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Don’t Go Into The New Year If You Haven’t Done These Things

Don’t Go Into The New Year If You Haven’t Done These Things

As we near the end of the year, we enter into the time where people take stock of the year that has passed and begin to plan ways they can improve in the year to come. Most people make New Year’s resolutions, but these aspirations fizzle and fade anywhere between three weeks and three months. Well now you can do something different! Through these 10 practical tips, you can develop positive habits that will enable you to stay focused and persevere, allowing you to accomplish any goal you set.

Create a daily ritual

Your ritual is the foundation of your quest to stay focused. There are no people with a high level of focus who do not purposefully follow a daily routine. It is in following the sleeping patterns you set, establishing when you eat, setting when you have personal time and when you take breaks that you maximize your effort in working towards your goals.

Set 1-2 BIG goals for the year

Setting BIG goals gives you a finish line to run towards, enabling you to ensure that all your daily actions ladder up to these goals in some way. It also allows you to track your progress throughout the year, and evaluate whether or not you have been able to stay focused. Checking on your big goals every 3-4 weeks allows you to effectively measure what you have done, evaluate what needs to be done, and adjust accordingly. This purposeful adjustment will help you stay focused from New Year’s through Christmas.

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Create a vision board

A vision board is a collage of pictures and images that represent your goals and dreams. Adding quotes, relevant articles, and souvenirs that relate to your BIG goals allows you to visualize the end clearly, and reinforces those goals as you see them every day. Having a bad or seemingly unproductive day? Look at your vision board to remind you of what you’re working for.

Set some daily “alone time”

It is extremely important that, in this journey to stay focused and accomplish more in the upcoming year, you allow yourself some time to relax and take a breath. While striving to accomplish everything as soon as possible is admirable, it inevitably results in burnout, which leaves the situation worse than when it began. Spend some time alone reading a book, in meditation, doing yoga, or any other hobby that allows your mind to take a small break and recharge before doing more work.

Complete everything you start

Although simple and straightforward, completing everything you start is still an essential key to help you stay focused.Giving up on a task or procrastinating and pushing back a deadline only serves to weaken your mental resolve, making it even easier to quit or push it off again in the future. Your focus depends as much on determination, perseverance, and resolve as it does on the specifics of the task at hand.

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Make a to-do list

Making a to-do list is a great way to stay focused! It is such a great feeling to cross completed tasks off of a list one by one. Organize your to-do list into categories: things to do today, things to do tomorrow, and things to do this week. You will be more organized knowing what you have to accomplish immediately, soon, and in the near future. This also helps prioritize the important tasks so that you can give your best effort to complete these tasks first.

Multitask less

You may feel that multitasking is a skill because you can accomplish more things at once, but the truth is that your brain is not fully engaged in either task. Instead, devote all of your brainpower to accomplishing one thing at a time, and you will find it much easier to stay focused.

Avoid distractions

Cut the long line of open tabs short. Don’t check Twitter, Facebook, or your email every five minutes. Making sure you take care of the tasks in front of you immediately allows you to finish faster and completely enjoy personal time without worrying. Find quiet environments to work in, and if that isn’t an option, stay focused by listening to calming music or investing in noise-canceling headphones.

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Have “accountabil-a-buddies”

Find people with similar goals, people who will hold you accountable to what you set out to accomplish. They will help to remind you about your goal, spur you to stay focused when you feel unmotivated, and even be sources of new ideas when your mind feels stagnant.

Stay focused on being focused

Don’t be misguided. Focus is inherently simple, but it is difficult too. It takes strategy, dedication, and a commitment to see things through to the end at the cost of all other possibilities. The more rigid you are with your rules of focusing and controlling your habits, the more skilled you will become at it.

As you strive to stay focused for the upcoming year, realize that there will be times when distraction looms and your progress towards your goals is not as rosy as it once seemed. But true focus is found when you can fall in love with the routine and seemingly boring daily practice and not be distracted by the final result or individual event. Let’s start now!

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Are there any other tips or strategies you use to stay focused? Share them below!

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CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding is the Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network, building leaders and connections in and between humans.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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