Undoubtedly, 2020 was a rough one for many, but 2021 is full of opportunity. To help you get the year off to a flying start, we’re presenting a series of articles designed to help you succeed, thrive and prosper in 2021.
Every new year is a chance for change. Not because the clock striking midnight will magically make 2021 perfect, easy and free of any challenges. It’s a chance for change because every new year is a fresh start.
Life is going to keep flying by, and on this wild ride, there’s no rewind button or pause button, but there is a reset button. Every year, you get a “Fresh 12” — a brand-new set of 12 months to dust yourself off, leave the past behind and start again.
If this year has been rough for you like it has for many; if you’re feeling stuck, if you’re not in the shape you want to be in, or if you’re living well below your potential — now is the time to reset!
This new year has endless possibilities; it can be a year of redemption, victory, breakthrough and achieving your goals. It can be anything you want it to be; it’s up to you.
A new vision for your life
“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” – Rosabeth Moth Kanter
How do you begin to harness those possibilities and shape your life moving forward? You do it by creating a vision that will bring out your best going into next year.
A vision is a clear picture of who you want to be, what you want to accomplish and what you want to enjoy in 2021. Your vision is what focuses you on what’s most important, and it fuels you to keep pushing forward.
Your vision doesn’t have to be perfect or elaborate, but it does have to inspire and energize you. Otherwise, as the days, weeks and months begin to roll by and blend together, it’ll be easy to slip into old habits, lose focus, and let next year be the same as this past year.
To get you into the mindset of shaping your life and creating a compelling vision for this year, ask yourself: What do you want this next year to look like? What do you want it to be about? What goals do you want to achieve? What are you committed to changing in your life this year? What are you no longer willing to settle for? What do you want to enjoy more of?
As you write your vision, you might find that there are many things you could include. To keep your statement concise and effective, focus on the things that are most important to you and within your control — things that will maximize your fulfillment heading into next year.
Here’s a template to fill in for your 2021 vision statement:
My vision for 2021 is to enjoy __________________________________, to do _______________________________________ and to be ______________________________________.
Below are some examples to get you started:
- My vision for 2021 is to enjoy the opportunities life brings, to make $10K/mo. in my business, and to be a generous giver to those around me.
- My vision for 2021 is to enjoy my health; to lose 30 pounds and get in the best shape of my life; and to be a passionate example of resilience and joy.
- My vision for 2021 is to enjoy quality time with my friends, significant other and loved ones; to successfully pivot into a new creative career; and to be grateful and persistent in the pursuit of my goals.
Take a moment now to think about your vision, and what you want to do, be and enjoy this new year.
Summary: By creating a personal vision statement for 2021, you are psychologically resetting and refocusing on who you want to be, what you want to achieve and what you want to enjoy more of in this next year. Your vision acts as both anchor and compass, guiding you toward your goals and anchoring you in your potential.
Science-backed goal setting: Achieving your most ambitious goals
Once you’ve got your vision mapped out, it’ll inform your goals for this year. You might have set goals in the past, but if you failed to accomplish them, it’s likely you were missing one of the most essential elements of achievement. Goal-setting is much more than writing words down on a piece of paper. When you set goals effectively and methodically, it actually activates parts of your brain that direct your attention and guide you to achieve those goals.
Consider this: Your brain processes 11 million bits of external information per second; by contrast, your selective attention or conscious mind only processes up to 50 bits per second. All of the information your brain is taking in is constantly competing for that tiny fraction of your selective attention. Your brain’s system for deciding what gets filtered out and what gets focused on is determined by what is most emotionally significant.
Research shows that when you set “emotionally significant” goals (i.e. goals that you are highly motivated to achieve) it activates your amygdala, the emotional center of your brain. Depending on the degree of emotional importance, your amygdala will prioritize your specific goal higher or lower in terms of your brain’s selective attention. This is similar to the way your brain “dampens” the volume of other people’s conversations in a crowded room so you can better hear and focus on the person you’re talking to.
Once a goal registers as important, your prefrontal cortex — the part of your brain in charge of decision-making and planning — goes to work. When engaged in goal achievement, the prefrontal cortex guides you toward any relevant information, actions or behaviors to help you accomplish your goal.
ScienceDirect puts it this way: “[The prefrontal cortex] is consistent with its role in synthesizing diverse information about the external and internal world in order to produce goal-directed behavior”.
So, how do you take advantage of this when it comes to setting and achieving your own goals?
Studies have proven that setting goals that are “stretchy” and specific are the most effective in activating these parts of your brain and maximizing your results.
Stretchy goals are goals that are highly motivating, challenging and emotionally significant. Hence, they “stretch” you. By setting goals that are emotionally charged, it tells your brain that these goals are important and require priority in your selective attention. This is the same reason why passive goal setting is often ineffective. When there’s no emotion associated with your goals, the amygdala doesn’t get activated, and the brain doesn’t support you in the process of achievement.
The second part of effective goal setting is to set goals that are ultra-specific. When your goal is too broad, vague or immeasurable, it’s like typing a city or state into your GPS instead of the exact address you want to get to. By being specific in exactly what you want to achieve, your brain will know precisely what to hone in on and guide you toward.
Summary: Many people fail at achieving their goals because they don’t properly engage the goal-seeking functions of the brain. By setting goals that are highly motivating and ultra-specific, you engage parts of the brain that highlight relevant information, actions or behaviors to support the achievement of your goals.
Wyatt’s story: From reset to transformation
This process of resetting is exactly what one of our customers did just a few months ago. During a time when the majority of people were stuck at home without access to a gym, Wyatt decided it was time to reset and turn things around.
He set a big, ambitious goal that was specific and emotionally significant to him: Wyatt chose his goal weight and committed to taking charge of his health. During his journey, he discovered our keto meal plans, and in just three months, he dropped 50 pounds. He shared his progress with us, and he’s continuing to drive toward his goal weight.
“I have been using your meals for approximately three months, and in that time, I’m down nearly 50 pounds…I am such a fan of the meals and of how easy it has made the weight-loss process for me…Thank you for helping make my weight loss possible…I am forever indebted to your service and will continue to use you all even after I reach my goal weight!” – Wyatt G.
The question is, what are you going to accomplish? What are you going to transform? What goals are you committed to achieving this year?
Here’s a five-step system for achieving your most ambitious one-year goals:
5 steps to 1-year goals
1. Freewrite 1-year goals
If you were approaching the end of 2021, what would you have wanted to accomplish? What would you be proud of accomplishing? What would you regret letting another year go by without accomplishing?
Put music on, and write down all of the goals you want to achieve in the next year.
Set a timer, and write for five minutes.
2. Circle your top 3 goals for 2021
Out of all the goals you’ve written down, circle the top three that excite you the most and that you’re absolutely committed to achieving this year.
3. Rewrite your goals to be specific and measurable
Example: “I want to get in better shape” becomes “I’m committed to hitting my goal weight of 170 pounds by 12/31/2021”.
Example: “I want to increase my income” becomes “I’m committed to becoming the top performer in my company and increasing my sales volume by 10 percent by 12/31/2021”.
4. Engage your brain (emotional significance exercise)
Re-queue the music, put a big smile on your face, and under each of your three goals, write down why this goal is emotionally significant to you.
Ask yourself, how would achieving this goal absolutely transform your life? How would you feel after achieving this goal? What would achieving this goal mean to you? What would it ultimately cost you to let another year go by without accomplishing this goal?
Put emotion and energy into this as you write. This is the part of the process where you engage your brain to help you achieve these goals and bring them into fruition.
To keep your brain engaged, re-read your goals with excitement, gratitude and anticipation every other day.
5. Take strategic and proven action
Engaging your brain to support your goal achievement is essential, but without taking strategic action, you won’t get very far. For example, if you want to get in better shape but you keep eating highly processed foods and maintaining caloric surpluses, it doesn’t matter how motivated you are — your body won’t change.
Instead, seek out others who have had a similar starting point to you and who have achieved the results that you desire. Model their strategy and put it into consistent action.
Overcome any obstacle: The common denominator of success
If you’ve faced setbacks this year, you might find it easy to be inspired by other people’s achievements, but you may feel stuck when it comes to your own. It might be that you’re excited about the possibilities but doubt whether you have the ability to make your goals happen. Beyond the science and strategies of goal setting, there’s one factor that will help you take action and break through any obstacle that comes your way. The common denominator that makes the difference between those who achieve their goals and those who don’t comes down to one thing: grit.
Angela Duckworth, author of the New York Times best-selling book, Grit, explains it this way: “The highly successful had a kind of ferocious determination that played out in two ways. First, these exemplars were unusually resilient and hardworking. Second, they knew in a very, very deep way what it is they wanted.”
Put simply, grit is the combination of passion and perseverance.
These two qualities are present in every single one of our customers who found success after facing a setback. They all had different talents, goals, and strategies, but every one of them knew exactly what they wanted and persevered until they achieved it. In the face of adversity, they dug deep and found a way to keep going, push through and find a new gear no matter what. That same grit is available to you right now.
Here’s the truth: Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
One of the toughest things for people to do is to take action. They put it off, they procrastinate, and before they know it, another year has passed. Don’t wait. Fresh starts don’t come by very often, so when you get a “Fresh 12,” make the most of it. Start planning for next year, create a new vision with worthy goals, and begin putting your passion and perseverance into practice. Now is your time.
Summary: Grit is characterized as the common denominator behind the success of high achievers. Grit is simply the combination of passion and perseverance. You have all the potential and grit you need available to you; you simply need to begin to take action in the direction of your goals. Don’t let another year go by. Use this fresh start as a chance to reset and transform your life.