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6 Ways to Become Bulletproof In 2021

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How to Become Bulletproof

There’s been a common refrain sweeping the country recently, from both young and old, rich and poor:

To heck with 2020. 

Across the nation, we toasted the end of the year and gladly welcomed 2021. 

But events don’t respond to holidays or calendars. Bad stuff still happens, whether it’s to you, the guy down the street, or the entire country. There is only one guarantee: 2021 won’t be immune to difficult times. 

But you can be. 

All it takes is a choice–a set of choices, actually. Most people are ruled by moment-to-moment uncertainty and fear, or sensationalism in the news, or any number of other things. 

The good news is this: the difference between the current you and a new bulletproof you is as simple as a new perspective. How you choose to label things and what you choose to focus on can have a big impact on how you respond to life. 

So this year, let’s focus on personal development. Let’s make you bulletproof. Then we can worry about everyone else. Or maybe not. 

Here are six great places to start.  

Best Ways to Become Bulletproof This Year

Ways to Become Bulletproof

1. Chase A Big Dream

I mean, like, the pipe dream. The Big One. What have you always wanted to do? What did you actually want to be when you grow up? 

This is especially important for younger folks (like myself). But why should you drop everything and do something you love? 

Because identifying The Dream and then figuring out exactly what you need to do to make it happen–that’s a powerful experience. Even if you ultimately decide not to go for it, identifying that big goal and imagining what it would actually take to do it puts it in that realm of possibility. 

Most of us call a dream a dream and keep it in that category. Don’t. 

I’ll go on a slight personal tangent. 

In my freshman year of college, I was woefully unhappy. I had no friends, bad grades, and nothing to be excited about. What a dweeb. 

So I took a leave of absence for a year. I worked in the White Mountains to save up for my dream: to through-hike the Appalachian Trail. And that’s exactly what I did. Hardly a penny went anywhere but my savings account. 

And I did it. I walked from Georgia to Maine. I accomplished The Dream. That experience didn’t immediately make me into the perfect person I always wanted to be, but it gave me the confidence and the attitude and the willingness to go after it and keep failing until I got there. 

I don’t settle for “good enough” anymore, and neither should you. Chasing The Dream will give you that wake up call. It gives you something to be passionate about every single day–a reason to wake up in the morning.

And who would you rather spend your time around? Someone who puts in the bare minimum and gets by, or someone who has a fire in their blood? Be the type of person you want to hang around. 

2. Create Sub-Goals

This is the complement to your Big Dream. It’s the secret sauce that gets you to your destination. 

It’s the classic dilemma: you make a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. You get a gym membership, and you’re on fire. For about a month. 

But you’re not super skinny or super strong yet, or stuff gets in the way, or the folks you live with are sabotaging your healthy eating goals. So you stop going to the gym. You give up on a better diet. You stagnate. You let yourself fail. 

You looked at Point A and Point B and you tried to sprint from one to the other in a single day. You should learn from failure, right? I hope you paid attention, because the lesson was loud and clear. 

Stop sprinting at Point B. Point B is a long way off. Instead, block out a half hour for yourself with a piece of paper and a pen. We’re going to make some sub-goals. 

Sit down. Take a breath. Ready? 

Okay, you’re at Point A. Write it down or draw a little circle somewhere. Got it? Okay. Now write down what Point B is somewhere else on the paper, preferably with plenty of space in between. Now think. What are some really manageable, achievable things that will get you there in a reasonable time frame? 

Write them down and put a deadline with each one. Don’t set the bar so high that you get super stressed out. Sub-goals should motivate and excite you. 

So once you’ve got your sub-goals, here’s one more piece of advice. Stop worrying about the big picture. Right now, you’re going for sub-goal number one. You have tunnel vision. You can’t see sub goals two through seven, let alone Point B. Got it? Good. Get going. 

3. Start Meditating

This is really unrelated to chasing dreams and setting goals, right? 

Wrong. 

There are good reasons why meditation has hit the mainstream. It’s an awesome antidote. It can be really easy to get caught up in all the goings-on these days. Even if you don’t pay attention to politics or world events, it’s easy to get caught up in your own brain, goals, ambitions, and troubles. 

Have you ever put your phone in airplane mode so you wouldn’t get distracted by phone calls, texts, notifications, or emails? It’s really nice, isn’t it? 

That’s what meditation is–but it’s for your brain. Learning to shut off all the extra brain chatter for five or ten minutes can work wonders, from stress management to better sleep to increased focus. The list goes on and on. 

I like to meditate when I get so caught up or stressed out by my work load that I’ve started to become paralyzed. When I have so much to do that I can’t decide on one thing to do first, I shut my laptop, head to a different room, close the door, and set a timer for ten minutes. 

When I come back, I’m suddenly able to prioritize what needs to get done first. I cleared my head. 

Meditating isn’t just some hippie fad. It’s a habit that you should start, and a powerful tool. Learn how to do it here

4. Get A Schedule

Maybe you’re tired of schedules. Maybe you feel like you don’t have enough time. For anything. Or anyone. 

Maybe that’s because you need to make your own schedule. One that works for you, not for someone else. It’s not much different than sitting down and creating some sub-goals. The only difference is that you do it every day. 

It’s easy. Sit down in the morning and make your to-do list. What needs to get done today? What do you need to do today to set yourself up for tomorrow, or for several days from now? 

Now prioritize them. What’s the best time for each thing? Think about it. Be strategic with your hours and minutes. Even down to the breaks you take. You’d be surprised how much more you get out of your day. 

For instance, I like to time my runs for when I usually start to become mentally fatigued. I know that running puts me in a much better, more creative, more productive mindset. I almost always come back ready to get going on something, whether it’s the dishes in the sink or college essay. 

So set your schedule to be the most efficient that you can be. 

5. Don’t Take Things For Granted

“Nothing happens to the wise man against his expectation.”  – Seneca

Family, friends, good health, stable government, your job. Be ready for it all to be gone tomorrow. Appreciate it to its fullest, and expect that it could go away. 

Sound bleak? Well, is it better to be taken by surprise when something happens, or to be mentally prepared for it? You tell me. 

The pandemic was an awesome reminder of this. In fact, could you even go so far as to be grateful for it? 

After all, you probably didn’t think to appreciate the ability to drop in on your loved ones on a whim, celebrate holidays with them, or go grocery shopping without worrying. 

So make a list of the small things. Practice gratitude. Prepare for the worst, but always be kind. Be ready to accept whatever happens, no matter what, as a new reality. Figure out how to work with it. Love it. 

Is it work? Yeah. It takes some time to cultivate this type of attitude. But when you do, boy will you be bulletproof. All it takes is five minutes per day. Put them in your new schedule. 

6. Expect To Fail

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, know that you can and will fail. It’s age-old advice, but instead of being sad and defeated, here’s what you can do instead. 

Okay, so you failed. You didn’t get the job, the girl, the dream, the degree. It sucks. 

Now sit down. Take another breath. Look at your sub-goals (you made them, right?). What did you learn about the process that you went through? 

No, seriously. Write it down. Make a list or write a paragraph. I mean it. Right now. What did you learn? 

Failure is an enormous opportunity. I’m not just trying to be an annoying optimist here. I’m trying to make you open your eyes. Love that failure as much as you love success. Because that failure will lead to success, but only if you listen to what it’s trying to tell you. 

I get it. It’s humiliating to fail. Maybe everyone laughed at you or said I told you so. Are you going to prove them right? Or are you going to get back up, change the process, and try again? 

This doesn’t only apply to failure. It applies to every crappy situation. I don’t necessarily believe that everything happens for some predetermined reason, but you sure can make it that way. Even if it takes a few years, flip that situation upside-down and use it as a tool to learn something about yourself, about your life. Go ahead. Give it a try. 

Final Thoughts on Becoming Bulletproof

So there you have it. Sounds like a lot of work, huh? 

That’s because it is. But what better time to start being a goal-oriented, meditative, gratitude-loving, schedule-based person than now? 

Be bulletproof. It’s 2021.

Till next time,

STRIVE

Renée is a freelance writer specializing in mental health and personal development. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she loves to play her cello, go backpacking, and write for her own outdoors-themed blog, The Dirt.

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