It’s time to make it so.
I am all about designating a theme for each year. In 2010 it was “my” year, simple as that. 2011 was “our” year because during “my” year I found a girlfriend. In 2011, her and I traveled to Canada and took other road trips together and moved in together. Now 2012, we have made it the year of career advancement. I had started to truly pour my passion into my website, I also got another ghost writing job and a huge promotion at work (making almost twice as much as I made before the promotion). She will be getting a promotion at Starbucks and has recently gotten a personal training job at Anytime Fitness. And we are only four months into the year! If you are not one to write new years goals, or like so many others, have relinquished your 2012 goals from your mind, it’s not too late to declare this year yours!
If you can even remember where you put your new years resolutions, if you even wrote them down, toss’em. Many don’t really stuck to them anyway. Even me, as a big goal achiever, I sometimes stray away from some goals that I made at the beginning of the year. Maybe your goals have changed and some goals no longer seem reasonable to keep. Maybe you didn’t’ even make any. That’s okay, you don’t have to. This isn’t a post about making goals for this year, its bout taking the 12 tips I am going to give you to still make this “your” year. You don’t need determining goals to make it your year. While I had goals (over 250 currently), I never had specific goals that would make 2010 my year, or specific goals for 2011 or 2012, yet I accomplished so much and my life improved drastically. I learned that to live the life you want, you just have to evaluate how you live now and begin implementing the following 12 tips to make this “your” year.
1. Beginning now and at the start of each month for 30 days in a row, commit to doing something new that you have thought about doing, but have not done.
If you wait until the first of the next month or the first of the week or if you wait until you finish something else before you do something new, you will never get anything done.
I suggest reading Zig Ziglar’s affirmation sheet or make your own. Wake up each morning and create the habit of complimenting yourself and reminding yourself of all your strengths. What I have learned about doing this is that it is not necessarily the affirmations that changes your world (though they play a large part), it is the development of a habit. It is the feeling that “hey, I did it today.” It makes each day complete. It makes you feel like you can stick to your word. It creates the image of reliability and persistence. Anyone can say they are improving every day in every way, but very few have the skill and talent to do it everyday.
Pick a habit to develop each month, whatever you like, just pick and follow through.
2. Write emails/letters to three people in life to let them know what they mean to me.
Sure gratitude is great (we will get to that) but no type of gratitude is stronger than “thanks” being given to people who have touched your life. This may require you to think back and check who has affected your life. Try to find all the people who have and simply thank them; send them a friendly message or write a paragraph to them explaining your thanks. Since snail mail is nearly obsolete, I encourage you to either send emails or Facebook comments (not messages, you want other people to see how grateful you are and that the person your commenting on means a lot to you). You can even send a random txt message, just make sure you make it personal, meaningful and from your heart. Who knows, you may even get one back!
3. Start a business plan regardless if you have a business idea
It doesn’t matter what it is. Some ideas are dumb… think back to my post about my two business ideas. First, you never know. As you work on the business plan ideas might be created to improve your original concept or you may think of one entirely different. Either way, get in the habit of creating and making a plan to follow through. A small plan or a big plan, a plan is a plan. If you don’t have any business ideas, that doesn’t mean you get to skip this tip. Get creative and think of one, what product or service could you do or create to serve others and make people happy? By all means, have fun with this.
4. Schedule family time
I’m human. I’m guilty of not doing this, but when I do, my world changes: stress is relieved and the weights I carry feel lighter. Not only that, but when I talk to family members, I often talk about things that I normally wouldn’t have thought of. It takes you out of the moment and brings you to a place you can feel comfortable. As you know, making a year YOUR year really means you have to step out of your comfort zone and shake and move your brain. Always schedule family time to center yourself and make sure those who know you best see that you are on the right path. Tell those who matter most about your goals and aspirations because they will be able to hold you accountable and by saying it with confidence, you are one very large step closer to achieving your success. Warning: The trouble with family time is deciding what to listen to and what not to since they want to put all their evaluations on what you are doing. Some family members may not support your ideas and may talk you down. Take it as a challenge. Prove them wrong. Take what they say and find a way to prove them wrong. By doing so you are not only showing them you know what you are doing, but you are creating a way around any future skepticism.
5. Record what I say
Every day is a constant flow of information. You receive input and provide output constantly through reading, listening, speaking and thinking. Begin recording your thoughts and what you say to evaluate the language you are using. By doing so, you can find where you need to begin making improvements. Are you thinking negatively about work each day? Do you look into a mirror unable to see your beauty? Do you speak before you think to your friends and family? You need to start recording what you say and think and feel so that you have a better understanding of what effects you negatively and what you are negatively affecting. No improvements and changes can be made until you know what needs to be improved and changed.
After gaining a deeper insight into what you output, begin evaluating what is input through your daily routine. Are you reading the news (95% negative information) every morning or do you view blogs such as mine or others to keep learning new information on the topic of your interest? Do you surround yourself by negative people? Or worse, do you enable them? Pay close attention to what is taken in throughout the day and begin to set aside and walk past those things in which are detrimental to your daily positive attitude.
6. Find a mentor
I know how difficult it is to get a mentor that you really want. I understand the difficulty to capture the attention of great and widely known people and have them act as a mentor toward you. That does not mean you cannot connect with them and learn what they have to teach through the information they provide whether it is in books, blogs or audio presentations. Think of what you really want this year and begin following those who are most well known for teaching that. In doing so, you will discover under-noticed and under-deserving people who know just as much and are more willing to assist you. In essence, begin connecting with those that you have related interests with. It is also key to note that mentors come and go. Accept this transitional flow and keep seeking authoritative figures that you can learn from.
In addition, I need to add that becoming a mentor is far greater than having one. If you go out searching for friends, you will find very few. If you go out searching to be a friend, you will find a countless number of takers. As you learn from mentors and begin changing the information you digest each day, share it with others. Rather than complaining that Seth Godin won’t take you up as an apprentice (guilty), become like that idol and turn into a mentor for others who want the same as you.
7. Discover the 20% of work
You may know about an app for the Droid phone called “task killer” that kills processes that are running but are not being used and are depleting the energy (battery life) of the phone in order to maximize performance for what you are using. The first step to discovering the 20% of work is to kill the 80% of apps that are consuming your brain and your life but are not priorities. This also includes cutting out any of the negativity in your life. Begin un-friending people who complain and spam your social networking profiles. Begin cutting out the bad eating habits. Begin cutting out the people you meet each day that upon seeing them, bring you down. A person doesn’t need to be holding a thousand balloons to float, they only need to stop the gravity that is holding them down.
Once everything that is holding you back is let go, you don’t even have to search for the 20% of work, it finds you. Your thinking and focusing abilities will be 10x stronger which will produce 10x better results. You will be able to manage your time better to complete a task further than its potential in 20% of the time. By eliminating the 80% of “apps” holding you back from your potential, it will allow you to have 10x more success because you have discovered the 20% of energy needed to succeed in each task. In simple terms, devote yourself to something completely by getting rid of everything else that is not worthy of your attention and you will be able to create miracles.
Start a gratitude journal. It doesn’t matter if you write one thing in a book or you list things throughout the day on your phone or on sticky notes. Personally, I type 5 things I am grateful for in a notes app on my phone each night before sleep. By writing in a gratitude journal of everything you are thankful for, you are putting power in the present which sets the stage for the future. It keeps you consistently happy, gives you peace of mind and allows you to go to sleep with a smile on your face. There are absolutely zero negative side effects to being thankful.
But don’t stop there. Also aim to be the one other people are grateful for. How did you help someone today? How did you serve? Did you give everyone you saw today a smile? Maybe you were the jokester at work and made everyone laugh? Constantly work to be what others are grateful for. Not only will it make their day, and you’re name will go on their gratitude list, but you are giving yourself a distinguished type of respect seldom held. In addition to positively impacting the people you meet each day, find an organization to volunteer at. My current volunteering consists of running races where the funds go towards a specific charity. I am also looking into Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers Big Sisters to continue my volunteerism. The general rule of volunteering is at least two hours a week. The benefits of volunteering are so incredible that they deserve a blog post to themselves. Look at all the benefits by giving it a Google if you’re interested.
Come to think of it, it may not be a bad idea to also list the contributions and volunteering you’ve done along side your list of things you are grateful for each day.
9. Plan a trip for 4 months from now.
Figure out where you want to go and start looking into it now. Whenever you seem to have some free time, begin searching on the internet for things you can do at the destination you chose and start planning for it. Think how you are going to save for the next four months or how you will use the money you already have to take the trip. It does not have to be anything huge but don’t let it be too little either. Having something major to look forward to as it is necessary to maintain a continuous positive attitude and outlook. If anything goes wrong through the week, just remember that you are taking a trip soon and will be able to get away from everything and enjoy yourself. The point of this is to stop putting celebration off, enjoy life, YOLO and always have something big to look forward to in the long run.
10. Say yes
Simple. Start saying yes to everything (with thorough judgement of course). Take every opportunity and option and work with it, create something productive and positive with every choice you make. In essence, try new things. Begin to experiment and experience everything you can. Heck, go sky diving. If you see a flier for a free event, go to it. If someone asks you to join them for an activity, do it. If the Botanical gardens or some other place is free on Wednesday, give it a visit. Saying yes is about you agreeing to living your life to its fullest potential by exposing yourself to all the world offers.
11. Schedule a date night
With yourself, with your life partner or with the girl/guy you met because you said “Yes” to an invitation to an event. Adding the previous 10 tips to your life on top of all your responsibilities and duties already, you deserve a night of pure enjoyment. Use this time to do everything, do nothing, or only do what you want to. She and I have Origami nights and other nights we stay in and play Farkle and Scrabble. (I’m unbeatable at Scrabble). Other times we go out to dinner and a movie. The options are endless but the point is purely to enjoy yourself. Relax, meditate, reminisce on the highlights of the past week, think about all you have to look forward to and practice living in the moment. Forget all tasks, all obstacles and all affairs that are up in the air. Schedule a date night where you stop time and live.
12. Complete the following: Stay ________
Just do it. If you are only going to do one tip to make this “your” year, let this be it. Get optimistic, improve your attitude, change the outcomes and Stay Positive. Nothing will make “your” year greater than if you Stay Positive. The reason I end every post with this reminder is because it is the most important trait to living the successful life you want. Staying Positive is the basis of everything that has made you happy, everything that is making you happy and everything that will make you happy. By all means, devote all you have into Staying Positive.
Stay Positive & Make This “Your” Year
Garth E. Beyer