4 Habits for the New Year to Turn Blah into Breakthroughs

New Year's resolution season again? Instead of setting too many big goals in 2022, build a few habits for life that can have a big impact in the long run.

Creativity 7 min read Dec 30, 2021
4 Habits for the New Year to Turn Blah into Breakthroughs

Do you still get a strange overall sense of pandemic-induced malaise? A lack of focus, even though you’re being relatively productive on most days? Author Adam Grant put a label on this state of “blah”: languishing.

If you’re feeling a bit stuck as you contemplate your New Year’s resolutions, don’t worry: You’re not alone. For many people, it seems like they’re not achieving much and often, the culprit is “too many goals, so little time”. So here are a few habits for life you can master in 2022 – small, positive changes that ultimately will dramatically impact your life.

Set a routine when it comes to your free time

We all have free time. Some fill it with meaningless activities that don’t help achieve their goals. But with the proper mindset, you can use it to make daily breakthroughs, no matter how small.

What will I do next? If you have a routine, a set of daily habits that shape the way you spend your time, it’s one less thing to think about. You then free up your mental space and this helps make life easier overall. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow a routine.

For example, you can do 30 minutes of exercise at least three times per week. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous; just incorporate simple activities into your routine, like going up and down the stairs or walking to the grocery store instead of driving.

You can also set aside a fixed time every day to learn something new. Read something even just for the LOLs, listen to literary classics on audiobooks, or try this 5-step exercise with Adam Leipzig and discover your life purpose:

Even at work, if you’ve been doing the same job for years, there are always new skills to learn in your field. The lifeblood of any career is continuous learning – and this applies to hobbies too!

Do more of what you love

Why don’t more people do the things they love? Could it be because they’re too busy doing more of things they don’t even like?

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, surrounded by the same old faces and places, break free and do one thing that challenges or even scares you.

What are your passion points? Find the areas you’re good at and work more at them. What are you really trying to achieve? Have you always wanted to be a writer? A singer? A painter? A jewelry designer? What’s stopping you?

Within you is the power to discover what truly excites you, make a bold move, and pursue a life of meaning and purpose. How? By recognizing that you already have everything you need to make your life incredible – YOURSELF – and you can start that journey today!

Doing things you love is linked with greater levels of life satisfaction, so make time to do more breakthrough activities and express your creativity, whether through art or other ways. Who knows, one day, you might be even creating a business from your life’s passion! Whether it’s a bakery, a clothing store, or an online business, look at how you can turn your interest into an income opportunity.

Challenge yourself with a few short-term goals

It’s nice to have New Year’s resolutions. But maybe you’ve been stuck on the same ones for a while, recycling the same old plans year after year. Or you start off all gung-ho but then your energy fizzles out a few months or even just a few weeks later.

This is completely normal.

If you’re feeling too stressed or unhappy when you’re going after something, or don’t feel like putting in the work to achieve it, it could be time to step back and reassess what you want in your life: Are you trying to achieve too many long-term goals? Are they even still relevant?

It’s easy for long-term goals to feel overwhelming or even impossible, if you don’t know what to do or don’t have the tools you need to get started. If you think you’ve set too big of a goal, try breaking it down into smaller pieces. Pick one or two short-term goals that align with your passion and strengths.

Short-term goals help you visualize what is possible to you right now, and they serve as stepping stones to achieve bigger dreams. They are motivating because they are easier to achieve and celebrate. Short-term goals help give life meaning because they help you focus on what’s important in the here and now.

Invest in your relationships

We all have those moments when we don’t feel like putting in an extra effort or going the extra mile for anyone. But there’s an old saying, “The best way to double your joy is to halve yourself.” The more time you spend on yourself and your own needs, the more isolated you become. But when you invest in others, there’s no place for being stuck, because you’re too busy being useful and engaged in something bigger than yourself.

What does investing in your relationships look like? Hosting more dinner parties? Attending more networking events? Not quite. It means nurturing the relationships you already have, especially the ones that are closest to you.

Families, partners, friends, and co-workers can either hold us back or they can be amazing sources of support, encouragement, and direction when you need it most. This is especially important, as today’s workforce turns remote, competitive and fractured.

Make time for relentless connection-building by cutting out non-essential tasks and projects that are preventing you from really connecting with the people around you. The more time and energy you invest in developing and maintaining good relationships, the more you’ll get back.

Surround yourself with other people who move forward with their projects and ideas. Befriend people who are living their dreams! These forward-moving folks will inspire and motivate you to go after yours as well. The best part is that once you start moving forward yourself, these friends become cheerleaders for your own successes.

As we start a fresh year, the usual “new year, new me” narrative will get old fast, just as it did last year and the year before that. Maybe you don’t want to make any major changes in your life, but you can get a little better every year. That’s perfectly fine. For many people, that’s the goal. In our book, that’s a win.

So be kind to yourself and keep things simple when you can. Set a few short-term goals and put in the work. Express your creativity, surround yourself with supportive people, and don’t lose sight of your bigger aspirations.