Ready to make this year your best yet?
Then you’re in the right place.
I don’t know about you, but every year I try to do a little better than the last. We learn new things, make mistakes, experience setbacks, and have breakthroughs. Life often seems like the ebb and flow of a wave, however, amid all of this chaos, if you try hard enough you can manage to make a lot of progress. So much so that you turn around and can hardly believe how far you came in a single year.
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
– George Bernard Shaw
There’s nothing like starting the New Year off by front-loading a ton of momentum to get your year started in the right direction. That’s where the idea of the thirty-day growth challenge comes from.
By no means do you have to do everything below, it’s more of a framework, but if you use it as a guide and apply yourself to completing it, you have the ability to generate a huge amount of momentum towards your goals this year.
Also, keep in mind that perfection is pretty much impossible. Things will come up and there will be days where you just can’t make that day’s objective happen. That’s okay, I’d shoot for an eighty percent completion rate. If you can do that, you’re off to a great start for the year.
I’ve included some “free” days partly for that reason, so you can use them to make up for missed objectives. However, it’s also important to go occasionally without the pressure of having to complete a new objective hanging over your head, hence the occasional day break.
Here’s the 30-day growth challenge:
Week one is all about developing important habits and establishing things that will serve as the framework for getting the most out of your day over the next year:
- Day 1: Leave last year behind (and commit to no expectations): It’s important mentally to leave the year behind. A lot happened, I’m sure, and you probably had your fair share of challenges, but if you hope to make progress this year you need to leave this all behind. This could be something as simple as taking a short walk on the beach and allowing yourself to let the past rest behind you.
- Day 2: Set goals for the year (or reevaluate them if you already have). What do you want to accomplish this year? You won’t get very far if you’re not clear on what you want.
- Day 3: Break those down into quarterly goals and use a weekly accountability system to track your progress.
- Day 4: List important assets you need to accomplish those goals. Chances are, you don’t have everything you need to accomplish your goals. Make a list and figure how you’ll acquire the assets you need to do that (such as skills, new contacts, etc.).
- Day 5: Make a vision board. I know, sounds hoaky – but it’s not. Don’t pass this one up! (Even if it takes more than a day.)
- Day 6: Start a journal.
- Day 7: Free.
Week two is about the outward. It’s about optimizing your environment to maximize your focus and productivity:
- Day 8: Wake up thirty minutes earlier. Even if you don’t do anything with it, rising early makes you feel great and puts you in the right state of mind for the day ahead.
- Day 9: Design a morning routine. Take it one step further and design a morning routine that jumpstarts your day.
- Day 10: Adopt a nightly ritual. Like the morning routine, but this is all about optimizing your sleep and well-being by placing you in the right physical and mental state of being before retiring for the day.
- Day 11: Minimize or get rid of T.V. I know, you can’t do without Game of Thrones. That’s okay, as long as you reduce your T.V. consumption down to just a few hours a week you’re good.
- Day 12: Do a smartphone/app cleaning. Chances are, you have a ton of apps you really don’t need or which distract you regularly but bring you little value. Time to do away with all of it.
- Day 13: Cleanse your social. Social is one of the biggest time sinks and a constant source of distractions. Reduce the number of sites you’re on, who you follow, and weed out the bad associations.
- Day 14: Free.
Week three is about the inner game of optimizing your performance to increase your creativity, performance, focus, and reduce stress:
- Day 15: Meditate for five minutes. Preferably, make this a daily habit.
- Day 16: Try a brain game. These are great for optimizing your cognitive functions.
- Day 17: Adopt a mindfulness practice.
- Day 18: Start exercising. It’s important you find a method that works for you so you’ll be excited to work out.
- Day 19: Start using the Pomodoro method while you work.
- Day 20: Create the habit of doing problem tasks first. There needs to be a sense of order and logic to how you work. This is the second step to optimizing that and it influences both your productivity and creativity.
- Day 21: Free.
Week four is about growing your knowledge, skills, and other assets. If you took my advice earlier and listed important assets you need to acquire to accomplish your goals for the year, that’s a great place to look for ideas on the kinds of things you need to learn, develop, and acquire:
- Day 22: Start reading. Depending on your profession, this can be anything that brings you value. Same goes for the next point.
- Day 23: Start listening to podcasts. Unlike books, which require your undivided attention, podcasts are great because you can take them on the go. So are audiobooks. Highly recommended.
- Day 24: Search for a mastermind or group of like individuals. If you don’t already have a group of people you communicate with regularly that are in your profession or are at a similar professional level, start searching for a group or community.
- Day 25: Do one thing you’re afraid of. The ability to consistently step outside of your comfort zone is a skill that can and should be developed now as it will serve you in everything you do.
- Day 27: Reach out to one person that can move your career forward. This is all about building professional connections. Most of us have a hard time bringing ourselves to make that initial contact, let alone build entire new relationships with people. This is about taking that initial step, everything else tends to happen naturally from there, because we’re motivated to continue.
- Day 28: Perform an act of kindness. You’ll notice this doesn’t seem to fit with the theme of this week. However, I’ve found that most of us have lost touch with (or never knew) the power of helping others without expecting anything in return. This knowledge, and the understanding that you always have the ability to exercise it, doesn’t just make you happier and more fulfilled, it can serve you in your career in a big way. Such acts of kindness are the perfect way to start off a long and beautiful business relationship or personal connection.
- Day 29: Free. If you missed an objective at some point, now is the perfect time to make it up!
The Near Year is a chance to start fresh and do something you have never done before. But if your goal is to make real progress, then you have to be willing to do what’s necessary. It takes hard work, resilience, and persistence to make this thirty-day challenge happen. But if you do? You’ll be strapped to a rocket and ready to make this the best year of your entire life.
Whether you follow this thirty-day challenge to the ‘T’ or adapt your own, use this as a framework for creating the change you want to see in your life this year.