Happy new year everyone!

I wish you all the best and sincerely hope that you will be successful in anything you attempt this year. 
I have had this article ready for about two weeks but was hesitating publishing it as I am by no means a motivational guru. I just wanted to share with you these little things and positive thoughts that have helped me achieve my goals. I won't pretend that I have come up with a magical formula that turned my life into a fairy tale. Like anyone, I have had rubbish moments but I think that I have learnt a lot from past mistakes and I have dramatically changed my mindset and my life in a couple of years. 
A few weeks ago, I shared a very inspirational video on my Facebook page which made me think about the things that I have done to achieve my goals and which have been working. 
I think that I could sum it up into 7 steps/principles which I would like to share with you for the start of this new year. Obviously, this is what has been working for me but I am sure that a lot of them make sense and can be applied to anyone.


⭑ 1. Don't listen to others and believe in yourself only...
I have known what job I wanted to do since I was 14. I have also been very clear on what I would study at Uni. In school, I was one of the top achievers in my cohort so for a lot of people, "ending up" studying languages was a waste of my time. I was called "a poet", I was told that I would end up jobless, that I was wasting my potential, some people kept asking me when I would stop studying to get myself any job because what mattered was to be able to pay the bills. Regardless of that, I completed my Masters (after a little detour by a nursing school but I'll explain it better in my next point). I had also planned to live abroad after Uni and again, I had to put up with people's opinion on that. "What will you do there?", "Who is going to pay for your rent?", "Find yourself a real job in France first and then you can just travel like everyone", "Stop being so naive", "You're not going to succeed" were the type of comment that I heard on a regular basis. I never listened and went to the UK where I got the opportunity to complete a second Post Graduate. Today I can say that it is, by far, the best decision that I have ever made in my entire life because it changed it completely and I have shut everyone's mouth around me. 

⭑ 2. ...But accept that you made the wrong decision and try again.
It's ok to acknowledge that you have taken the wrong path and to start things all over again. For instance, when I was in Lycée (equivalent to 6th Form), I had chosen subjects which I slowly started to hate. I went to the Educational Adviser's office during the Summer holiday to tell him that I wanted to change to do business and sociology instead. I was told that I could not go up a year while changing subjects and that doing my year again was a real shame so I'd better stay where I was. As I wouldn't take no for an answer when it involved my future, I insisted and got what I wanted. When I went back home to tell my dad that I was going to fall one year behind, I thought he was going to have a heart attack but I did not care because I knew what I wanted and that was all that mattered. 
Later, between my Bachelors and my Masters I had a moment of doubt (which I have mentioned here). At that time, I thought that the path that I was taking was not compatible with living abroad so I started considering a job that could potentially give me some flexibility even though I had no real appeal to it. That's when the idea of becoming a nurse came to me. Everyone who knew me was wondering why on earth I had chosen that path and my family advised me against it but I still took the competitive exam to enter the nursing school and enrolled - in France, the selection is done at the start so once you're in you are sure to graduate at the end of the three-year course. I think that from early enough though I realised that this job wouldn't fulfil me but I gave it a chance and kept going. After a year wondering what I was doing there, I left. At this stage, I had "wasted" two years but never regretted it. You might think "you just said "don't listen to others" but if you had listened to your family, you wouldn't have wasted your time at the nursing school" and that's a fair point. But I disagree with this for two reasons: I prefer trying and thinking "thanks but no thanks" rather than "what if?" and never get an answer. The second reason, and the most important to me is that this experience made me realise that I wanted to do what I liked, and nothing else.

⭑ 3. Take risks.
This might be linked to what I have just said, but I do believe that if you never take risks then you can't really achieve anything. Taking risks involves the possibility of failure and that's why some people find it so hard to just go for it. It's normal to have fears. Even if you are determined, people's negativity can make you doubt slightly at times. But if your fear of living a meaningless and mediocre life is stronger than your fear of failing, you have done half the journey. There are always millions of excuses not to make a change in your life: kids to feed, a family that would disapprove in your choice, a rent or a mortgage to pay, the fear of losing a stable situation etc. but we all have examples of people around us who ended up having to make a change because life was sort of forcing them to. They would not have taken the first step themselves because of all the reasons I just mentioned, but because they had no choice, they did it anyway. What I have learnt from observing people in this situation is that most of the time, their only regret was to not have done it sooner.  Joanne Rowling once said "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case you fail by default." Honestly, I am not sure I can add anything to that.

4. Don't compare yourself.
You probably have heard the saying "comparison is the thief of joy" (I'm in the mood for a few quotes today!) Well, I completely agree with it. Usually, when we compare ourselves to someone, it is only to torture ourselves with this idea that they are more clever, successful, beautiful... than us and while we are doing this, we completely forget what makes us special. In other words, we are focused on them rather than ourselves. I have a very simple example for this: when I stopped reading feminine press a few years ago, I noticed that it matched the moment I stopped wasting my time with complexes. It might not be the only reason as I also just grew up and evolved, but at some stage, I was not interested in this self-flagellation anymore and I just wanted to take a more positive approach towards myself because nobody else was going to do it for me. This video sums it up better than me.

5. Have high expectations for yourself.
I'm going to be honest: I'm an absolute control freak. I love when things are done to perfection and I am very hard on myself. Unfortunately for them, I have the same expectations of others, whether it's at work or in everyday situations so I can be quite rigid and opinionated. When I think that what I'm doing is not good enough, I barely cut myself any slack until I'm happy with it.  Be careful though: even if I believe that having high expectations for yourself is a key to success, it is important to find the right level as it can easily turn into a chronic "I could still do better than that" problem (which I sometimes have).

⭑ 6. Be organised.
As Benjamin Franklin put it (last quote, I promise!) - "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail".
If you are all over the place there is a chance that you miss deadlines and important things to do. The chance is even bigger that you don't manage your time properly and end up producing very average work. For me, one good way to tackle the problem is to make lists. Lists are great to gather your thoughts and ticking boxes is very satisfying. They are also a good way to avoid procrastination. A good friend of mine once told me "I don't need lists because it's all in there" (insert head emoji) and I told her "That's precisely what I want to avoid". I don't want to constantly have a gazillion things cluttering my mind so instead, I put them on paper to be able to focus on other things and I come back to my list when I need to.

⭑ 7. Have long-term purpose.
Of all the points that I mentioned, to me this is the most important and I think that this is what helped me get where I am today. It is directly linked to the video that I mentioned in my intro and to my points 2 and 3. What is worse than sticking to something that you don't like for months or even years only because you are too scared to make your situation worse or simply because you can't admit that you were wrong? A lot of the time, people simply dwell on short-term satisfactions not to have to look at the bigger picture. Their life does not make them happy but all they want to focus on is the nice dinner they will have after their horrible day at work, or their Friday night out with their friends to forget about their rubbish week. I don't think that wishing your life away is the solution and I refuse to be the type of person who sucks it up for too long when my personal situation does not fulfil me. So if you feel like you don't have purpose, read my third point again.

What are your personal steps to success?

Mika