Recently, someone on my Facebook asked me to use 1-3 words to describe how the start of 2023 has been for me so far. I posted “Ctrl-Alt-Del” (Control, Alternate and Delete). What do I mean? To control, is to take charge. To alternate, is to find a replacement and to delete is to remove. How can these 3 words help us start our 2023 well? Let’s apply them to what I term as the 3 enablers of a good life – personal growth, health and wealth.
Control – Start 2023 right by first taking charge of what we put into our minds. The Think-Feel-Act cycle is a neuroscientific concept positing that how we think creates our feelings, and how we feel drives our actions. So, if we want to drive our personal growth in the right direction this year, start first by feeding our minds with positive thoughts and wholesome content. So, control what we watch and read. Next, take charge of our time. Focus on activities that are relevant to our life purpose and will help us achieve our life goals. But at the same time, do not just crowd out our calendar. Always have margins. Remember when we were in school and we had to draw a margin on the left side of our jotter book before we start writing? That is what margins are for, to create space. Space for us to breathe or accommodate activities that may not directly lead to our goals or purpose, or things which come up unexpectedly but we want to give time for, like being with a friend in need.
Alternate and Delete – We have always been told to remove our bad habits. While that is true, it is inadequate and ineffective if we do not replace them with good ones because a void that is not filled will be occupied again. In the same vein, remove our limiting beliefs and replace them with a positive mindset that is always looking for possibilities instead of obstacles. Because you will get what you look for. Recently, a family member who was struck with a severe illness was initially depressed that she could no longer do the many things that she loves. When I asked her to focus on what she can do instead, it changed her perspective and she realised her life can be exciting once more, though in different ways.
This year, take charge of our physical and mental health. Remove unhealthy foods from our diet and replace them with healthy ones. Also, take charge of our exercises and sleep, i.e., schedule ample time to work out and rest. Allaya Cooks-Campbell, a staff writer from BetterUp wrote an insightful article on the 7 types of rest that we all need and I encourage you to read it. In addition, remove the negative voices in our lives and replace them with positive ones. That is how we can “Ctrl-Alt-Del” our health. In 2021, I had to courteously get out of a WhatsApp group because the constant griping was sucking my energy dry and affecting my health. Do consider if you need to do the same.
Once we have decided on how we want to take charge of our personal growth and health, and the areas or activities we want to remove and replace them with, we can now work on our wealth to enable these decisions.
Control – Instead of living like there is no tomorrow or always assuming that there is one, live with WISDOM (With Intention, Seize Daily, On Mission). Start by being intentional to spend below our means and allocate a portion of our surplus to enable our personal growth and health decisions that were outlined above. But at the same time, set aside enough to invest for the future. As we do that, ignore the short-term noises today and take charge of our emotions. If we have invested in the right things, stay invested and keep investing. On 13 August 1979, during one of the worse times in US financial markets as inflation soared and equities tanked, a now legendary cover story from BusinessWeek emerged, declaring the death of equities. Today, BusinessWeek has been sold to Bloomberg L.P., but equities continue to thrive today.
Alternate and Delete – If we have not already done so last year, January is a good time to review our budget to remove high or unnecessary expenses and replace them with more value-for-money alternatives. Do also take some time to review our investments and remove bad-performing investments and replace them with better ones. Also, remove our expensive and unsuitable insurance and replace them (where possible) with cheaper and more suitable ones.
So, how have the first 3 weeks of 2023 been for you so far? For me, I am still working on my “Ctrl-Alt-Del”. For those of you from my generation, you will know that “Ctrl-Alt-Del” are the keystrokes for Microsoft DOS (Disk Operating System) to reboot a computer. A new year gives each of us an opportunity to “reboot” our lives and start all over. If 2022 has been a bad year for you, don’t be too hard on yourself. Put it behind you and start afresh! If last year has been a great year for you, may this “reset” takes you to greater heights! Have a blessed Lunar New Year!
The writer, Christopher Tan, is Chief Executive Officer of Providend, Singapore’s first fee-only wealth advisory firm and author of the book “Money Wisdom: Simple Truths for Financial Wellness“.
The edited version of this article has been published in The Business Times on 24th January 2023.
For more related resources, check out:
1. What Makes Us Truly Happy
2. I Hate My Job but Don’t Know What to Do Next
3. Meaningful Walk Through End-of-Life Planning with Mum
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