“Where focus goes, energy flows.”
When positive psychology began making a name for itself as a new field of research in the early 2000s, people flocked to book shelves to purchase its promise of happiness.
At the core, we want to flourish and feel elated at all times, but without its contrast, can we really appreciate or understand what happiness is to begin with?
Most likely not.
As someone obsessed with self-improvement understanding how to create happiness in my own life was and continues to be a constant practice. By nature I am an overthinker, highly anxious, and tend to lean towards the negative.
Over the years, I’ve developed a grounding ritual I practice in December to help set the stage for where I’d like my energy to flow the next year, thus improving the quality of my life – and emotional state.
Given that 2020 felt like a giant middle finger for 99% of the world, my hope is that sharing this process with you helps recalibrate your energy and focus in 2021.
Step 1: The Inventory
This critical first step takes nothing but a pen, paper, and 30 minutes of your time.
Block off time in your day and eliminate all distractions before starting this process. On a sheet, create the following buckets (add more as needed for your life):
Under each bucket, write down everything that went well this past year. The 2020 version of this might be: Learned how to cook (Creative), Started a side hustle (Business), Moved with my in-laws and saved an additional $10,000 (Finances).
No need to go into too much detail. At the end, you will have a fairly long list – likely longer than expected – that highlights all the things that went well in your year.
On another sheet, create the same buckets and jot down all the things that didn’t go as well. Examples might include: Spent the holidays alone (Family), broke up with my significant other (Relationships), gained the Quarantine 15 pounds (Health).
Avoid judging yourself during this process or falling into a state of victimhood or depression over it. It’s just as important to see where things didn’t go well as it is the positive.
Step 2: The Brain Dump
At this point, grab some water or coffee and re-read your Inventory list. Grab another sheet of paper and list out the same buckets again. Under each category, write down what you would like to do, experience, and feel the following year based off the Inventory lists.
- You learned how to cook in 2020 (yay!) → Would like to host a dinner party for my friends when we’re all able to see each other again and cook for them.
- Moved in with my in-laws and saved $10k → Would like to live in a different city every month next year while able to work remotely.
- Gained weight —> Want to feel comfortable in my body and skin again.
The idea is to expand yourself around the things that happened by taking it to the next level. Good or bad, there is always another level. This step is just a brain dump of ideas – big, small, or crazy.
Step 3: The Vision
Probably the most fun step of all is writing out the vision. Looking at the list from step 2 – The Brain Dump – circle at least one item from each bucket that resonates the most with you right now that also feels achievable and important to you.
Then, write out what your next year will look and feel like and include the activities that you’ve circled. Write it out as if it’s already happening noting how you feel as these things are occurring. This puts you in the energetic state of all these things already happening.
For instance, if your health vision is to lose the weight gained in quarantine and start feeling comfortable in your body again your ‘vision statement’ might read: I’m excited about going to the gym 5 days a week and watching my body transform. I’ve missed being strong and feeling energized after a great workout. I’m working with a kickass trainer and love the community at the gym. Working out is the highlight of my day and helps me sleep better at night because it reduces stress from work.
This part of the process is imagination in action! I recommend setting aside an hour for this portion and write everything you can in detail.
Step 4: The Investment
Finally, you come to the most crucial and scary part of the process. Investing in some portion of your vision now sets things in motion. The investment can be time specific or financial (sometimes both) but it has to be clear and definitive.
When I made the decision in 2019 to invest in learning about nutrition and improving my fitness with it, I stumbled onto an online nutritionist and invested thousands of dollars into her program for nearly a year.
I remember feeling scared and excited (a good sign), but I knew that in order to take my health to the next level, I had to invest hard dolla bills. Best money I ever spent.
BarbellSTRONG Coaching (BSC) is a four month investment into your strength, performance, health and physique. Applications to join the next enrollment class is open until January 9, 2021 with two membership options – PREMIUM and PLUS.