James Michael Sama is one of my favorite bloggers. I love his view on the need for men to remember to be gentlemen and his views on relationships in the 21st Century. Mr. Sama gives sound advice on pursing healthy relationships and being in the right mindset to get into the relationship you most desire. His recent post “15 Resolutions You Should Actually Make for 2015” speaks to how I lived my life last year. He offers a list of great resolutions that I believe lead to a better lived and enjoyed life. It also allows you to settle into yourself so that your happiness can come from within versus seeking your happiness from outside of you.
I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution person. I figure – Thursday, January first of 2015 is no different than any other Thursday of any other week in any other month in any other year. If you want to make a difference in your life, to change or improve something; now is the time to do it. No matter what day or time or cycle of the moon you’re reading this during, now is the time.
As my New Year’s Eve showed me – it’s not what you have or what you do – it’s who you spend your time with that counts.
But – we have agreed upon a calendar year as a way to measure time and understand the importance of a year when it comes to the periods of time that we segment our lives into. As we sit here, we begin a new year. A new start. A new piece of our lives that we can choose to do with what we’d like.
But, what do we choose? Lose 10 pounds. Stop smoking (good idea). Stop eating ice cream. Start going to the gym. Honestly…mostly arbitrary goals that seem to take things away from us rather than drive us towards new goals or experiences in life. Stop eating ice cream? Deprive myself of pleasantries? Why must progress look like depriving ourselves? No wonder people rarely stick to their resolutions…
Instead, I want to propose fifteen resolutions that you can and should (who am I to tell you what to do though, right?) make in 2015 and actually stick to because of not only who you are – but what this world needs. Without further adieu…
Travel more. Live. Experience. Fall in love with a new city. Leave your comfort zone. Better yet, destroy it. Obliterate whatever it is that you call your comfort zone. Not for any other reason but because you deserve it – because it gives you a new perspective on the world – because it gives you a new lease on life.
You want to drive an hour south for your first time? Fantastic! You want to go to your 400th country (are there that many?), great! Whatever traveling means to you – do it. See the world. Experience the planet that we call home. Do not let life pass you by and find yourself wishing you had seen more of the magnificent place that you are in right now.
Allow yourself to love. Love. How does one describe love? We can’t. We sit here and we think of love as some sort of connection we feel to a person or a really strong ‘like’ that we don’t want to go away. But love is so much more than that. Love is the overwhelming experience of being one with another human being. It is feeling them within your heart and wanting nothing more but to spend every second of every day with them. It is smiling when you hear their name or hearing a song that reminds you of them.
Love is a shift in perspective. It is a new way to see the world that you would never have even considered if you had not met this person. Do not allow your past experiences to rob you of this treasure. Do not pull away from what your heart is pushing you towards. There is no voice of reason when it comes to love – it just is.
In 2015, allow yourself to love.
Invest in yourself. You want returns in life? Invest. Invest in life. Invest in love. Invest in your own experiences. Invest in yourself.
The greatest returns you can realize are the ones that you never see coming until they pay off. One day you will wake up and be grateful that you saw life in the light you did – but that will only happen when you gain the perspective that comes from investing in the person you want to become.
Live for yourself. Life will become much less complicated and much more enjoyable when you stop caring about what other people think, and actually live for yourself.
Love your family more. Not everyone has a close biological family and we can’t expect everyone to be all lovey dovey with people who they just happen to be related to – but family is not only about blood relations. Each of us has at least one person who we can thank for supporting us during hard times or standing by us when we needed them most. These people are our family – never let them feel taken for granted. Always show your appreciation.
(If you are fortunate enough to have a biological family that fits this description, never let them forget how much you appreciate them. Hug them more. Be with them more. Tell them you love them more. Never let your time go to waste).
Do more for others. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Get out of your car at a red light and close that guy’s fuel cap. Help the old lady across the street. Wipe up that spilled bottle of soda in the supermarket. Do something for another human being without expecting anything in return – but only do it if you want to brighten their day and your own as well. And do it more often.
Conquer a fear this year. I, for one, despise heights. I went to the Grand Canyon once and could barely get close enough to the edge of the drop-off to take a photo for myself. It was crippling – but it was also liberating. What was I really afraid of? Falling off of a ledge that I had sturdy footing on? Being pushed off? When I really looked back on it – what was there to be afraid of?
This year, step up and do something you could never picture yourself doing. I might skydive…who knows? I might do something that terrifies me. Am I doing it to be terrified? Of course not – but when it is over, I will have taken over the power. I will have been able to decide what I am going to control…not what is going to control me.
Be better to yourself. How many people want to lose 10 pounds by February? 15? 20? How many are going to be in the gym…for about 3 weeks, until it empties out in February again? New Year’s resolutions are not about fads or funky diets or weird nutritional changes that make no sense for the sake of squeezing into those jeans – they should be about understanding that you’ve got one body to live in for this life and it’s about time you started taking better care of it.
I can call you out on this because I’m in the same boat. I’m not going to pledge to give something up or to stop doing X or Y or Z because it might sound good for a few months – but I am going to see myself as a high-performance vehicle that needs to be properly fueled in order to function properly. You can either slow yourself down with sludge and crappy fuel that is going to prevent progress, or you can keep yourself energized and mentally alert by making smarter choices. It’s your decision.
Drop your cell phone. I have recently understood both the importance and the impact of not being on my phone around people I really care about. If you read my articles and Facebook pages often, you may have noticed less frequent updates online lately – this is only because of a realization of how important it is to be in the moment with the people you really care about and to let life take care of itself after that. If you don’t Instagram your champagne at dinner tonight – the world isn’t going to end.
Express yourself. How many times have you wanted to tell someone how you really feel, and didn’t? My bet is that you’ve regretted it, maybe even for a long time. On the flip side, how many times have you wanted to tell someone something, did, and
then regretted it? Probably far less times…
Why? Because you’ll think to yourself – “well, at least they know how I feel.” But if you keep things bottled up you’ll always be wondering “What if?” in your mind. You deserve better than that. You deserve to express yourself.
Find a mentor. One of the most productive decisions in my life has been to reach out to people who are doing far better than I am and build relationships with them. People who make much more money. People who are much happier. People who are much more successful. People who understand that money and success does not equal happiness…
And…talk to them. You will find quickly that many people who are further along on the journey of life have not forgotten how you feel, and will be willing to help you along your path. You will make no better decision than to heed their advice.
Jump off a cliff. Well…not literally. Probably. You may remember earlier me talking about how much I hated heights…so I am not literally telling you to jump off a cliff, but hey – maybe figuratively.
Take that risk you’ve been thinking about for months. Travel to that country. Quit your job. Start your business. Do something stupid but daring. A little misinformed but spectacular. Something that people will tilt their heads at when you tell them the story. Something to tell your grandkids about.
Because, why not? You can’t be old and wise unless you were young and crazy – and sometimes the best way to gain knowledge about yourself and the life you want is to jump first and build your wings on the way down. Life is too short to look back on and wonder what the hell you were doing.
Figure out what in the world you want and chase it. This one can hit you like a ton of bricks. Maybe you weren’t expecting to want to raise a family in a small town with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence – but you do. Maybe you thought you would work one job for the rest of your life but suddenly develop a passion to develop an iPhone app and end up retiring at 27.
Regardless, one thing remains – I believe what we want…what we really want is inside all of us. I think we can put on acts and facades and be one way or another, but in the end we want something specific. Recognizing that within yourself and living a life that points in the direction of accomplishing it, is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Invest (smartly) financially. Maybe…just maybe, it could be even more important to invest financially than it is personally. Read. Listen. Learn. See what it takes to build a nest-egg for yourself while you are young. While you are 20, 30, 35, hell…even 40. We are past the lives of pensions and even solid 401k’s – your future self and your future generations will appreciate you for doing what it took to take care of them.
(Suggestion: Read Money: Master The Game by Tony Robbins for unparalleled insight on this topic).
Live. Right now. Right now. You may be reading this on a Friday morning or a Monday night or a who-knows-when lunch break and (if you got to the end of this long article, congrats by the way), wonder what the hell it has to do with you. You can’t do all of these things or live this life or pledge these promises or figure out what you want out of life…Can you?
What you can do, is live. You can love yourself and love other people. You can put life in perspective and be thankful for everything you have. You can understand that no matter how tough things may seem, someone somewhere in the world is waking up and would do anything to change places with you. You can love others. You can love yourself. You can be the man or woman you want to be – you just need to decide.
Today is not just the start of 2015. Today is Thursday. Or, Friday. Or, Monday. Or, I mean, whenever you’re reading this. And now is as good a time as any to build a better you.
Not because it is a new year – but because it’s today. And today is as good of a day as any.