The Strategies That Made 2021 a Success

Despite the various obstacles and detours that 2021 has thrown in the direction of the world, I have had one of the most personally successful years I can remember.

I have experienced success in many areas, including the following:

  • Improved nutrition
  • Regular daily movement
  • Regular writing
  • Teaching myself to play the guitar
  • Consistent and better quality sleep
  • Reduced alcohol consumption

I owe this success to some inspirational people (friends, writers and podcasters) as well as some helpful strategies.

Glasses and book with text: Dream it, believe it, achieve it
Image by Carolyn Christine via Unsplash

Strategy 1: Reflecting on my priorities

I spent time last December doing this. Thinking about what was really important to me so I could decide where to focus my energy.

I found the Vision Board Android app a useful way of capturing this and referring back to it throughout the year.

Strategy 2: Goal setting

Some of my goals (learn to play the guitar, for example) were obvious to me, whereas others took more time and reflection on my priorities to decide on. I only chose three at the start of the year but over the course of the year I added to these as I felt I’d achieved some of them already.

Strategy 3: Being specific

My goals were pretty lofty so I then broke them down into something that I would know when I’d achieved it (I’m going to be learning to play the guitar for ever, that’s never going to be a completed goal, whereas play and sing a song in public was something I would definitely know when I’d managed it!).

I also found it helpful to break down what I was trying to achieve into smaller steps so that I could focus on achieving the first and then build on it with the next one.

Strategy 4: Anticipate the obstacles

Thinking through my journey to work out potential obstacles along the way and then identifying in advance how I could either prevent them becoming obstacles or working out how to overcome them made a real difference. (Buying new guitar strings right at the start so I wouldn’t be railroaded if one broke was wise, although I got through the year without encountering that particular obstacle.)

Strategy 5: Look for help

Knowing where I might need help and finding source of support right from the start, rather than waiting until I got stuck, really made a difference. I found an online video guitar tutor that was a great fit for my learning needs (Justin Guitar) and also investigated habit tracking apps so I could build a good practice habit right from the start. (I ended up using Grow — habit tracking for Android which worked really well for me.)

Image by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash

Strategy 6: Reflect regularly

I reflected on my progress each Sunday, identifying things that had gone well and why and looking for stumbling blocks. This enabled me to change my journey as it was progressing, rather than to plough on regardless. As a result I took some detours that worked better for me and found some new destinations that I wanted to aim for that I hadn’t initially considered.

Strategy 7: Keep records

In the first couple of months of the year when I was building a habit to get more movement into each day I recorded the things I was doing each day. The knowledge that I would be writing down how long I’d been walking for or how many songs I’d danced to in the kitchen made me more likely to walk that bit further or have another dance!

Later in the year when I decided to increase the variety of plants I was eating I used the tracker in the Deliciously Ella Feel Better app to record this which definitely helped me towards my goal of 30 varieties a week (although a spreadsheet would have worked just as well, but it doesn’t also have recipes!)

Strategy 8: Share

Telling other people what I was aiming for gave me a little external accountability. I’m pretty much all about doing things for myself but I can see that there’s a little of Gretchen Rubin’s Upholder category here!

I’m so excited about seeing where 2022 takes me, and I know the strategies I’ve learned this year will help me get there. I hope that some (or all!) of them will help you make the difference you want to next year too.

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