards building your value in all areas: your skills; your health; your products; your creations; your investments; your ability to lift others up. Focus on being useful and leaving a legacy.
Legacy doesn’t require that you are nice to everyone, though everyone deserves a basic level of respect. It means that you brought value to those that benefit the most from what you do: your tribe; your family.
When we drop the delusion of personality, we start focusing on what’s important — becoming great and bringing others up with us who care to join.
Martyrdom, indiscriminate compassion and the pursuit of impressing others will only spread you thin and hollow you out.
Constant work on improving the value you hold for yourself and those that matter to you is what the world needs.
The sensation of becoming useful regardless of how your ‘personality’ appears to others will energise you.
Mindset 4: I am an optimistic warrior
This mindset has helped me in many instances when I could have otherwise crumpled into a poor, seething victim.
Understand that things can and will be shitty, all around you and with a reliable frequency.
Life will test you and prod you to see how you respond. You will face difficulties with other people, sometimes such that it will seem like your guts have been ripped out.
Nevertheless, maintain a positive, resolute outlook on purpose. Your alternative is being eaten alive.
Prove the Universe wrong and commit to being strong. When it looks like you’re about to drive off the cliff, swerve a hard right.
Be cheerful when you don’t feel like it. Smile when you’re down and be the first to do so when you’re around others. Walk when you feel like moping.
Expect pain, struggle, and darkness. It is inevitable, so you might as well hold your head up and laugh like the unapologetic warrior you are.
Your refusal to accept the darkness is what smothers your spirit.
So find that spirit often. It’s always there, underneath it all.
Refuse to be weak. Be the optimistic warrior.
Happy New Year!