We all start the new year with great intentions, and very quickly realise that we’re not entirely sure what we want.
That’s one of the reasons why many new year resolutions actually fail: we think we want something, but in reality we lack the purpose and motivation to do it.
Knowing what we want is the first step to actually achieve anything.
But clarity is often pushed aside by confusion. We live in a fast-paced world that forces us to make instant decisions and we don’t always know what to do.
If confusion has taken over your life, here are some simple tips to help you get clear.
1. Embrace the chaos.
Your life may be a total mess, nothing is working out the way you expected, … you fill in the blank here.
Yes, sometimes life sucks. Accept it.
What you resist, will persist, so the golden rule to get on the right foot is to actually embrace the chaos.
All of it!
It doesn’t mean you agree with it or that you’re happy it’s there.
Acceptance means you simply see it for what it is. You don’t deny it, you don’t ignore it, you objectively tell yourself: yup, it sucks.
2. Tune in and check your internal GPS.
Now, you’ve accepted the chaos. Where are you in this chaos? How are you?
This is a chance to stop the hamster wheel and ask yourself how you’re feeling.
The purpose here is not to go deep into a downward spiral of misery, but rather to assess where your are. Like a detective, examine the “scene of the crime”.
Try to observe yourself as if you were watching a character in a Netflix series. What do you see? How does this person (you) feel?
Once you’ve established that, then ask yourself: how would like to feel instead?
And please don’t answer: I want to feel good. I know you can do better than that.
For example: I want to feel relaxed, like when I get a massage.
Or: I want to feel a rush of energy, like when I’ve gotten the best news ever.
Or: I want to feel joy, like when I have a great conversation with a close friend or relative.
3. Be gentle with yourself.
You’re not a robot, you’re a human being surrounded by complexities.
You are more than your job, your finances, or your family.
You’re constantly balancing mind, body and emotions, and if one of them is off, the rest will certainly suffer.
So stop worrying about what’s out there, all the external factors, and bring your attention to yourself.
What do YOU need right now?
More sleep? A day in the spa? To go back to gym? To switch your phone off?
Be gentle with yourself and give yourself what you need right now. If you don’t do it, nobody else will.
4. Get rid of what’s bothering you.
Yes, it is that drastic. If it’s not helping you, then push it aside.
Whatever is weighing you down, whoever feels toxic right now, give yourself a break.
You may not be able to get rid of your toxic boss, friend or relative, but you can limit your interactions with them.
And this goes for your negative thoughts too.
That inner critic that won’t stop judging you, tell them to shut up. Put them on hold.
Stressing more won’t help you move forward. Complaining about it, won’t help either.
Instead, think of it as an emotional spring cleaning, so you can make space for new things that will actually help you move forward.
5. Attitude of gratitude.
You’ve heard it all before.
There’s a whole science behind this and it’s proven that bringing attention to all the positive things around you will help your brain increase serotonin and decrease cortisol levels.
Think about everything you could feel grateful for: your health, your family, your job, your home, your friends, your travels… you get the picture.
We are wired to focus on the negative and this won’t come naturally, so more of a reason to practice gratitude everyday.
6. Start with micro-objectives.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your life.
When we’re feeling confused, we also doubt our ability to do great things.
If you set yourself a goal too ambitious, you may find you’re unconsciously boycotting yourself, because deep down you don’t think you’ll be able to do it and you actually don’t want to disappoint yourself.
Instead, try small objectives: micro-objectives.
Things that you’ll be able to accomplish easily in a short amount of time. Things you can check off your list easily.
Achieving these small goals will not only help you find motivation to do more, but it will also build up your self-confidence.
7. Less thinking and more doing.
As Marie Forleo says, “clarity comes from engagement, not thought.”
Do more, experiment more, try new things. Observe what you like and don’t like.
It’s ultimately by doing that we understand ourselves better, and that’s precisely how we will find more clarity.
We all come with a set of beliefs we’ve inherited and our tendency is to think we’ve seen it all and we’ve done it all.
The truth is, there’s is so much out there you don’t even know you enjoy because you haven’t tried it yet.
Finally: practice, practice, practice.
You can do this with any aspect of your life, but like with anything else, it takes practice to create new habits.
So go ahead and get started. What are you waiting for?