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How I reset for the New Year (for productivity and mindfulness)

by Australia Top Tuition


TIP 1: DECLUTTER & ORGANISE YOUR SPACE (set up your environment intentionally)


Resetting your space allows you freedom - it not only reduces physical clutter and mess, but promotes mindfulness. This is something you would hear A LOT around this time of year, and there is a reason for that!


To do this well, you need to make sure your environment reflects the habits and goals you're wanting to embrace. Is your desk set up in a way that allows you to be creative and facilitate a good work flow, or is it restrictive?


Remember the saying, "out of sight, out of mind"? Well, it's completely true. If there is a particular habit or task you want to keep up with consistently, there is no better way to promote that than by complying with the rule of visibility, which essentially states that in order to achieve something, you must be able to see that something. If you want to read more each day, but keep your books locked away in drawers, you are FAR LESS LIKELY to start reading. Ergo, you should have your books somewhere visible, so you can pick them up right away (it's also costing you less effort, which is what your brain LOVES!!).


Aside from the rule of visibility, keeping your space organised in a way suitable to your life is important. Start implementing these rules intentionally and watch your life change, bit by bit.


TIP 2: CHANGE YOUR THINKING AND ADJUST EXPECTATIONS (success doesn't happen overnight)


Some people make a list of goals they want to achieve at the start of every New Year, and that's great. But if you want to start achieving those goals, unfortunately, identifying them is only half the battle. It is much more important to focus on your HOW (your systems and methods of doing things) than the goal itself. Unlucky for us, just contemplating a goal won't allow you to accomplish it. We have to map how we will get there, and make those tasks enjoyable if we can. In other words: we have to change our thinking and adjust our expectations.


CONSIDER THIS...


Elle decides that her goal in 2023 is to drop 10 kilos. She's identified her goal, but this alone won't be enough to achieve it. She needs to create a system or method to help her get there. So, Elle decides to be ambitious and commits to running 3 kilometres everyday. She has worked out that this will be the fastest way to achieve her goal. BUT, Elle hates running. She quickly loses motivation and realises that she can't bring herself to do this activity each day. In the long run, Elle quits her plan and she doesn't lose any weight. But if Elle were to swap out this unpleasant activity for an enjoyable one (say, walks along the beach, or swimming) she is much more likely to commit. Elle is creating small sustainable change over time, rather than rushing her goal with a system that ultimately fails her. PRIORITISE YOUR METHODS.


TIP 3: FOLLOW MY HABIT FORMULA: (small change x once per day) x time


I've been doing a lot of study and research over the last month about what constitutes a successful habit. I have determined that a habit is successful when it becomes natural, instinctive, enjoyable, and results in positive change or reinforcement.


Continuing on from tip 2, I'd like to reiterate that the method of achieving a goal is far more important than the goal itself. By setting a goal, we acknowledge that this is something positive we want to bring in to our lives for the better. Usually, we don't set a goal and then suddenly abandon it. For most of us, setting a goal is the first step to establishing a good habit. Habits will then eventually change the way we live our lives. BUT habits do not (and cannot) occur instantaneously. So it's important that we realise we have to implement small change over time.


I've developed a simple habit formula to illustrate this!

(small change x once per day) x time = great change

One small change occurring once per day over the span of a year, for example, results in huge change. Whereas, if we tried to implement one large change that we had to perform consistently throughout the day everyday of the year, it's likely we'd burn out pretty quickly and give up (it's just the way we are wired - we want instant gratification). So you can see how even though you are bringing in small changes, they have the ability to become something HUGE over the period of a year. You, as a human, simply need to combat the desire for instant, big change, and use this to fuel a more forgiving, and ultimately results-oriented system.

You can use this habit formula for anything you deem appropriate! Some helpful examples...


(reading 10 minutes x once a day) x 1 year = a solid reading habit

(working out 15 minutes x once a day) x 1 year = significant fitness change

(study 30 minutes x once a day) x 2 years = huge knowledge boost


It's important to remember that the frequency of your small change also makes you want to do it more. Start off small and slowly increase your change over time.


TIP 4: CREATE A MINDFULNESS SYSTEM (measure & monitor your wellbeing)


If you struggled with mental or physical health in 2022, consider making mindfulness and health a priority in 2023. You don't even have to label it a 'resolution' or 'goal' if you find those labels too pressuring. Instead, call it a 'priority'. I find that labelling something a priority gives it more weight and importance, anyway.


If finding a work-life balance and tracking your health is important to you, make sure you follow the rules of 'SMART' goal-setting (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound).


SPECIFIC (insert specific change you want to occur): E.G. 'I want to meditate morning and night at least five days a week to reduce anxiety symptoms.' I find that quantifying your goal and including numbers makes it easier to measure over time, and really focuses your energy and direction, so try and do this where possible.


MEASURABLE (consider how you will track your progress): E.G. 'I will tick off each day I meditate on my calendar.' It may be helpful to design a specific template for your goal that you can use and refer back to. You can measure your goals any way you like, but have a system in place that will show you (visually, verbally or mathematically) your progress and whether you are achieving what you set out to achieve.


ATTAINABLE (is your goal reasonable and achievable?): E.G.'My goal of meditating twice per day is achievable because it is not too overwhelming for my schedule and I have carved out the time for it.' This is all about making sure you can reasonably achieve your goal and that you haven't set out unrealistic expectations.


RELEVANT (does your goal relate to an area of your life that needs improving?): E.G. 'I need to set this goal because I suffer with severe anxiety and this will help my days go by more smoothly.' Ensure that your goal/priority suits your lifestyle and isn't something completely randomised.


TIME BOUND (what is your time frame for achieving this goal or priority?): E.G. 'I would like for this priority to be a consistent habit for me by the end of 2023.' Make sure that you can actually achieve this in a certain timeframe or deadline.



TIP 5: DIGITAL ASSISTANCE (set up your technology to suit your needs)


Your phone, computer, tablet and smartwatch should work for YOU, not the other way around.


Every year, I seem to discover some new trick or app that maximises my productivity and workflow. In 2022, I relied on my iPhone reminders. In 2023, I want to rely more on my digital calendar than my physical one.


It seems like such a simple thing, but transferring your organisational systems to another mode of doing things can be a big deal. After all, you've become so reliant on your physical planner, so why would you move to online planning? This is really personal preference, and not totally compulsory, but I would say that if you've got a smart phone, watch, TV, computer, whatever, you NEED to utilise the assistance that those devices provide. Think about the convenience of setting a reminder on your iPhone which then syncs across all of your devices. So easy! Don't get me wrong, I love a good leather planner and crisp black inky pen (I'm a bit of a stationery lover) - but your digital organisers will become your best friends and make working so easy, especially if you work from home or are self-employed like me. Consider making this a small goal for yourself in 2023. I think you'll be surprised by how much time and effort you save. Here are a few of my own personal systems:


  • Set reminders to go off at a particular time of day when you know a certain task will need to be accomplished (you can set daily ones too);

  • Use your Notes app as a 'brain dump' area, refine those thoughts, and then transfer them to a more permanent home;

  • Type in important to-dos, events, appointments and meetings in your digital calendar and set up alerts for these;

  • and, finally, manage your finances through a spreadsheet or app (track income, spending, and set up a budget).


I hope these 5 tips help! I wish you all the best out of 2023.

- Elysha 💙

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