I love starting into the new year. Everyone is filled with hope and super happy to finally make the leap they always wanted to do in order to turn their life around. Well, unless you realize that eight days into the new year (on average) you have already forgotten and failed on your resolutions again.
But who knows. Maybe THIS year I’ll follow through on my 8th attempt to learn Spanish. I’m optimistic. Because. New Year.
Still, in all honesty. It’s just too hard to make radical shifts in behaviour. With anything actually. A rapid shift in your habits is simply very unlikely. Sorry!
And following through on this new habit for a complete year is even more challenging. It’s very hard. And then I give up.
I fail most of the time. But it’s not my fault! Other things come up. More important things. And then you start to do these things first. Right before the ones you actually wanted to do. Then more things add up. And soon you are tired and you start cutting down. And the things you set out to do will be forgotten about again.
Here is a funny fact:
Just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
There are three reasons for this problem:
- People make unrealistic resolutions.
- People don’t equip themselves with the mental ammunition to fight off doubt and continue with their goals.
- Using guilt or fear as motivation, or resolving to stop doing something.
Let’s assume I am right on this one. So solving these “issues” will put you into the 8% category of people achieving their New Year’s resolutions.
Sounds good to me.
I mean. It’s rather obvious that when you set unrealistic goals you are way more likely to invite doubt about it into your life. It’s just too difficult. And your brain rationalises against it. Of course.
And because you have done it each and every year so far. There is also a lot of guilt and “But this year I WILL DO IT! I just have to…” kind of bullshit in your head. This is where the guilt comes in.
So actually it is only ONE problem. We demand too much of ourselves and set too ambitious goals. We stretch ourselves too far. And the other reasons are just side effects from this one.
For example: If you have never been running before and you are overweight you would be stupid to set yourself the goal of running a triathlon this year. Of course you will give up soon after.
Your goals have to match your “current level”.
Sometimes I believe people forget (or never learned) how small things add up very quickly. The media pushes big goals onto them. Live the big lifestyle. Have a huge house. And an expensive car. Have thousands of followers on your social media accounts. Society and media make you believe that overnight success is a given. But it’s all a scam.
All of that marketing bullshit is actually a LONG series of small individual efforts. Each and every day. Success is very quiet in this regards.
So in order to make this year really ridiculously amazing you have to take these small steps. Forget about the big goal. And the big vision for a moment and think about the smallest step TOWARDS this idea in your head.
Patience is a virtue.
But sadly nobody wants to hear that. Everyone wants to HAVE and BE already. But nobody is willing to DO.
Here are some ideas on how to make this year amazing. In small and simple steps. Without all the unrealistic and overwhelming bullshit and the guilt of failing that comes with it. Each of these ideas are worth doing every day.
- Sleep 8 hours. People who say they function properly on less than that are bipolar maniacs. And lying. I lied to myself about that one for years.
- Go to bed early. Aim for at least 10 pm. Your body has the most regenerative sleep at around 11 to midnight. It’s science. But don’t ask me about it though.
- Wake up early. It’s a side effect of the last one. If you go to bed at 9 pm you are good to go at around 5 am. Use this quiet time to do something that is important to you. You will enjoy the peace.
- Shut down electronics one hour before bed. And remove them from your bedroom.
- One room, one purpose. Over time this will allow yourself to be in a certain state pretty much automatically as soon as you enter the room. For example: in your mind your bedroom should be linked to sleep and sex ONLY. I love my bedroom.
- Write down ideas. Every day write down 10 ideas about ANYTHING. It doesn’t matter. But it helps you to get your idea muscle going. And soon you’ll become an idea machine.
- Sit in silence. Meditate. Reflect. Think. Whatever you want to call it. But sit there in silence. There is tremendous power that comes with just being in the moment. And accepting it as it is.
- Read good books. Again it doesn’t matter WHAT kind of books you read. As long as you read. If you are not used to doing this, this might sound weird. But somehow reading boosts and stimulates your brain activity. Because. Science. But don’t ask me about that one either.
- Journal. Write down what you do and think every day. You could do this after sitting there in silence and reflecting. Somehow writing about stuff you care about let’s you see it in a different light. Solutions come up right after.
- Log your weekly schedule. See where your time goes. See where you spend it. Use RescueTime to track computer activities. And a little notebook for the rest. This will eliminate any thoughts about “I don’t have time to do this right now!” because you clearly see where you are wasting your time.
- Stop doing one thing you hate. Cut down ONE thing on this list you no longer enjoy doing. Just one. Then see what happens next.
- Call and meet a good friend. New friends are great. But there is nothing like an old friend who has known you for years. Go and meet up. Then chat. Do this regularly. And never take them for granted.
- Create time for your family. Be there for them.
- Remove guilt out of your life. Forgive yourself. And everyone who hurt you. Remove this lingering feeling of guilt once and for all. It’s ok.
- Pray. To whatever you believe in. But there is power in praying to something bigger than ourselves.
- List 10 things you are grateful for. When I was a kid everyday I thanked the universe for two things I was grateful for and then asked for one new thing. In my head this was a fair deal. So I kept doing it until I had everything I wanted.
- Forgive. I picture everyone who has done me wrong. I visualize gratefulness for them (but not pity).
- Solve ONE of your key problems. Pick one thing that annoys the hell out of you. Like every day. Then go to Amazon. Enter your problem. And buy the first 100 books that come up. Read them. Study. And see if your problem persists.
- Then teach your findings to others having the same problem. New business idea?
- Let go of your story. I am this. I am that. Get rid of all that. It won’t help you this year. It’s outdated anyways.
- Drop soda from your diet. This might be a big one for a lot of people out there. But if you baby step it, your health will improve drastically. Remember, when your body is ill, your mind can’t work properly either. Therefore you’ll never be happy when your body isn’t. Treat him properly.
- Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. You drink poison. And you smoke waste. Makes no sense at all. You need a sharp and functional mind to make this year amazing.
- Work out. Move your body. In whatever shape or form. Whatever gets you going. Find something you enjoy. Don’t stop until you found an activity that gets your body in motion and you also like. Motion is emotion. And a moving and healthy body is simply happier.
- Remove notifications from your phone. You should be in control of when you look at what. No notifications. No popups. No automatic email checks. Stop all that. Take back control over your attention.
- Use your phone less too. Put it on silence or switch it off from time to time. At least when you work on something that is important to you. There is no need to be available all the time.
- Answer emails once a day. Nobody is going to die because you answered them not within the first 5 minutes of sending you an email. They can wait. Do stuff that is more important. And don’t let yourself get distracted.
- Stop watching TV. It’s useless crap. And way too expensive. Given the opportunity cost you also have to pay. Think about all the stuff you could be doing instead (like solving one of your key problems).
- Don’t read the newspapers. There is a difference between “being informed” and “getting terrified”. I found there is no news story out there in print that can really enrich my life.
- Remove the alarm clock. Never set the alarm clock anymore to wake up in the morning. Just go to bed early enough. And let your body wake up naturally. It’s the weirdest invention anyways. Who wants to wake up like that? No wonder people are stressed out.
- Learn one new recipe. One that is healthy and tastes good. Then learn to prepare and cook it over and over again. Until you can do it really well and might even enjoy it more than any other crap you usually put into your body. Rinse and repeat. And your diet is fixed. And you are proud about yourself too. Because YOU did it yourself.
- Stop counting calories. That’s the biggest bullshit ever. Just stop eating once you are full.
- Get a massage. And let a professional remove the stress and tensions that accumulated in your body over the last couple of months and years.
- Hold eye contact during a conversation. Be fully in the moment. The other person will appreciate it.
- Travel. Drop the all-inclusive hotel for once. Go somewhere where you are forced to be outside your comfort zone. There is tremendous power that comes with being able to adapt to new situations. And then realize that you can handle all that life throws at you.
- Take a cold shower. Sometimes doing stuff you know you will not enjoy at all but then doing it anyways can build up mental toughness. You need this for other stuff in life. But there are also a lot of health benefits that come with doing regular cold showers.
- Clean your apartment. A clean environment for a clean mind. I am 99% sure that when I clean up my apartment I also (to some degree) clean up my mind. Doing chores is somehow “liberating”.
- Spend less time on Facebook, and more time with real people. Don’t forget how “being on social media” is actually not “being social”. Do more of the real stuff.
- Don’t judge others. You have no idea what they are going through. And it is not yours to judge them based on your flawed assumptions. Instead reach out to them and see if you can help them with your expertise.
- Get out of debts. Or at least double your efforts. To get back your economical freedom. It feels awesome to be back in control and don’t owe anyone anything.
- Be easier on yourself. We tend to be pretty though with ourselves. Oftentimes for no particular reason. Remember that we are still learning. And just like you wouldn’t be harsh on a little child for not being able to walk already, you should apply the same patience to yourself. You are just learning to walk too. In some weird way.
- Become more self-sufficient.
- Fix your posture.
- Give up gluten for a month (or forever). Read the The UltraMind Solution on this one. And see how glutens might be linked to depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
- Be less offended of stuff people say to you. It’s just opinion anyways. Yes, be critical and evaluate if there is something to it. And then fix it if you want to. Don’t take it too seriously though. Or even beat yourself up about it. That’s not worth it.
- Reach out to someone you admire. Be closer to your heroes. And get inspired.
- Be conscious about your ego. The ego is a creepy little bastard. But with a little bit of training we can stay alert enough to recognise it as soon as it arises within us and tries to take over control.
- Shower. Clean off the toxins.
- Go for a walk. And let your mind wander. Also, fresh air helps too.
- Work smarter, not harder. More of the same is not always better. Oftentimes less is more. Pareto principle, anyone? Find your 20% responsible for 80% of your success and do more of these tasks.
- Implement what you read online instead of just reading it. That might be the most difficult one to accomplish. But it’s worth a try.