Happy New Year! I genuinely hope that 2022 is an amazing year for everyone. I want to start by saying that I know it’s been a while since I last wrote a blog piece, which is unfortunate because I really do love writing and sharing my thoughts with people. I also wish I could say, that instead of writing, I was off saving dolphins or something, but the truth is I was focusing on making the most of my final year of university. That said, I’ve learned a lot of new things and gained a lot of new perspectives and have so much more to share now. Anyways, let’s get started with the actual blog now.
I love the new year. I think it’s because it makes me feel like a new person and gives me a false sense of a new beginning. I know this doesn’t really make sense and that January 1rst is the same as pretty much any other day. However, since I don’t feel like exploring all my irrationalities and since most people look at the new year as a time for self-improvement and change, I thought it would be good idea for my first blog back to focus on ways to conquer the new year.
For some reason when it comes to change and self-betterment, I find myself failing a lot more than succeeding. If you’re anything like me, I’m guessing you’re also in the same boat. I think one of the reasons we often fail at improving each year is because we don’t fully understand what we should be doing to change or what it means to really be thriving and happy. In this blog, I want to share 3 lessons I’ve come across that I think will help all of us make the changes we want to see in 2022.
Lesson 1: Ask Yourself The 3 L's
At the beginning of every year, sit down and ask yourself these 3 questions:
1) What do you want to learn this year?
2)What do you want to launch this year?
3) What do you want to love this year?
Answering and acting upon these three questions are vital for making you feel like you’re thriving and winning as a human being. When you learn something new, you experience growth, improvement and a feeling of moving forward. When you launch something, you experience nerves, excitement, and butterflies. Finally, when you do what you love, you experience joy and happiness. These are all essential feelings that you need in order to truly feel like you’re killing the game of life.
If you need some extra motivation, here’s my personal example of the 3 L’s:
1) I want to learn more about acting. I also want to learn more about the environment and forms of renewable energy.
2) I want to re-launch my website and stick to writing a blog each week.
3) I deeply love making music, so I want to continue learning new songs and making new music. Specifically, I want to produce at least 2 songs over this whole year.
Lesson 2: Understand The 4 Steps To Change
There’s nothing scarier than feeling like you’re stuck in the same spot in life or that you’re not moving in the direction you want to be going. Heck, most existential crises start when people realize that they’ve been stuck or haven’t made any progress. That said, one of the best ways to not be stuck in existential angst is to constantly be changing and moving forward. The problem is that change is hard. However, it doesn’t need to be. I think if we can understand the 4 steps to change, we can all make the changes we want to see in ourselves.
The first step when it comes to change is theoretical. It’s also the stage most of us are always stuck at. This step is essentially just understanding that change is important and needed. For instance, we all have the knowledge that we should be eating healthier or exercising more. A lot of us also understand that we should be doing more for our mental health and the environment. However, theoretical understanding of change or improvement isn’t enough because it requires us to use sheer will power to get results. At the end of the day, knowledge of change just isn’t enough for transformation.
The second step for change is to make it meaningful. If something isn’t meaningful to you, you will never stick with it. For instance, exercising and doing martial arts became a lot more meaningful to me after I first got mugged. Taking care of my health and being physically fit wasn’t just something that I knew was good for me; it was something I wanted to stick to because I never wanted to be in a position where I couldn’t do anything when I felt like I was in danger. Now the problem is that we usually need to go through pain, a challenge, or real stress and pressure to make the shift from theoretical to meaningful. I’m not saying that you can’t make the shift into meaningful without experiencing pain, it’s just that pain or stress is often the trigger for change. That said, having something be meaningful still isn’t enough for a full transformation. After you make something meaningful, you need to make it practical for you. You need to understand how it practically works in your life and how it practically flows in your day. Then once it becomes practical, you need to transition to the final step, which is applicable.
To sum it up, the 4 steps of change are theoretical, meaningful, practical, and applicable. Now, here’s a personal example for me. I theoretically knew that journaling each day would be good for my mental health and personal growth. The idea of journaling became meaningful to me after I experienced my first “real” breakup in university because I just wanted to find a way to productively get my thoughts out of my head. I made journaling practical by purchasing the 5-minute journal and keeping it on my bedside stand so I would be reminded to write it in the moment I woke up and right before I went to bed. Finally, I made journaling more applicable by consistently doing it more and by monitoring my overall development and mental clarity. Once I experienced the applicable benefits of journaling in my everyday life, I continued to do it every day.
Lesson 3: Embrace Sucking
I am a perfectionist. I think many of you are as well. The problem is perfectionism really does kill productivity and growth. The reason I procrastinate and don’t start things immediately is because I’m scared that what I’m about to do isn’t going to be great and that makes me not want to start. However, when you lower the bar and tell yourself that it doesn’t matter if the thing you do sucks and that you just need to get it done, then you’re more likely to start whatever it is you’re procrastinating on. I think if we can all just embrace the fact that not everything needs to be perfect and that by doing something more and more, we'll inevitably just get better at said thing, then we would all just be more productive people. Literally, the only reason I don’t put out more music is because I’m scared that what I make isn't going to be perfect, but if I just say screw it, and make more music, I’d eventually land upon a song that is probably pretty good. To say it simply, embrace sucking so that you can get going, so that you can eventually get good.
I hope you found this blog useful and that these lessons help you as much as they helped me. That said, next time you have the chance, apply the 4 stages of change to something in your life, ask yourself the 3 L’s for a phenomenal year, and understand that it’s okay to suck sometimes as long as you just do the work.
Thanks again for tuning in this week. It really means a lot that you took the time to read my thoughts. I promise that there’s going to be a lot more content in the coming weeks, so if you haven’t already consider subscribing to my email list. I promise I’ll never put out spam, only useful content that I personally find helpful. With that, I’ll talk to you next week.
P.S: If you’re interested in learning more about these 3 lessons, check out Jay Shetty’s podcast, 7 steps for manifesting results in 2022. In the podcast, Jay talks about 4 steps to change and the 3 L’s in a lot more detail.
Im Farshad. I'm a curious PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto. At the moment, I spend most of my time engineering DNA nanotechnologies 🧬, and researching how I can improve personalized medicine approaches. I also spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and how I can be the best version of myself. This website hosts a collection of my over caffeinated thoughts regarding my life and the world, as well as my notes on the various books I’ve read.