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How to master your own success without new year’s resolutions

Forget about those pointless promises you’ll break in the first two weeks of January. Here’s how to mastermind your own success.


There’s no point denying it. December is the perfect time to think about all the things that have gone wrong in your life, than vow to do better over the coming year.

But instead of standing tall at the stroke of midnight and bombastically listing the resolutions you fully intend to honour for at least half of January before failing spectacularly, there’s a more pragmatic way to set yourself up for the best possible 2020 of your life. Or 2021, if you’re reading this a year from now.

Work that momentum

Keeping your momentum going over the summer – especially over Christmas and New Year – can help you head back into work with a renewed sense of purpose instead of having to ramp back up from a holiday slump.

This doesn’t mean you need to maintain the strenuous pace or routine of the previous months. We all need some time to recharge, be it floating in the ocean with an offensive tan, eating prawns till you get sick or even obliging to see family who you don’t even like.

Stepping back from the day-to-day is very important and you definitely shouldn’t be spending this period fretting about the minor nonsense that has plagued your progress on the path to glory.

Devise your own winning system

As you belt out Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ in your worst festive shirt and boardshorts, it can also be useful to think about your systems to success. Do some light research into different organisational techniques or other relevant areas of interest.

To give a specific example, normally I proofread the coming year’s diary for a mummy blog I contribute to, send through my edits via email and keep the marked-up hard copy to use for myself the next year. I spend the next 12 months keeping track of my work and events, while also enjoying the healthy smoothie recipes and mum-based affirmations that comes as perks.

But this year, someone else got that job, so instead I have to buy myself a diary. Which means I’m looking into different methods of organising one’s life on a weekly basis. Should I opt for an electronic option that spans all my devices?

A friend of mine has a family diary, where his wife and kids can add in events so everyone else knows where they are in life.

Should I buy some expensive, tactile, luxury option that people will want to touch? Is the cover more important than the interior, when it’ll spend most of its life lying flat on my desk? Should I work with a diary/notebook combination, or keep my creative musings separate from my to-do lists?

Am I really, truly ready to commit to bullet journaling in 2020? Probably not.

That’s just me, as a sole trader, looking at how I’m going to stay on top of things next year. And it’s actually fun to think about and experiment with. On a larger scale, you can see how it can benefit you to take time to look into different workflows or even consider how you could rearrange the physical space of your workplace. Now could be the perfect time to figure out why people get so hysterical about Craft vs WordPress or start collecting inspirational material for a redesign of your website.

Tips from strangers

And while you may be in a different environment to your norm, probably meeting new people at barbecues or other functions that demand your beloved attention, it can be interesting to ask them how they live their lives to maximise success.

Don’t phrase it like that of course, but you never know what insights you can glean from your cousin’s new boyfriend or that niece who used to fall over as a toddler but is now somehow old enough to drink you under the table.

Read next: Your daily routine could be your secret to success

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