Two Simple Steps Will Help You Create Your Best Year

Two Simple Steps Will Help You Create Your Best Year

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R Swindoll.

Which year has been the best year of your life? What made it so for you? We have barely five weeks to the most wishful thinking day of every year – New Year’s Day. CTRL+ALT+DEL and restart. We all wish it were that simple on January 1 to restart, reset and refresh our health, career, business and life in general.

And yes, it can be that simple, I promise you. How easy it will be will depend on you.

Two days before writing this piece, I was packing my bag and getting ready to leave the office when a friend offered me a ride. Questions about my next career move opened our twenty-plus-minute conversation. I have no idea, I replied. I think I need a short break to clear my head and reset before the New Year, I continued. “That is a good idea. I have been thinking about going for a holiday myself. Where would be a good place to visit?” My friend asked. At that moment, we coincidentally drove past an airline ad for deals to Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands in Malaysia. So, I said Malaysia and Singapore would be great. My kids and I had great times there when I was working in Yangon, Myanmar. “Oh, really? How was Myanmar? And for how long did you stay there?” We stayed in Myanmar for a year, I replied.

“It was the best year of my life.” “Is that so? My friend prompted, wanted to know why.

I thoroughly enjoyed my job in Yangon. The people were hospitable, warm and friendly. Food, hmmm! Was great. We stayed in the best golf estate in Yangon, where they hosted regional tournaments. They had exquisite facilities – a spa, clubhouse, football field and cycling track.

“Would you go back to Yangon if given a similar opportunity?” I answered, maybe, if it is politically stable. “But, why not definitely if you had your best year there?” my friend continued.

It was my best year, not because of the job, perks or facilities. It was my best year because it is the only year in my 15-year expat career I have spent with my kids without their mum. 2017 was the year that cemented my bond with my kids. We left the house together to drop them off at school. We did homework together. They would spend time at the office whenever I was working late. We dined together, shopped together, and we played together. We had our weekend travels to Singapore and Malaysia. Writing about it now puts a smile on my face. That came with its challenges, from shopping for sanitary wares with my girls to rushing my son to the hospital after he fell through a small side glass table by the pool. Thank God he suffered only a minor cut on his leg. We had to put up with Maya’s trumpet and Sophia’s violin practices.

It was my best year because spending time doing all those activities with my kids meant the world to me. We were happy, and I felt fulfilled. I got to appreciate what matters to me the most. And all that happened because I decided to make a bold change in the way we lived as a family. The change was scary, bold and audacious. I prepared my mind for it, and it was worth it.

To have you best year, something has to change. And that thing is you.

The scary and shocking military incident in Freetown on November 26, sparked a discussion about the seeming lack of progress in Africa. After much said, one of us in the WhatsApp group summed it up perfectly when he texted:

“Mindset change will take a while, and until that happens, things will stay the same.”

That is apt for the year ahead. If you are going to have your best year, you must have a mindset change. If not, things will stay the same for you.

As I prefer for my yearly planning exercise, I picked up Brianna Wiest’s bestseller – “101 Essays that Will Change the Way You Think.” I know for things to change, I have to change the way I think about things.

After reading Brianna’s 49th essay, here is what I recommend you do to set yourself up for the best year.

  • The “If, Then” Framework

It is a simple framework that suggests how to react when certain things happen. I culled the following seven as they feel more relevant to me, and I encourage you to think about and adopt them.

If you don’t understand, then ask.

If you want to be loved, then be loving.

If you want to be understood, then explain.

If you want to be happy, then be grateful.

If you love someone, then tell them.

If you want to let go of something, then build something new in its place.

If you want change, then start small.

  • Embrace change.

Allowing yourself to change in these areas will set you on your way to your best self, not only your best year.

First, change yourself, change how you are.

Change how you see things.

Change your routines.

Change your negative habits.

Change your limiting beliefs.

Change your mindset.

According to Brianna:

“Everything you do, see and feel is a reflection of not who you are, but how you are.

You create what you believe.

You see what you want.

You’ll have what you give.”

Practice these things and watch your best year and your best life unfold

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