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As we come-to from the post-Christmas/New Year torpor, reactivating those brain cells and getting back into gear, our thoughts often meander towards those goals, dreams and aspirations we’d like to see manifested over the forthcoming year.

The New Year is often seen as a time for renewal, a time to re-trim those sails to ensure we’re on course to the right destination. All fabulous and inspiring, yet easily lost in the melee of the January sales, post-holiday blues and the realisation that the outcome of all that extra food and booze is now resting gently on our hips.

So what will help you get back on track, to move towards your future with the confidence, competence and capability required to help you succeed in all your intentions?

Easy. It’s just choosing the ONE BIG THING you’d love to achieve, feel or complete in the next 12 months.

Why just ONE? Because having too many targets dilutes your potential for success. This is all about FOCUS.

While you may have a number of things you want to accomplish; such as writing a best seller, starting a new business, taking up Tai Kwon Do, dropping a couple of kilos or clearing out all the junk in the garage, having ONE BIG THING provides the overarching framework of focus for everything you will do.

All you need for a successful OBT is right here already:

Love Your One Big Thing

You have to be totally in love with your OBT, as in totally. Loving the idea, the dream and the aspiration. It’s the one thing you go to bed thinking about and wake-up still thinking about, and look forward to making it real. When we are in love we experience high levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with that rush of pleasure triggered by desire and reward.

Naturally, this makes the assumption you know what you OBT is and the real reason you want it so badly. If you’re not sure what it is, don’t worry. Spending some time pondering what it might look like will help you discover what it is. Try narrowing it down to a single word or short phrase. You’ll know when you’ve identified your OBT correctly because it will resonate strongly with everything you stand for and fit comfortably like that pair of well-worn jeans.

Lighten Your Cognitive Load

Your brain is a terrible future planner. It likes patterns and familiarity and the comfy seat of the status quo. Help your brain by choosing to consciously lighten your cognitive load, tracking how you spend your precious mental energy and managing your emotions.

Our attention span may be shrinking but it’s not extinct yet. Reclaim your focus and corral those pesky distractions, to build stress resistance and greater possibility thinking.

Having fun is possibly the most underrated motivational tool on the planet. Think back to the last time you really enjoyed yourself – how did it make you feel? Having fun is truly powerful, though the caveat here is that it’s not enough on its own. Pairing play with persistence and progress is the rocket fuel to boost the cognitive stamina required for best thinking and learning.

Live Your One Big Thing

Remember this is YOUR Big Thing, no one else’s. You are the responsible parent and guardian to your OBT. It requires consistent nurturing to promote strong rapid growth and the potential to flourish.

This is self-leadership in action, staying true to your ideals, values and beliefs, and remaining authentic in all your actions. Embodying your OBT allows you to lead with intention.

Set Your One Big Thing Free

Hanging on tightly to past fears, uncertainties and self-doubt is often our major stumbling block to success. Get out of your own way, challenge those thoughts and lead forward with confidence.

Your mindset is malleable. Choosing to open your mind to new ideas, to stay curious and explore all options is all about developing a growth-orientated mindset where failure shows you’ve tried and there’s no shame in that. Fearing less is not about recklessness, it’s all about realistic optimism.

Others may want to remind you of your past failings and insecurities. They may want to protect you from possible hurt (though they may also have their own agenda for not wanting you to succeed).

Protect your OBT by working with an accountability buddy or mentor. Write it down and put it in a place you will see it every day, on the fridge, by your computer screen, on the back of the bathroom door. The simple act of writing helps to embed the idea in your brain.

It’s time to step forward bravely into the new year with enthusiasm, to elevate your thinking and shape your path to greater performance using your OBT.

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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