At year end, do not panic, focus on today
Worrying over goals not achieved only creates anxiety
Over the past few weeks we’ve seen many Christmas sales being advertised and this has been a reminder that the year is almost over.
As of today, only 55 days remain in 2022. You may panic as you reflect on what you have achieved over the past 10 months, whether it be career goals, buying property, investing, spending more time with loved ones and friends, going on that solo holiday at last or adopting a healthier lifestyle.
There is no need to panic as you may create unnecessary anxiety for yourself.
What little steps can you take to ensure that when the year ends you have at least moved in some area in your life?
Author, marketing and business development manager Itumeleng Monale answers questions on why you should rather focus on what you have accomplished and how you can do better in future.
What are the disadvantages of focusing on what one has not achieved?
I recently came across a social media post where someone reminded their followers that it was November and asked them what they had accomplished for the year. I resonated with a response from someone who said 2022 has been a challenging year for many people, with some having lost their jobs and loved ones, and that maybe the focus should instead be placed on the fact that they have overcome those obstacles.
I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. Focusing on what you have not achieved at the end of the year enforces the notion that you are what you do. We end up placing more value on our achievements rather than on who we are becoming. Who we are and our character development is far more important.
Placing value on what we achieve gives us the constant feeling that we are not enough. We see life through the lens of the never-ending tasks we want to accomplish, thus leaving us with the constant feeling of anxiety and failure weighing us down.
What can one do to avoid thinking about what they have not been able to do?
By remembering that each day is a gift and choosing to make the most of the present moment. Instead of thinking about what you have not accomplished, ask yourself what you can do in the present moment to move closer to the reality you want for your life.
The power is in practising mindfulness, by showing up fully in your now and intentionally practising awareness of your environment and how your actions can have more impact.
In the book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle states that we should “realise deeply that the present moment is all we have. Make NOW the primary focus of your life.”
Too many of us put pressure on ourselves by dwelling on what we have not achieved in a set calendar year. What is your comment to this statement?
Although pressure is good, because it helps to keep you out of your comfort zone, there needs to be room for kindness. You need kindness to accept that factors outside of your influence may hamper your progress and that it’s okay to experience setbacks.
We need to be realistic in our goals and aim to work at a sustainable pace. I’m a big dreamer and firm believer that your aspirations should scare you. However, there needs to be a balance where you recognise that you are a flawed human being who will make mistakes from time to time.
How important is it to set goals and time-frames to achieve goals?
Planning and developing the direction of your life is paramount if you want to accomplish anything notable. If done wrong, however, you can become a slave to goals and sabotage yourself along the way but if you master setting motivational goals the success you achieve will be fulfilling.
The key is to focus on simplicity and spread yourself evenly. I take inspiration from the book The One Thing by Gary Keller. He teaches that by hyper-focusing and being specific on your goals for certain periods you will get more done instead of working on too many projects at a time.
The question to ask yourself is: “What’s the One Thing I can do so that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
How can one move away from
Following an intuitive and value-based, goal-setting approach will help get things right instead of just getting them done. This will help you avoid the need to achieve goals just for the sake of chasing a timeline and encourage you to do things that align with who you want to become.
Rather than just having a plan to read more books, strive to become an avid reader. The latter is tied to your character and your values and is more sustainable.
How important would responses given to the above questions help the state of one’s mental health?
Having this approach to goal-setting will give you a growth mindset where you don’t see failure as a way to define yourself but as a provocation to grow and develop yourself to do better.
This will result in a life filled with gratitude and a more forward-looking perspective that focuses only on what you can control. I believe this will put people at ease and remind them to be kind to themselves.
What can people do to ensure the year does not end with them not having moved in any aspect of their life?
Start small. Focus on one or two main projects you want to accomplish and break them down into more manageable milestones. For the last two months of the year it might
‘‘ Focus on simplicity and spread yourself evenly
‘‘ Ask yourself what you can do in the present
mean preparing for the goal you want to accomplish next year. An example would be that if you want to work for a specific company or industry, use the rest of the year to take short courses and polish up your CV.
That prepares you for the goal you want to achieve next year and it is still manageable.
What can one do to become their better self, be it by doing what they said they would do (adopting a healthy lifestyle, travelling, investing, buying property or studying) and not end the year having achieved nothing?
I would recommend picking up the book Atomic Habits to learn how to set good systems in life that will help form good habits. Your ability to accomplish success results from the systems you have developed in your life.
A major practice that people tend to neglect due to work overload is self-care. Your efforts are only as good as your energy and how much you replenish yourself.