Many of you ambitious folk with have spent the last few days reviewing 2020 and making plans for 2021! Bravo!
You guys rock as this is so important. Without a plan and feedback for improvement nothing really changes.
I applaud you for taking the time to invest in yourself and commit to improving in 2021.
If you’re like me, which I think you are if you’ve found this blurb, then you’ll likely be pushing the boat out in 2021 further than ever before. You’ll be taking more risk, committed to loving yourself more deeply and have some ridiculously ambitious goals to hunt down and conquer.
Hats off to YOU! I’m right there with you on this, let’s make 2021 the best year yet.
I believe ever year is the best year of your life. I get asked this question a lot, ‘what was your favorite year, when did it all happen?’ The answer I give, without fail is, the best year is yet to come.
So why is there a picture of my wallet and what’s the story?
A couple of years ago I meet a friend for lunch.
When it came time to pay the bill I pulled out my wallet to pay and threw it on the countertop.
Right away my friend, aghast with shock said “Mate! You need to get a new wallet’.
The comment hit me because it just wasn’t something that I saw when I looked at my wallet. It stood out to me, because of their reaction but also because of mine.
Then I had an epiphany, this was the moment when it could ALL change, a tipping point, a fork in the road, when I could adopt a belief that wasn't mine or when people adopt beliefs that aren’t theirs.
This is when it happens, it's in the subtle exchange of a throw away comment and the acceptance of it that creates a series of actions that shift the underlying habit starting the shift of a cascade of other decisions and life outcomes.
It stuck me that it's this kind of thinking, that was playing out right before my eyes on a micro level (e.g. potentially keeping up with the Joneses or just that my wallet was below the acceptable standard of my friend) that has the ability to take us off track.
Either way, I was at a juncture. I hadn't asked for it but I was there.
It creeps into our lives and slowly takes over. Via social media, throw away comments and it invades our thinking and then our habits.
To keep the peace, I agreed and moved on, but in my head, I knew I would never change my wallet just to upgrade it for the sake of everyone else who has to view it.
The suggestion clashed with my values system.
Therefore, this was a no go and the idea of buying a new wallet never took hold, there was no fertile ground for it to sprout from, so the seed of the idea died.
But something that happened that day stood out to me profoundly.
I saw how EASY it would have been to adopt that thought process, whereby everything is in constant need of upgrading to maintain a certain level of ‘togetherness’ or to project a certain image to the world.
And what if I had accepted that thought process?
What other areas of my life would it have changed, even without me knowing where it had come from?
I am not against looking sharp, I think we should try to present ourselves well. It’s a sign of respect.
I am also one for throwing out the old and replacing when it no longer serves its purpose or doesn’t function as it should.
But here’s what’s different in this case, I believe that when an item still doing what it was designed to do, it's still providing value it doesn’t feature in my brain to swap it out.
Therefore, my default operating system doesn’t contain this type of code. In effect, "computer says no".
That doesn’t mean that I’m immune, I am sure there are many ways in which my thinking and as a result my habits and actions have been subtly influenced by the throw away comments of others.
And that’s the point, what about the times it doesn’t clash so strongly with your values system.
What I want you to get is just how subtle these throw away comments are and how easily we can accept if they don’t conflict with a value we already hold or worse trigger an emotion that gets us doubting our ability.
That’s a killer, if you ever want to influence someone, tie it to an emotion and hey presto you’ll have them looking for a new pair of shoes instantly.
I’ve been there, thinking I needed the new shoes to land the job, or a suit to make a good impression. These things can help of course but they aren’t the real secret. It all comes from within.
Takeaway 1: Know Your Values
Questions to ask yourself:
Who do I want to be in 2021? (identity)
What do I want to change in 2021? (bad habits)
What will I value in 2021? (focus on the goal)
The clearer we are on our values the easier it is to make decisions and stay away from potential detractors to our success.
If you know where you want to get (your plan, your bigger vision), you must control the inputs, e.g. the actions, habits and rituals you do daily in order to get there. You must be militant in what you let into your world.
So, what brings me to write this now.
Here I am over two years on, talking about my tired old wallet and relating it to self-development.
I am stood in Starbucks today, topping up my card, it had run out of money.
‘I’ll add $70 please’.
I did a quick mental calculation, at $8.10 per coffee, it wasn’t going to last long, maybe 8-9 coffees and I’d be back topping up again.
As I looked down to put my credit card away, I realized that I still had my old wallet and I still wasn’t ashamed even 2 years on.
It was more worn, battered and the leather softer than before but my operating system was still the same.
In making this connection, I was instantly reminded of that day a few years back and then I asked myself an important question; was I here at Starbucks because I wanted to be here, because I liked the coffee or was because it had become a habit because of convenience and ease?
Was this a habit I wanted in my life for 2021?
Here’s the kicker, as you go into 2021 question your habits, the things you do regularly. The actions you do daily that will likely be so familiar that you’ll have think hard to catch yourself doing them.
These habits are so deeply ingrained into your way of being because they have reached the stage of automaticity (66 days, the time it takes to create a habit) and so you do them automatically, without the application of conscious thought.
They are your operating system.
Takeaway 2: Will Your Current Habits Take You Where Want To Go In 2021?
To combat this, have a quick check in with yourself over the coming days and if you catch yourself doing something that’s at odds with your goals, eliminate it.
Awareness helps you kill it.
You want to invest in the stock market more than you want to sleep in right.
You want to dominate in your business rather than watching Netflix right.
You want good gut health more than dairy right.
Once you are aware you can make the change.
The key is bringing the awareness to the surface.
You are an ambitious character, you’ve got the hustle required, you’re going to make it to your future vision of yourself and your life, if you bring awareness to the habits you do daily and question whether they are taking you where you want to go.
Slay the dragon while it is sleeping.
Be the hero of your own story and let’s make 2021 count!