Right after the first of the year I got an email from Mel Robbins. In her email, she invited me to join her online course called “Simple Steps to an Incredible Year.” It was free. Sounded good to me.
I don’t know if you follow her, but I have for some time. She’s a speaker, author and entrepreneur who delivers her messages in a no nonsense way. I love her straightforward style and also the way she inserts the science behind human behaviors in her talks.
As always, Mel overdelivers. She’s taking the course right alongside every one of us. I thought I’d share some of my takeaways with you so you can also set yourself up for an incredible year.
The first takeaway was hearing Mel talk about the #1 mistake people make in setting goals. This really piqued my interest because I do set intentions and goals at the beginning of every year. Mel’s point, however, is that you need to ground yourself in the present before you can set goals for the future. To do that, you have to pause and take a look at what happened in the past.
I totally agree.
At the end of every year, I look back and reflect on where I’ve been. What worked. What didn’t. With that, I understand my starting point, which is really my present. It gets the old me in alignment with the person I am right now. (Because, face it. Everything that has happened has shaped who you are right now.) It makes me pause and assess where I’ve been so I can build on that with my plans and goals for the next year.
But Mel asked 8 thought-provoking questions to help us uncover the events that shaped us last year and the lessons learned so we could gain clarity on who we are at the present moment. Thought I’d share those along with my answers. Now would be a good time for you to grab your pen and paper and jot down your answers as well!
1. What were the highlights of last year? Mel suggested going through photos for clues, which I thought was brilliant. You see, your mind will tend to focus on all the things that went wrong in the past instead of logging all the things that went right or according to plan. So, go through your calendar, journal or photos. I’m sure you’ll find some pretty incredible things. For me, the events of the past year (pandemic-induced to a large degree) meant I wasn’t traveling. I was home. I had to slow down. It forced me to live in the present because it was hard to plan for anything else. During that time, I wrote a book and a companion journal, had time to train (or try to train) a puppy, got more comfortable with technology (Zoom in particular), attended three incredible virtual events, got my website up and running, and stayed safe and healthy.
2. What did you learn about yourself that surprised you? I learned I’m way more introverted than I thought. And, I’m so glad I am in this chapter where I can be more flexible and live life on my terms.
3. What was the hardest aspect of this past year? What did you learn about it? I think the hardest aspect was not being able to visit friends and family. (Even for an introvert, that’s really hard.)
4. What lesson did you learn that you’re going to take into the next year? I learned the importance of protecting my energy and mental space, and of insulating myself from the people and events that “trigger me.” Our brains are wired to focus on the bad, and the media (social or mainstream) is filled with it. I’ve been retraining my mind to focus on what has gone right instead of thinking and worrying about what seems to be wrong.
5. What’s the one thing you’re going to commit to not going back to? I’m not going to allow toxic people (or the media for that matter) invade my mental space and keep me focused on the negative.
6. What’s the one thing you did last year that you want to keep doing? I started a morning mindset routine a couple of years ago and it has been a game-changer. I believe how you set your day up is how you end up. If you start with gratitude and a positive attitude, you’re way more likely to carry that throughout the day.
7. In what ways are you stronger than you were last year? What wisdom are you taking into the new year? I think the events of this past year have taught me to focus on what really matters and that there’s tremendous power in managing your thoughts and actions so you stay in a positive state. I also think there’s power in slowing down. As a society, we had gotten to the point of warp speed, and last year caused so many of us to…just…slow…down.
8. What are you most proud of that happened last year? I was able to finish writing my book!
Now it’s your turn! Post one of your takeaways in the comments! Can’t wait to read all about it! Let’s have an incredible year together.