I’m a big fan of a new year, a fresh start, of intentional time to set goals. And although there’s nothing wrong with the idea of setting resolutions for 2021, I find it’s more effective to focus on building long-term behaviors that will help you become the person you want to be. Successful people have successful habits, so as you think ahead to 2021, I encourage you to put these four habits into practice in your daily life.
Stillness. We all relax in different ways, but stillness is different from merely unwinding. Time alone, with no agenda and no distractions, is important for self-awareness and stress management. Whether you journal, meditate, or spend solo time in nature, the goal is to carve out time to think, feel, listen, and dream. Why? It’s been shown to reduce negative emotions and increase focus, compassion, and creativity. Start your day with just five minutes of stillness, and I’m confident you – and the people around you – will see a difference.
Preparedness. Stress and anxiety are often the result of a lack of preparation. If you start your day with stillness and strive to carry that calm with you throughout the day, it’s important to spend some time planning ahead. Some people have a family meeting on Sundays to map out the week. Others have a nightly check-in with their spouse to cover the next day’s tasks. What’s important is to find a method that works for you and prepare for your priorities – not simply your to-dos. Planning ahead to host family meals, take time off work to travel, or volunteer with your kids is just as important as coordinating who handles carpool and soccer practice.
Adaptability. 2020 has certainly been a lesson in navigating the unexpected. Habits of stillness and preparedness are foundational to your ability to adapt when life throws a curveball. If you have a plan and can remain in control of your emotions, you can often respond to changes in a way that’s consistent with your character. However, adaptability also requires anticipating what could come your way, having the necessary emergency resources, and maintaining clarity on your priorities. This gives you the freedom and presence of mind to make decisions that align with your values – regardless of how circumstances change.
Gratitude. The habit of recognizing and expressing gratitude might be the most important thing I hope you take into 2021. Gratitude isn’t merely about feeling thankful or showing appreciation. It’s about shifting your perspective to focus on the good. I saw a quote recently that said (and I’m paraphrasing here…), we all thought 2020 would be the year we got everything we ever wanted, but instead, it turned out to be the year we appreciated all we already had. That, my friends, is the power of gratitude. So, whether you write 10 things you’re grateful for every morning or tell one person how they make you feel each day, get in the habit of identifying gratitude.
We all hope 2021 will be a better year – with fewer challenges and more stability. My hope is that it’s also a year we experience peace and contentment regardless of the circumstances around us. Happy New Year!
– Kyle Brownlee, CEO and Senior Wealth Advisor