I hope that 2021 was your best year ever, despite the pandemic and all the challenges that came with it. It's important to take a full account of the past year, avoiding the tendency to focus just on the difficulties or just on your accomplishments and good luck. Your 2021 balance sheet has both debits and credits.
As we move forward into the new year, use that balance sheet to decide what you will do differently in 2022, to take full advantage of your latest chance to find even greater success, happiness, and fulfillment. Here are several areas to consider improving.
Physical Health: Nothing is more important to your results than your health: it's difficult to achieve your goals and chase your ambitions if you don't take care of your physical health. All the people who rely on you need you to take care of yourself first, so you can help take care of them. In 2021 I prioritized my sleep, coming close to seven and half hours a night, giving myself more time to recover and improve my energy.
Mental Health: The constant drumbeat of pandemic updates, political divisiveness, and shocking stories creates an unceasing low-grade stress, something that isn't good for humans. Humans are designed to process short-term stressful events, not a constant, grating stress. Whether you choose meditation, contemplative prayer, journaling, or some other method, do your best to objectify your stress by removing it from your body and putting it somewhere where you can gain some perspective. In 2021, I improved my mental health by eliminating all television except for CNBC. Their reports feature comparatively little political divisiveness, though still too much daily pandemic news that adds nothing to yesterday’s reports.
Relationships: Physical and mental health are mainly important because they help you engage in the relationships that matter most. As more people trade actual reality for a metaverse or some other form of augmented escapism, they often abandon their most important relationships. At the end of your life, you won’t care much about win rates or income levels: you’ll wish you spent more time with the people you love and who love you. Stephen Covey insisted that you schedule time for your most important relationships, still the best counsel available. In 2021, I created a personal CRM that allows me to track my relationships, so I can better manage what matters.
Personal and Professional Development: No matter how good or bad you found 2021, you are, and always will be, pure potential. Activating your potential requires a series of projects that allow you to make progress on your personal and professional development. There are competencies that will improve your overall results, as well as new skills that can increase the value you create in your professional life. I am continuously taking one course or another. In 2021, my favorite course was one on accessing Flow State, giving me an advantage in focus and greater output.
Work: There is always a way to do better at work, including changing the work you do and how you do it. One of the easiest traps to fall into is treating your work as transactional instead of giving yourself over to it, making it something more than anyone else could do. Instead of busying yourself with low-value tasks, commit to doing the very few things that move the needle—the ones make a difference in your results and for your clients. I spent 6 months in 2021 changing how I go to market, and 2022 will bring more adjustments.
Wealth and Finances: At the end of 2021, we find ourselves at the end of a super-cycle, one with high inflation and super high debt. If there were ever a time to study wealth creation and adjusting your sails, it's now. To better understand the implications of zero interest rates, pick up Principles for The Changing World Order by Ray Dalio. Find the best advice you can and adjust your investment mix. In 2021, I found expert advice to better structure my future financial decisions.
Your Transformation: It is possible to live basically the same year over and over, without making any real progress that might rise to the level of transformation. You want each year to find you moving forward towards the biggest and best version of yourself. One way to think of this process is as a series of upgrades, improvements you make that stack on top of each other, transforming you into something more and preparing you to continue your trajectory in a positive direction.
These are just some areas where you might want—or need—to change in 2022. If there are other areas you need to make changes, put your time and energy there, even if they aren’t on this list. Do what you know you need to do to make 2022 your best year ever ,and take advantage of the entire year to make the changes necessary.