December 21, 2023 by Shannon McIntosh, Manager

Set the stage for success in 2024

Welcome back to The Bright Side for the last blog post of 2023. Is it just me or did this year fly by? For this edition, we’re going to look back at the year and all the challenges that were overcame and provide some strategies to plan for 2024. Of course, it wouldn’t be The Bright Side blog without a little inspiration and empowerment.

Looking back

It’s always important to reflect back on the year to see how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown. When I look back on who I was at the beginning of the year and consider where I am now, I can hardly believe how far I’ve come. Reflecting on our growth can inspire us to keep pushing through the hard times and remind us just how far we can go.

Looking back, 2023 challenged and changed me ⁠–⁠ into a more confident and resilient version of myself. I went through challenges that broke me, but they also built my character and taught me so much about myself. In the middle of the storm, it always feels like it will last forever, but trust me, the sun always shines again, and we appreciate it even more after we’ve worked through a major challenge.

Planning ahead

The best way to set ourselves up for success is to have habits that empower and energize us, so we can keep moving towards our goals, whether business or personal. What follows is a list of habits that keep me in a positive mindset and allow me to show up with optimal energy in my everyday life:

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. I prefer working out in the morning to get my body moving. Since exercise releases dopamine and endorphins, I find this gets me in a positive mindset and helps me stay focused during the day.
  • Get off to a strong start. If morning workouts aren’t for you, I’d recommend an empowering morning routine that includes doing something you love and setting intentions for the day. Having something to look forward to in the morning before work brings positive momentum into your day.
  • Go for a walk every day. The sun is a natural mood booster, and being in nature helps us connect to the present moment.
  • Set aside 30 minutes of “me time.” Before you go to bed, take the time to reflect on the day, connect with yourself and clear your mind. This will help you get into a deeper sleep state, which will improve the quality of your sleep, but help you wake up feeling more positive and energized.
  • Get optimal sleep every night. Sleep has a major impact on our mood, our mindset and our cognitive function, and we need seven to eight hours of sleep to function at our best.
  • Connect with friends and family. Being part of a community has been shown to improve overall quality of life.
  • Self‑reflect and journal on how you feel. This allows you to keep track of your feelings and how habits are helping or hindering your progress.
  • Meditate daily. The practice of watching your thoughts float by and letting them go quiet helps you overcome mind wandering and overthinking, while also improving memory and focus.
  • Prioritize your health and eat nourishing foods. This will help give you the energy you need to function at your best and keep your body strong and healthy.

Keep in mind that, although it’s important to stick to a routine, it’s just as important to listen to your body when it’s telling you to slow down. We can’t push ourselves to the limit 100 per cent of the time. Knowing when we can push ourselves to grow and when we need to slow down and get some rest or support is key to preventing burnout on our path to success. Remember, growth is non-linear, and just because we need to rest does not mean our progress has stopped. We have to be kind to ourselves and remember we are on a journey to be enjoyed, not a race to be conquered. We can get so focused on our goals and the future that we miss out on the present moment.

Tips for success

One of the strategies that has helped me grow the most has been finding a mentor and leader I can look up to and feel inspired by. When I wake up in the morning, I try to imagine what it feels like to be that person. If you want to grow your business or your career, give it a try. Find someone who has done what you want to do and learn what they did to become successful.

In my experience, the best thing you can do for your business and relationships is take your own growth seriously. Working on self‑awareness and emotional intelligence will take you places knowledge cannot. Having a growth mindset and being open to new opportunities is a reliable recipe for success.

Words of encouragement

If I can leave you with one thought, it’s this: trust the process and get good at letting things go. In many cases, the things we remove from our life create space for better things to come. When we’re going through periods of uncertainty, the best thing we can do is trust in what’s coming.

As we head into 2024, you might have moments when doubt creeps in. When this happens, remind yourself what it feels like to be in your power. Remember, you are capable, you are worthy and it’s only a matter of time before you look back and thank yourself for not giving up. When in doubt, remember your purpose and your why, and don’t ever let any obstacle keep you from reaching your goals. You have everything you need to succeed within you. All the best in 2024.

Manager, Client Advisory at Baker Tilly Catalyst, Shannon McIntosh has overcome anxiety, insecurity and depression to emerge as a voice of empowerment, helping clients and colleagues exceed expectations and break new ground. In The Bright Side, she taps into her specialized experience working with non‑profit businesses and her passion for helping organizations that support the community to offer enlightening tax, financial and business guidance to help replace self‑doubt with self‑belief.

Meet the Author

Shannon McIntosh Shannon McIntosh
Calgary, Alberta
D 403-750-7683
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